Q&A with Heidi

How do you pronounce “Schulz?”

Like this.

Where do you get your ideas?

I get ideas everywhere! News articles, blog posts, childhood memories—and the stories I loved as a child, snatches of conversation I overhear in public, songs on the radio… the whole world is filled with ideas.

I write little snippets in a notebook or in the notes app on my phone and when I need an idea, I sift through them. Sometimes those little idea scraps can be sewed together into something bigger. Other times, they trigger an even better idea.

The best way to get ideas is to be observant and to record what you see. You never know what it may lead to!

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

I have loved books for as long as I can remember. I learned to read when I was four and have rarely gone a day since without reading something. I have also enjoyed telling stories since I was very young. I remember many times where I made up ghost stories at sleepovers, then lay awake long into the night because I had scared myself.

When I thought about writing my own books, I often imagined myself writing picture books, not novels. The idea of attempting such a long piece of writing was daunting to me, but one day, the right idea took hold and it wouldn’t let go. That idea grew up to become Hook’s Revenge.

Now I get to write both!

Do you write every day?

I tend to write in spurts. I work really hard to complete whatever book I’m working on at the time, writing six days a week until it’s finished. Then I give my writing muscles a break, spending extra time reading, watching movies, cleaning out closets, and cooking interesting recipes. I find the rest time helps to better prepare me for the next big idea.

Where do you like to write?

My favorite place to write is as home, in a room with a big desk, a comfortable chair, lots of office supplies, and bookshelves filled with books. I have a window from which I can look into my backyard, though I’m up too high to see more than trees and sky. (Why would I want to see more than that anyway?)

If I am under a deadline and feeling like I need concentrated time with fewer distractions, I write early in the morning, starting between 5:00 and 6:00am. I have also been known to flee my house to write at a local coffeeshop or in the quiet room at the public library if I need a change of scenery.

Do you have any pets?

I do! Meet Pepper:

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Do you have any kids?

My husband and I have a teen daughter. She has been taller than me since she was ten. She is also quite possibly the coolest person I know.

How tall are you?

Not quite 5’2″.

Does your daughter like your books?

So far! Fingers crossed I can keep writing ones she’ll enjoy. She’s a tough critic!

What books did you like when you were young?

Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books, The Little House on the Prairie series, Mrs. Pigglewiggle books, classics like Little Women, The Secret Garden, and Heidi (of course), and anything by Roald Dahl.

What is your favorite book out of the ones you have written?

That’s a tough question and the answer is kind of a cheat. The answer is, whatever one I’m working on at the time. New books are so exciting!

Is it hard being a writer?

Sometimes, but so is being a teacher or an airline pilot or a hotel manager or, really, anything else. Every job has its challenges. Still, the things I love always make up for the hard parts.

What is your favorite part of being a writer?

There are so many things I love it’s really hard to pick an absolute favorite. It’s awesome being able to imagine characters and worlds, then bring them to life in a way. I also really love connecting with readers—especially kids. School visits are one of my very favorite things to do.

Who is the narrator in Hook’s Revenge?

Not telling. (But if you read The Pirate Code closely, you will probably figure it out.)

Will there be more Hook’s Revenge books?

I don’t think so. I feel like I told all of Jocelyn’s story in Hook’s Revenge and in The Pirate Code, but you never know. Maybe inspiration will strike one day.

How do you feel about giraffes?

I don’t trust them. You shouldn’t either.

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