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Meet Heidi Mastrogiovanni in Atwater Village

Today we’d like to introduce you to Heidi Mastrogiovanni.

Heidi, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I moved to New York City after college to be an actor. I joined a sketch comedy group, and, because we needed new material all the time, the other female performer in the group and I started writing sketches. I realized that it is great fun during a performance to get laughs while doing a sketch that someone else has written, and it is even more wonderful to get laughs while saying the words and delivering the punchlines that you’ve written.

I was hooked. I loved writing even more than I loved performing. I am now a novelist, and, to be more specific, I’m a comedic novelist. In fact, sometimes I describe my profession as “humorist.”

I love to make people laugh with my words. I share a birthday with P.G. Wodehouse (and Nietzsche, but that’s another story…), and I like to think of that as not entirely a coincidence. If can make my audience laugh, chuckle, giggle, chortle, and guffaw half as much as I do when I read Wodehouse’s superb work, I will be honored and delighted.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
As a writer (and as an actor, but that’s another story…), if you are too sensitive to handle rejection, it might be a good idea to find another calling in life. It’s not easy to be rejected and to have your work criticized, but its part of the territory.

It took me a long time to find my voice. I had many false starts. And it took me a long time to publish my first book. I am the poster child for second acts, for new beginnings at any age. I can definitely say that it has been worth the wait. And I really want to use my voice to encourage everyone to find their voice and to always remember that it’s never too late.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am a writer of comedic novels. My first novel, “Lala Pettibone’s Act Two,” was released by Amberjack Publishing in February 2017. The sequel, “Lala Pettibone: Standing Room Only,” will be released by Amberjack in September 2018.

I am very proud that “Lala Pettibone’s Act Two” was selected as a finalist in the Humor Category for the Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Awards.

I love working as a mentor to writers of all ages. I am part of the Binders program, a collective of writers who mentor others. I love talking about, writing about, speaking about writing. I love working with others to promote the great joy of reading and writing.

I think what sets me apart is my emphasis on joy. I love to focus on a creative atmosphere that encourages energetic exploration. And I love to encourage everyone to surround themselves with people who share their values, and to engage in activities that reflect their values. That, for me, has been the secret to living a joyous and productive life.

What were you like growing up?
That is such a great question. I think I had many moments of being shy and nervous, and of not feeling comfortable in my skin. I grew up an only child with parents who had many great qualities, but who also bickered all the time and who could be very negative and critical. I think I grew up expecting, for much of the time, for something stressful and negative to happen.

I was always a voracious reader, and I always loved animals. Reading and working for the cause of animal welfare are a huge part of my life. I am so much happier and more comfortable now, at the age of 60, than I ever have been. I have more energy, and I feel better, than I ever have before.

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Image Credit:
Laird Sapir
August McLaughlin

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