Today, I interview Laurel Heidtman. I met her through an author Facebook group I’m a member of. I’m really looking foward to reading her books. Laurel is originally from southwestern Ohio and is a three-time graduate of Miami University of Ohio. For the past 28 years, she and her husband have lived on private land inside Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky with an assortment of dogs and cats (3 dogs, 2 cats at the current time).
Over the years, she’s worked in many different professions. Laurel has been a dancer, a police officer, a registered nurse, and a technical writer to name the ones she did the longest. When she retired from the 9-to-5 life, she decided to pursue her lifelong dream of writing fiction. She now writes mysteries and thrillers as Laurel Heidtman. She also write cozy mysteries, contemporary romance and romantic suspense as Lolli Powell.
Here’s a list of Laurel’s books. It’s impressive!
Catch A Falling Star (An Eden Mystery), 247 pages, May 2014 – Laurel Heidtman
The Boy Next Door, contemporary romance, 226 pages, November 2014 – Lolli Powell
The Wrong Kind of Man, romantic suspense, 353 pages, January 2015 –Lolli Powell
Bad Girls (An Eden Mystery), 344 pages, August 2015 – Laurel Heidtman
Whiteout, thriller, 284 pages, March 2016 – Laurel Heidtman
The Body on the Barstool (A Top Shelf Mystery), cozy mystery, 314 pages, November 2016 – Lolli Powell
Whiskey Kills (A Top Shelf Mystery), cozy mystery, 369 pages, September 2017 – Lolli Powell
The Gift: A Novella, 99 pages, November 2017 – Lolli Powell
A Convenient Death (An Eden Mystery), 260 pages, January 2018 – Laurel Heidtman
Murder in Eden, bundle of three Eden mysteries, 757 pages, April 2018 – Laurel Heidtman
On to the interview!
What genre are your books?
As Laurel Heidtman, I write mysteries (crime novels) and thrillers. As Lolli Powell, I write cozy mysteries and romance.
Do you consider your books character-driven or plot-driven?
I think all of my books are a pretty even mixture of both. I write genre fiction, and the primary purpose of genre fiction is to entertain, so obviously plot is important to that. But unless the reader also believes in and likes/hates/fears the characters, he or she isn’t likely to be entertained. In 2017, Whiskey Kills, the second book in my Top Shelf cozy mystery series won a Bronze in The Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards contest. The contest is judged by reader groups in London and Stockholm, and the readers provide feedback to the authors. One of the things they give an opinion on is whether they think the book is plot- or character-driven. Out of twenty-three readers, ten thought my book was plot-driven and thirteen thought it was character-driven. Since they all read the same book, I think that confirms I’m correct in thinking mine are a pretty even mixture.
Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?
I know where the story starts and where it ends, but how I get from one to the other usually emerges as I write. It’s like a road trip—you start at point A and you know you’re going to point B, but there are a lot of roads you can take to get there.
How do you develop the names for your characters?
I name characters the same way I name my dogs and cats—I play around with different names until the dog/cat/character tells me that’s the one. Seriously, some names just don’t seem to fit, and then all of a sudden, one does.
How do you decide on the setting?
That is dictated by the story or the situation or event that triggered the idea for the story. For example, I got the idea for my thriller Whiteout from the experience of being trapped in our home in the woods in the freak March 1993 blizzard that hit Kentucky. We had 22 inches of snow and the high winds piled that into hip-high drifts. We lost power, of course, and had no hope of getting out for days. So I imagined what would happen to two couples with issues stranded like that and then two escaped killers show up on their doorstep.
Do you have a writing mentor?
Not really. But I am thankful for the support and encouragement of the many indie authors I’ve befriended both locally and through the Internet.
What’s your writing schedule? Do you have a favorite place to write?
My writing schedule leaves a lot to be desired, especially in the summer! I really want to get more disciplined about that, and it’s my goal for not only the New Year but the rest of this year. I’ve written and self-published eight full-length novels and one novella (plus published a bundle of three of my mysteries) in the last five years. That’s not bad, but if I had treated this more as a full-time job, I could have done a lot more.
I don’t have any favorite or interesting place to write. I just write at my desk, or occasionally I might take my laptop to a comfortable chair.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I’d just like to remind people that all writers, but especially indie authors, depend on reader reviews. Potential readers also depend on reviews to help them find a book that would appeal to them. We writers appreciate any and all reviews. Of course, we appreciate ones that detail what the reader liked and didn’t like about the book (the latter helps us improve), but even a simple one- or two-liner is appreciated.
Where can readers find you?
I have two websites, one for each of my author names. They are: www.laurelheidtman.com and www.lollipowell.com.
My blog link is: www.ridgewriter.com.
Amazon author pages: https://www.amazon.com/Laurel-Heidtman/e/B00KOR458M/ and https://www.amazon.com/Lolli-Powell/e/B00TM9IJFI/
Laurel Heidtman Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/Laurel-Heidtman-Author-1493519914256076/
Lolli Powell Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/lollipowell/
Twitter link: https://twitter.com/kylaurel1
Google+ link: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+LaurelHeidtman