Writing World: Seamus Heffernan – Napalm Hearts

Newfoundlander pens debut thriller paying homage to the people in his life who’ve influenced and inspired him along the way.


Seamus Heffernan has lived a busy and exciting life thus far. While he’s hung his hat in both Ottawa and England, the expat Newfoundlander – who now calls Abbotsford, B.C. home – says this province is really where his heart is, particularly because his parents still reside in the home he was raised in. 

“Mom and dad, Gerry and Lorraine, still live on Topsail Road. It will always be home, even though I admit to feeling like I’m waking up in a postcard every day,” he says with a chuckle from his B.C. abode.

 Heffernan  shares a little of  a conversation he had with his mother just the evening before our chat. 

“Mom is over the moon knowing I’m talking to someone from The Herald,” he shared. 

“She asked me how the launch went and when I told her I had a bunch of press to do, and one chat was with The Herald, she was like; ‘Gerry! Gerry! Seamus is going to be in The Herald!’ It was like that was all that mattered,” he laughed.

Heffernan is no stranger to the written word. He’s been a journalist and a speech writer in the past. He’s also worked in marketing and communications and currently works for a Member of Parliament, but writing has always been a passion.

The Case of a Lifetime

“I’ve always enjoyed writing and always wanted to write fiction, but I just got more serious about it and dug in and finished (the book),” he says of writing his debut novel, Napalm Hearts.

Napalm Hearts is a detective story about a private investigator named Thaddeus Grayle, “a successful but bored American private investigator who has grown weary of snooping after the cheating spouses of his adopted city of London, England,” Heffernan claims on his website.  Determined to be taken seriously, the detective takes the case of a lifetime. 

So, can anyone recognize themselves in this literary creation of his? “I’m sure friends of mine, when they read the book, will see little bits of me in Thaddeus; in his choices and actions,” he says with a laugh.

The female lead, however, would be more difficult to identify. “One of the major characters in the book, a woman named Charlie, she’s based on a number of similar women who I’ve known who are strong, independent (women), but also very kind and gentle. Trying to find that balance, I really borrowed  heavily from a number of women I’ve had the pleasure of knowing over the last number of years,” he shared.

A Cracking Yarn 

On the writing process, Heffernan says he just had to do it. 

“(Writing) became like going to the gym. You’ve got to carve out the time. You’ve got to be consistent, you’ve got to hold yourself accountable. I think if you are sitting around waiting to be inspired you will be starring at a blank screen for a long time. You just have to force yourself to put one word after another.” 

Heffernan is excited for fellow Newfoundlanders to read his novel. Particularly because it’s in our nature to enjoy a grand tale. “It’s  our reputation. Newfoundlanders are fond of a good story, a cracking yarn if you will,” he says.

While he admits he wasn’t trying to reinvent the genre, he did want to pen a good story, particularly because there’s most likely a part two. 

“I wanted to write a story that was quick and lean and had a terrific pace and hooked you right away, but also gave you characters and people that you were really invested in as you went on the journey. If that sounds like the kind of book people from home would like, then I hope they give mine a chance.” 

For more, including how to purchase, visit seamusheffernan.com     

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