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Author Spotlight: Cindy Heigl

Hometown: Huntley

Latest Book: “In a Heartbeat: My
Miraculous Experience of Sudden
Cardiac Arrest”

Publisher: CreateSpace

Release Date: Nov. 11, 2016

Available: Amazon

What’s your new book about?

The book is about the miracles surrounding my sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and my near-death experience (NDE). In 2014, when I was 28, I found myself admitted to intensive care, in the middle of the night with a broken pacemaker wire. Because the wire wasn’t working correctly, my heart just stopped beating. I flatlined twice and was in sudden cardiac death for over 4 minutes. I know it sounds scary, but it wasn’t. What I experienced was the most beautiful and comforting peace you could imagine. It’s hard to describe, because words don’t exist to describe what I felt. It was perfect. After I was resuscitated, I was so blessed! Everything that needed to happen over the next few days fell into place perfectly. God protected my husband, Jeff, and I, and we ended up being able to go home less than three days after I flatlined. During my recovery, I knew I had to share the peace and hope I experienced. I felt humbly led to put it in a book so anyone and everyone who wanted to, could find comfort through my story.

What genre is your book, and why were you drawn to it?

Non-fiction, near death experience, Christian genres. I was drawn to writing a book about my NDE and SCA because as I shared my experience with friends and family, I could see how impactful it was for them. God blessed me with this amazing story to share, and when I am able to do that, I am continuously blessed by the people I share with. It’s always win-win. Everyone who heard my story would say, “you have to write a book!” with tears in their eyes.

Who is the intended audience?

Any person searching for peace, hope, or encouragement. Also, anyone who is facing death, in a medical crisis, or has recently lost a loved one. At first I thought the book would be most relevant for sudden cardiac arrest survivors, or their families. But I have found that lots of people, in all different stages and walks of life, are looking for hope or peace or reassurance. My book is a great reminder that God has a plan for our lives and when we feel like it is spiraling out of control, we are right where we are meant to be.

Why is this story important to you?

It was easy to see how my story could be relevant to people in specific circumstances surrounding death – such as providing comfort to a person who tragically lost a child, parent or friend. I can tell them how supernaturally protected I was and that I did not experience the fear or anxiety I should have felt in the hours and moments before I flatlined. My story could be a source of peace for patients recently given a terminal diagnosis who might fear their coming death. It was not at all what I expected; it was beautiful, peaceful and perfect in every way. I was never alone. In my book, I am clear about my death experience as being the best blessing I have ever received. If I could have stayed in the place I went during sudden cardiac arrest forever, I would have done it in a heartbeat.

But then I saw how my story affected other people in ways I could never have anticipated. Part of the story includes the reality that God had a plan, which was set in motion months before I realized anything was wrong. The plan involved me being uncomfortable and experiencing pain, but ending in a beautiful place with blessings I could not have imagined, let alone asked for. I have seen that part of my experience provide hope in situations that I would not expect a medical story to be relevant.

My testimony is just one of many beautiful, real-life examples of how valued, loved and protected we really are, even when we cannot feel it. I wrote this book because I cannot see who is hurting on the inside and seeking peace, I do not know who needs a little bit of hope to get through the day. God has a way of providing; aligning our lives and allowing things to fall into place perfectly. I realized a story like mine could bless others in ways I could not imagine. So I put it in a book and trust it will reach the people it is supposed to reach.

How long did it take you to write? What was your process?

The events in my book happened in 2014. I kept a journal and slowly wrote the content of the book over about two years during my recovery. Once I decided to publish the story, it took about six months to complete. Everything was there, I just had to rearrange it from journal entries to a story, add dialogue, etc. My good friend, Erin, an English teacher, helped me edit it. She helped with organization and sequence, and bringing life to the story, rather than it reading more like a document.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book? What was the hardest part?

What I enjoyed most about this book is kind of cheesy, but honestly I grew closer to God while writing it. I wrote the book because I felt God leading me to do it, but I didn’t really want to. I was afraid. So I asked for signs and received them over and over and over. When I started writing, I would spend a lot of time praying, asking God to bless the book and help me write exactly what I was called to be writing. I’d never written a book and had no idea what I was doing. It was important to me that the book not be a pity party or a story about my medical mishaps. I didn’t want it to be about me at all. I wanted it to glorify God and be a ministry to people in crisis, because I know how scary and isolating that can feel. When I would get discouraged, I would pray for encouragement and wonder if I was really supposed to write this book. Time and time again, I would encounter random people or situations that reassured me I was following God’s will. I know I am weak and need constant reassurances yet God held my hand and blessed me through this process. He brought the right people into my life at the right time to make it happen and thats what I enjoyed most about writing this book.

The hardest part was writing the last chapter. Originally the book did not include chapter 1 or 9. Chapter 9 is the last chapter and focuses on my recovery. The pain and brain damage after my SCA. The worst version of me that is emotional, weak and broken. It was much harder to recover than I expected and a much slower process. I did not want to include that part of the story because I felt like it took away from the miracles in the rest of the book. I thought people would be most interested in my near death experience and the hope that brings. But I have found many people tell me the last chapter is as encouraging as the rest of the book.

How are you publishing this book and why (traditional/indie/self-publishing)?

I chose to self publish my book. My favorite book is “The Shack.” When I decided to publish, I visited the book’s website to see which publisher they used. There was a page for aspiring authors on their site and it basically said this : We self-published this book because it was too Christian for traditional publishers, and too secular for Christian publishers. We didn’t want to have to change our story to fit their requirements, so we self published. Also, if you self publish your book and it is successful, a publisher will pick it up. They will come after you if your book is worth pursuing. If you can’t gain momentum in the beginning through your friends and family supporting the book, then a publisher wont be able to convince strangers to buy it either.

Of course they put it in kinder words, but it was the most solid truthful advice I found on the topic of publishers. I looked into a couple of publishers, but ultimately decided that God had led me to write this book and would take it where he intended it to go, with or without a publisher.

What is your education/background?

I have a Bachelors of Science degree in marketing and an MBA from Indiana University. I work in sales/business development for a manufacturer in the retail construction industry.

How/why did you decide to write a book?

I felt God leading me to do it.

Who are your favorite authors?

CS Lewis

Pick one: Danielle Steel or John Grisham?

Josh Grisham

Pick one: Stephen King or Nicholas Sparks?

Nicholas Sparks

Pick one: Ebooks or hard/paperbacks?


Have you written anything else?

Lots and lots of term papers in college.

What’s next for you?

Where ever God leads me :)

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website: Blog: Facebook: Twitter: N/A Amazon Author Page: Goodreads: N/A

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