I’m so excited to introduce you to Heather Huffman, author, mom, multiple-hat-wearer-extraordinaire. Heather was kind enough to let me interview her and discuss a topic she’s passionate about *human trafficking*. For those of you who don’t know, addiction is extremely common in human trafficking, but I’ll let Heather tell you more about that. Heather’s latest novel, Tubleweeds, was just released on Amazon and she’s even shared a sample with us below. If you click HERE you can check out all of Heather’s novels, as well as her author page on Amazon.
Heather, so what kind of novels do you write?
I write books that would make good date night movies. They usually fall under the category romantic suspense, but they’re also warm and funny reads. Many of my novels include human trafficking as an element of the story as a way to raise awareness for this global issue.
How did you first get involved in the fight against human trafficking?
I first learned about human trafficking when researching my debut novel, Throwaway. I was stunned to find that slavery was thriving all over the globe, even in my own backyard. When I wrote Suddenly a Spy, I learned even more, and it solidified for me that I wanted my books to be a voice for the voiceless.
I started out by giving my first four books away online to raise awareness. They were downloaded more than 50,000 times and even translated into Russian. I started hearing from rescued slaves, foster children, and those on the front lines of the fight. The final piece fell into place when I was contacted by Booktrope. They re-released the first four novels, and have published two more of my novels since that time. Within the first six weeks of being re-released under the Booktrope imprint, Throwaway was downloaded 150,000 times! I’m so grateful for how supportive they’ve been of what I want to do with the books – it’s enabled me to reach an audience I never could have on my own.
What role does addiction play in human trafficking?
Often traffickers control their victims through manipulation and addiction. My sources tell me that black tar heroin is a drug of choice, and that victims are pumped full of this deadly narcotic for several days to ensure compliance.
This is disturbing enough without stopping to consider that many times the person being drugged is a child, often about age twelve – though it’s not unusual for the child to be seven or eight years old. Just last week I met a girl who’d been enslaved at the age of four.
Understanding addiction and how to help these children recover from addiction is vital to helping rescued victims be restored.
Can you share a fun fact with my readers?
I’m glad you asked that – my sisters accuse me of being a depressing conversationalist sometimes, so I’m thrilled to end this post on a happy note!
In my latest release, Tumbleweed, the main character, Hailey, briefly shares a story about the time when she jumped off of Dead Man’s Bluff. Here’s her telling of it:
Once, when I was a kid, I’d gotten the bright idea to jump off of a cliff named “Dead Man’s Bluff” into the lake. After what seemed like an eternity of freefalling, I had the even brighter idea to plug my nose to keep water from shooting up it at what I assumed would be an alarming speed.
That movement was enough to throw off my equilibrium, so I landed in a sitting position. The water felt like concrete, the pain was immediate and intense, and there for a second I was pretty sure I was drowning.
What the book doesn’t tell you is that this happened to me, and waiting in the lake was a young man I was quite sure I was in love with at the time. To make matters worse, my swimsuit came off on impact. He was thought I was drowning, so he was frantically pulling me up as I was fighting like the dickens to stay under until I could get my suit on, before it was forever lost in the lake.
Of course, my whole family was there, and they tease me about it to this very day. My entire backside was bruised for weeks after that little adventure, too. I can’t say I regret it; it felt like I was flying for a few exhilarating seconds. Still, I don’t think there will ever be a repeat performance!
About Heather’s novel, Tumbleweed:
In this long-anticipated prequel to international hit THROWAWAY, Heather Huffman takes her readers on a journey of friendship, love and family ties. The message is clear: Never stop fighting for the life you believe in.
Longing for a fresh start and a place to belong, Hailey leaves behind her city life, trading her cubical for a struggling horse ranch in the Ozark Mountains. With her young son at her side and her family’s skepticism echoing in her head, Hailey is faced with more work than she ever could have imagined and a troublesome neighbor. In the midst of it all, the last thing Hailey needs is romance – despite the undeniable, growing attraction for her handsome and charming boss, Ethan.
Just as Hailey finds her dreams tantalizingly within reach, her new world is devastated in a cruel twist of fate. She must find the strength to rebuild all she’s dreamed of – or risk forever drifting through life like a tumbleweed.
Heather Huffman fans will not want to miss this heart-warming introduction to Ethan and Hailey, beloved owners of the Tumbleweed Ranch featured in THROWAWAY and RING OF FIRE!
Heather was born and spent her early childhood in Florida, but now calls the beautiful state of Missouri home. Her greatest joy, aside from writing, is to hit the road with her three boys for adventures unknown.
Heather is the author of Throwaway, Ties that Bind, Jailbird, Suddenly a Spy, Ring of Fire and Tumbleweed. She shares the passion of her resilient heroines to make a difference, and so dedicates both her time and a portion of her book royalties to organizations that fight against human trafficking.
You can find out more about her writing and charitable work on http://www.heatherhuffman.net.