Bits ‘n’ Pieces: Ridgefield woman’s first book surprises

By Ashley Swanson, Columbian Features News Coordinator



Heidi Renee Mason considers the publishing of her first book a case of being in the right place at the right time. What started as the Ridgefield resident’s first attempt at a novel became “Investigating the Heart,” released through Solstice Publishing on Friday.

She had decided to submit her book as a form of practice with the publishing industry.

“I submitted the manuscript thinking I’m going to learn how to do this, get used to rejection. Within a week, I had a (publishing) contract in hand,” she said. “It was all very unexpected and surreal, seeing there’s an actual book contract in my email.”

Mason started the romance and suspense novel in February and completed it in June. “Investigating the Heart” follows Emma, a single mother of three, who runs a coffee shop in a small town in Ohio. She’s given up on love after the death of her husband, until she meets Liam O’Reilly, an FBI agent with a secret that’s connected to Emma’s past.

Mason’s favorite genre is the historical novel, so when she started writing, she thought that is what she’d end up writing, she said. But a historical novel requires a lot of research to do the genre well. So Mason turned to the genre of women’s fiction. “It was just going to be strictly a love story, but right away it took an unexpected twist.” Just like the arrival of the FBI agent, elements of a thriller showed up in Mason’s novel.

“With three daughters that I home-school, writing fits into wherever it fits into that day,” Mason said. “I work a lot of things out in my head before I ever write it down.” Yet, none of her children have picked up her love of writing, she added. “Writing is their least favorite subject.”

Mason is currently working on her second novel, while preparing to market her first to local bookstores and retailers.

Though she’s lived in Ridgefield for 10 years with her husband and three daughters, Mason is originally from Ohio. “The vision I had in my mind was the town I grew up in, where everyone knows everyone’s businesses, but they’re always there willing to help out.” Starting off with something familiar can be a good springboard into starting a novel, she said.

But that doesn’t mean everything will go as planned. “(The book) did not end how I thought it would end,” Mason said. “Sometimes these ideas in my head, they don’t come out the way I thought they were going to, but that makes it fun for me, too.”

Her advice for others looking to publish a book? “You have to be prepared for rejection and people just not liking it. You have to be passionate about it, and definitely invested. It’s not something you just do for a whim.”

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