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Heather Gudenkauf | A Writer Speaks...why suspense?

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We asked Heather what draws her to write suspenseful women's fiction. She responded:

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.

About Heather Gudenkauf

Heather Gudenkauf graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education and for the past sixteen years has worked with elementary children. Currently, along with writing, Heather is an Instructional Coach, an educator who provides teachers with curricular, student, and professional development support. Heather lives in Dubuque, Iowa with her husband and children. In her free time Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and running.

About ONE BREATH AWAY

On a bitter March day, as a sudden snowstorm envelops the small town of Broken Branch, Iowa, an unknown man with a gun enters the town’s only school and takes a classroom of children hostage. As awareness of the situation spreads, the panicked community is ready to do anything to protect their children, but can only watch and wait.

As a teacher with a long career behind her, Evelyn Oliver is ready to enjoy retirement with her loving husband. But now, faced with a crazy man armed with a gun, terrorizing her classroom, she’d rather die than fail to protect any of her students. But why is he doing this? Evelyn’s been scouring her mind but doesn’t recognize the intruder. Maybe one of the students is the key?

Holly Thwaite left Broken Branch and her family behind without a word eighteen years ago, vowing never to return. But after a debilitating accident leaves her recovering in a hospital in Arizona, she’s forced to send her children to her hometown to be looked after by their grandfather, the man she never wanted them to meet. Will Thwaite never understood why his estranged daughter, Holly, ran away all those years ago. But now that her children are in his care, he refuses to fail his daughter again. One way or another, Will is going to get his grandkids, P.J. and Augie, out of that school safely even if he has to go in and get them himself. What Will doesn’t know is that thirteen-year-old Augie is just as determined to rescue her little brother from the killer and help her classmates, even if it means putting herself in the crosshairs of the gunman.

Police officer Meg Barrett wants to know who the intruder is and why he’s doing this. Whoever it is, there’s no excuse for this. Meg should know. She’s had plenty of hardships herself. But with innocent lives at stake, Meg is prepared to risk her own life to save these hostages, although it means disobeying orders and taking on the gunman face-to-face.

As the standoff progresses and the snowstorm rages outside, anxiety and frustration start to build to dangerous levels. But everyone knows how precarious the situation is. One wrong move, even a breath, could have the most devastating of consequences.

 

 

Comments

11 comments posted.

Re: Heather Gudenkauf | A Writer Speaks...why suspense?

I read romance primarily for the HEA, the good endings, no sad endings; suspense adds more story to the simple romance and makes it that more interesting.
(Diane Sadler 10:20am July 9, 2012)

I love suspense, murder mystery, etc. I now have to read some
contemporary romance just so all I read is not about the evils of life.
However first and foremost is thd first category. Guess I always want to
know the whys of the evil in the world, even uf it is through a book.
(Vicki Hancock 11:10am July 9, 2012)

Suspense is my favorite fiction
(Shirley Nienkark 12:13pm July 9, 2012)

Your book captured my interest. I enjoy a good suspense book. I remember reading Nancy Drew as a young girl and I read The Hardy Boys to my two sons.
(Robin McKay 4:18pm July 9, 2012)

I had never read the Boxcar children but my kids found the series and loved it.
(Maureen Emmons 6:46pm July 9, 2012)

I love mysteries and have progressed from the beginners of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys which got my toes wet. Then there were the classics like Poe to the ones like Les Roberts 13 series of PI with Milan Jacovich. I've even tried my hand at writing mysteries and will get back to the manuscript this summer.
(Alyson Widen 8:21pm July 9, 2012)

All I can say is -- What a story line!! I am sitting here tonight with baited breath, and can't wait to read the book!! The description of the book has me impatiently waiting to read page one of your story, and wanting to read the entire story!! Congratulations on a book that I'm sure will do well, and I'm sure will be recommended to others.
(Peggy Roberson 9:38pm July 9, 2012)

I read a lot of crime of all sorts; they are sometimes fun or challenging puzzles, sometimes social comment, particularly police procedurals. Suspense depends on the location and interesting information to grab my interest. I find I don't read much of the psychological thriller, not my thing. Historical crime, now that is great! Try A Plague On Both Your Houses by Susannah Gregory for a murder mystery set in Cambridge University during the Black Death.
(Clare O'Beara 6:15am July 10, 2012)

I really enjoy mystery too, especially if there is a little romance thrown in there too.
(Molly Wilsbacher 6:06pm July 10, 2012)

I enjoy reading suspense stories, but do like happy endings.
(Marilyn Nowlin 11:25pm July 10, 2012)

your childhood books were also my favorites. Another group that I loved were the Hardy Boys, Little House on the Prairie & an all time favorite was a Weekly Reader book club book called HALF MAGIC. Somewhere over the years I lost my copy. When they did a 50 yrs rerelease of the book I bought it again. Now my grandchildren are enjoying it.
(Pat Moore 2:37pm August 1, 2012)

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