Lynne Heitman has been my writing mentor and friend ever since I met her in Seattle back in 2000 through a business school classmate. If I remember correctly, I told him I was writing a mystery and he started laughing. I thought he was laughing at me, but no, he was laughing because he knew just the person to introduce me to. He had a friend who was writing airline thrillers.
Lynne knows what it’s like to compete in some of the most feminine – and most masculine – professions I can imagine. She was a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader for a year, and later went on to work in the airline industry – her last assignment was as the airline’s general manager at Boston’s Logan airport. How many people can you say that about? We hit it off.
She invited me to join her writing group but it soon became clear that the other members wanted nothing to do with me – I was too inexperienced. But she stalwartly defended my work and offered to critique my writing on a weekly phone call, if I would do the same for her. Over the next fourteen years, she read every single draft of my tango mystery, every synopsis, every query letter, every agent pitch. Meanwhile, I think she finished three books.
Her novels came out to great fanfare and acclaim. Her publisher gave her work the kind of marketing support we all dream about. Then 9/11 hit, and both the airline and the publishing industry went into a tailspin. Nobody wanted to read airline thrillers. But you can’t keep a good woman down. A new publisher is just releasing three of her e-books with gorgeous new covers – and I can’t be more pleased.