In fourth grade, Heather was sent to the hall for reading instead of paying attention in class. She was almost kicked off her little league softball team for hiding a novel in her glove when she was supposed to be playing right field. And more than once she missed her bus stop because she was too engrossed in reading. She’s written several books for teens and tweens, including Love? Maybe. (Dial, 2012) and The Cupcake Queen (Dutton, 2009). She love fat cats, tomato soup, building with Legos, reading, and vultures. For more info, visit her website.
If you could eliminate one thing from your daily schedule, what would it be? And why?
Scooping the cat box. I’m not entirely sure that needs any further explanation.
What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever done?
I was reading a book on my iPad in bed and I loosened my grip just enough that the iPad tipped and knocked me square in the forehead. It hurt a lot. I had a faint bruise and a lump on my head for days afterward. I’m not sure that’s the dumbest thing, but it is the latest in a long line of dumb things I’ve done over the years.
What’s your motto in life?
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. ~Isaiah 43:18-19
This isn’t a traditional motto, but it keeps me focused on what’s important.
If you could make something in life go away, what would it be?
Blow drying my hair. I just feel like it’s this huge waste of time, but also unfortunately completely necessary.
If you were to attend a costume party, who would you be?
Seven of Nine from Star Trek. Of course with my dark hair, I would look ridiculous, but I love her.
What is your earliest childhood memory?
Sitting at the top of the stairs in a long nightgown listening to a Christmas party my parents were having downstairs. I must have only been about two, so I’m not sure what I was doing out of bed. I just remember it seemed so cozy with the snapping of the fire and the lights on the tree.
What food item would you remove from the market altogether?
Meat. I still remember my son’s face when I had to tell him what meat was. He was three at the time. That was the last time either of us ever ate meat.
What made you decide to follow a creative career choice (though possibly risky) rather than something more stable?
I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life.
In terms of your writing, how would you like to be remembered?
I hope that my books are remembered – not me. I want my books to be positive and encouraging and real.
How has personal experience influenced your writing?
In every way. I always felt awkward and shy – too quiet on the outside and too loud on the inside. I write characters like that – characters I wanted to have for friends and brothers and sister.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated and interested in your work?
I try to write every day. I make it most days. It’s like staying in touch with your friends or family. The more you know, the more connected you are and the more you care about what’s going on with them.
If you had to start over, would you choose a different path in your career?
I’m not certain I really chose the path I’m on. In ways I think it chose me.
What do you do to get into your writing zone?
Make myself sit at my desk. (Laughing.) I will do just about anything some days to avoid the angst of writing, but once I sit down, I’m happy as anything to get to work.
Do you ever create hidden meanings or messages in your work?
Not intentionally, but people who know me are constantly seeing bits of me or even of themselves poking through.
Do you pay attention to strong reactions to your work? Does that affect what you create?
No. I used to read the reviews. Yikes. I had to stop. It was making me completely insane. I have to write for me first. If I don’t, no one else will ever like it.
Has rejection ever affected your desire to continue writing?
Absolutely. Because it feels like I’m being rejected – the deepest parts of me. I start to doubt everything I’m doing – not just my writing. I can’t live there for very long though. I have to shake myself and get back to it.
What kind of jobs did you have before your career took off?
Laughing. I’m not sure my career has taken off, but I’ve done a lot of different things over the years. I’ve worked as a librarian, teacher, baker, cake decorator, lifeguard, and a swim coach. I’ve scooped ice cream, made pizza, cooked in a natural foods restaurant, and waited tables. I worked construction for a while, hanging dry wall and doing trim work. I’ve also had very brief stints as a gardener and farm hand.