This week’s interview is with Heather Chavez, whose thriller NO BAD DEED tells the suspenseful story of a woman who’s husband has gone missing and who is trying desperately to protect her family from a deadly stalker. Below, Heather shares secrets about her main character, her proudest writing moments, her daughter’s sweet reaction to her book deal, and about that time she went on Oprah! Thanks for joining us Heather!
Heather is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley’s English literature program and has worked as a newspaper reporter, editor and contributor to mystery and television blogs. Currently, she’s employed in public affairs for a major health care organization. She lives with her family in Santa Rosa, California, and is at work on her second novel.
Were you an avid reader as a child? What kinds of things did you read?
When I was a kid, I read everything! I went through a stage where I was obsessed with romance. When I was about 9 or 10, I remember sitting on the porch swing of my aunt and uncle’s farm in Kansas, reading a romance novel a day. I also went through a huge Nancy Drew phase, and later read James Michener’s Hawaii. That was A LOT to get through as a kid. Then when I was about 11, I read my first book by Dean Koontz. Watchers. My whole world changed. I knew immediately that that was what I wanted to do: read and write stories that were dark and twisty.
Tell us about one of your proudest writing moments.
There are the obvious moments of course. Finishing that first book. Finishing the third, which is the one that got published. But my proudest moment has to do with the book deal. My daughter was in high school at the time, and I texted her to share the news. As a musician, she was nearly as excited as I was. She immediately texted back that I was living proof that creativity can pay off, and that I was her role model. Of course, I responded: You mean I wasn’t already? But joking aside, it made me really proud that by not giving up on my own dream, I had inspired her, too.
Tell us a secret about the main character in your novel — something that’s not even in your book.
NO BAD DEED’s protagonist, veterinarian Cassie Larkin, is a vegetarian. I actually didn’t figure this out until a later draft. There’s a scene where Cassie was supposed to eat bacon, and I realized Cassie liked animals better than some people, and I suddenly thought, “Maybe she should have an omelette instead.”
Did anything change significantly in your book during the writing or editing process?
NO BAD DEED started in third-person with three POVs. But after the second draft, I realized it wasn’t working. All the “good” stuff was told from one of the other POVs, and I was having trouble connecting to my main character, Cassie. It was her story, but I was letting two other characters tell it. So when I started draft three, I cut about 60 percent of the book and switched to first-person. Once I made that choice, the writing just flowed.
Share something about you that most people don’t know
“The Oprah Winfrey Show” put out a call for viewers to send a letter for an episode titled “What I Want My Spouse to Learn.” Of course, I submitted my letter in the form of a humorous poem, detailing how I wanted my husband to be more romantic. Much to my husband’s chagrin, we were selected. (Luckily, I had secured his promise to go beforehand, because he thought we had no shot at it.)
WHAT REVIEWERS ARE SAYING
“An explosive beginning that quickly spirals into a tense family drama… The brisk plot of No Bad Deed moves with realistic twists as Cassie proves to be a credible sleuth, intent on saving her family… Chavez has a knack for characters… [and] fills her novel with flawed, authentic people.” (San Diego Union-Tribune)
“A sensational debut – compelling, hypnotic, full of suspense and quiet menace. Don’t miss it!” (Lee Child)
“An extraordinary thriller… that may well become the book everyone is talking about…In a mesmerizing first-person narrative, [Cassie’s] fear is palpable, then vanquished by an astonishing ferocity she finds within herself. Where does that come from? Wait until you find out. This one glows in the dark.” (Booklist (starred review))
“Chavez embarks on a paranoia-fueled thrill ride, escalating the stakes while exploiting readers’ darkest domestic fears.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“[A] propulsive debut… Chavez peoples her tale with credible, flawed individuals, presenting even the multiple antagonists with harrowing backstories and convincing psychological motives… Chavez is in full command of plot and pacing… Domestic thriller fans will be well satisfied.” (Publishers Weekly)
“A treacherous game of cat and mouse and a frantic race against time until the final explosive twist. Chavez has crafted the perfect thriller.” (Liv Constantine, author of The Last Time I Saw You and The Last Mrs. Parrish)
“The kind of twisty, jet-fueled thriller that explodes on page one and has you happily abandoning work, sleep, and life as you race to the stunning end. Don’t miss it!” (Lisa Gardner)
RT this interview with Heather Chavez for a chance to win a copy of her novel, NO BAD DEED about a mother, a missing husband and a deadly stalker.
Trust us, this one is 🔥🔥🔥https://t.co/3DyAv7Qwwy
— The Debutante Ball Class of '23 (@DebutanteBall) November 25, 2020
“Heather Chavez’s debut novel starts at a sprint and never lets up, twisting its way to an exhilarating, you’ll-never-guess-it ending.” (Peter Swanson, author of Before She Knew Him)
“Chavez’s powerfully addictive debut proves nearly impossible to set aside as it describes how one selfless act can breed chaos.” (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)
“No Bad Deed has as many twists and turns as the winding roads of Sonoma County. For fans of authors like Liv Constantine or Lisa Gardner, this fast-paced book will give you surprises galore against a beautiful backdrop.” (CrimeReads.com)