Spotlight on...Deborah Van Heest
April 12, 2012
These days Deborah Van Heest finds inner peace and contentment filling blank pages with words that create images and emotions.
She has followed her childhood dream of becoming a published author with the recent publication of a fantasy/science fiction novel.
"I started writing when I was in fifth grade," said the executive assistant to the Army Contracting Command executive director. "I started out writing poetry and soon began making up short stories in junior high involving my friends. I like to write. I write every chance I get and when I'm not writing I'm thinking about writing.
I suppose if I were a serious writer I would quit my job to follow my dream, but I can't do that so for now writing is a hobby." Van Heest said growing up was difficult. Admitting to having a hard time working through her feelings of being adopted, she took her self-worth and turned it inside. Writing for her turned out to be therapeutic and enjoyable.
"I live mostly in my head and writing helps me feel normal," she said with a chuckle. "I wrote then and now for the fun of it. I'd have my friends taking these crazy adventures in foreign lands and it always made us laugh. I suppose my goal was entertaining people with my stories and that's still my goal."
Reading the diverse works of writers such as Dean Koontz, Anne Rice, Patricia Cornwell and James Patterson, the main thing Van Heest discovered is to stay true to herself and write about something she loves.
"I know the popular genres today are politics, war, terrorism, financial planning, and health and fitness, but I veer far away from real life. Reality is brutal, unkind and something we have no choice but to face every day. When I read my favorite authors, they take me away from all that and that's what I try and do with my writing," said the Chapin, Ill., native.
After not writing for years, Van Heest began developing her recent work after going through a series of life-changing events.
"I went through a divorce and finding out more about my birth family really opened my eyes and changed my life. I learned more about myself and decided I needed to start making decisions based on what I felt was truly in my best interest.
"My writing was a juvenile pastime that I never took seriously, but the older I got, the more I wondered what was holding me back. Why was I not going for my dream when it was something I've kept with me all these years? Finally, I decided to go for it and put my book out there. After all, you never know what will happen. I write because I love doing it and even if no one ever reads these stories I would still continue to write them," said Van Heest.
The result of her new self-discovery was "Secret of the Kings," a more than 400-page e-book that can be found on the Internet.
"I created the characters in this book when I was back in college and the storyline kept coming back to me. I started writing it in the spring of 2009 and finished the fall of 2011," said Van Heest, who decided to publish her book online after a friend's suggestion.
One day she hopes her books will be published by a publishing house, but for now she's content that it is out there for people to read.
"I have submitted my book to several different publishing companies and to date, have received two rejection letters, but I am still hopeful," she said. "I haven't come this far to stop now. I've a story to tell and I am going to tell it."