By NANCY BETTER
Kia Heavey never set out to write a popular psychological thriller — or a torrid romance novel, or a science fiction fantasy. As a full-time Greenwich working mother with two young children, she hardly expected her late-night hobby to find a devoted audience.
Yet after self-publishing her first two books – “Night Machines” and “Underlake” – Heavey entered her third effort, “Domino”, in a Kindle Scout contest for up-and-coming authors. To her surprise, “Domino” won a contract with Kindle Press, and has sold briskly over the past year.
“Fiction writing is an intensely satisfying creative outlet,” Heavey explains. “Once the book is edited and polished up and released to the world, there’s a terrifying moment — what will people think of it? But when the first good review comes in, knowing that your story touched someone is immensely satisfying.”
The daughter of a writing instructor at Manhattanville College, Heavey honed her craft at Barnard, where she studied English and German literature. After college, she pursued a career as a graphic designer, serving as an art director in the fashion industry. Along the way she met her husband, Jim Heavey, then a sergeant and now chief of the Greenwich Police Department.
Although Heavey insists that her books are not autobiographical, she admits that certain elements in “Night Machines” are based on personal experience. “I did write about locations and professions with which I was familiar, but the characters were never supposed to be stand-ins for my husband and myself,” she says.
In fact, while the protagonist in “Night Machines” is married to a detective, Heavey says she never gets inside information from her own husband. “Jim is extremely professional and he doesn’t talk about anything from work that I shouldn’t know. It can be frustrating sometimes, because my friends in town will email me to try to get details on things that are going on. You’d think the police chief’s wife would have some scoop! But I don’t know anything more than they do.”
How does the police chief feel about his wife’s writing – which has been described by critics as “spellbinding,” “sensual,” and “supernatural?”
“My husband is a great supporter and promoter of my writing, but he prefers to read non-fiction, so my books aren’t really his cup of tea,” Heavey says with a laugh.
Collaborating with other creative types is also important to Heavey. She co-moderates an online authors’ network, which brings together readers, writers, editors, artists, agents, and publishers to help move projects along. She’s also a member of the Greenwich Chapter of American Pen Women. “It’s a great club for creative women to consider, as it welcomes writers, composers, and artists,” she says. “There is wonderful camaraderie and chances to get together and enjoy the arts as a group.”
Currently, Heavey is trying her hand at a new literary form – satire — that is proving harder than anticipated. “Satire is supposed to draw attention to society’s flaws, which are inherently evil and/or injurious — but you have to be funny while you do this! I’m also trying to criticize the protagonist, who makes awful decisions, while making her sympathetic, so it’s very challenging. But don’t worry – as in my other books, she will be redeemed and there will be a happy ending.”