Heidi M. Thomas
Where I am
Mount Vernon, WA
Tell us a little about you, what is your background & where do you come from?
I was raised on a ranch in eastern Montana, a very isolated, rural area.
We didn’t get electricity until I was six, and didn’t have an indoor bathroom until I was in high school.
I attended a one-room country school for eight grades, lived in a dormitory during the week for high school. I graduated from the University of Montana in Missoula with a degree in Journalism.
When did you first start writing?
As soon as I learned to print the alphabet. I would ask my mother how to spell words and would draw pictures and write captions for my little stories.
I continued to write fiction through grade school and a little bit in high school, then turned to journalism in college.
Who are your main literary influences?
I’ve been a voracious reader since an early age and I still read an eclectic variety of literature, from police procedurals and courtroom dramas to Anita Shreve and Ann Patchett.
What is your favorite book ever?
That’s hard to pin down—there are so many good books. Maybe I’d have to say Heidi by Johanna Spyri, just because she was my namesake.
What inspired you to write Cowgirl Dreams?
The knowledge that my grandmother rode steers in rodeos during the 1920s. She was a tiny woman, and I thought that must have taken great courage.
Obviously your grandmother was a horse person, are you?
I grew up riding horses, helping my dad gather cattle for branding and shipping. It’s been many years now since I’ve ridden, though.
Do you (or did you) have an animal that is the muse behind your work?
I’m not sure they’re my muses, but I have two cats that I jokingly call my “assistants,” because one or both are usually right on top of whatever paper I’m working on.
Do you have any secret rituals you do to help you get in the zone to write?
I wish I did. I suppose, if anything, it’s several cups of coffee and reading manuscripts I’m editing for others or “how-to” books on writing, that finally gets me to move to my computer and begin my work.
Having a deadline is a sure-fire way to get me to produce!
Is there a particular place that brings you inspiration?
Being outdoors in nature helps. When I feel that my inspirational well is empty I will often drive to the water and just sit. Sometimes when I’m stuck on a story problem, just taking a walk will help me solve it.
What effect do you think the Internet has had on writing in general?
It has spawned a great many wanna-be authors, because it’s so much easier to write, re-write and edit with a computer.
The advent of e-publishing and digital Print On Demand has also made it easier to have books published. It’s both good and bad for the book business.
Has it had an effect on yours?
When I started my journalism career, we still used typewriters, and I literally had to cut and paste paper when I wanted to make changes.
So, revising and editing is a piece of cake now! And I loved submitting my query and manuscript to my publisher electronically.
Is there one thing you’ve written that will always be your favorite?
I’m not a poet, but on the morning of my dad’s death I awoke early, with a strong urge to write down poetic phrases. I later used the poem “The Cup of Your Hands” as a eulogy at his memorial service.
What else are you passionate about?
Music. I love to listen to all kinds, from country to classical. I used to play the piano, I was once a member of a Sweet Adelines chorus that was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall, and I still sing in my church choir.
Working on anything new?
Revisions on my sequel to Cowgirl Dreams, with a working title of Follow the Dream.
After that, I have two more books in the series about strong, independent Montana women.
Virtual Book Tour
More to Come
Thanks to Heidi for answering the interview and sharing more about her book. Be sure to check out her website for updates about her latest books.
Are you doing great things for horses or do you someone in the industry you’d like to see featured? Add your name and website in the comments below or drop me a note to get involved.