Teenager Ingrid Liebschreiber is devastated when her parents move the family from their native Munich to Los Angeles in the late 1950s. Homesick, she accepts a neighbor's offer to get her a job as a showgirl in Las Vegas.
Intent on earning enough money to return to Germany, she must grow up quickly in the neon jungle - where she is pursued by high rollers and headliners, including a vacationing Elvis.
Life's twists and turns land Ingrid in New York in the Swinging 1960s - where she is romanced by Armand: a strong, quiet, handsome businessman in "construction." Most girls dream of Mr. Right, and Ingrid's hard-won independence is challenged when she falls in love.
Will she find true romance - a man who can love her as much as she loves him? Or is "happily ever after" just a crazy fairytale?
The witch stared past me, lost in thought. Then she shook her head.
“I don’t know,” she began, haltingly. “There will be a man, a husband. Somebody that you’ve known. Somebody” — her voice rose — “with dark hair! And . . . eyes that are lighter. Maybe blue.”
“I don’t know who this man could be,” I said to the witch.
“Trust me,” she said confidently. “Do you have any photographs in your wallet of who this man could be?”
I didn’t have a photo of David. But it didn’t matter, since he was married.
I fished out a photograph of Armand.
The witch held it up in her crooked fingers in front of her hooked nose. She twisted her neck, turning her head this way and that, peering curiously at the photo from different angles.
She handed it back.
“You should have never been with this man!”
I shrugged. “I wish I knew who this mystery man could be.”
“It is not important,” the witch said. “You will know in good time. You can bring him into your life. And I want you to do something.”
She rummaged on a shelf and removed several objects.
“Take these two candles. Write an affirmation on a slip of paper saying that you will be with this man with dark hair that you’ve known. Then put the paper between the candles, and melt the candles together. Light each one, and when they’re soft, mold them together.”
I took the candles. Well, it couldn’t hurt to try. Might even be fun.
Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4E9UULoZNU
Robin Leach book review in Las Vegas Sun newspaper: http://www.lasvegassun.com/vegasdeluxe/2015/jan/13/love-target-showgirl-reveals-elvis-pregnancy-swing/?utm_source=mostpopular&utm_medium=banner&utm_campaign=mostRead
How did your experience as a showgirl help with writing this novel?
Since LOVE TARGET is a memoir novel — the unforgettable experiences of my past played into my storyline. In real life I was a 16-year-old runaway who went to Las Vegas because I heard that showgirls earned $200 a week, and a neighbor of my family in the apartment complex in Hollywood happened to be a choreographer of Vegas shows and got me hired for one. Since I had to be 18 to legally work as a showgirl, I doctored my visa using a black pen. That was possible back then, in 1959.
Once in Sin City, my innocence rapidly wore away in the neon netherworld of the Las Vegas Strip.
Many incidents from my four years as a showgirl in Las Vegas (and, for a time, in Miami Beach) worked their way into the plot of my novel.
There was one particular incident I had as a 16-year-old newcomer to show biz that relates, oddly, to my “career” as a writer. I kept telling the stage manager I wasn’t ready yet to perform in Minsky’s Follies. I needed more rehearsal time. Or I wasn’t feeling well, I had come down with something. Actually, I was cowering with stage fright. The butterflies in my belly were flapping their wings so hard, I felt sick to my stomach. Finally, the stage manager had enough of my excuses and said I had to go on the next night. So there I was, standing backstage for the first show — for what would be my first time on stage — and I was in first position in the line of showgirls. A long line of showgirls snaked behind me.
The orchestra struck up the introductory number, and from the other side of the curtain, cavernous applause erupted. My feet froze! Then I found myself pitching forward and stumbling onto the stage. Barbara, the showgirl standing behind me, had shoved me violently. As soon as I was out there, a spotlight hit me, and I automatically stretched my arms out to either side. I fixed a big grin on my face and began walking in the pattern we’d rehearsed. Barbara and the other showgirls followed. And we posed, turned, smiled dazzlingly, circled the perimeter and pranced to our exit.
When it came to writing LOVE TARGET — my first book — I was terrified. My first attempt had resulted in 70 pages — all of which I burned in disgust in my kitchen sink! Then I had a bright idea of finding an editor who could guide me through the process. The editor turned out to be my literary “Barbara” — shoving me into the hard work of writing a book manuscript. He forced me to compose a chapter outline, had me write and rewrite every chapter so many times I lost count, and — ultimately — got me to finish the book and get it out there into the world.
How did you decide on names for your characters?
LOVE TARGET is a memoir novel, and a historical novel. The historical characters, such as Elvis Presley and Bobby Kennedy, are themselves in the book, of course! Names of other lead characters have been altered, but still fit the era in which the story is set: the 1960s and ’70s. David Lowenstein is based upon a different David, Armand Catalfamo is based upon a different Armand. The lead character and narrator, Ingrid Liebschreiber, is based partially on myself. Ingrid actually is my real first name, not Heidi. “Liebschreiber” is a name I made up. It loosely means “love writer” in German.
What traits make a good character for a romance novel?
The character has to bound to life off the pages in hot flesh, blood and spirit. The character has to look, walk and talk like the person he or she represents. Like a real person, the character has to have burning desires, and hidden motives as well as obvious ones. A good character for a romance novel is one who is tested by the plot — the way people are tested by life — and responds dramatically. A man who has pined so long and so painfully for a woman who regards him only as a friend that he finally explodes in a mix of rage and boiling passion as he seizes her — and plants his head between her legs. The woman who is so distraught at not being able to win to herself and herself alone the man she has fallen in love with that she finally leaves her apartment at 3 a.m. and trudges, naked under her coat, into the frigid frozen winter night and spreads her coat wide to let the cascading snowflakes coat her so she can catch her death of pneumonia.
Will you be writing another book? If so, can you tell us anything about it?
The sequel to LOVE TARGET has been written, and is in the editing stage. I hope to have it out in 2016.
I also have eight or nine chapters that I cut from LOVE TARGET that I might publish as a short-story collection.
Other than romance, what is your favorite genre to read?
I read a great deal, and my interests are quite varied. I’ve recently read, for example, The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health, by John Durant. He talks about how we’ve gotten away from our natural habitats and this is affecting our health as a species.
As for fiction, I’m a huge James Patterson fan. I love his international thrillers, such as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I’ve also enjoyed the short stories of Alice Munro, with their well-drawn characters and conflicts we all can relate to.
Who is your favorite author to read?
There are so many great authors that I can’t say I have a favorite.
Heidi Loeb Hegerich has lived in places as varied as Munich, Las Vegas, Miami Beach, New York, Los Angeles, Squaw Valley and Reno. She has worked variously as a showgirl, business executive, entrepreneur, interior designer and real estate developer. She has traveled to six of the seven continents, and vacationed in spots as different as the French Riviera, the Andes and Afghanistan. She counts among her hobbies weight training, shooting assault rifles, and racing sand rails; she found skydiving entertaining but not as much of a rush as other pursuits. A philanthropist for the arts, among other causes, Hegerich is now embarking on her own artistic quest as an author. The novel Love Target is her first book.
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