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The title of my debut novel, Love Target, is ambiguous. It refers both to the lead character—Ingrid Liebschreiber—being a target for the men who pursue her. But it also refers to Ingrid’s overriding quest: to find true, lasting love herself.
While I was writing Love Target, I never thought of which genre or subgenre it would fall into. But after its publication, my marketing campaign—such as it is—demanded I do so. I actually had to ask myself: What is this book about? I decided my novel is, well, primarily a love story. Therefore, it falls into the categories of “chick lit” and “romance.” (It also is a historical novel, since it is set in the 1960s and ‘70s, and historical figures, places and events from those years are recreated as accurately as possible.)
When readers first meet Ingrid, she is a teenage showgirl in Rat Pack era (early 1960s) Las Vegas. Over the course of the book, she encounters nearly the entire spectrum of men. Each lover introduces her to a different form of seduction, imparting to her another thick chunk of hard-earned wisdom, as well as perspective on what she does—and doesn’t—want in a partner. Among them are:
- Scotty the car salesman—who employs brute force.
- Eduardo the high-roller rake—who sweeps her away with suaveness.
- Elvis the rock superstar—who intoxicates her with his magnetism and star power, sweet serenades and boyish confessions.
- Harry Belafonte the sex symbol and smooth operator—who disarms her with flattery.
- Armand the strong, silent, mature alpha male—whose manliness and manhood fill her up and send her head over heels in love.
- Ari—her married boss, whose teary-eyed gratitude for reviving his mojo makes her feel wanted.
- David—the ever-faithful friend and confidante, who worships her to the point of mythologizing her as “like a heroine in a novel.”
Ingrid experiences being a victim, a conquest, a temporary girlfriend, a fling, a mistress, a paramour…and a receiver of unconditional love.
But—as we all learn—nothing is simple or straightforward in matters of the heart. What’s more, you cannot wait for Mr. Right to come along and make your world whole. You have to be ready, yourself, for true, lasting love. And the same is true of Mr. Right.
You need to both be a target and have a target. And your aim must be true.
That—and the proper timing, and a bit of magic (real magic, in Ingrid’s case)—can lead to a bulls-eye.
That’s the takeaway from Love Target.
Funny—as a first-time author—I didn’t analyze and come to terms with my story before writing it. I just wrote it as honestly and faithfully as possible. Another genre into which my book falls is “memoir novel.” Love Target is, after all, based on my own life. Many first novels are semi-autobiographical.
For me, it took writing this book to help me better understand my own life! In doing so, I finally could see clearly where, in my younger days, I was right on target, and where I was errant, missing the mark in ways that were comic or outright tragic.
Same as with most lives. Perhaps, for that reason, readers will identify quite well with Ingrid’s adventures and misadventures. For there is a bit of Ingrid in just about every woman.
About Love Target
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.”
“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.
About the Author
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.