Monday, November 23, 2009

The Ball's in Her Court by Heather Justesen

I know, I know. Another book review, but it is the Christmas season and you need gift ideas, right?

She's got a great job, a loving group of family and friends, and basketball skills like you wouldn't believe, but Denise DeWalt's life is far from perfect, and she's about to come face-to-face with a past she hoped to leave behind forever.

Twenty-six-year-old Denise thinks she's come to terms with her childhood in the foster care system, but when her old nightmares return, Denise realizes that she must deal with her past once and for all if she ever wants to move on to a brighter future with Rich, the only man who can see past her former life. As Denise's search leads her closer and closer to the one person she hoped she'd never have to face again, she begins to realize that her future depends on just one person--herself.

This emotional and inspirational love story proves that life is full of unexpected twists and turns--especially when it comes
to facing your demons, fighting for love, and finding happiness for the future.

I'm excited that Author Heather has consented to my rambly interview questions. Welcome, Author Heather. Hmmm...that sounds good together. I bet she would agree.

ME: Do you ever read your back-of-the-book blurb thingy in a deep, dramatic tone like they do on TV… ”She’s got a great job, a loving group of family and friends, and basketball skills you wouldn’t believe…” Like when your husband’s in the shower you could sneak up and go, “Twenty-six-year-old Denise thinks she’s come to terms with her childhood in the foster care system, but when her old nightmare returns…” or it could be your answering machine message, “This emotional and inspirational love story proves that life is full of unexpected twists and turns…”

HJ: Although I've read the backliner many times already, I admit, I never thought of reading it into my answering machine message. I am really pleased with the copy my editor wrote for it, though. [So, the official term is "backliner" and not "back-of-the-book-blurb thingy"? Aspiring authors take note. I do like the answering machine idea for you, Heather... "She's got a great job, a loving group of family and friends, and basketball skills you wouldn't believe... Pick up "The Ball's in Her Court and read it today. And if you'd like to leave a message for Author Heather, do so after the beep. Beeeeeeeeeeep...]

ME: Your main character, Denise, has much to deal with in her past. I don’t want to make light of the foster care system. I assume your experience with foster children was the catalyst for this story? Did you use any of those experiences in the story or a combination of them? Or was this story born more out of research?

HJ: Actually, I started writing the story before we ever had any placements, while I was researching adoption issues before our licensing was done. My experience with the foster kids did, of course, color the way I wrote the story in later versions, but most of the adoption stuff came from research I did online in preparation for fostering. The adoption forums on were extremely helpful.

ME: There are good lessons (Readers, note the discussion questions at the back of the book) for everyone to learn from your book and not just those acquainted with the foster care system. Besides just being an entertaining read, what do you hope a reader takes away from this book?

HJ: There are several themes in the story, among them, Denise's issues with accepting that the atonement really did apply to her, and her fears of taking risk (we all have to take risks once in a while--if I hadn't risked rejection, this book would never have been published). I also am a strong believer in the importance of family--however it may have been formed. I hope this book teaches all of these things without coming across preachy because they are just part of our everyday lives, things we all have to deal with. [I'm grateful I don't have to deal with Denise's cleaning obsession--I'll stick to my C-OCD--Chocolate-Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.]

ME: But I digress... Give me one random sentence from your book, no context.

HJ: "You keep saying that, but I never get a real reason why." [Now that sounds like an actual quote from my husband. Does he get any kind of royalty for that, I wonder? You can get back to me on that.]

ME: What other works do you have in progress?

HJ: "Rebound," the spin off to this one about the roommate Lily is coming out in May, and I have another book about Lily's sister Shelly (whom we get to know in Rebound) in serious revision. Besides that, I have a couple of unrelated books in various forms of editing and hope to submit one in the next few weeks. I always have more projects than time on my hands. [The Ball's in Her Court/Rebound--I love it when the titles of a series are related. It's so Twilighty-New Moony-Eclipsy-and whatever the 4th one was-y of you! Hunger Games/Catching Fire--not so much.]]

Thanks, Heather!!! It's been fun getting to know you better. I've seen you from afar (LDS Storymakers) and hoped to someday bask in your authorly glow. This has been a little glimmer, so thank you!

For those twice-checking their Christmas lists, The Ball’s In Her Court is available at Deseret Book, and Also check out Heather Justesen’s blog for more of Author Heather.

[And for more of me, just wait till after the holidays. I plan on eating lots and lots of fudge.:D]


Heather Justesen said...

Valerie, I like when book titles in a series work together too. Unfortunately, I doubt I'll be able to do the same with the remaining books in my series...we'll have to see what happens.

Thanks for posting about my book!

Anna del C. Dye said...

That is a great review. it brought back memories of my foster parent's past life.LOL We did fostering for 12 years, love the kids... no so, with many of the Care-workers. We adopted a 14 year old boy that was in our placement too. That sound like a great book to read. thanks.
Anna del C. Dye
Author of "The Silent Warrior Trilogy"

Lori said...

Great interview, Valerie and Heather. I have a friend who would love this!

Danyelle Ferguson said...

Such a fun interview! I totally LOVE this book & highly recommend it for every romance lover on your Christmas list!

Cathy said...

I love it when a book review comes with an interview of the author.
There is so much more insight. Thanks for sharing all this great stuff, Heather and Valerie.


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