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Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Long Awaited Day....

There can be no doubt that I have never gone so long between books. No doubt that this is the most ambitious novel I've undertaken, and the longest. I think I can safely report that most bookstores have Tennis Shoes Adventure Book 11: Sorcerers and Seers out on the shelves. Most of my book signings so far have been extraordinarily successful. Yesterday, between the two venues, I signed about 200 books for people--some avid fans, and some who were buying the books for the first time. In any case, these kinds of numbers are not particularly common for me. It was, humbly speaking, more attention than usual.

I've gotten positive feedback from fans so far, but I'm sure I'll inevitably get the latter. Yesterday at the Sandy, Costco I had a strange confrontation with a fan who assured me that he "loved my books" but would not purchase any more until the series was totally complete. It was a very love/hate kind of confrontation, but I think I understand the sentiment.

The standard response I always give to folks at signings when they ask if this is the last book is, "No. Right now I'm working on a sequel to Passage to Zarahemla. This sequel will tie-in to the Tennis Shoes series. And when you read the sequel to Passage to Zarahemla (called Escape From Zarahemla), you'll understand why this book had to be written before I could write Book 12 or Thorns of Glory." In a sense that means there will be at least two more novels in the Tennis Shoes "saga." And maybe more beyond that. But my goal is to at least complete the basic storyline currently underway in Book 12.

I realize I've pursued a very strange style of storytelling to end a book on a cliffhanger. It's not such an uncommon style with modern authors, but I know a reader is often tempted to groan in frustration when they reach the last page. However, for any reader who simply loves a great story, and can drink in the plot and words and characters, I'm not sure they should care too much. Many appreciate the complex milieu and are grateful that it isn't the end--that characters they have come to know and appeciate will "be back." Each of my Tennis Shoes novels have successively gotten longer, meaning that I have tried to create greater "value" simply by adding more adventure. That may be the result of addressing the "frustration" sentiment. Will more pages to keep someone on the edge of their seat seem more worth the price? But even a good friend of mine who works for my publisher expressed that she will not read my books until she knows that the series is finally and completely done. Hmm. Unfortunately she may find herself in for a very long wait. Even if I draw to a close the story currently underway that technically began with Warriors of Cumorah, that doesn't mean that I might not pursue the series further and take it another direction.

I had another fan yesterday who came up to me and explained that she will read the storylines out of order. She was just too impatient to find out what happened to Steffanie and Pagag, for example, and then she went back and read the rest of the chapters that she had skipped. I certainly understand this temptation. But I don't advise it. Especially toward the end. Those who have completed the book know that the storylines unexpectedly converge and combine in a way that would spoil certain plot twists if one read the book out of order. Those who have experienced the twist with a certain Jaredite warrioress understand what I'm saying. I'm not sure the surprise or "gestalt" of this would be quite the same if someone read the book out of order. But who can say? To each his/her own. Consume the book however you judge to be best.

My hope is simply that the book is judged to be good writing, strong storytelling, compelling research, and mind-bending plotlines. If a reader doesn't come away with a greater appreciation for the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, and an understanding of the complexity of the Book of Mormon that they previously did not possess, then the book should not have been written. The end goal with these books remains the same: a person with a flagging testimony should be compelled to get on their knees and reopen a powerful dialogue with their Father in Heaven; a teenager who is vacillating whether or not to go on a mission should find himself bursting at the seams to share the Gospel and play whatever small role they possibly can in building God's magnificent kingdom. Finally, anyone who is experiencing excruciating trials should be comforted to know that others have experienced/are experiencing similar trials, and have/are pulling through. Sure, the trials in this book are fictional. But are they? The majority of us do not have trials related to traveling in time, but beyond that, specific emotions and distress that my characters endure should seem very familiar. The spiritual challenges, physical suffering, and heart-wrenching grief are all part of the human condition. I've personally been through a lot of those. And readers who have the gift to truly immerse themselves in a work of fiction and "become part" of the adventure, I hope, find themselves very much strengthened and comforted with regard to overall theme of the Tennis Shoes series. And what is that theme? I would hope that any of my veteran readers can answer that without hestitation. Simply put: God is at the helm.

I welcome feedback from readers--so long as it doesn't spoil specific plot points. If you can't resist that, then feel free to write me directly at my email: cheimerdinger@gmail.com. I've already had my first fans ask me with eagerness, "When's the next book coming out?" So the brief respite and satisfaction that I may have enjoyed relishing the experience of completing such a long and complex novel is officially over. Now I have to get back to work.

