The author of the Girl From Everywhere and Ship Beyond Time was gracious enough to take time out of her day to join me for episode seven of our podcast. If you’ve read either of those books you may already know that Heidi grew up in Hawaii where she rode horses and raised peacocks. She then made the move to New York City and grew up even more, as one tends to do. Her favorite thing, outside of writing, is travel, and she has haggled for rugs in Morocco, hiked the trails of the Ko’olau Valley, and huddled in a tent in Africa while lions roared in the dark.
She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from New York University in Musical Theatre Writing, of all things, and she’s written books and lyrics for shows including The Time Travelers Convention, Under Construction, and The Hole. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, her son, and their pet snake. Contrary to her author’s picture, they do not, in fact, own a cat.
The two of us met somewhat by coincidence. She spoke at C2E2 in Chicago, which I lovingly call nerdcon, a couple of years ago to discuss Young Adult writing, and, of course, as a wannabe writer in the category I had to attend. I was unaware that I knew of her work until she discussed the book and then I realized I’d read her query letter–a letter that authors submit to find agent representation or publishing–via an online training portal called Query Shark. Heidi’s letters was one of the few to ever receive praise on a first attempt and it stuck with me.
Luckily manic at the time, I had enough courage to walk up to her after the panel and discuss the letter and, as they say the rest is history. I picked up The Girl from Everywhere on that day and read it in just a few days time. I think, for me personally, the story meant something different than for most who read it. For me, it was a story of mental health redemption. As someone who often feels like he’s unredeemable, it hit me hard and it was exactly what I needed, exactly when I needed it. Come to learn, even if I may never become a published author, Heidi and I still share something in common… bi-polar disorder.
The thing I’ll always remember most about this episode was how, after it was finished, she told me how many times she was shocked at just how much I understood her and what she’s been through. That’s the whole point of the show–to share these experiences with others so that people know that we aren’t alone in how we feel. Hopefully, you’ll feel the same way after this episode.