Heidi Chandler grew up in the small town of Gaylord, Michigan. She loved reading and writing from the start, spending her early years writing short stories and selling them to classmates for a penny. Heidi graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in journalism and education with an external specialty in English, spent a few years working in the Advertising Industry, and eventually settled into a career as a high school journalism teacher. After the death of her daughter in 2008, she reexamined her priorities and left teaching to focus on being a mother. She also started writing again. The Littlest Angel is her first completed work, and she is currently writing her first piece of fiction. Heidi lives in Texas with her husband Chris and their two sons.
What inspires you to write?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to write. Throughout college and my first few years in the work force I took a break from creative writing, but after I lost my daughter in 2008 I was truly inspired to start again. This led to my memoir, The Littlest Angel, which was written as a tribute to my daughter. Now that I’m working on my first fictional novel, I’m inspired by a genuine love for words and creativity. Plus it always feels good to get the thoughts out of my head and onto paper.
Tell us about your writing process.
I wish I could say I was completely focused and organized when it comes to writing, but with two small boys to take care of that’s virtually impossible. Right now writing had taken a back seat to being a Mommy. But I try to write for at least two hours, three days a week, but that depends on if I can get my kids to nap at the same time. I also keep a notebook on hand so I can write down random thoughts and ideas throughout the day. I don’t believe in outlines; my brain just doesn’t work that way. A lot of times I’ll find myself writing a chapter surrounded by a dozen Post-It notes and random scraps of paper I’ve collected throughout the week.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I don’t talk to my characters when I’m writing, but I do find them sneaking into my dreams every now and then!
What advice would you give other writers?
I think writing is one of the hardest professions around. Writers spend so much time pouring out their souls onto paper, without even knowing if anyone will ever read their words. You have to truly love it to do it, and even then there’s no guarantee you’ll succeed. But if it’s something you really want to do, you can never stop trying.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
When I finished my first book, I sent the manuscript to dozens of agents and publishers. People were very kind in their rejection, but it was always the same thing: “It’s a really, really good story. But memoirs are hard to sell if they aren’t written by celebrities.” I was ready to accept defeat when an editor at a small publishing house told me I couldn’t give up. She couldn’t take the book on, but she suggested I self-publish. At first I dreaded the idea, but the more I looked into it the more I liked it. It was a lot of work, but it was very rewarding doing my own publishing, and I learned a lot. When I finish my next book, I think I might just self-publish from the start.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think that self-publishing is a blessing and a curse when it comes to the future of book publishing. There are a lot of really, really great books out of there that get lost in the not-so good books. At the same time, it’s provided a platform for fledgling authors like myself to be heard. I will admit to being old-school when it comes to books; I like to feel the paper in a novel, to smell it….But it can’t be denied, book publishing is changing.
What genres do you write?
What formats are your books in?
eBook, Print, Both eBook and Print