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Connecting Readers with Finger Lakes Authors

Spotlight on Heidi Nightengale

How long have you been writing?

Over 40 years.

When you write, do you prefer pen and paper, or the computer?

Pencil and yellow legal pads.

Of the books you’ve written, which one is your favorite and why?

My favorite is my children’s picture book, Robert’s Red Sweater. This is my favorite as it was a story that came to me at a children’s birthday party for my then 5-year-old nephew. It was a work of love that took nearly 30 years to come to fruition. The story is delightfully illustrated by Erin Bonsted, and the theme teaches children about empathy and giving with a surprising twist! 

What’s your favorite book by another author?

Out of Africa, by Isak Dinesen

What was your favorite childhood book?

My favorite childhood book is a toss about between the entire Winnie-the-Pooh series and the Snow Queen

Where did you grow up, and what impact did it have on your writing?

I grew up among a large family of 6 siblings in Skaneateles, NY. The fun of a large and loving family and our adventurous family vacations and daily life among the lakes in the Finger Lakes gave me great fodder for writing. My weekly trips to the Skaneateles library with my mother and siblings had a huge impact on my reading development and love of writing. As I read through the pile of books I borrowed from the library each Saturday morning when I was seven years old, I wanted to be a writer. 

Who is your favorite fictional character and why?

Harry Potter is my favorite fictional character because the very magic of him and the books themselves reflect my own belief that good magic is all around us. 

What’s the most interesting place you’ve visited?

Edisto Island, a low country sea island off the coast of South Carolina.

What’s your secret guilty pleasure?

Eating Raisinettes! 

If life gave you a chance for one do-over, what would you choose?

I would have one more long and sunny afternoon by the water with my mother. 

Favorite thing to binge watch?

Ooops! Second time to say I love to binge watch BritBox mysteries! 

What is something that you wish people would ask you?

Why I truly believe in faeries.

What was your first job?

My first job was as a waitress in high school at a diner in Skaneateles, NY

Tell us about the best meal you’ve ever had.

The best meal I ever had happened each evening of my childhood. My mother cooked a homemade meal of meat, potatoes, vegetables and dessert each night of my childhood when we all sat together and discussed our day.

Tell us about your first or favorite car.

My favorite car was my first Jeep – a 1995 Jeep Wrangler. I have been a loyal Jeep driver since and now drive a Jeep Renegade. 

What’s something that’s still on your bucket list?

I would like to go on an African photo safari.

What’s your favorite piece of music?

Pachelbel’s Canon in d major

Tell us about a teacher who inspired you.

My 11th grade creative writer teacher, Mrs. Elizabeth Patton

What’s the most dominant color in your wardrobe?

Soft greens