I grew up in Oregon and Washington, the third oldest of six children, and did the
usual things as a kid: baseball, fishing, paper routes, and school activities. After
graduating from college, I worked as a reporter and an editor and then as a
reference librarian. I've been a novelist since 2012. When not writing, I like to
make beer, walk the dog, and travel around the country. I currently live in the
South with my wife and three grown children.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
Indiana Belle, the third book in the American Journey series, is about Cameron
Coelho, a modern-day doctoral student from Rhode Island who is drawn to a
woman in a century-old photograph he receives in the mail. Not content to leave
well enough alone, he digs into the history of the woman, a society editor
murdered in 1925, and attempts to uncover a few family secrets. He contacts a
celebrated "time-travel professor" in Los Angeles and soon finds himself on a train
to 1925 Indiana. Cameron promises to do no more than gather information and let
history repeat itself, but he has trouble keeping that promise after he falls for
Candice Bell and locks horns with a few unsavory characters. Though I started
outlining the book shortly after finishing Mercer Street, the second novel in the
series, I formulated the story in my head long before that.
How do you create your characters?
All my characters are fictional but are based at least loosely on people I've
encountered in literature, television, movies, and real life. I tend to write characters
to fit certain scenes and situations – not the other way around.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music,
When I write, I usually do so in a very quiet place, like an unoccupied room in my
house. I find it difficult to write even a few paragraphs when I am around noise and
distractions. When I plan and outline novels, I like to listen to music from the era
I'm writing about. In fact, I create an iTunes "soundtrack" for each book and listen
to it often for inspiration.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
I get my ideas from a variety of sources, including books, movies, television, and
What do you like to read?
I read mostly thrillers and historical fiction, though for the past two years I have
been more of a listener than a reader. I'm a big fan of audiobooks.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
Give your book the consideration it deserves. Read it, reread it, and revise it until
you want to run away from your laptop. Enlist the help of competent editors, beta
readers, and illustrators. Be patient. Set reasonable goals. Take marketing
seriously. It’s one thing to write a book. It’s another thing to sell it in a market
where several hundred thousand new titles are released each year. Do what you can
to stand out in the crowd.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I maintain a blog at: http://johnheldt.blogspot.com. It contains updated
information on my books links to my social media sites.