Wednesday, September 23, 2009

IMHO Welcomes Heather MacAllister!

Heather MacAllister has published over 40 books with Harlequin. Her award-winning romantic comedies have been translated into 25 languages and published in dozens of countries. Before she was published, Heather won the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award. Her published novels have since been nominated for the RWA RITA® award three times, and readers voted Lone Star Santa Favorite Laugh-Out-Loud book of 2006. In addition to awards for best Harlequin Romance and best Harlequin Temptation, Romantic Times Book Reviews has twice nominated Heather for a Career Achievement Award in Series Love and Laughter.

Heather became addicted to romance novels in college, yet still managed to graduate and become a music teacher. She married her high-school sweetheart, whom she won over by following the instructions in How to Get a Teen-Age Boy, and What to Do with Him When You Get Him, one of her all-time favorite books, by Ellen Peck. She expressed an interest in his hobby — ham radio. He challenged her — learn Morse code and get her license, and he’d take her to the senior prom. She did, and currently sports her call sign, WB5RMA, on her car license plate. She began writing when her sons were born and within seven months, nine baby-sitters quit. So she took pity on the childcare industry, quit teaching, and began avoiding housework by writing during her sons’ nap time. She now lives in Texas, and when she's not writing, Heather spends her time collecting vintage jewelry, watching fireworks displays, and killing plants.

Heather will put her latest release, Undressed, a collection of four short stories from Harlequin Blaze, in the “Back to School” tote bag of love. At the popular wedding destination, Rocky Falls, Texas, listen in while four couples' lives are changed forever when they overhear conversations in the fitting rooms of a bridal salon and the tuxedo boutique next door.

Heather's next novel, His Little Black Book, will be out in March 2010. It's a Blaze Encounters featuring a bachelor who accidentally texts a weekend invitation to his entire little black book and the three women who accept. (Whoa!)

IMHO: Welcome, Heather! So what’s something interesting you’ve learned from writing romance?

HM: Thanks for inviting me, TJ! I've learned that love stories have world-wide appeal. People can speak different languages, but everyone knows about falling in love. Writing for Harlequin has really brought this home. My books have been published in twenty-five languages other than English. I never know when a book has been picked up for a foreign market until a padded envelope with three copies arrives in the mail. I love to see what the covers look like and try to figure out what language it is. Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish are really hard to tell apart! But after examining the book and maybe running the bio and a few lines through an online translator, I'd shelve it (okay, box it) and never really think that there were people out there actually reading it in these other languages. Or I didn't until the mid-1990s, when I was writing Harlequin Romances for Mills & Boon.

M&B held their first Authors' Day in conjunction with a meeting of the Harlequin foreign editors in London. I went and got to be a fan girl when I met some of the Presents authors I'd been reading for years. There was an afternoon reception for the authors and the foreign editors. The authors were all in one room, waiting, when the hotel staff suddenly pushed aside the divider and the two groups came face to face. We stared at each other, and then the London editors began to introduce us. I remember talking to the Polish editor who recognized my name (my pseudonym, Heather Allison) and rattled off the titles of my books he'd bought for the Polish market. He even knew what they were about. I was stunned. I think I said something profound like, "You know my books?" He looked surprised. "Yes. You are popular in Poland." "Really?" Polish people were reading my books?

And they were reading them in France and Italy, and elsewhere, too. I was photographed for the Czech version of Cosmopolitan, talked about American slang with a jet-lagged editor from China, and (I cringe) had some bowing issues with the Japanese editors, after which I said, "So you're from Japan. I own a Toyota!" I know. But I was pretty much talked out by then and I think most of my books have been translated into Japanese, so they haven't held it against me.

Now, each time I receive foreign copies, I still marvel that people in other countries are reading my stories. I wonder how certain customs, settings, and actions are interpreted. As I write, I try to provide context clues for slang or Texanisms. But in the end, it's only the words that have to be translated because everyone understands falling in love.

IMHO: Indeed they do. Thanks for sharing with us, Heather. Now, for all you IMHO readers, last week we talked about the most romantic gestures; this week, tell Heather about romantic gestures gone awry, or that simply weren't. Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win the “Back to School” tote bag of love filled with two signed books by Gerry Bartlett, Annette McCleave, Ann Macela, Heather MacAllister, and Vicki Hinze.

In addition, if you are the lucky winner, you’ll also receive a $20 gift card from Barnes and Noble and a Magnetic Poetry Kit featuring “Mixed-up Romance Novel” phrases that you can use to express your inner romance novelist. And remember, the more authors whose posts you comment on during the month of September, the more chance of winning. Contest rules are on my website. USA addresses only, please.

P.S. Don't forget I'm still giving away a copy of Vicki Hinze's signed ARC of War Games: Kill Zone in advance of her appearance here next week!


jcp said...

U;ll have to look for your books.

Tambra said...

I'm a long time Heather MacAllister fan. I've never been disappointed when I've picked up one of her books.
If you haven't tried Heather's books, please do! I hope you love her as much as I do.

Tambra Kendall

The Scarf Princess said...

