Jade Heasley is happy that some of her dreams have already come true.
"I always wanted to be an author and a professor," said the Montgomery native and resident. "I was assuming these things would happen later in life."
Heasley released her latest book, "How to Rule the World," this past fall. It is her third work of fiction and fourth book overall. She also teaches First Year Experience at Pennsylvania College of Technology, a class that helps new students adjust to campus life.
JOSH BROKAW/Sun-Gazette Correspondent
Jade Heasley, of Montgomery, has published her fourth book, “How to Rule the World.”
Since her first book, the memoir "1980s Kid," was released in 2008, Heasley has published a book every year. She has no plans to slow down.
"I've always got 15 or 20 books in various stages," she said.
Heasley started writing seriously at 22, between finishing her degree in Bible and Youth Ministry at Valley Forge Christian College and going to Lock Haven University for a history degree.
"History is the binding thing in all of my work," she said. "I like the classics, like Dickens, 'Moby Dick', 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' - that was a book that made me cry. I really like to read about America in the '20s through the '40s."
Her memoir, recounting the joys and toys of a 1980s childhood, was followed by 2009's "Bratty Becky and the Firecracker Kid," a tale of school years' hijinks, and 2010's "The Incorrigible Dreamers," an ethereal dialogue on chasing goals.
"How to Rule the World" tells the story of 19-year-old Wendy Sloane. Sloane is "disturbed at how people are getting gullible because they don't read anymore," Heasley said, so she decides to pull off a monster prank.
Although Heasley's latest is set in a smalltown, the "people are a microcosm of society," she said. "Truthfully, small town people probably have a little more common sense."
A 1998 graduate of Montgomery Area High School, Heasley has no plans to leave small-town life.
"Everywhere you go you meet someone you know," she said.
Heasley now writes for adults, but her first attempt at fiction was a story of questing Lego men.
"I was 5 and I knew how to print, but it got tiring," she said. "I told my mom to get paper and I dictated (the story) to her after dinner."
Since then, Heasley has developed more advanced methods. She writes in the evening, often curled up on the couch after the workday ends; her tools are a hardbacked notebook and black gel pens, exclusively.
"I get a story and I run with it, and it turns into whatever it turns into," she said. "I just want to get the story out. I'm not following a quota."
Heasley said that young writers need to find their own comfort zone and own their own work.
"It's not a case of using somebody else's process," she said. "Lots of people think they have an entire finished book in their head, but that's not me."
Compiling and editing a finished book takes most of the time.
"I'm flipping over hundreds of handwritten pages while typing into my laptop," she said. "It's not all in order."
Unlike many writers, Heasley did not publish any shorter work before her first book was released.
"I had an impressive stack of magazine rejections," she said. "Every door opened as it needed to open.
"It's not wise to bank on a career becoming a writer," Heasley said. "I proceeded very cautiously towards it, but it happened."
For those who want to publish, Heasley's advice is this: "At some point you have to let (the book) go and trust that it's good enough and put it out there."
Heasley's upcoming appearances include 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Thomas Beaver Free Library, Danville, and 6 to 8 p.m. March 14 at the James V. Brown Library.