Aside from her long-standing love affair with coffee, Heather Gray’s greatest joys in life are her relationship with her Savior, her family, and writing. Years ago, she decided it would be better to laugh than yell. Heather carries that theme over into her writing where she strives to create characters that experience both the highs and lows of life and, through it all, find a way to love God, embrace each day, and laugh out loud right along with her.
Right now I am tackling edits for Redemption, the third book in my historical western series, Ladies of Larkspur. I am also developing a romantic suspense. It doesn’t have a name yet, but I already love my characters and the way their relationship is developing. Writing Nowhere for Christmas was such fun that I really hope to pull together another comic romance sometime in the near future. As a writer, I enjoy getting to know my characters, even when they make me cry or want to yell, but I especially like it when they make me laugh!
Today I thought I would interview Gavin Eastly, a photographer, and the hero from Nowhere for Christmas. Enjoy!
Heather: When did you start to realize you were going to like Avery?
Gavin: It’s like this: I was supposed to go with Avery to take photos of some small town in Oklahoma. I might have said something insulting to her. She took it really well, all things considered. Or so I thought. Then she threatened to take pictures with her cell phone – her cell phone – and publish them in the newspaper under my name. I knew I was in trouble. I couldn’t help but want to get to know her better after that.
Heather: What’s your favorite food?
Gavin: Mmm. I used to love Mexican food. Then I took a road trip, and we stopped at a Mexican restaurant for dinner. When I saw the refried beans in the man’s beard or realized the woman wasn’t wearing shoes, I should have known. The smart thing would have been to grab the keys and run for the door. Instead, I let my pride talk me into staying. My favorite food? Saltine crackers have been working out pretty well for me lately.
Heather: What do you think of Avery’s son?
Gavin: Eli’s a good kid. He’s sensible and funny. When you’re forced into an up-close-and-personal situation the way we were, you get to know somebody pretty quick. Eli’s got a good heart, and he wants what’s best for Avery. I can’t fault him for that. Besides, he’s got impeccable timing when it comes to embarrassing his mom.
Heather: What was your first impression of Avery?
Gavin: I knew of Avery long before we met, but there was some confusion. I’d spent all that time thinking Avery was as man. Then she showed up at the coffee shop and demanded I get in the car and go with her. So my first impression? Avery Weston is most definitely not a man.
Heather: What does family mean to you?
Gavin: I’ve met a lot of different people in my line of work, and while they’re all different, they each have something in common. They either love the family they have or wish they had a family to love. There was this truck stop in Oklahoma. A trucker there assumed Avery, her son Eli, and I were all one happy family. I knew we weren’t, but I liked that he thought so. Then Avery went and told him she and her son were going to adopt me. It’s a funny thing, that feeling. I’d have to say that family is the people you meet, the ones you love and who love you back. It’s not always about genetics. It’s about choice.
Here’s a short excerpt from Nowhere for Christmas:
“Sorry about the wind,” Officer Sterling said to them as he pushed the button to lower both front windows. “I’ve got to do something to try to keep the stink out of my face, or I won’t be able to see to get us back to Lawton. Man, oh man, it’s been a long time since I smelled anything as fierce as this. It’s a tenacious smell, too, ain’t it? The folks in the garage are going to spend weeks trying to get the smell out of this car, and I ain’t even the one who hit the little varmint.”
“Uh, yeah, it’s a strong smell alright,” Avery said, not entirely sure if the officer even wanted a reply.
“It burns, too,” Officer Sterling added. “Burns something fierce. I think my nose hairs might have been singed off. And my eyes feel all dry and crackly like firewood that’s about to explode. Except for when the tears start pouring out, I guess. And don’t even get me started on the nausea. How it is y’all aren’t back there puking your guts out from having to smell yourselves is beyond me.”
How do you think it feels to be back here next to two other people who suffered the same malodorous fate? You’ve got it easy up there, mister!
“Whoo-whee, that sure is one awful stench!”
“Okay,” Gavin cut in. “We get it. The smell is dreadful, and it’s not going away. What’s supposed to happen to us when we get to Lawton?”
“Well,” said Officer Sterling, “I suppose you can book a flight and head on back to Albuquerque.”
“Peachy,” Eli commented. “If you can’t stand to have us in your car without the windows open, how are we supposed to fly back? The folks on the airplane won’t be able to open their windows and blow the smell out of their faces.”
“Hmm, you got a good point there,” he answered. “Let me see what I can do.”
Officer Sterling then proceeded to pick up his radio and call dispatch, “Hey there, Norma Sue, you read me?”
“That you, Joe?” came the disembodied high-pitched voice over the radio.
Aha! So his first name isn’t Officer after all! A little giggle escaped, causing Avery’s seat companions to look at her oddly.
“Yeah, it’s me. I found those three travelers out at Nowhere, but we got us a problem.”
“They look as scary as a bunch of serial killers? Maybe cannibals? Should I call SWAT?”
Officer Sterling glanced over his shoulder at them and blushed. In a loud whisper he said, “Hush, Norma Sue. They’re in the car with me.”
The equally loud whisper came back over the speaker, “Oh, sorry about that. They’re not threatening to eat you, are they?”