1. When did you realize you wanted to become a writer?
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a child. My undergrad degree was English with a Creative Writing Emphasis, but then instead of sticking to my dreams, I chose a steady paycheck. I wrote a little over the years, but it wasn’t until I retired from outside work that I decided it was way past time to do something about achieving my goal.
2. How many hours in a day do you dedicate to your writing?
Not as many as I should—or at least not on a regular schedule. That’s something I’m trying to change. Too often I don’t write at all, but other times I write a lot. Nearly every day I do something related to writing, though, such as marketing.
3. Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome it?
I don’t think I’ve ever suffered from it. Nike’s motto of “Just do it” works for writing as well as athletics. It doesn’t mean what I write will be a keeper, of course, but even writing something bad seems to prime the pump for more that’s better.
4. How many books have you written so far?
Nine under two names: Laurel Heidtman and Lolli Powell. Including a three-book set of my first three Eden mysteries, I’ve published ten.
5. What has been the biggest accomplishment, you feel, has been in your writing career so far?
Completing and publishing my first book, Catch A Falling Star (An Eden Mystery). That was the hardest because, with the first book, I wasn’t sure I could even finish it, much less write anything worth reading. It was an incredibly good feeling holding the paperback of that first book in my hands and an even better feeling when I paged through it, reading at random, and thought, “I’d read this.”
I’m also proud of the fact that in 2016 I won a Bronze award in the Adult Fiction Category of The Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards. That was for The Body on the Barstool, the first book in my Top Shelf cozy mystery series published under my Lolli Powell pseudonym. Then in 2017, I won the Bronze in the same contest and category for the second book in the series, Whiskey Kills.
6. What is your latest book about?
My latest book is A Convenient Death (An Eden Mystery). It’s the third in my Eden mystery series. It begins with the discovery of a double murder inside a convenience store. At first, it appears to be a robbery gone wrong, but obviously, there’s a lot more to the story.
7. What inspired you to write it and what are the challenges you faced while working on it?
The idea was based on a double murder that occurred inside a convenience store in the mid-size city where I used to be a police officer. The night shift clerk and a customer were killed, and it was never solved. The similarity ends with the gender of the two victims, however, since I made up everything else.
As far as challenges while writing it, the biggest challenge was making sure I and the readers could keep the cast of characters straight. My detective, Jo Valentine, has a long list of suspects ranging from more than one jealous spouse to drug dealers to armed robbers. I found a way to keep it straight, though, and it must have worked since I’ve had one review that specifically mentions I did a good job of it. Whew!
8. Do you read different genre books from the one you write in? And do you prefer reading paperbacks or ebooks?
I read just about every genre, but I’d say mysteries and thrillers are my favorites. As far as paperbacks or e-books, I think e-books are the greatest invention since sliced bread! I wish they’d come along earlier. All my life I lugged around hundreds of books every time I moved. Now that I’ve been in the same house for nearly 30 years, technology comes up with a way to move hundreds of books in my purse! I love not only their portability but also that I can make the type any size I want, look up a word I don’t know, or research a fact or historical event that’s mentioned without moving from my chair. I don’t get as much exercise as I got lugging books, but you can’t have everything.
9. If you could turn one of your books into a movie or a play, which one would it be?
I think Whiteout might make a good thriller movie. I’ve also had a couple of readers say that The Gift would make a good Hallmark TV movie. Hey, Hallmark, you listening?
10. Are you working on anything new?
I’m working on Name Your Poison, my third Top Shelf cozy mystery. I’m ashamed to say I’m moving slowly on it—spring fever, I think—but at least I’m moving.
I’m also starting revisions to a crime thriller titled Death Notice that I’ll publish under the Laurel Heidtman name.
11. What are your thoughts on the horror genre? Do you enjoy watching horror movies and reading horror books?
I love a good horror novel, movie, or TV show. I grew up on the black and white horror shows of the fifties—you know, the ones with spiders and things that were mutated by radiation. It was a great childhood! Hah! Had a lot of nightmares that rivaled the movies, but they didn’t leave me scarred for life, so it’s all good. One of my all-time favorite horror book and movie is The Exorcist. And nowadays? The Walking Dead, The Stain, American Horror Story—love all of them!
One of these days I’d like to try writing a horror novel. I’m not sure I can do it, but I’d like to try. So far all the monsters in the books I’ve written have all been human.
I’m retired from the nine-to-five life and live with my husband, three dogs and two cats inside Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky. I publish mysteries and thrillers as Laurel Heidtman, as well as romances and cozy mysteries as Lolli Powell.
Over the years, I’ve paid the bills by being a dancer, a bartender, a police officer, a registered nurse and a technical writer. Now I’m drawing on that life experience and my two English degrees to create stories that I enjoy writing and hope readers enjoy reading.
Check out her books here: