Author Interview with Heidi Siefkas
I’m interviewing Heidi Siefkas today, author of non-fiction, inspirational memoir “When All Balls Drop”. Thanks for answering my questions, Heidi, and welcome to my blog.
1. When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I have been writing for most of my professional career whether as a teacher, marketing/pr professional, blogger, or now as an author. I decided after my life change in 2009 that I wanted to do what I loved. I had the opportunity to redesign my life. So, I created a profession where I could write, inspire, travel, and learn. I have found that being an author is my true calling. However, that doesn’t mean that it is easy.
2. Where did you get the inspiration for When All Balls Drop?
In 2009, I was an ambitious, globetrotting professional, married, and a homeowner with an active, healthy lifestyle. That fall on one of my travels, I was visiting New York’s Hudson River Valley when in a split second, a thousand pound tree limb struck me, breaking my neck and leaving me unconscious for days. After neurosurgery and release from the hospital for a multiple month recovery far away from home, which was South Florida at the time, I also discovered my husband had been living a double life. If that wasn’t enough, I received a call from my employer forcing me to resign, thus losing my professional identity. It was a triple whammy of loss. My juggling act of health, marriage, career, and more was forced to a screeching halt. And, that’s the When All Balls Drop moment.
During this time, I wrote in a journal keeping track of daily occurrences, the gamut of every changing emotions, and bullet point lists of questions. My writing combined with walking was my therapy. Through both, I gradually reframed my circumstances. I decided that I had lost everything, but I had the opportunity to redesign my life, having it all. It was nearly a year and half after the accident while on a multiple week walkabout in South America when I decided to write When All Balls Drop.
3. What is your editing process like?
My editing process was in three stages over roughly five months. First, I put together the best draft that I thought told my story. After printing out the entire manuscript to read one last time, both silent and aloud to catch errors, I sent it to my publishing company as well as trusted friends for review in late 2013. Within two weeks, I received feedback from them as well as my friends. I took all of the feedback and addressed where the story needed more detail, dialogue, or clarity of timeline. After all, I lived the story, but many of the readers did not know the storyline, characters, or the ending. Over a little over a month, I finessed my draft, printing out the best version again to read like before. After which, I turned in my second draft into my editor with specific questions regarding message, voice, vignette titles, and back cover copy. Within two weeks time, I received more suggestions to punch up certain sections as well as add vignettes about my upbringing, marriage, education, and professional past for clarification. So, once again, I went back to writing on the computer for another month. At the end of that month, I noticed that my energy was waning by the page. I was not improving the work, only making it more cluttered. So, I printed it out to read again. It was at that time that I needed to let go.
4. What was the most challenging part of writing this book?
The most challenging part was reliving my experience, all the pain, emotional turmoil, and joy together. However, this time I didn’t have the painkillers or sleeping pills to soften the blow. Reliving it was draining, resurfacing old wounds. I was on edge with my triggers hypersensitive as I was sharing my most private moments of pain, deceit, and loss.
Although writing a memoir is emotionally challenging, all authors have a deep personal connection to his/her writing. This goes for fiction writers too. I believe there is a lot of hidden truth and non-fiction in fiction.
5. What are your writing goals for 2014?
I’m currently writing a sequel. It will pick up where I left off in When All Balls Drop. It will begin with revisiting my roots in small-town Wisconsin. It will continue on in South Florida where I started to rebuild my life: finding a job, dating again, and changing my home. It includes a crucial therapeutic walkabout to South America. Its main theme describes the healing components of travel whether to a foreign place or somewhere as familiar as your hometown. The perspective gained from getting away completed my life change sparked by the tree in 2009.
I plan on releasing my next book in the fall of 2015. Until then, I will be promoting When All Balls Drop in Florida, Wisconsin, Kauai, and Massachusetts. You can check out my events on www.heidisiefkas.com and my Facebook page. Don’t worry! If you are in remote area, you can attend one of my virtual events.
About The Book
Author: Heidi Siefkas
Genre: Non-Fiction, Inspirational, Memoir
The true story of a survivor
who through losing everything,
redefined having it all
Heidi Siefkas was a happily married, globetrotting professional who seemingly “had it all”—until a tree limb in New York’s Hudson River Valley struck her down, breaking her neck and leaving her unconscious. Suddenly, life as she knew it stopped. She lost her independence. She lost her career. She watched her marriage disintegrate as she confronted a trail of devastating lies about her husband’s double life.
She had lost all that mattered, but she was a survivor. She fought to restore her health, repair her broken heart, and rebuild herself. Along the way, she gained clarity about her core values, ultimately coming to a deeper understanding of what it means to have it all.
Through down-to-earth, short vignettes, When All Balls Drop shows us how it’s possible to “look up” in spite of pain, deceit, and loss. Heidi’s memoir–rich with hope and humor, inspires anyone who’s had to confront tragedy and reassess their life in the wake of life-altering events.
Heidi Siefkas is an author and adventurer. Originally from small-town Wisconsin, she lives in Kauai and also calls the Midwest and South Florida home. Heidi is currently crafting a sequel to this memoir, embracing both her wanderlust and love of writing by documenting her many travels. You can connect with Heidi at www.heidisiefkas.com, Facebook, and Twitter.
There is a tour-wide giveaway for 5 paperback copies (US only). Contest will end on September 26, and winners will be announced on September 27. Additionally readers who sign up via the author’s mailing list, will get a free excerpt of the book.