December 26, 2003:
From LifeStyle West Magazine
Young author publishes first novel
by Laurie Arendt
Therese Heckenkamp had her first book published at the age of 22.
If you’re a young adult looking for a book to curl up with during these cold
winter months, look no further than “Past Suspicion,” a new novel by
22-year-old Pewaukee author Therese Heckenkamp.
“I’ve been writing stories since before I could spell,” says Heckenkamp,
whose novel was published in September. “The decision to try and publish my
novel wasn’t so much a leap, but an assortment of stepping stones.”
Being published is nothing new to this homeschool graduate. She was first
recognized for her work in 1994, after writing an essay about raising
monarch butterflies for a national science project competition. She
continued to receive awards and print as a teenager and college student,
with her work appearing in national magazines such as Hopscotch, Cricket and
“I was so excited when my manuscript was accepted for publication by Publish
America,” she says. “They receive queries from 50 hopeful new authors each
day. I enjoyed seeing my story transformed into a real book. When I saw the
final proof, that’s when it really hit me that it was going to be
“Past Suspicion” is a romantic suspense novel for readers 12 and older. It
is the recollections of a fictional character, Robin Finley, a teen burdened
by a terrible past. Though the story is fiction, Heckenkamp drew on her own
personal experiences. “Directly and indirectly, I drew material from
familiar places, situations and characters,” she says, noting that her dad
thinks he is the “Uncle Peter” character.
“The setting came from my own hometown, and some events were taken directly
from things that occurred that spring and summer, such as a storm, a power
outage, attending Pewaukee’s Memorial Day parade and roaming a graveyard”.
It took Heckenkamp about four months to write her rough draft. “Like all
authors, I received rejections, and some were returned with encouraging
comments, so I didn’t give up,” she says.
Now that she has published her first novel, Heckenkamp has a number of other
book ideas in mind. “My mind is absolutely saturated with ideas,” she says.
“And I am at a point in my life where I have the time and ability to really
pursue them, which is nice.”
Given the choice, she’d love to see her career as an author blossom. “If it
was my decision, I would like to publish novels every few years and develop
an eager following for my work,” she muses. “Past Suspicion” is available
through any bookseller.