Author Spotlight: Heidi Cullinan

Happy Tuesday, Peeps! 

Because of Labor Day, I delayed posting the author spotlight. I’m sure everyone was too busy enjoying BBQ’s and relaxing to miss it, LOL. In any case, I’m baaaaaack! ;-) 

Today’s spotlight features a lady I’m incredibly lucky to know. I first met Heidi last year at the Liberty States Fiction Writers Conference. In the year since we first met, she has taught me so much in regards to the business and marketing side of being an author. It’s rare to have someone be candid about their failures and successes. We’re all very guarded when it comes to displaying vulnerabilities, but Heidi has been amazing! Authenticity is an attractive trait to me, and I usually flock to other writers who don’t mind sharing their highs and lows. In the end, we all want to succeed and spreading knowledge helps us to reach our goals. Not to mention, she’s so damn supportive of me and my career. She gets massive ♥ for that!

Take some time and read a little bit about Heidi, she’s freaking fantastic! 

I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?

Um…well, since I’m not the evil doppelgänger, I’m not going to reveal that…

Honestly I don’t know that this is much of a surprise, but there isn’t much to reveal about me. I’m pretty straightforward, and I’m not full of secrets, interesting factoids, or even hobbies. For fun I’m a hermit and I work or research things. I’m bad about keeping my house clean, I’m behind in my correspondence, I don’t call my family or friends enough—normal, boring, and horribly uninteresting. My books, however, are a different story. I hope.

What’s one piece of advice you wish you received before you began your writing career?

I don’t feel like I’m missing anything, and I received good advice that I wasn’t able to hear until I’d lived enough live to implement it. The thing I crave most now is silence and space to explore my ideas, and it’s the thing I don’t have. This week, for example, what I want most is to not answer any email or be on social media and to just be in my own space—I want so much for a week like that, just a week, but it will be months, maybe a year before I can afford something like that. Just seven days! When I was unpublished, published authors told me to cherish that silence and that space to explore my ideas, but all I could see was the emptiness it held. I think this is one of those things where space is different depending on who you are when you try to fill it, but that’s the advice I think of a lot lately, to take advantage of that lack of activity and cherish it, not hate it so much, when you don’t have it. Yes, you want the activity, but if you have enough success it will eventually eat you too. Someday you will miss that silence you hate so much.

What are you most passionate about?

My readers. I’m not always good at talking to them, because I feel self-conscious, but my patrons have taught me a lot about how to behave, how to be gracious and comfortable with compliments (I would rather just talk about the work and the story, not myself) and have allowed me to give back too. But this year especially, with my wacky production schedule and so much upheaval, has taught me how much I value producing story for my readers. I always want to welcome new readers, of course, and this is my living, I want to make money, but I am grateful for and cherish forever the community which has somehow grown up around me. It makes me excited, and I want to keep making more story for them. But they’re so good, they yell at me to slow down and eat and sleep and watch anime too. I don’t deserve this, but I got it anyway.

If you could eat one food for the rest of your life what food would you choose?

CAKE. Cake forever. I mean, I’d be sick of it in an hour, but I’m assuming this scenario fixes that issue. Honestly I just love food, so I’d want to be able to eat without getting sick or fat, but if I’m picking one and not getting sick on it or of it, CAKE.

You write gay romance, and you also live in Iowa. Big city gal here! Born and raised in NYC. Are you open about your profession in your community? If so, how do you think you’re perceived? I ask because I have a skewed perspective. I doubt life in NYC is the same as life in Iowa. I’m curious as to what your experiences have been like. Romance writers already get slack but does writing gay romance add additional obstacles? Am I way off base here? School me, Heidi!

Well, Ames is pretty liberal, being a college town, and I’m basically a hermit. I think I know twenty people here well enough to have them over. But people receive me well when I tell them. They’re curious and excited. My piano tuner found out (I write under my legal name) and now gets excited whenever he sees me. I let it slip at Target to an employee (I forget how it was relevant, I was tired at the time) and since half the staff there is queer suddenly I’m the gay celebrity whenever I shop, which is actually disconcerting. There are a few other people here and there who know, but it’s fine. 

You’ve been a super fangirl when it comes to Yuri on Ice! Tell the people out there who aren’t familiar with the series what you find appealing about it.

Oh my god. How many hours do you have?

There’s so much going on. It’s the first major anime to have a queer romance in the story and then have a satisfying ending, to start. There’s another, No. 6, which also had a romance and a kiss, but the end was not as hopeful and I can’t rewatch it because the whole show is a little darker and the end matches. I don’t blame it, it’s the show, but it’s not Yuri on Ice. YOI is a sports anime, and it’s about overcoming your limitations, working with your rivals and coming to love them, meeting your heroes, falling in love, traveling the world—it transcends so many things, and it makes me so damn happy. I was in such a funk last winter, to the point I couldn’t write or even function, and that show pulled me out. It’s twelve episodes of joy. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Also, the POC quotient? There are a mere handful of white people in this show, and they’re all minor characters except for Victor and Yuri Pliesetsky, the love interest and rival respectively. The Asian characters, especially the lead, actually look Asian, not westernized. Plus you travel to China, Russia, Spain, see the food, the sights—the show runners traveled to all these places on their own dime and modeled everything off of photos and memories. They bled into this show, and this is the result. It’s just so amazing. You have to watch!

Favorite cartoon as a kid?

Probably Scooby Doo.

First car you ever drove?

Family car. It was some horrible station wagon.

Describe your worst date in three words.

Back of a bus. (Sorry, it’s four.)

Finish this sentence: If I could retire tomorrow I would _____.


**Bonus Question**

Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?

Um, maybe? I did have someone flog me once, lightly, so I could know how it felt. It was over clothes, in a bar. I enjoyed it! I think I would be into it, but it’d have to be carefully done as my partner is not, and so it would take a lot of conversation and consent. And right now I am too busy and overwhelmed with life for fun, alas. I also worry because of my EDS (a condition from birth) it would be too easy for someone to hurt me without meaning to, or me knowing, so it would take a lot of research, which seems like more work and then I get tired thinking about it. I could be on the other end too, but that seems like even more work, and so, probably no. There’s no siren call, I’m just curious and always open to trying things.  


Heidi Cullinan has always enjoyed a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. Proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality, Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. She writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys playing with new recipes, reading romance and manga, playing with her cats, and watching too much anime. Find out more about Heidi at

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