Heather L. Hughes tends toward restlessness and motion, and this tendency was revealed at an early age: Nestled against her mother’s shoulder, infant Heather would pinch her mother’s neck to keep her walking around the room. Standing in place was discouraged, strongly, and sitting was forbidden.
Heather’s urge to move was further engrained when the family moved from the New Jersey suburbs to a century-old farmhouse and 70-plus acres in rural Maine. That’s where Heather grew up, along with three siblings, several cats and dogs, the occasional horse, pony and donkey, and lots of Dorset sheep. She daydreamed about being elsewhere, but all her attempts at running away were foiled, probably for the best.
Eventually “elsewhere” became the University of Arizona, in Tucson, where Heather got her MFA in creative writing. But then it was San Diego, and then New York City. This summer, ever-restless Heather will move to New Orleans.
Heather’s first professional writing job was as a copywriter for International Male, the infamous men’s clothing catalog. She was informed that her copy for floor-length pleather opera capes, pirate shirts and velvet thongs was “too campy” and that she needed to “tone it down.” As a freelance copy editor for magazines, including Rolling Stone, Maxim, Allure, Harper’s Bazaar and Family Circle, Hughes learned how toning it down could have a greater effect than camping it up.
Hughes has a Southern gothic imagination and a New England WASP temperament, which leads to a lot of internal conflict. She has never had a cavity, and she still loves the smell of hay. Sometimes, like the best of us, she stands on her head to clear her mind.