In that instant—right then, right there—I knew my experience would become a book. I was crawling on the maple floor of my creaky old home to the telephone in the kitchen. It was 2:00 a.m., a bad guy was on the street outside, and I had left my lights on and my windows open. I needed to call the police—without being witnessed. Urgency and silence were imperative, but my cats, well . . . being cats, had other intentions. Dewey was charging ahead, head low and cantering on the prowl. Lily was on my left, thumping and squiggling, jumping and wriggling—delirious with delight. And Thumper was trotting behind—clip clop, clip clop—his great girth skimming the ground with every step, and doing his gentle, sweet part to keep the family together.

I titled this series of articles “Trailing Joy,” because it was my emotions, and only my emotions, that propelled me to pursue this impractical, unpredictable journey of book creation.

I stopped halfway down the hall, took in the hilarity of the moment, and made a mental note to start writing a children’s book the next week. And so I did.
This is my story . . . and the story of a thief who drove his rickety old ride to my neighborhood with the audacity to steal and the misfortune to stumble into the sight of “Anna” and the Three Norwegians.

What’s to come . . .

What will follow over the next several months is a series of articles detailing my insights, experiences, and lessons learned in creating and marketing a big, beautiful, independently published picture book. Since my journey required the assumption (or delegation) of 20+ different roles—from business manager to art director to attorney—I will structure the articles along functional lines to bring the various roles, and skills required, to life. I took on some of the roles myself, but others I outsourced—this decision will be different for everyone.

Inspector Dewey on the case!

I don’t profess to be a Writer—I have no formal training, professional history, or published works to my credit. In short, don’t expect expert writing tips from me. I am, first and foremost, a creator with a passion to deliver delightful, memorable consumer experiences. I try fresh approaches, challenge notions of what is or should be, and I revel in surrounding myself with crazily talented people to see what, together, we can create.

Collaborate, create, innovate . . .

That’s what I do, and that’s what I hope to share with others. And while I don’t claim to be a seasoned writer or author, I have insight to share as a marketing strategy, branding, and new product development expert. I’m also boldly honest and unafraid to share my fears and failures, so I’ll include a good bit of these as well.

My book journey started with a vision—clear objectives and an end goal in mind. And so should yours.

Interior from Inspector Dewey, now available through Amazon!

Joy—the Fire That Keeps Our Purpose Warm

I titled this series of articles “Trailing Joy,” because it was my emotions, and only my emotions, that propelled me to pursue this impractical, unpredictable journey of book creation.

Bringing Inspector Dewey to the market has been among my greatest pleasures, uniting my passions for writing, innovation, entrepreneurship, discovering new talent, design, leadership, strategy, marketing, animals, speaking, education, literacy, and philanthropy. That’s a LOT of joy bundled into one little book! I believe in listening to the heart, and I hope, in some roundabout way, that my courage to follow my heart will give others the courage to follow theirs.

Until next month. Now, choose joy!

For more information about Kristen’s terrific new book, visit her web site,!

Kristen Heimerl
Kristen’s business career spans 20+ years serving the biggest brands in industry and the biggest hearts of start-ups and entrepreneurs. She holds a master of science in eCommerce from Carnegie Mellon University, an MBA from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, & a BA from the University of St. Thomas. Learn more about Kristen!