About author, Heather Grace Stewart: Heather Grace Stewart is a Canadian magazine writer, author, and poet. Her first poem was published in her school newsletter when she was five, and she’s been hooked on writing ever since. Heather’s debut novel, Strangely, Incredibly Good, will be released by Morning Rain Publishing on June 5, 2014. Heather’s screenplay The Friends I’ve Never Met is her bestselling Kindle book to date, reaching #28 in Action & Adventure in Women’s Fiction in November 2013. Her third poetry collection, Carry On Dancing (Winter Goose Publishing, March 2012) charted on print and Kindle bestseller lists in Poetry and Canadian Poetry in Canada, the US, and the UK. Heather is also the author of the Kindle bestselling poetry collections Leap and Where the Butterflies Go, two non-fiction books for youth, and a book of children’s poetry,The Groovy Granny. Born in Ottawa, she lives with her husband and daughter near Montreal. In her free time, she loves to take photos, scrapbook, cartoon, inline skate, dance like nobody’s watching, and eat Swedish Berries — usually not at the same time. For more information, visit Heather’s blog and her official website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
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I Ate Bugs for This: My Road to Becoming a Chick Lit Author
by Heather Grace Stewart
My road to becoming a chick lit author has been a long one, and it has taken some rather sharp turns, too.
I didn’t actually set out to be a chick lit author. I didn’t even set out to be a women’s fiction author. For the record, I don’t believe any book should be labeled as just one genre, or that only women can read books by women. I just wanted to write the kind of book that I wanted to read myself.
Since the time I could write sentences, I’ve known I love the feeling of creating a story, getting it down on paper, and sharing it with others to entertain them. I love the process of recording that story so much I often lose track of time. Days could have gone by if my mother hadn’t come to collect me in our basement playroom when, at ten, I got my hands on Grandmother’s old Underwood typewriter and wrote a poem about a swing, and all the children it had loved.
After I volunteered at our local newspaper at 15, and worked as a writer-reporter for a local TV news show at 16, I knew I had the writing bug. I decided to get a Journalism graduate diploma after studying Canadian Studies (English, French lit and History) for four years at Queen’s University.
Back then, I had no clue I’d one day be penning a humorous tale about a modern day woman who meets a genie. I’ve always been fascinated with people, though, and love telling their stories. My first newspaper column, ‘Grace’s Goad,’ one that went with the gig of Chief Reporter at The Monitor when I graduated from J-school, was an eclectic mix of interviews with citizens, politicians and war veterans. When I became an associate editor at Harrowsmith Country Life, Equinox and Canadian Wildlife magazines, I really loved speaking to the freelance writers and photographers who called in. I soon realized that was because I, too, wanted to freelance.
As a freelancer, I started a column about being a 20-something, ‘Hangin’ Out,’ for my alma mater magazine, The Queen’s Alumni Review. I wrote about graduates still living at home at 29, dating, getting married, having babies. I even wrote about being a single 20’s chick whose cat pooped on the floor in front of me if he didn’t like one of my dates. I wasn’t always writing about women, but I was always telling people’s stories; getting to the heart of what made them want to get up in the morning. I also got to travel a great deal in my 20’s, often on press junkets. I floated in the Dead Sea, spent my 29th birthday line dancing with strangers in Nashville, and I trekked a B.C. mountain with a llama as my hiking buddy.
All this while, I was becoming a novelist, and didn’t even know it. Here’s to all the times I chased after a city bus because I was late for a press conference, and tore my nylons and broke a heel in the process. Here’s to the time I had to eat crickets and beetle larvae sauteed in a tomato sauce, so I could authentically “describe the taste,” for children reading the kids’ magazine, Wild!
So, finally, here’s to the journey! It was all worth it, and it was all Strangely, Incredibly Good.
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“Strangely, Incredibly Good” by Heather Grace Stewart
Book Description: Cat Glamour is an overweight 38-year-old divorcée who is struggling with finances, self-esteem, and balancing her personal life. While her 91-year-old, decidedly different, grandmother provides emotional support, Cat needs to take control of the life that has been shattered by her abusive ex-husband and tragic events of the past. On the day Cat decides to start an exercise routine, the last thing she expects is a modern-day Genie to pop out of her Wii machine. Unfortunately for Cat, her Genie is somewhat unreliable in his wish-granting capabilities. In a series of hilarious misadventures, he sends Cat to a castle in France and back in time 20 years in an attempt to solve both Cat’s weight issues and emotional stresses. Cat’s journey is one filled with quirky adventures, realistic love, and above all, self-discovery.
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**Click HERE to see more stops on Heather’s Fictionella Book Tours!