I express, once again, my sincere gratitute to fans who have stuck with me, and stuck with the series all these year. My sincere objective is to prove that it is, ever and always, worth the wait. No shortcuts. The books are designed to get better and better as I challenge myself to out-do what I have previously done. I sincerely want to be the creator of some of the best storytelling and novel-writing the LDS market has enjoyed. History will tell if I have successed. But mostly, fans will tell. It will be shown by how long these books actually remain on the shelves of LDS booksellers before the owners finally make room for whatever is the newest trend or "thing." So far this month I seem to have earned a revitalized position on that shelf. Let's hope those days continue for a very long time.

Those who wish to preorder Sorcerors and Seers, or any other Tennis Shoes novel, DVD, etc., can call me directly at 801-495-0555. Yes, I often answer the phone directly. Whatever I become, I hope it's never someone too busy or too "important" to speak directly with fans.


  1. While I have yet to buy the book myself I feel that reaching the end of a book and finding a cliffhanger really is a double-sided coin. I am happy to know that the characters I love reading about are still going to continue having adventures while equally feeling the frustration that I now have to wait to finish the storyline. I'm now quite intrigued to see how this story will tie into the Passage books...

  2. Hi Chris, I don't know why anyone wants the Tennis Shoe Series to become complete. I'd much rather read a long series with lots of books like the "Work and the Glory" than just a trilogy. I think that you are one of the best authors out there. I just love the Tennis Shoe Series. I remember reading one of your books when I was a freshman in high school and being not able to put it down. However, I think that Eddie Fantastic is your worse book so far. I've been reading it off and on. I can only take it in short bursts because it's too teenagery.

  3. You mentioned a tie-in with the sequel to Zarahemla. When book 12 comes out, will we need to read the Zarahemla sequel first, or will Zarahemla fans need to be familiar with Tennis Shoes? Or both? I have enjoyed all your books except for one: Passage to Zarahemla. It didn't capture my attention the way Tennis Shoes and your other non-series books did. Part of that may just be that I was quite a bit older by the time I read it, and wasn't previously (a younger me) invested in the characters, etc.

    If a reader doesn't come away with a greater appreciation for the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, and an understanding of the complexity of the Book of Mormon that they previously did not possess, then the book should not have been written.

    I disagree. I enjoy reading your books, especially the Tennis Shoes series, and I've always found it fascinating to think of Book of Mormon characters/people as having other aspects of their lives besides what we read in the few pages of the book. However, reading your books has never affected my testimony. It's neither strengthened nor weakened as a result of reading your books. Your books are interesting, and they have good characters and plots, but they are fiction. Testimonies should not grow from fiction.

    1. It is true that you should grow your testimony through personal experiences, but who is to say the Tennis Shoes series doesn't do just that? Through reading I often find myself studying the scriptures to compare the two. It also helps me when I read about someone and why they make certain decisions. I am especially touched as Meagan goes through her trail in Sorcerers and Seers. We've all had doubts, hopes and fears in our own lives. I think that is what helps us connect to each character. I have also researched many things in the Tennis Shoes series talks about; things that without the books I would have never thought to look up. So maybe the Tennis Shoes won't give you a testimony by itself, but through diligent study it can definitely help, or even spark it.

  4. I got mine! I got mine! I got mine! Autographed, even though I didn't get to go to a book signing! My feet haven't touched the ground!

    Sometimes hanging by a thread at the end of a book is precarious; keeps me up at night imagining what might happen next. But that's the mark of a fine author, right? One who can keep you stewing on the plot long after the book was finished?

    I love going back and going through all the cassettes and CDs in order again and again. Makes the road trips go much faster. And I never tire of the storyline. Even though I know what's going to happen now, I still enjoy reliving the scenes again and again. Just like some people enjoy watching movies over and over again, I guess.

    Keep up the good work! I love your novels!

  5. Chris, you are the best! I like to think of myself as your #1, biggest fan ever! Thanks for updating so frequently. Your books (as well as your movie, and music) are absolutely amazing, clever, well put, and inspiring, and they have helped strengthen my testimony and love for the scriptures immensely! And I want to thank you for it.
    I am so exited to see how everything unravels in the books to come. And I know you will do an amazing job doing it, as always!
    And I don't think you need worry, Chris. Unless the book stores are completely nuts, your books should be on the shelves for a long, long while. If I were them, I wouldn't take them off anytime soon...if ever.

  6. My wife and I both love your books Chris (that's one of the things that impressed me when I first met her, actually). And I second what the other reader said - I would much rather read a long, never-ending series than a neatly wrapped up trilogy. I found I had to go back to Warriors of Cumorah and read those books all over again, and it was a blast - so much I'd forgotten! It was almost like reading them for the first time. I'll keep reading your books as long as you keep writing them.

  7. Chris I have to say that I have been pretty disappointed in the lack of advertising with this book. I keep expecting to see it on church book websites and at least a poster at my local bookstore. I mean for your fans this is a BIG deal!

