As part of our Who Chains You Books First Anniversary Celebration, we’ll be bringing you a “Connect with our Authors, Illustrators, and Narrators” Series, so you can learn a little more about the animal lovers we represent, and why they’ve taken on the challenge of bringing the plight of the animals to life through creative writing, art, and interpretation.
We’ve given each of our authors, illustrators, and narrators a list of questions to answer. They are free to answer any of our suggested questions or substitute their own—staying on the fun, surface side of life, or getting as deep as they’d like. Feel free to ask them questions in the comments area, and we’ll ask them to drop by and answer.
Heather Leughmyer is the author of Adopting Adele, A Rat’s Guide to Owning a Human, and If Your Tears Were Human, and co-editor of Rescue Smiles, to be released this Friday, August 11, 2017.
She is also the founder of Happy Endings Rat Rescue, and a graduate of Indiana-Purdue University with a B.A. in Writing and Linguistics.
Writing has been a passion of hers for as long as she has advocated for animals.
She lives in Columbia City, Indiana, with her husband, daughter, and several animal companions.
Q. Where did you grow up and what was your favorite thing you remember about where you grew up?
I grew up in Sidney, Ohio and then moved to Warsaw, Indiana when I was 17. One of the things I liked most about growing up in Sidney was that I could get from my house to anywhere in town by walking or riding my bike, and it was safe to do that.
Q. What did you least like about your childhood or where you grew up?
Probably the small-town mentality. There were a lot of cliques and being different wasn’t necessarily seen as a good thing.
Q. What made you want to become a book author?
I have loved writing ever since I could write. I remember making a miniature book about my hamster when I was around 10. I still have it. Creative writing class was always my favorite.
Q. What steps did you take to finish your first book? How did you make it happen?
My first book was an anthology of poems that I had been writing for a few years. They were in response to the animal cruelty and the suffering I had seen, read about, or heard about. I combined all of the poems I had written about farmed animals and added photographs by my friend and photographer, Vanessa Sarges into one book and If Your Tears Were Human: A Collection of Poetry for Animals in Agriculture was then published by Who Chains You Publishing.
Q. Tell us one thing about you that nobody knows. Until now.
My secrets stay safe with me…:)
Q. Tell us one weird talent you have that you wish you could make money from.
I can ride a unicycle. I taught myself to ride it in the 4th grade.
Q. Tell us what celebrity you’d love to be for a day, and why.
Any celebrity who is on vacation in some exotic place I could never afford.
Q. Tell us what you love most about writing?
I love how writing helps me deal with my feelings and emotions in a healthy and productive way.
Q. Do you have pets? How many and what are their names?
Lots! I have 2 dogs, Bindi and Bailey, 1 cat, Jasmine, 2 gerbils, Tom and Jerry, and 6 rats, Cupcake, Chip, Shiloh, Raven, Riley and Max. Since I do rat rescue, the numbers are constantly changing.
Q. Tell us your weirdest pet story.
Most of my stories are more cute than weird. I love interspecies relationships and I’ve seen a few firsthand throughout the years. I once had a cockatiel who fell in love with my cat. He would constantly circle around her serenading her with a mix of all of the songs he knew to try and get her attention, but she wasn’t impressed.
I also had a rat who liked to eat with my 2 dogs and 1 cat, a gerbil who fell in love with a spiny mouse, and a mouse who fell in love with a rat. I also had a dog who would take care of all of my rats, especially when they were sick.
Q. Where would you travel for your dream vacation, and why?
I love Hawaii. Perfect weather, the ocean, beaches, and beauty everywhere.
Q. If you could wave a magic wand and make one thing better for animals, what would it be?
Everyone in the world would stop eating them. Billions would be saved from suffering just like that.
Q. Tell us what your favorite book of all time is, and why.
I don’t really have a favorite because I like so many. I really liked The Girl on the Train. This was probably the most recent book I read and loved. I like any book I have a hard time putting down.
Q. If you could live anywhere in the world, were would you live and why.
This answer is the same as my dream vacation. Hawaii, for all the same reasons.
Q. What’s coming up next, more books for you?
Yep! We’ve got our next book, Rescue Smiles, coming out this week. We enjoyed picking stories with lots of different rescued animals, and we ended up with 19 unique tales of love for you to enjoy.
I also have another children’s book, Brave Benny, coming out this fall from Who Chains You.
I hope to just keep writing and see where it leads me!