Interviewing Author Renee Heiss
Q1. Tell us about yourself. What are your favorite books to read?
A. I am a retired Family Consumer Sciences teacher, with a focus on Child Development. I enjoy reading mysteries and adventure novels at night before going to bed. However, during the day, I mostly read nonfiction – subjects that broaden my interests on any topic. Almost all of my reading is done digitally.
Q2. Where did the inspiration to write come from?
A. I found that many children become agitated while the parent is preparing dinner. It’s the witching hour - They’re hungry, they’re getting no attention, and they can’t seem to find the right thing to occupy their time. I decided that if kids had a designated task that helped with the preparation, life would be easier for everyone. The key to the success of the Chef Cappy books is that each child has a designated task, which eliminates most arguments about whose turn it is to stir the biscuit batter!
Q3. How did you come up with the titles of your books?
A. How did you come up with the name of your book? Well, the Chef part was easy. Then I found a stock photo to use for the cover and I loved his cap, so the star of the show became Chef Cappy!
Q4. Anything you're currently working in 2019?
A. I am working on the second book of the series – Food from 50 States, spotlighting regional flavors. The edition out now is on holiday favorites. Future titles will cover international cuisine, special diets, and healthy snacking.
Q5. How long have you been writing?
A. How long have you been writing? I started writing my first book in 2000 when I could see that retirement was less than ten years down the road. I wanted to build a career that would carry me into retirement, one that was not too strenuous on my aging knees and back! That first book was for teachers. It was titled, Feng Shui for the Classroom. I did many workshops on that topic before I retired.
Q6. What advice would you like to give to other authors?
A. What advice would you give other authors? Do what you love and never give up. Also, make sure you have a firm grasp on English grammar before proceeding. I had also been a middle school language arts teacher, so I knew where my commas belonged and how to spell most commonly-used words without using a dictionary.
Q7. Where can we connect with you online?
A. I have two websites: My personal website showcases everything I do (www.reneeheissart.com) and the Chef Cappy’s Kitchen website shows the possibilities for using the cookbook (www.chefcappyskitchen.com) Everything you need to know about me will be in either of those websites.
Q8. Do you plan on writing any more books in the future?
A. Good question! I never know when the creative spark will ignite the literary fire and push me to write about a new topic. So, the answer to your question is yes, I do plan on writing more books, but I have no idea what they will be right now!
Q9. How many books have you written?
A. How many books have you written? After that first book for teachers, I also wrote Helping Kids Help (a resource for teachers and parents to show their kids about the value of philanthropy), a series of books featuring “The Enteletrons” (www.stemchildrensbooks.com), Woody’s World, the fictionalized account of my father’s escapades as he grew up during The Great Depression, Ducklings in a Row, an ordinal counting book, My Peaceful Place, a series of soothing short stories and images, and Be the Master of Your Mental Kingdom, a self-help book for teens and young adults.
Q10. Did you go to college with the intent to be a writer?
A.No! I started out as a math major, but had a less than cooperative calculus instructor, and changed my major to what was then Home Economics, now Family Consumer Sciences. I did take a number of elective courses on writing and literature. Later, after my three daughters were launched, I took a summer workshop at the Highlights for Children Foundation on writing for children, which gave me an insider’s view of the publishing industry.