Heidi McLaughline: Bestselling Books to Major Motion Pictures, The Highs & Lows of Both

How would it be to have all your dreams come true? Well, according to Heather, more fabulous than believable, and more frustrating than imaginable. And, she should know! Her life has taken turns that even the best of us would marvel at. From mega-blogs to movie sets, Hollywood red carpets to celebrity meet-ups, Heidi has acquired a wealth of knowledge that not only inhabits her riveting contemporary stories, but guides her life, as well. Yet to visit with, she is still just a mom who loves her educator husband, her daughter’s basketball games and dishing about all things life, love, and romance!

InD: You have very little said about you, so say a lot. You grew up in the Pacific Northwest. What was it like?
It was good. I was born in Portland. At the beginning of my 7th grade year, we moved south of Eugene, then during my sophomore year in high school we moved east to Spokane, Washington. It is hard to say I have one specific home town, it is just the Northwest. I have spent the most time in Vermont. I’ve been here for almost 19 years.
InD: Was it hard moving around so much when you were a teenager?
Moving when you are in high school is not the best thing to do because you are young and don’t get the time to make lasting friendships. I think I still speak to maybe three people from one high school and one from another.
InD: Was it your dad's work that moved you around so much?
Yeah. I don't know exactly what he does, but he works for a grocery or food company, but he is the boss. He started off as a box boy in a grocery store in Portland when he was 14 or 15 years old and worked his way up, moving each time he did. His district moved him to Eugene and we moved down there with him. Then they moved him east of Spokane, so he would drive the six or seven hours from Eugene to Spokane, work all week, living out of a hotel, then drive back to us on Friday and spend weekends. He did that until we were out for summer because he didn’t want to take us out of school in the middle of the year again.
InD: What were you like as a child?
I was an only child until I was six and I spent a lot of time with my grandmother, who has since passed away.
InD: Did your mom work, because you said that you spent a lot of time with your grandma?
My parents were very young when they married, so I spent tons of time with my grandmother and visited my uncles and aunts a lot. I don't know what my mom did for a job when I was young. I think she was a waitress, but I don't really remember.
InD: So you spent a lot of time with your grandmother?
Yeah, until my parents moved to Eugene, then she told them I had to live with them for a while. She actually moved to Washington D.C., which was really crappy for me. I really missed her.
InD: Were you a happy child?
I was probably a lot different than other people, so it may be hard to relate. My two younger siblings have cystic fibrosis. I did play basketball and softball, but that was really the extent of anything I did. Back in the early 80s and 90s, there was a stigma with chronic illnesses and people wouldn't let their children come over to our house because they were afraid they might catch it. I couldn’t go to other kids houses if their parents smoked because the secondhand smoke was bad for my siblings. Also, I had to be careful with bringing home any other illnesses. The common cold could put my siblings in the hospital.
I was a homebody unless I was playing basketball or softball. I did not like school because everyone made fun of the fact that my brother and sister were always sick, so I just kind of did my own thing and hung out with my siblings most the time.
InD: Was that all the way through high school?
Pretty much. When I moved during high school, I didn't tell anybody I had a brother or sister, or that they were sick. While at that school, my brother got sick and I stayed with him in the hospital. Rumors started by some rotten kids and spread super quickly. "Why did you miss so much school? You look fine, you're not sick." I had told one person my brother had been in the hospital and she told everybody he tried to kill himself, so that went around. Yeah, school was not super fun for me.
InD: It sounds like you had some really challenging teenage years.
I did. Now it probably wouldn’t be so bad because the stigma over having a chronic illness doesn't exist as much. Back then, there were so many rules I had to watch for, not only the secondhand smoke, but if my friend had a cough, they couldn’t come over, anything germ-related was scary. So, mostly, my brother and sister and I played together. My brother was born when I was six and my sister came when I had just turned 10, so I had a different childhood than what my kids have, that’s for sure!

Read the entire interview in the March 2021 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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