Aurora: What was your inspiration behind your most recent novel?
Heidi: After hearing about Industrial Schools in Ireland, I became interested in learning about the lives of the children sentenced to these institutions. My inspiration to write The House Children came from the five women who were willing to share their experiences about being raised in St. Joseph’s Industrial School in Ballinasloe, Ireland in the 1940s.
What character do you most relate to and why?
In many ways I can relate to Peg, the main character. Peg wants answers – she is willing to work hard and struggles with complex feelings. Peg is dealt many disappointments in life, but continues to be motivated by hope and her own determination to rise above her circumstances.
Why do you feel young adult books are so popular and have such a voice right now?
I feel YA books are so popular now because young adults readers are looking for perspectives on life that are deeper than what they find on social media. It’s also due to the large range of topics available. YA books often appeal to older readers as well.
Please describe the content of your latest book and what can readers expect from the read.
The House Children follows the life of an “Illegitimate child,” Peg Joyce, who is born in 1937, in Ireland. The reader will learn about life for girls who grew up in Ireland’s “Industrial Schools” in the 1940s and 1950s. The book also provides perspective on Peg’s birth mother and her experience as a woman who gave birth to a child out of wedlock.
What’s next for you in the book world?
Right now I still feel like I’m working on The House Children. My focus is on putting myself in front of readers. I enjoy discussing The House Children with book clubs and sharing my presentation about the research behind the story.
Who’s your favorite writer right now?
Picking my favorite writer is like picking my favorite ice cream. It’s difficult to choose one. But I recently enjoyed reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris.