Heather Gudenkauf graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education and for the past sixteen years has worked with elementary children. Currently, along with writing, Heather is an Instructional Coach, an educator who provides teachers with curricular, student, and professional development support. Heather lives in Dubuque, Iowa with her husband and children.In her free time Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and running.
Heather Gudenkauf was born in Wagner, South Dakota, the youngest of six children. When she was one month old, her family returned to the Rosebud Indian Reservation, where her father was employed as a guidance counselor and her mother as a school nurse. At the age of three, she moved with her family to Iowa, whereshe grew up.
Having been born with a profound unilateral hearing impairment (there were many evenings when Heather and her father made a trip to the bus barn to look around the school bus for her hearing aids that she often conveniently would forget on the seat beside her), Heather tended to use books as a retreat, and with a pillow, blanket and flashlight, she would climb into the toy boxthat her father’s students from Rosebud had made for the family, close the lid and escape the world around her. When reading, Heather didn’t need to work so hard trying to understand what others were saying to her. She became a voracious reader, and the seed of becoming a writer was planted.
Heather graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent the pastsixteen years working with students of all ages and is currently an instructional coach, an educator who provides curricular and professional development support to teachers. Heather lives in Dubuque, Iowa, with her husband, three children and a very spoiled German shorthaired pointer named Maxine. In her free time Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking and running.
Question: Please describe where you grew up and what your family was like.
Heather Gudenkauf: I was born in Wagner, South Dakota, the youngest of six children and also lived on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota where my father was a high school guidance counselor and my mom was a school nurse. We moved to Mason City, Iowa when I was three years old and lived thereuntil I was eighteen. Mason City, most famous for being the hometown of composer Meredith Wilson and the inspiration for the setting of his musical The Music Man, was a wonderful place to grow up. I lived in a neighborhood where children would gather to play impromptu games of kick the can and hide and seek on summer nights.
I am so fortunate to come from a loving and supportive family. Everythingpositive I have learned in my life about marriage and being a parent I have learned from my mother and father. As the youngest of six, my brothers and sisters willingly towed me along with them and always looked out for me --– and they still do!
Q: When did you first become interested in being a writer? What other professions, if any, have you had?
HG: I’ve enjoyed writing since I was achild. But as is typical with most writers, I was and am, first and foremost an avid reader. As a child my favorite place in the world was our public library and I spent as much time as possible with my nose in a book. I admired the way writers could take me away to different places and times through the written word. I always knew I wanted to try my hand at writing but didn’t sit down andseriously begin until after I was married and had my children. I have spent the last 17 years working in the field of education.
Q: What is your educational background?
HG: I graduated from the University of Iowa (Go Hawks!) with a degree in elementary education and a reading endorsement.
Q: Are there any writers, teachers, or other individuals that have had a major influence on your writing...