Sylvia Heidemann


Sylvia is a graduate of the University of Illinois with a degree in English and journalism. Her working career has centered on editing journals and magazines and providing public relations services for associations.

A dedicated animal lover, Sylvia has been the guardian of a number of cats, three Labrador Retrievers, and two horses. Throughout her life she has domesticated formerly feral cats, and they have become totally devoted to her. She enjoys writing non-fiction inspirational stories with an uplifting Christian message. Interesting people and her personality-plus pets are her favorite subjects.

Sylvia's husband David is a pastor and also a dedicated animal lover. In the 13+ years they've been married, they were lovingly manipulated by Shadow, a sweet but stubborn Labrador Retriever. Shadow (subject of The Pastor's Shadow) passed in January of 2013. They have also been guardians for seven feral cats, three of which still live under their roof.

Current writing projects include a book on the very queenly Star, a formerly feral beach cat that recently passed at the age of 13, and one on the two brothers shown in Sylvia's profile photo. The boys are strikingly different in every way, with the ginger-and-white Gibbs being adventuresome and creative, while the laid-back McGee (a Ragamuffin) craves nothing more than good food, companionship and a nice back rub.

Smashwords Interview

When did you first start writing?
I'm sure I must have started writing at an early age, but my first passion was art. Whenever I had time on my hands, I drew horses, cats, you name it. I observed and tried to replicate in detail. I felt sure I was destined to be an artist, so much so that my first major at Illinois State University was art, with a minor in journalism. It only took about a year for me to realize I didn't have that distinctive style that would appeal to people, help me succeed and be able to eat from my earnings. I was working diligently on all my art projects, pulling all-nighters when necessary, but getting grades of "C" as a result. Meanwhile, in my English classes, I had some gifted professors who gave interesting writing assignments, and I was getting "A"s. I don't remember his name, but my 101 professor assigned me a term paper concerning how Edgar Allan Poe distinguished himself at West Point. The distinguishing factor turned out to be humorous to me, and I was hooked. When I transferred in to the University of Illinois as a junior, I had changed my major to English, with a minor in journalism.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My husband and I share a love for animals, and before we met and married, each of us had Labrador Retrievers in our lives. They are very special dogs. Shadow was a "bargain" dog from a shelter and well worth every dollar we paid for her. My husband David, a pastor, always said she had an emotional black hole. She loved unconditionally, and she was pretty insistent about getting love in return. Shadow was a people and kid magnet, a bridge to the most unreachable characters. Because I was the one who picked her out at the shelter, she bonded almost immediately to me. Although David was usually the one who took her out in the rain or snow when nature called, Shadow was Mama's dog; David was staff. Shadow loved David, but she was devoted to me. Her devotion often made me think of the bumper sticker: "I wish I were the person my dog thinks I am." Our book focuses on the 10 years we enjoyed Shadow's company, and spells out the unique aspects of her personality, as well as some of her antics.
Read more of this interview.


The Pastor's Calico
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 7,750. Language: English. Published: November 26, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Entertainment » Humor & satire
When Pastor Dave looks back on the time he saved a tiny calico kitten from certain death, he now surmises she was running away from home, bent on a life of feline crime. As she grew, Cameow bonded with her rescuer, but became antagonistic to his wife, and even plotted to kill her twice! This calico's inventive, devious behaviors are annoying and amusing, requiring forgiveness on a daily basis.
The Pastor's Shadow
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 16,270. Language: English. Published: September 12, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Personal memoir, Nonfiction » Entertainment » Humor & satire
Taking advantage of a shelter's Christmas special, Pastor Dave and his wife adopted a sad, thin chocolate Lab. They had to coach Shadow to be a dog—to swim, fetch and bark. She thrived, and became the loving, big-hearted dog Dave had longed for since he was a boy. Pastor Dave's humorous tale of his 10-year relationship with the sweet but stubborn Shadow will tug at your heart and make you smile.

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