Fly Away Home Release!

Rachel Heffington
About a month ago I had the honour of showcasing here on The Penslayer the beautiful cover of Rachel Heffington's debut novel Fly Away Home.  It is an absolutely gorgeous cover - as Mr. Warne says in "Miss Potter," it must really stand out from the other books on a shelf.
and it's releasing today!
now I have the honour of introducing you to Fly Away Home and Rachel Heffington with her author hat on!
First of all, about the name Fly Away Home—is this from a song or a piece of poetry, or was it simply born out of the novel itself?
A bit of both, I suppose. I had the story in my head without a title for some time, and as the plot came together the name sort of wafted onto it. The project on which Callie Harper (the protagonist) is working takes its name from the Mother Goose rhyme, "Ladybird, Ladybird," as does the title of the entire novel. And there is a double-meaning...Callie has been trying to outrun her past when what she might need to do is give it a second glance.

Give us a brief summary of the book—the kind you find on the back cover!
Callie Harper is a woman set to make it big in the world of journalism. Liberated from all but her buried and troubled past, Callie craves glamour and the satisfaction she knows it will bring. When one of America's most celebrated journalists, Wade Barnett, calls on Callie to help him with a revolutionary project, Callie finds herself co-pilot to a Christian man whose life and ideas of true greatness run noisily counter to hers on every point. But when the secrets of Callie's past are hung over her head as a threat, there is space for only one love, one answer: betray Wade Barnett to save her reputation, or sacrifice everything for the sake of the man she loved and the God she fled.
I like the sound of that!
What other books is Fly Away Home like?
This is a good question. In pacing, I'd say about like Ann Howard Creel's "The Magic of Ordinary Days"...with a soupcon of dry wit à la The Importance of Being Earnest...  It's really a hash of comedy and poignancy; hence, the odd pairing.

What makes Fly Away Home so special?
I think it's a new take on historical romance. First of all, it's written in first-person and while tied on every corner to 1950's NYC, has less to do with historical events as it has to do with life for a woman in the world of journalism at that time. Most stories about young women in the professional world are about becoming glamorous and successful--the very things Callie craves. Fly Away Home takes a step back and looks at the definition of success, and what we'll sacrifice to "make it".

What three words best describe the feel of Fly Away Home?
Wit. Warmth. Glamour.

What inspired the plot of Fly Away Home?
The plot was inspired by a piece of flash-fiction I wrote one day and posted on my blog. It got a lot of interest and everyone including me wanted to know who these characters were. The character of Wade Barnett was partially inspired by Gregory Peck's portrayal of "Joe Bradley" in Roman Holiday. I kind of turned that role on its head, but I first got the idea for him (as well as Mr. Shores) from a particular scene in that film.
I love the film "Roman Holiday," so props for finding inspiration there!
What age-range would you place Fly Away Home in?
16-30. I assume anyone would enjoy Fly Away Home (including guys; I made sure to run the whole thing through a council of manly men to make sure I had the male characters down pat) but the themes of the book probably apply most to readers who are in the middle of stepping out and making their way in the world.
Stepping out into the world is a scary business, one we all have to do.  Encouragement is always appreciated.
What genre is Fly Away Home?
Historical/inspirational romance. Technically. I really dislike romances that are nothing but fluffery so there's actually quite an interesting plot that is just as important to the book as the romance. There is intrigue...villainy....and a darn good friendship.

Can we expect other genres from you in the future?
Always. I feel that the mark of a good author is his/her ability to craft words in many different genres. So far I have tried my hand at children's historical fiction, children's fantasy, and contemporary as well as a bit of historical drama and mystery.

Do you have another book lined up to be published in the future?
I have several completed novels on the shelf waiting to be edited/rewritten as well as at least three in mid-stages. The three mid-stage are a children's fantasy, a contemporary, and a 1930's mystery. I can't say quite yet which will emerge first, but I am definitely planning to release more titles in the future.
Hip! hip! huzzah!
If you had a dream book-reading list, composed of your favourites and books you think you would really enjoy, what books would be on that list?
You had to ask this, didn't you?
A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken
Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A.Milne
With Fire and Sword by Henryk Sienkiewicz
The Wind in The Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Plenilune and Ethandune by Jennifer Freitag (RELEASE them, I say!)
Anything Wodehouse
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
James Herriot's vet stories
Sherlock Holmes stories
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (I hated and loved it simultaneously)
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis
An Old-Fashioned Girl by L.M. Alcott
Dead as a Scone by Ron and Janet Benray
The Secret Dialogues of the Inkling Club (No, that's not a real book, but I wish someone had taken down in shorthand everything that went on at that genius table.)

That is a very good list.  I see several books I have already read and love, and quite a lot of authors whom I know.  That Jennifer Freitag character sounds familiar, but I don't know if I have come across any of her books.
Thank you so much for joining me here on The Penslayer, Rachel!  And followers, be sure to support your local author and grab this book!  I know I'm going to.  So off with you!
Rachel Heffington is a Christian, a novelist, and a people-lover. Encouraged by her mother to treasure books, Rachel's favorite pastime was (and still is) reading. When her own library and her cousin's ran out of interesting novels, twelve-year old Rachel decided she would write her own; thus began a love-affair with word-crafting that has carried her past her teen years and into adulthood. Outside of the realm of words, Rachel enjoys the Arts, traveling, mucking about in the kitchen, listening for accents, and making people laugh. She dwells in rural Virginia with her boisterous family and her black cat, Cricket. Visit Rachel online at

5 ripostes:

  1. Rachel, I don't know how I've never managed to ask you this before, but have you ever seen Gentleman's Agreement? Very different sort of storyline than yours, but Gregory Peck plays a magazine writer, and there's some nice little tidbits about the writing life scattered through the dialogue that I enjoyed (including this hilarious line).

  2. I haven't seen it, Elisabeth! And now I must; that line made me laugh. ^.^

  3. Great interview!! I must buy Fly Away Home as soon as is humanly possible. Rachel, i love your book list. For several reasons.

  4. I am So SO SO excited to read this book!!!!!

  5. Not my usual genre, but I'm always willing to step beyond the bounds of genre when I find a book that simply begs to be read ... and Fly Away Home looks to be just that! Can't wait to scrape together enough cash to order this one! :)