    And not to go against the comment that was previously made by Janelle because you can have diffrences of opinions, I will add that I personally feel that your series have allowed my testimony to be strengthened. Especially the Feathered Serpent Story line. I feel that anytime I feel the spirit then my testimony is growing stronger and I do that MANY times during your books Thanks and keep the stories coming.

  8. Chris, it was great to meet you at the book signing on Saturday. I just finished reading it and I was completely enraptured the entire time. I have known for years that you are a good writer. This book has reassured that even more. This is probably one of the most intense Tennis Shoes books in my opinion but I also think it's one of the best. Keep up the good work. I cannot wait to read the Passage to Zarahemla sequel as well as Thorns of Glory.

  9. Hey Chris! Long time 62 yo Heimerdinger fan here, and I'm flying in to SLC from Alabama to see you at a booksigning. Well, I have to admit I'll be visiting my daughter there too. Can't wait to see you again, first time since I met you on your mission! My book is in the mail, already signed, but I'll see you at Costco just to say Hello!
    Jeanette Wimpee

  10. Personally, I think anytime you read/watch/listen to anything spiritual or "good," as described in the thirteenth Article of Faith, it can strengthen your testimony, but I realize that not everybody feels that way. There have been several times when a line in one of your books, or books by other authors, have made me look at a principle or scripture in an entirely different way, and I appreciate it.

    Anyway, I loved the book, and I can't believe we have to wait another year or two for the next one! But I loved Passage, so I'm looking forward to the sequel, and I'm glad to know it'll tie in with the Tennis Shoes books eventually. I had a feeling it might. Thanks again for the hours of entertainment, and for taking the time to chat occasionally. =)

  11. Holy pickle. I didn't know this wasn't your last one. Sweet!! All the more to get excited for reading it. I am sooooooo excited to buy it and read it!!

  12. All I can say is that I loved the 11th installment of the Tennis Shoes Series. I could not put it down. Not only was it a good story but it improved my testimony as I read. I realized things that I had forgotten over the years. Thanks so much Chris. I have enjoyed reading all of your books since I was a little kid. The only thing I did not like about this book is when I turned the last page. So please hurry and finish the 12th book.

  13. Book 11 is amazing I couldn't put it down I finished it so fast. It actually strengthened my testimony and I'm so grateful to you Chris. Please hurry and finish book 12

  14. I have no problem with the series continuing for the rest of my life. I see them as mini series anyway. The first two were stand alones. 3 &4 were a miniseries. 5-7 were there own series and now 8-12 will be there own series. Whats wrong with adding more of these series if I love reading them so much? Keep 'em coming! I plan on reading them with my family when my little guy is old enough! I do feel that they inspire me to study the scriptures more and make me excited to think outside the box. Thanks for what you do, Chris. I love your books.

  15. Chris,

    Thank you for writing such incredible books. I have a question for you. I believe in the power of music, and how it can influence ones emotions, mood, spirit, etc...I'm curious to know if you listen to music when you write your books, and if so what kind of music? I know you are a song writer, so I would imagine that music plays an important part of any project you undertake.

    Thank you,

    Logan, UT

  16. I can't wait for everything to come out!! I don't think that the Tennis Shoes Adventure Series should end. They are that good. It would be so cool that the books turn into a movie.

  17. You seriously need to end this series soon. I can already guess that Meagan will get healed when Jesus comes to the Nephites; I just know it. So just finish the series already!!!!!!!! I want to see how Apollus' and Meagam's relationship ends!!!!

  18. I have postponed getting involved in reading this series when even all my friends and their kids have read them all. But this year, I bought the whole set for my son,... and I'm on the last book! I REALLY don't want to wait 5 years for the 12th book! These are the best books that I have read in a long time, and I have really enjoyed reading them. I'm so sorry that I put off reading them when everyone else was telling how good they are. I have done the same with the Harry Potter series, but I really don't have the desire to read it. But this one.. I simply just LOVED! Thanks for all you hard work, and your creative mind! I would LOVE to see movies made out of each book. That would be really awesome! Now get to work and get that 12th book done!

  19. I love that myself, my husband and all seven of our kids can listen to the stories as we drive together. Often we have to stop somewhere and we sit in the car listening because we can't turn it off yet. It is so nice to have something we all enjoy and that is thought provoking and allows our children (and ourselves) to ask questions, ponder and strengthen our testimonies. (Even if it is fiction). Thanks so much!!!

  20. Please tell me when the next book is coming out! I`m dying with anticipation!

  21. Dear Chris, I've purchased two sets of the "Tennis Shoes" plus I have them on CD. I keep lending them out and they never come back. LOL I have to say I use my Scriptures as a reference book to yours. My faith has grown so much, thanks to your words guiding me through and strengthening me and my testimony. Simply, Thank you Chris!