Walking On Sunshine: An interview with the multi-talented writer, author, artist, and promoter Heidi Hess
By Denise Marsh
Everyone has that “one friend”-you know the one you would label as a “burst of joy”-a person who is like a good pair of roller skates (and yes, I am dating myself of course to the actual metal ones with the key) pulling you along life’s adventures, watching you fall but still cheering for you anyway-that’s Heidi Hess. Being that Heidi is so involved in Wellington’s art and cultural arena I had always heard of her but hadn’t matched the name to the face. In fact, I don’t even recall the exact moment that we met but I do know that I felt like I had always known her and if you don’t, I hope you will one day soon…
The Write Stuff
AW: You do a lot…Can you share ALL of your “titles” with us? (Feel free to share the “mommy” one as well).
HH: Do I have a lot of titles? Ha-ha…I think all women do these days. Let’s see here: Author-published twice, writer-staff writer for Around Wellington, Promotor-I promote a local reading/writing Festival called Read it/Write It and I’m currently promoting a local publisher (Veronica Lane Publishing), nurse-19+years, mommy to two wonderful teenagers, wife, sister, friend., I think that covers it.
AW: As a writer you have a specific style and genre. Just recently, you had a short story published in an Anthology. Can you give us some of the details on this published piece? What is your writing process?
HH: There were two pieces published last year. Neon Sunrise Publishing published a short story called Chasing Elpis and included it in a “Hope” themed anthology. It’s a science fiction tale that features three different civilizations on the brink of collapse all looing to a comet named Elpis to be the answer to their problems. The second published piece is called Spin the Bottle . It was published by D&T Publishing in an anthology that was “game” themed. This piece is horror at its best and was a blast to write…Just imagine -what if the game “Spin the Bottle” went Horribly wrong? I have two new pieces being published this year. The one, Higher Signal, is a continuation or side story for Chasing Elpis and the other, Longing, is a love story. Check out Neon Sunrise for these short stories in the next few months (shameless plug!)
As far as my writing process goes, I’m a “thinker”. Some people outline or map out their story, I think about a theme or character. I let them sit with me and then…when I get some quiet time, I sit and just write. Sometimes the endings surprise me. \
Do I have a specific style or genre? I enjoy writing things with a twist. As a reader, I get bored easily and if I can see and ending or twist coming-that’s the worst!
AW: Who or what has been a major source of inspiration for your writing?
HH: Karen Russel is the author of one of my favorite books (Swamplandia) as well as several short story collections. I love her writing style. She also proved to me that you can have a successful writing career just by writing short stories. I find her work inspiring and encouraging. Felix Blackwell who wrote an independently published story called Stolen Tongues is another inspiration. He’s a fantastic storyteller without giving away every single detail. I was working on a story and after reading it I kind of beat myself up over not describing every single detail…and then I saw an interview with him and he spoke specifically about NOT including every detail and allowing the reader to fill in blanks. There’s nothing scarier than our own imagination. His book is super scary simply because of that. He’s brilliant-and ever so inspiring. My kids are a source of inspiration too. Their “Why not” attitude when I start to doubt myself is inspiring,
AW: What challenges have you had to overcome as a writer? Please tell us about one or two in detail.
HH: My major challenges are procrastination and getting quiet time. Procrastination is difficult, especially when I’m writing at home. I have made myself schedule my writing time or it doesn’t happen. As far as quiet time goes, my ear pods are a real blessing. I pop them in, put on some background music that fits the feel for what I’m writing, and then I sink down and take it to the keyboard. The family knows…If Mom has her earbuds in and she’s typing and you interrupt her-the house better be on fire.
AW: The Read it/Write it project is a major accomplishment for you. You have managed to really bring people of different walks of life together to share their work and display their talent. Who will be there? What is the official date and time of the event? Can people still sign up?
HH: Read it Write it is my passion project and I am thrilled to see this come to fruition. I have twenty different local authors that will be there. The ones that I am particularly jazzed about are: Karen Coody Cooper, Jaimie Engle, Steve Atlier, Hartley Barnes, Patricia Eltinge, Etan Boritzer, David Greshel…just to name a few. Read it Write it Book and Writing Festival is happening at the Boynton Beach Mall on February 26th, 2022 from 11 a.m. to 6 P.M. There are still some tables available. For more information check out the page on my website: heidicreates.net/events
AW: What workshops will be offered at the event? Tell us about the writing panel that will be present.
HH: There are three panels being offered (with various authors sitting in on the panels): The Writing Process, The Importance of Research, and Being Published.
AW: Then there’s the “Covid elephant” in the room…How will you accommodate Social Distancing and Covid Protocols during the event?
HH: The nice thing about working with a venue like the mall is that they already have a protocol in place to handle Covid. If things are going the way they seem to be going I will comply with whatever their organization suggests. Personally, Read It Write It tables will be properly spaced out appropriately as well. There are safe ways to do everything.
AW: You are also active in a writing group and an open mic at a place called NOBO. Please elaborate on these ventures.
HH: I have a local writers group that meets at a local brewery called NOBO. It’s in Boynton Beach off of High Ridge Road. The folks that run this brewery are great and they make good beer too. The writing group is very informal. It’s just a chance to get together with like minded people and talk about ideas, get some friendly advice on what we are working on.
AW: What are your future plans for writing? Give us a sneak peek…
HH: My future writing plans-WORLD DOMINATION! Ha-ha….No seriously, I am currently working on a collection of my own short stories. Keep and eye out for it. It’ll be soon.
And that’s a wrap….
Heidi Hess has inspired me to be a better writer and definitely a better person by the way she turns any situation into random sunshine. If you know her, then consider yourself fortunate to be in the company of this talented and charismatic soul. But, if you don’t know her, it’s definitely time to expand your horizons and let Heidi be your guide-you won’t be sorry! Instead, you’ll only be “walking on sunshine…”