Thursday, July 24, 2014

5 SECRETS (What No One Knows About My Book)

Our guest author today is Heather Haven, who is going to share some tidbits about the writing of her book that no one knows--until today.

Heather attended the University of Miami and ended up as a writer in New York City, writing humorous commercials and ad copy for No Soap Radio. There she fulfilled her dream of writing comedy and getting paid for it. She has also written comedy acts for performers, television treatments, and two one-act plays, which were produced at several places, including Playwrights Horizon. Once, she even ghostwrote a book on how to run an employment agency. She was unemployed at the time.

Heather's first novel of the humorous Alvarez Family Murder Mystery Series, Murder is a Family Business, won the Single Titles Reviewers' Choice Award 2011. The second, A Wedding to Die For, received the 2012 finalist nods from both Global and EPIC for Best eBook Mystery of the Year. The third of the series, Death Runs in the Family, won the Gold, Dan Poynter's Global eBook Award Mystery Fiction 2013. Stand-alone noir mystery, Death of a Clown, is winner of the IPPY Silver for Best Mystery/thriller 2014. The novel is steeped in Heather's family history at Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. She brings the Big Top to life during World War II, embellished by her own murderous imagination. The Dagger Before Me and Iced Diamonds, Books One and Two of the humorous Persephone Cole Vintage Mysteries, were #1 in Amazon's Historical Mystery and General Humorous categories, October 2013.


Five Things About Death of a Clown No One Knows:

1 – Jeri Deane’s two best friends, Margie and Doris, are based on my mother’s two best friends in the circus, but in name only. I never met either one of them. As I did with the protagonist, Jeri, I built the characters around stories Mom told me about their close relationship throughout her years at Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus. In a way, they were muses numbers two and three.

2 – The story started for me one day when I asked Mom about the photo of her on an elephant and the clown standing in front of her. She couldn’t remember who he was. I thought to myself, is this unknown clown still alive? Who was he? I went about inventing his character.

3 – I still have the original costume Mom wore in the photo on the book cover. How it survived all these years, I’ll never know. But now that she is gone, I treasure it all the more.

4 – All the elephants’ names in the book are real. So are their personalities,
as told to me by my mother. Elephants, like humans, have very distinctive personalities.

5 – Speaking of elephants, while I cannot comment on smaller, lesser circuses, the pachyderms under the Big Top were treated well, as were the rest of the animals. Aside from the fact that people like my father were forerunners of the idea of kindness and love, the owners wanted the animals – a huge investment on their part – to live long and stay healthy. Performers were encouraged to establish relationships along those lines with the animals. Anyone found mistreating an animal was either reprimanded or dismissed immediately, depending on the severity of the deed. As to whether or not they should be taken out of their original habitats, I am on the fence, considering the horrors of poaching out there.


IPPY Silver for Best Mystery/Thriller 2014
The year is 1942. Already weary from the Great Depression, the U.S. has joined the Allied Forces in their war against the Axis Powers. Fear and uncertainty is everywhere. Never has the circus soothed so many seeking refuge in its magic, if only temporarily. But there is no shelter from murder, even under the Big Top. Up and coming circus performer, Jeri Deane, finds a young clown strangled inside a beloved lion's cage. The town sheriff's threat to close down the Big Top won't stop her from finding his killer. Beneath the spangles and sawdust of the canvas sky, Jeri uncovers deceit, treachery, and secrets more dangerous than any death-defying trick in the show. Even she has much to hide. If the Big top survives the season, will she be able to face her own hidden past?
Heather Haven is the daughter of real-life Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus folk. Her mother was a trapeze artist/performer and father, an elephant trainer. Heather brings the daily existence of the Big Top to life during World War II, embellished by her own murderous imagination.

You can find Heather on these links:
Author page at Amazon  

Thanks for checking out Heather and her secrets. If you have any comments or questions, Heather will be around to answer them today.

And don’t forget to check back next Thursday to find out even more author secrets about their book. 


  1. Sounds like you had an amazing mom. Cherish all those memories. I love that you used her as a muse and inspiration.

  2. Thank you so much, Melissa, for your comments. They give me a warm glow!

  3. Beverley, didn't thank you yet for hosting me. Thank you!

  4. Thank you, Beverley, for hosting me. Much appreciated. I look forward to spending the day with you and your readers.