Lisa Schnebly Heidinger, AZ

Premium Writer

Lisa Schnebly Heidinger is a storyteller. Her great-grandfather named the town of Sedona for her great-grandmother, which might contribute to her love of history. From a community newspaper, she moved to radio and television news, then Arizona Highways and op-ed pages. She’s authored ten books about aspects of Arizona (including the official state centennial book) with two more in the pipeline. Lisa savors interviewing people and taking road trips. She believes no cup of coffee is undrinkable – although an hours-old pot at Grey Mountain Trading Post came the closest.

As a StoryTerrace writer, Lisa interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.

Heart of An Adventurer

As a child, what I hated most about my life was that I couldn’t grow up to be a pioneer. I yearned to struggle, overcome obstacles, experience intense emotions and truly test myself, as the westward bound would have done. But no – a ranch house in a pleasant neighborhood, summer vacations, and no hope of Huge Adventure felt like my fate. My best friend Jean and I loved what we called Worry Game: pretending to carry our babies away from enemy soldiers, with husbands off fighting, out of food, ideally in a blizzard, we circled the block in castoff adult clothes. (My mother probably writhed.)

Writing always helped; I could put down the frustrations and feel some peace. I also read every child pioneer story I could: Little House books and accounts of the childhoods of famous Americans. And I yearned.

As an adult, I was gratefully proven wrong about the too-comfortable fate. Starting with a trip down the Grand Canyon in my early 20s, adventure came. Having never even slept outdoors, I couldn’t have anticipated not only living without a blow dryer, but being drenched by unrelenting rain during the night, getting almost knocked off the boat by an unexpectedly aggressive rapid, hiking hungry, cold, tired – fully alive. Finally, I got to find out what I was made of. (It wasn’t always pretty, but it was as vivid as I’d hoped.)

On a later Canyon trip, our group rescued a man who ended up drowning. This was one of many stories that became the kernel of a magazine article. A book of essays I wrote, published by Arizona Highways, includes “Death at Milepost 76.”

Ever since, I’ve been writing about experiences belonging to historical figures and interviewed subjects, in books and articles. Most of my own stay in journals which will be an archivists’ nightmare someday, due to sheer volume. But at least I don’t believe they will be bored.

Get in touch today to work with Lisa!