It’s no secret that I love reading and traveling so much. Not necessarily doing those two together but most of the time they go back to back for me. Those are the two things that will always be part of me and my life. That’s why when I read the blurb of Amanda Heger’s upcoming debut novel, Without Borders I automatically add it to my reading list. And when Amanda agree to join us for Celebrating Debutantes and have an interview, I’m so excited, to the point that I’m already brewing questions in my mind for her. If only the schedule is already set by then, I’m sure Amanda received my questions earlier.
Anyway, before I rant too much about books and travel, here’s the interview with Amanda as she shares more details about Without Borders, her travels, and some teaser info she’s planning for the other books of Wanderlove Series.
Also, make sure to stick around for the giveaway below and check the book details, author bio to know more about the book and Amanda.
Interview with Amanda Heger
Can you tell us a bit about your journey with your book, Without Borders? When did you first come up with the idea and what were the timescales involved between the first draft and the novel being accepted for publication?
In February of 2013, I was in a boring all-day training at work. A few hours in, my mind started to wander, and by the time I came home, the basic premise of Without Borders had been born.
It took me six months to fumble through the first draft, and another six months to rewrite (yes, I said rewrite) it and revise. I started querying in February of 2014 and signed with my agent in March of that year. Then, I went through another round of revisions with my agent, and after about three eternities (okay, it was three months, but if you’ve ever been on submission, you know what I mean) on submission, we had an offer to publish. So from the first day I started writing it until the day my agent called to say “We have an offer” was about 19 months.
You actually spent time in Nicaragua, how did that prepare you for writing Without Borders?
I did! I spent about three months in the North Atlantic Autonomous Region where I volunteered with a Nicaraguan public health organization. I traveled with a medical brigade, taught classes on reproductive health and domestic violence, and met dozens of wonderful people who changed my life forever. Without those people and experiences, I would have never been able to put this story on the page.
One of the things Without Borders does so well is infect the reader with wanderlust. How did you, as a writer, accomplish that?
Thank you! I love to travel. I think it’s one of the most eye-opening, rewarding experiences a person can have. And I also love Nicaragua. Beautiful rainforests. Volcanoes. Great music and poetry. It’s easy to bring a sense of wanderlust to the page when you’re already in love with the place you’re writing about.
Without Borders is a fun and swoon read, how much fun did you have in writing the book? Who’s character is more fun to write and who’s the one that gave you hard time?
I had so much fun writing Without Borders. I spent a lot of time digging through old journals and photographs to refresh my memory, which made me so nostalgic for my time there. But, in the interest of complete honestly, it was also probably the single most challenging thing I’ve ever done. Writing books is a lot of hard work.
In Without Borders one of my favorite characters is Marisol—Annie’s best friend and Felipe’s younger sister. She’s funny and smart and calls herself the “Cupid of Nicaragua.” She gets her own story in book two, which will be out this fall.
The hardest character for me to write was the heroine, Annie. In the early drafts, she was a bit naïve and spoiled, which didn’t quite work for the story. Reworking it to find out who she really was took a lot of time (and a lot of drafts).
If one of your characters could turn the tables on you and write a story based on your life, what would the title of that book be and what would be the first line?
Title: Your Hair is in Your Soup Again: The Amanda Heger Story
First Line: It was tomato bisque this time.
What do you think of the “new adult” genre? Did you think about writing for slightly older young adults when you wrote Without Borders? Do you think you’ll ever write a purely adult novel or young adult?
When I started writing Without Borders, I didn’t really know much about new adult. I was just writing the story I wanted to write. But as I started to learn more about it, I realized it was a good fit for my story. The characters were the right age, and they were just starting out in their adult lives. Being in your early twenties is such an exciting time, and it was fun to capture that in Without Borders.
Since finishing Without Borders, I’ve completed a women’s fiction manuscript, and I have another adult contemporary romance on the horizon. So I definitely see myself leaning toward more adult stories in the future. But I really try to write the stories I want to see on the shelf and worry about the age category later. So, if I get an idea for a young adult project that I just can’t shake, I’ll probably give that a go, too.