I can't think of any real life romantic gestures gone awry, but I'm currently watching Golden Girls and I remember a particularly funny scene. It was where Stan asked Dorothy to marry him again by hiding her ring in a baked potato. Not only did she burn her hand, but Rose thought the extra potato stuck in the band was extra diamonds. I love those ladies!

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I need to save the real-life romance gone wrong if I want to stay married!

I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail, TJ. I've got this posted at Win a Book; no need to enter me for anything.

mrsshukra said...

So nice to meet Heather here!

My DH treated me to a Vegas vacation to celebrate a milestone anniversary but when we got there, he came down with a beastly flu, which I then caught from him... so there we were at the luxurious Wynn Hotel sick as dogs!


Anonymous said...

Sounds interesting! Especially the Little Black Book...I can only imagine where that leads! dyromance(at)gmail(dot)com

Heather MacAllister said...

Delilah, that's awful!

My hubby's romantic gestures go awry only when he buys or plans something that HE actually wants and tries to pass it off as a romantic gesture.

Thanks, Tambra!

Heather MacAllister said...


It was fun to write. I'm enjoying the multiple-story format.

Joder, LOL on the baked potato! I wonder why he picked a baked potato?

Susan and JCP, thanks for stopping by.

CherylS22 said...

My most romantic gesture to go awry was a surprise birthday party for me for one of those milestone birthdays. My husband had the whole thing planned & I ended up sick as a dog with a horrible cold the day of the party. It was to be at our home, so my husband had to fess up & I spent the day cleaning so that the house would be ready! Despite the cold, I did enjoy my party.

Jane said...

Hi Heather,
Congrats on the recent release of "Undressed." I haven't read any of the Encounters books.

Cheeky Girl said...

most romantic gesture gone awry was my husband's proposal.

He had set up this very special way to propose back where our first date took place. Needless to say, we never made it there! He was so nervous having the ring in his bag and then pocket, he randomly dropped down on one knee and proposed as soon as we walked in our hotel room. Bell boy was still standing there and everything. He was so scared to lose the ring he forgot about all the stuff he had set up for that night!

Heather MacAllister said...

So, Cheryl, you're saying it was a good thing you got sick so you could clean the house? LOL. Except that I know exactly what you mean.

Thanks, Jane.

CheekyGirl--in front of the bellman?!? That's actually sweet that he got so nervous :)

Unknown said...

Congrats on your new release! I don't think I have ever read one on your books but I am looking forward to reading one! Thanks for sharing with us today!

TJ Bennett said...

Thanks to everyone for stopping by to visit with Heather, and especially thanks to Heather for guest hosting on IMHO!!! Keep leaving comments for all our guests for a chance to win the tote bag full of books and the $20 B&N gift card.

Remember, Heather's book UNDRESSED will be one of the signed books in the "Back to School" tote you are competing for. And Vicki Hinze, next Wednesday's guest, still has her book KILL ZONE up as a Random Freebie. I'll give that away this Friday, Sept 25.

See you then.

Anonymous said...

I guess the only thing that has ever went wrong was when my husband tried to send me these amazing little chocolate candies for our 1st anniversary. He was in Iraq at the time and didnt think about the heat. Well they were all in a big messy puddle by the time I got them but it was still really sweet!!


penney said...

Your book sounds great, thanks for being here I enjoyed reading this all. I'll be getting your new book for sure.

Linda Henderson said...

I have always enjoyed your books. Sorry to be late dropping in.

Patricia Barraclough said...

Romantic gestures gone awry. It amazes me how one person could think something would be such a wonderfully romantic and warm thing and the other just has a DUH! moment.
I had to have my wedding ring cut off for surgery. It felt really weird not having one on after over 30 years. I finally had it fixed. We were going to my husband's niece's wedding a few weeks later , so I held onto the ring and didn't let him know I'd had it fixed.
I thought it would be very romantic to quietly have my husband slip the ring onto my finger as the bride and groom exchanged vows and exchanged their rings. As the ceremony started, I slipped the ring box into my husbands hand. He looked at it and all I got was "What's this?" so I opened it. He just looked at the ring, then at me and said "So what do you want me to do with it?" I knew he didn't respond to subtle hints, but I was hoping. My daughters knew what I was planning and thought it was a sweet idea. It was a disappointment.

throuthehaze said...

A romantic gesture that went awry was for Valentines one year I made a big italian dinner for my BF and he got stuck in traffic (there had been an accident) and by the time he got home the food was cold and I was asleep.

throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Doreen said...

Back when I was engaged (no longer with the guy) :) but he actually let me know he was going to propose and when he was going to do it. lol Yeah, there was no surprise there.

Carol L. said...

Hi Heather,
I am definitely putting your books on my TRL. I love your sense of humor and in a book that's awesome.
You'd think with 2 ex husbands I'd have a lot of romance gone awry. lol But I'd imagine I'd have to say then it was my 2 divorces. lol
Great meeting you here Heather.
Carol L.

Unknown said...

like to really have a tote bag for my books,

Anonymous said...

It is amazing what you can hear in a dressing room.I can't wait to read this book.Oh and from now on I will not say a word while in a dressing room.Can hear better that
Have a wonderful day!!!