Wednesday 4 March 2020
Interview with Heather Slawecki - By David Kempf
Heather Slawecki holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature from Widener University. She began her writing career as a feature writer for the Bucks County Courier Times and has spent the last twenty-five years as an award-winning senior copywriter.
On a personal note, Heather is my cousin and we are almost the same age. She's a mere two days older than me. I am very proud of her for finding her voice and writing this trilogy. Our grandfather Harold loved to read novels. I think he would be very proud of her today.
So am I.
When did you first become interested in writing?
I fell in love with writing as a teenager. It was a great outlet for me. I still have my diary from fifth grade. It’s hysterical. I was fortunate to have extremely good English teachers who helped inspire and encourage me. I started out in nursing school but was excelling in my writing and literature classes. I made the decision to change my major to English. It didn’t go over well at first (haha). But I have no regrets and have made my living writing from the minute I graduated from college.
How did you get involved in murder mystery fiction?
It’s a genre that I gravitate toward when reading. I love unraveling a good mystery. The more twists and turns the better.
How did you go about finding a suitable publisher?
By trade, I’m a copywriter and have a plethora of knowledge about marketing and promoting. I have a few friends who tried traditional publishing and found it frustrating. Most first-time authors won’t find an agent, and the rest find themselves doing their share of promoting themselves anyway. So, I did my research and developed a plan for myself—including starting my own publishing company.
Tell us about all the hard work that went into writing a trilogy.
I never set out to write a trilogy. But when I got to the end of the first book, I knew I had so much more story to tell. So, I kept writing and writing and writing. The struggle came with the third book. It was the hardest because I had to bring everything together and make sure I didn’t disappoint my readers. It’s also the most complex and involved the most research. That took time and meant folding things into the first two books. So, there was constant editing of all three books along the way. A lot of hard work went into 310,000+ words.
What do you see as the primary difference between British and American mystery?
I really enjoy reading both British and American mystery. Ironically, in college, British Lit was my favorite. I do think British novelists have a knack for creating good old-fashioned spooky and ominous settings to go with their plots.
What are your favorite books?
I have a wide range of favorites. Call me extremely unoriginal, but Pride and Prejudice will always be my favorite. When it comes to murder mystery, I love all of Michael Palmer’s work. I’m very intrigued by medical mysteries, probably because of my nursing background.
Michael Crichton was brilliant. I read Jurassic Park in one day. I also enjoy John Grisham and Dan Brown. The Firm and The DaVinci Code are up there on my list!
What are some of your favorite movies?
I’m all over the place on movies. It depends on my mood. If I like a good book, I’ll look for it in theaters. The Hunger Games—Good stuff. I also love to laugh and could watch We’re the Millers and Horrible Bosses once a week. Again, not very original here, but my favorite movie of all is The Sound of Music.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as an author?
Knocking out a trilogy all at once!
Do you have any advice for new writers?
Take your time. Do it right. Don’t rush anything, do your homework, and don’t neglect the editing process. Make sure your work is tight. Then do your research and find the right method of publishing for you.
What is your opinion of the new self-publishing trend?
I think it has its ups and downs. The market is saturated with some pretty terrible books because of self-publishing. But thankfully, there are some fabulous self-published authors who have changed the game. Most people no longer turn their noses up if you say you’re self-published. It seems to be more of a personal choice, not an only-option for those who couldn’t find an agent. I never looked for one!
What are your current projects?
I’m knee-deep in promoting the Element Mysteries which are releasing right now. I’ve started another book that is more supernatural. Plus, I have a non-fiction project that will likely publish next year. I’ll have to switch gears from desensitized fiction murder to real life crime. I may actually need an agent for that one!
Please in your own words write a paragraph about yourself & your work.
I think some of the tribulations in my life have led me to the most triumphs. My favorite quote is “there is no strength without struggle.” I believe success is a combination of both passion and persistence. You have to be one hundred percent committed and believe in yourself. I’m extremely proud of all the three novels in the Element Mysteries series. I think if you can read and re-read your own work and still love it, that’s what it’s all about. That’s success right there because the whole world is subjective. You have to love what you do and what you create.
Find out more about Heather at