I’ve read from goodreads that you are writing two more projects, one is a follow up for Without Borders (a companion novel?) and one about a law student. Can you tell us more bout those future projects?
Without Borders is the first book in The Wanderlove Series.
Book two is a companion novel, which follows Marisol to a public health conference in Los Angeles. She there for one reason and one reason only: to win a grant that will save her family’s medical clinic. But when her appearance on a late night talk show goes viral, she has to balance her sudden fame with work obligations. Not to mention a blossoming romance with one of the show’s interns. Semi-Scripted will be out in the fall of 2016.
Book three in the series will also be a companion novel. It’s scheduled for release in early 2017.
I’ve also written a women’s fiction manuscript about a law student who’s forced to take a job at her grandmother’s assisted living facility. While the job is supposed to be temporary, she falls in love with the work (and her boss) and begins to question her career path. It doesn’t have a home yet, but I hope to change that soon.
Quick Questions on Traveling:
Best place you’ve ever visited?
Nicaragua will always have a special place in my heart. But a few years ago, I spent some time in Rwanda and fell in love. (You haven’t lived until you’ve been surrounded by fifty or so baboons in a parking lot.)
One place you’ve never been to but dying to visit?
Can I choose two? No? Well, I’m going to anyway. India and Australia. Both places are on my travel bucket list. Wait. How about three? I really want to visit Yellowstone and have a trip tentatively planned for the fall. Wait! How about four places? Five?
Top three items you’ll never travel without?
Lip balm, a notebook, and a pen. Everything else is optional.
Best travel advice you can share?
Travel outside your comfort zones, be flexible with your plans, and be respectful of the people and places around you.
Favorite travel-inspired novel? and why?
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. I’ve enjoyed all of Kingsolver’s books, but this one grabbed me by the gut and didn’t let go. The characters, the setting, the conflict. The way it made me think about the world. I hope one day I can write something that makes people feel even half of what I felt the first time I read that book.
Thank you so much Amanda for stopping by today and for taking the time to answer all my questions above. Looking forward to the released of Without Borders!
Watch out for my review of Without Borders near the publication date and be sure to check the bottom of the post for all the details on giveaway!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amanda Heger is a writer, attorney, and bookworm. She lives in the Midwest with three unruly rescue dogs and a husband who encourages her delusions of grandeur.
Her debut romance, Without Borders, is forthcoming from Diversion Books. The story was inspired by the summer Amanda spent in rural Nicaragua, eating gallo pinto, speaking mangled Spanish, and showing high school students how to slide condoms onto over-sized plantains.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: Without Borders
Author: Amanda Hedger
Publisher: Diversion Books
Publication Date: April 19, 2016
Format: Paperback, eBook
For Annie London, a month in a Central American rainforest means handing out mosquito nets, giving medical aid, and teaching children about the birds and the bees. With any luck, it will also land her application in the “accepted” pile at a top tier medical school. But as soon as she steps off the plane, Annie realizes her bug spray, feeble Spanish, and medical supplies won’t help her deal with her new feelings for Felipe—her best friend’s older brother, who’s much hotter than she remembers, and who also happens to be the doctor in charge of the trip.
Gawking “volun-tourists” may keep his family’s medical clinic afloat, but Dr. Felipe Gutierrez doesn’t have to like them. Or the way they make snap judgments about his practice and the people he cares for. But when his old crush, Annie, shows up to volunteer, her killer curves and kind smile fan the embers of a flame Felipe didn’t realize he’d been carrying. A flame that makes him question all his preconceived notions.
As ideas and cultures clash, Annie and Felipe must decide how far outside their comfort zones they are willing to go—both for their work and for one another.
What’s up for Grab?
- Pre-order Paperback copy of Without Borders
- Open to International readers as long as book depository ships to your location
- There will be one (1) winner
- Winner will be chosen and announced by rafflecopter
- Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
- Ends March 29, 2016
- Prize will be sent by the author
To enter fill out the rafflecopter form
Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2016 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each feature post!