“I open one eye, the one that isn’t covered with a thick ointment and crusted shut, and call out for my mother, who must have stepped out of the room. I reach for the phone that is sitting on the tray table at the side of my bed and the nerve endings in my bandaged left arm scream in protest at the movement.”
Today I am excited and honored to welcome author Heather Gudenkauf to Stiletto Storytime as she travels the world wide web on her exclusive BookTrib Blog Tour sharing her latest masterpiece One Breath Away. The excerpt above is just a tiny taste of what this amazing work has to offer and more can be found throughout her tour with each stop hosting excerpts, exclusive author posts and even a few giveaways. Make sure to follow her tour here. Trust me this is an author you’ll want to meet and a book you won’t want to miss.
As a reader I first fell in love with Heather’s writing when I reviewed her novel These Things Hidden just last year. I was completely drawn into her style in a way that surprised even me. I usually don’t find myself so taken in by modern day contemporary fiction. But within a few chapters I was hooked and the book was finished within hours because I simply had to know what happened next. As I read I found myself amazed at her ability to make me not only completely hypnotized by her writing but also left utterly breathless with it’s unseen literary twists and turns.
When approached about hosting her for One Breath Away I jumped at the chance. I just couldn’t wait to see what she had in store for readers with her next book. And I promise she does not disappoint. One Breath Away is a beautifully balanced collection of characters and their personal experiences during an event that is all too relevant in our time and truly a mother’s worst nightmare. Just imagine your child is at school when a man with a gun enters and changes your life forever. Worst of all…is the lack of information. Who is this man? What does he want? Is your child safe?
In an event surrounded by mystery Gudenkauf takes readers into the world of small town America and it’s worst nightmare. She uses multiple characters and view points to paint a picture that ever so slowly reveals the past, present and future that surrounds this one event and the people involved. The result is storytelling that flows so well it seems effortless and yet every piece of the puzzle is placed thoughtfully just where it goes. Attention to detail is seen within every word.
So without further ado. Welcome Heather to Stiletto Storytime…
What draws you to write suspenseful women’s fiction?
I’ve enjoyed writing since I was a child – yes, I was one of those kids who did a fist pump whenever the teacher assigned a writing project -but as is typical with most writers, I was and am, first and foremost an avid reader. As a child my favorite place in the world was our public library and I spent as much time as possible with my nose in a book. I loved mysteries and plowed my way through all the Encyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew Mystery books. One of my favorite mystery series growing up was The Boxcar Children which I recently learned was originally published in 1924. I read all the books that were available when I was a child, and again as an adult I read them to my own children with enthusiasm. Who can resist a story about a tight knit set of orphaned siblings, an abandoned boxcar, a dog, and the mystery surrounding a long lost grandfather?
As I got older, I continued to enjoy mystery and suspense novels but my interests expanded to a variety of genres, including books that explored the intricacies of the human heart: Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, Elizabeth Berg’s Pull of the Moon, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and so many more. I’ve always admired the way writers could take me away to different places and times through the written word. I knew I wanted to try my hand at writing but didn’t sit down and seriously begin until after I was married and had my children. But when I did, I remembered all the stories and books I’ve read through the years, remembered how deftly authors could arrange the words on a page to be suspenseful, heart wrenching, or heart-warming – to evoke all varieties of emotion. My hope is to do the same for my readers. ~Heather Gudenkauf
Thanks for stopping by Stiletto Storytime Heather and on a personal note- thank you very much for the character of Lucy Shelton. It’s so wonderful and sadly rare to see inclusion represented in today’s literature. As a parent of a child with autism, I thank you for remembering there are many children in our schools and each would have their own challenges in handling a situation such as what occurs in One Breath Away. By including a character like Lucy, you help raise awareness and make people think. That is a magical thing that can truly later on down the road change how a person might perceive or react to children with autism and their parents.
Readers: Make sure to check out One Breath Away and Heather Gudenkauf’s other books if her writing is new to you. I have truly enjoyed each one. You can find more information on the author and her work on her website. Happy Reading!