I was lucky enough to come across Laurel Heidtman’s novels as I was perusing the book list for the upcoming event Mystery Thriller Week! I say lucky, because I absolutely loved both her Eden Mystery novels. I can’t wait to read Whiteout; and her series under her pen name Lolli Powell; starting with Body on the Barstool (which I received from Netgalley, so look out for that review!).
Ms. Heidtman kindly agreed to participate in an interview with me. So without further ado, lets get to know her better!
I’m retired from the nine-to-five life and live with my husband, four dogs and two cats on private land inside Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky. I have loved fiction since before I could read (Mom said I made up stories based on the pictures in books). Now that I no longer have the excuse of not enough time, I’m fulfilling my lifelong dream of writing novels.
Over the years, I’ve paid the bills by being a dancer, a bartender, a police officer, a registered nurse and a technical writer. Now I’m drawing on that life experience and my two English degrees to create stories that I enjoy writing and hope readers will enjoy reading. My first book, Catch A Falling Star (An Eden Mystery), is a mystery set in Kentucky. I published it in the spring of 2014 under the name Laurel Heidtman. I released Bad Girls, the second mystery in the Eden series,in August 2015.
I’ve also published two romances under the name Lolli Powell. I published a contemporary romance titled The Boy Next Door in the fall of 2014 and a romantic intrigue titled The Wrong Kind of Man in January 2015.
**Taken from her Goodreads page**
Jackie: Tell us a little about yourself, and your writing background. What made you want to be a writer?
- Heidtman: I think falling in love with fiction at a young age made me want to bea writer. I was an only child in the fifties. We lived in the country anddidn’t get a television until I was thirteen. Books and animals were myentertainment, and I still love both. My mother said that before I couldread, I made up stories to go with the pictures in the book, so I guess I was “writing” fiction even then! When I went to college (Miami of Ohio), I majored in English with a Creative Writing Emphasis, and later, I went back for a Master of Technical and Scientific Communication. I’ve worked in a lot of different professions during my life (dancer, police officer, and registered nurse, among others). My last one was technical writer, but writing manuals and online help for software for large court systems didn’t satisfy my desire to write fiction! When I retired from outside work, I decided it was now or never and started writing and self- publishing. I now write under two names: Laurel Heidtman (mysteries and thrillers) and Lolli Powell (romances and cozy mysteries).
Jackie: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
- Heidtman: My ambitions are to continue to write books that people are willing to pay to read, because people being willing to pay are a measure of how well I’m writing. I want people to pick up one of my books and have trouble putting it down. I want them to laugh when I want them to laugh, tense up when I want them to tense up, cry when I want them to cry. I want them to feel like they got their money’s worth, and I want them to come back for more. I’ve heard the saying “it’s not about money, it’s about keeping score,” and in a way that applies here. I sell books now, but if I had to live on my income, I’d be sleeping under a bridge. I hope one day to make enough from my fiction that I actually could live on it, not just because I’d like the money, but because that would mean that readers felt my books were worth it.
J: What was your favorite book to write and why?
- H: My favorite book always seems to be the last one I’ve written! The latest was The Body on the Barstool. It’s a departure from my other books in that it’s a cozy mystery. I’ve written other mysteries, but they were more serious ones with more violence and with characters who sometimes used rough language. I decided to try writing a mystery with humor, no cursing, and no explicit violence. It is also the first book I tried in first person. I thoroughly enjoyed it and plan to do a lot more cozies in the future. A close second favorite is Whiteout. It’s about two couples stranded in a freak March blizzard in Daniel Boone National Forest with two escaped convicts on the loose. I live on private land inside Daniel Boone National Forest and have lived through a freak March blizzard that dumped 22 inches of snow on us, piled up in hip-high drifts, and knocked out power for six days. My experience provided the basis for the story, but fortunately no escaped convicts showed up in real life!
J: Where did your characters come from? What kind of inspiration do look for when making characters?
- H: Sometimes I think my characters come from a parallel universe, and I’m simply channeling them! It’s not as if I sit down and purposely construct a character. Instead, they present themselves to me. Now, I’m sure it’s all coming from my subconscious, but it seems to happen without any intentional input from me. That’s not to say I don’t consciously flesh them out a little at times. For example, I often spend some time trying to find just the right name for one, but I already have a pretty good idea who he or she is as a person.
J: What was your easiest book to write?
- H: I think The Boy Next Door was the easiest one for me to write. It came to me just about fully formed, so all I had to do was key it into my computer.
J. Why should someone read your books?
- H: I think my books offer some nice escapism. I’ve never aspired to write literary fiction. I like to be entertained by what I read, and I like to entertain with what I write.
J: You can choose one book to rewrite, or wish you had written. What would it be?
- H: Only ONE book I wish I had written—not sure I can pick just one! I have several books that I absolutely love and wish I had written, among them the Silo series (Hugh Howey), The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold), The Story of Edgar Sawtelle (David Wroblewski), Geek Love (Katherine Dunn), the Millenium series (Steig Larsson), Water for Elephants (Sara Gruen), and the last book I read, Pennies from Burger Heaven (Marcy McKay). You see what I mean? Books I wish I had written are like potato chips—I can’t have just one!
Yes, that was a very cruel question xD! However, great answer!
Be sure to check out books by Laurel Heidtman (also Lolli Powell). There is something for everyone!
Also check out the schedule for Mystery Thriller Week, and find your next favorite book!