BELMONT—Cuba City native Kim Heinrichs has crossed “write a book” off of her bucket list. She self-published “Who’s Got Lilly’s Swimsuit?” through Little Creek Press in Mineral Point.
Heinrichs said the story was inspired by an incident that occurred the summer of 2014 when her grandchildren were visiting.
“I hung their swimsuits on the deck to dry one afternoon and forgot about them overnight,” Heinrichs said. “When I went to grab them the next morning, one was missing. There were raccoon tracks near the deck, so I thought the raccoon must have run off with it. Four days later, the swimsuit was back on the deck.”
From there, Heinrichs thought the experience would make a great children’s story. She asked her grandchildren which animals in her woods they thought could have taken the swimsuit and used their input to help write the book.
At the time, three of her four grandchildren were old enough to contribute ideas for the story. Lilly (5), Beckett (4) and Sophie (3) came up with ideas while Blake (2) wasn’t quite old enough to add much.
“I recorded all of their ideas and then went to work on the story,” Heinrichs said. “When I got it done, I had a couple of friends and my daughter-in-law, Kelly (Booth) Heinrichs, who works for McGraw Hill, read it and hopefully give me their honest opinion. They all encouraged me [to proceed]. Then I talked to Becky Carey, who is also an author with Little Creek Press, and she, too, encouraged me. After that, I met with Kristen Mitchell from Little Creek Press to learn details and get her opinion. She was also very encouraging.”
After talking the situation over with her husband, Ken, she decided to move forward.
Heinrichs said the process to get her book published was a positive one. She worked with Kristin Mitchell of Little Creek Press to submit everything necessary and Aaron Boyd was recommended as the artist. Heinrich said she couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out. Her books are scheduled to be delivered to Belmont on Dec. 22.
“Seeing my name on the cover was enough for me,” Heinrich said. “People are telling me to write another one already. I have to sell this one first.”
Books can be ordered through Little Creek Press at littlecreekpress.com; at amazon.com or by contacting the author at email@example.com. Heinrichs will also have them available for sale Dec. 22 at Belmont School from 3-6 p.m. She said 100 books have already been pre-ordered. The 36-page full-color books are $17.95 each.
“I’ve gotten a ton of support from the Belmont community,” Heinrichs said. “It’s a great town. I’ve been invited to read at St. Rose, too. You can’t beat small town support.”
Heinrichs has already had six invitations to read her book at area schools. She said she hopes to develop teaching materials to accompany the book.
“Working with Little Creek Publishing was great,” Heinrichs said. “The book was all inspiration from my grandchildren. They are the light and push me to do stuff. I’m always looking for ways to entertain them. This just shows them that if you work hard you can accomplish anything.”
Heinrichs lives near the first state capitol building outside of Belmont. She grew up in Dubuque and moved to Cuba City when she was 12. She is the oldest daughter of Bill and Kay Kessler of Cuba City. She moved to Belmont when she married Ken Heinrichs.
She and Ken have three children—Jaime Heinrichs of Belmont, Emily Lynd of Twin Lakes and Jesse Heinrichs of Cambridge—as well as four grandchildren—Beckett Heinrichs (5), Blake Heinrichs (3), Lilly Lynd (6) and Sophie Lynd (4)—with one more due later this month.
“It’s always been on my bucket list to write something and get it published,” Heinrichs said. “Although, I never thought it would be a children’s book.”
Heinrichs is a 20-year cancer survivor and had a brain tumor four years ago; both are experiences her friends have encouraged her to write about.
Heinrichs is a retired elementary teacher. She started at St. Joseph’s School for one year, then Holy Ghost-Immaculate Conception School for one year, four years at St. Rose School, then 28 years at Belmont Elementary teaching first, second and third grades throughout the years. She retired from Belmont Schools in 2014.
Heinrichs was heavily involved in outdoor education at Belmont Schools and she hopes the book is a catalyst to get people exploring outdoors.