Her Story: Ladies In Literature with Summer Heacock

Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a special, month-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader in which we celebrate the literary female role models whose stories have inspired and empowered us since time immemorial. From Harriet M. Welsch to Anne Shirley, Becky Bloomwood to Hermione Granger, Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a series created for women, by women as thirty-three authors answer the question: “Who’s your heroine?” You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!

About Summer Heacock

Okay. A bio. Here I go. Just so we are on the same page, I am not mentally capable of talking about myself in third person here, so there will be no, “Summer likes long walks on the beach and is conversationally inept.” NONE OF THAT.

Let’s see. I am a writer, a mom and a wife. I am relatively badass at all these things. You will notice I did not say housekeeper up there. I suck at that. Like, hard. I am a stay-at-home-mom to two incredible little tots. I am a wife to a computer ninja who is the skill behind all my web adventures. I am a writer of very strange characters that if I didn’t put word to paper, they would take over my brain, and who knows what would happen then. I write to SAVE LIVES, people.

When I am not donning my Super Mom/Wifey underoos, you will find me on Twitter. And I will most likely be talking about writing or boobs or slow-cookers or my pants falling down. Write what you know, yeah? I blog about navigating Twitterville and my many misadventures in the world. I write Women’s Fiction and dabble in YA when I’m feeling froggy for it. You will find my fluency in profanity present in ALL THESE THINGS.

I’m a total geek. I have a love of Benedict Cumberbatch that stops just below restraining order. I am one cat away from starring in my own episode of Critter Hoarders. The love for candy I possess is deep, and it’s real. I collect owl things. My knack for accidental public nudity will haunt me forever. I giggle every time someone toots. And finally, I alternate between talking like a Disney cartoon character and swearing with a fucking flourish.

That’s me. Wait. Why are you running away?

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodreads

When I was 20, I was in a tenuous place in my life. My college boyfriend and I had reunited after a dramatic separation brought upon by the efforts of an obsessive RA, he and I were preparing to move in together as I transferred to a new university to finish my degree, and I’d just given up smoking.

At the insistence of my best pal, I spent a Saturday afternoon curled up with a movie called Bridget Jones’s Diary.

And my life would never be the same.

Admittedly, I tracked down and lit up a cigarette the second the movie ended, which was not the best influence.

But on the other end of her pull, Bridget held something far greater.

I attended my first writer’s conference when I was 12-years-old. I begged my mom to drive me to an RWA con held at a hotel in Indianapolis. I went, fully in earnest, sat in the front row of every session, notebook in hand, furiously scribbling notes, determined to become the author I dreamt of being.

It was such an oddity, one of the local news stations came and did a story on this wee little gal, surrounded by romance writers, pitching to agents like it was just what every kid did.

I spent my teen years working on every genre possible. I tended to favor lite-sci-fi and Outsider-esque motifs. I wanted to be S.E. Hinton, but where Pony Boy had superpowers.

When later high school rolled around, I lost my way, ever so slightly. I fell in with actors, screenwriters, and turned my focus away from novels.

But I never let myself go completely. I would spend nights feverishly writing down every little thought that could maybe be turned into a book someday. I never let go of the dream.

When I changed my major from Theater to Psychology, the entire motivation was so that I could understand characters on a deeper level when I wrote.

My parents aren’t at ALL frustrated with how I chose to spend my college tuition.

I was offered a position at the Kinsey Institute in my final year, but I turned it down to focus on my life plan of being a stay-at-home-mom and eventually, a writer.

Writing was this thing, this living, breathing entity that lived in the back of my mind for decades. Whatever I did in life, I knew that writing was waiting there for me. It was the thing I was meant to go back to, the thing I had skill with, the thing that made me feel whole as an individual.

When our daughter was a toddler, I couldn’t put off the itch any longer. I had to write. The words were coming, ready or not.

I sat down to think about what type of story I would focus on. Would I go back to my superhero-ish roots? Would I try to go deeper? Darker?

All I could think about was how I felt the day I watched Bridget Jones, then begged a friend to drive me to a bookstore so I could buy the book, and the next day, the sequel, and how I devoured those books in 6 hour sittings. I’d never been so dedicated to a character; so deeply involved with the emotions of a narrative voice that related so strongly to the voice in my head.

After 15 years of dreaming about being the next Dean Koontz, I realized I was more comfortable in the world of Helen Fielding. The woman is a goddamn genius and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise.

I sat down at my laptop and never had words flowed so completely. I couldn’t believe how clearly the stories came.

Bridget Jones helped me through a very eventful stage of my life. I remember sitting in the bathtub, my dog-eared copy of Bridget with me in the bathtub, occasionally dragging my computer desk in front of the bathroom door so I could soak and relate.

No one has ever spoken to me the way Bridget did. Her penchant for awkward humiliation. Her accidental drunkenness. Her determination to eat well and devolving directly into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s while watching Friends reruns. The profanity. Dear god. That woman taught me how to swear with a flourish.

Bridget gave me a confidence I didn’t know existed within women. She was imperfect and crass and uncouth and embarrassing and all the things I had been correctly identified by in real life by, but never once seen represented in literature.

Even now, at the tender age of 36 as of today, I break out Bridget every year. I find that every new life experience brings me back to her feet, with new ways to relate and cry and laugh and identify.

I’m a semi-smug married with children and a desire to literally always smoke even though I don’t. I swear when my babies aren’t around, and I do so with a flourish and gusto. I have, on more than one occasion, forgotten to put last night’s panties in the laundry basket, seeing them feasted upon by dogs. (Dogs are friggin’ gross, y’all.)

My debut novel arrives in a few weeks. It’s an absurd story that is entirely about vaginas and embarrassing moments and growing as a person. And that book absolutely wouldn’t exist were it not for the magnificent tutelage of one Helen Fielding, and more so, the incomparable Bridget Jones.

I owe my voice to Bridget. My specific form of creativity. My adulting coping mechanisms.

There isn’t a single area of my life that Bridget doesn’t affect to this day. Sixteen years after our introduction, she is still holding my hand, guiding me through the day to day, the humiliation moments where my pants fall down in public, the pain of heartbreak and parenting and adulthood.

Bridget is my Patronus. Imperfect and pure and determined to always do better.

I owe so very many things to Bridget Jones. Cheers to all the alcohol units we’ve shared, and all the fuckwits we’ve endured.

Title The Awkward Path To Getting Lucky
Author Summer Heacock
Pages 336 Pages
Intended Target Audience Adult
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
To Be Published July 25th, 2017 by Mira Books
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

In thirty-four days, it will have been exactly two years to the day since I’ve had sex.

Having sex wasn’t exactly high on Kat Carmichael’s priority list while her successful bakery was taking off, especially since things hadn’t been working very well in that department. And the last time she and her boyfriend, Ryan, even attempted the act, they found it to be physically impossible — resulting in pain and disappointment for Kat instead of sunshine and orgasms.

With just over a month until their four-year anniversary, Kat calls for a break in her relationship with Ryan, encouraging him to see other people while she throws herself into physical therapy. Yet even with the well-intentioned (but wildly inappropriate) attempts at help from her best friends, Kat quickly discovers that a solo mission may not be the best approach.

Fortunately, physical therapist Ben Cleary, the shop’s best (looking) customer, volunteers to help out—strictly as a friend, of course. But as the line between love and friendship begins to blur, Kat stands to lose much more than a functioning set of lady bits if she can’t figure out what to hang on to…and what to let go.

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