Liberty States Create Something Magical Conference Speaker Interview Series: Heidi Cullinan

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Today the Liberty States Create Something Magical Conference Speaker Interview Series continues with author Heidi Cullinan:


  1. What made you want to become a writer?

I always lived inside my head as a child, telling myself stories, absorbing those of people around me. I could look at a building and imagine the lives it could inhabit, could see a quiet stream and imagine the intrepid adventurers crossing it. I think story became an addiction I never wanted to break. I wrote for myself for a long time, but my life quietly arranged itself around a career in fiction while I wasn’t paying particular attention. Now it’s a habit and a paying gig, and really, how does it get better than that?


  1. Is there one piece of advice you would give an aspiring writer?

Understand you’ll never be “good enough,” and if you’re very lucky your development will teach you to look at that phrase and fracture it daily for the deceitful distraction it is. Also, read and watch and practice writing. Absorb story in every way you can, priority given to reading of course, but any narrative-driven presentation will do. Let story get deep into your bones, so much of it you honestly can’t tell anymore what idea was yours and what grew out of the moss of digested story surrounding you.


  1. If you could co-write a book with any author, dead or alive, who would it be?

Sir Terry Pratchett, though I’d be a hot mess of ridiculousness through most of it, simply wanting to sit and watch him work instead of helping.


  1. Who is on your bookshelf?

My bookshelf is mostly virtual at this point, but pride of place in paperback goes to Terry Pratchett, Lois McMaster Bujold, Neil Gaiman, Judith Ivory, Jennifer Crusie, Tessa Dare, and Sarah Waters.


  1. Can you tell us about one of the most memorable moments in your writing career thus far?

The moment at my first Romantic Times convention when a reader sought me out to have me sign a book of mine she’d brought with her.  It was my first autograph, of my favorite book of mine I’ve written, and that reader has since become a close friend. I love that moment because it was so quiet and gentle and resonant, highlighting the kind of connection which brought me to publishing my work in the first place.


  1. Tell us about your newest release/current work in progress.

My latest release is Clockwork Heart, an aberration from my usual contemporary work as an alternate history/steampunk romance. Tinkers. Soldiers. Spies. Pirates. A sweeping tour of continental Europe via the clouds. A little absinthe, a little theft, a little exhibitionism, some naughty use of clockwork prosthetics. Love, adventure, and a steaming good time. You can read more about it and find buy links here.



About the author:

Heidi grew up in love with story.  She fell asleep listening to Disney long-playing records and read her Little House On The Prairie books until they fell apart.  She ran through the woods inventing stories of witches and fairies and enchanted trees and spent hours beneath the lilac bush imagining the lives of the settlers who had inhabited the homestead log cabin and two-story late 1800s home on her family farm.  She created epic storylines for her Barbies until it wasn’t satisfying enough to do so any longer (age ten), and then she started writing them down.  Her first novel, The Life and Times of Michelle Matthews, was published when she was twelve in the school anthology and took up nearly half of it.

Though Heidi continued to write novels through high school (and still has the Rubbermaid tub full in her bedroom), she stopped in college, deciding it was time to grow up and do something meaningful with her life. When the specifics of that didn’t pan out, Heidi ended up in grad school to become a teacher, and through one of the courses rediscovered her love of romance novels. She began to write again on the side, continued to do so while she taught seventh grade language arts and reading, and when she quit teaching to have her daughter, she took up writing with more seriousness, both as a stress relief and as a potential means of bringing in money.


Many million pages later, Heidi has learned a lot about writing, more than she ever wanted to know about publishing, and most importantly, finally figured out that writing IS the meaningful something she wants to do with her life. A passionate advocate for LGBT rights, Heidi volunteered for One Iowa during the fight for marriage equality and donates with her husband as a monthly partner to the Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal. She encourages you to support your own local and national LGBT rights groups, too.

Heidi enjoys reading, watching movies and TV with her family, and listening all kinds of music.  She has a husband, a daughter, and too many cats. Heidi is an active social networker, and of course has good old-fashioned email(link sends e-mail).

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  1. kathy valentine says:

    good interview jillian!

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