Author Peter Heller releases newest book, ‘Celine,’ at The Bookworm, March 7 |

Author Peter Heller releases newest book, ‘Celine,’ at The Bookworm, March 7

Peter Heller at his home in Paonia. Heller will release his new book, "Celine," at The Bookworm of Edwards on Tuesday.
John Burcham | Special to the Daily |

If you go …

What: Author event with Peter Heller, releasing his new book, “Celine.”

When: 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 7.

Where: The Bookworm of Edwards, 295 Main St., Riverwalk at Edwards.

Cost: $10, includes appetizers.

More information: Call 970-926-7323, or visit

EDWARDS — New York Times best-selling author Peter Heller has done it again. He captured hearts from the first lines of “Dog Stars” and continued to build his audience with “The Painter.” After much anticipation, on Tuesday Heller will release another work of art.

Heller returns to The Bookworm of Edwards on Tuesday night to launch his newest novel, “Celine,” a literary tribute to his late mother.

inspired by life

Acknowledged in her alumni spotlight article as a Prada P.I., Celine is talented at finding people who do not want to be found, all while keeping her makeup perfectly intact. When a new case about a suspicious disappearance comes across her desk, Celine finds herself traveling to the beautiful landscape of Yellowstone National Park in order to find the truth her client desires.

“She died a little over two years ago. When I started writing this book, I wrote with the hope to spend another year with her.”Peter HellerAuthor

Support Local Journalism

But Celine is not only a fictional character. A very real woman inspired her creation.

“This book is absolutely about my mom,” Heller said. “She died a little over two years ago. When I started writing this book, I wrote with the hope to spend another year with her.”

Heller’s mom found her true calling as a private investigator. Similar to the character Celine in his novel, his mother was a small, unassuming figure on the outside but was an incredible force in her position.

“My mom and Pete, her husband, found missing people; it’s just what they did,” Heller said. “Almost immediately after she got her P.I. license, she was contacted by the FBI. They gave her this guy to find and she found him easily. She spied on him with her opera glasses and even had a car chase.

“This guy was so intrigued by who this little woman was. So he pulled over and hears the clack, clack, clack of her pumps and the jingle of jewelry. My mom walks up to him and says as plainly as she can, ‘What you’re doing is wrong’ and took him in.”

Heller’s mother didn’t find criminals for much longer, instead shifting her focus to finding people who really needed to be found.

“She had this incredible gift of respect from people she met,” Heller said. “She and Pete were set on finding missing people and reuniting birth families. She could go into a narcotics anonymous meeting and people would respect her. She never violated their trust.”

In addition to paying tribute to his mother, all of the family history in the book is true. Hank, Celine’s son, is mirrored after Heller. Celine’s sisters are real. Everything except the case Celine works on in the story is a taste of the time Heller’s family lived together.

“So many stories in the novel were so fun to write because I’ve been telling them for years,” Heller said. “My mother was exactly how Celine is written. Writing for the first time in third person also gave me the freedom to explore scenes differently.

“When you write in first person, you are extremely limited by the experience and perspective of your character. But in third person, you as a writer are very exposed. You are capable of zooming way up and out of the character or setting the camera right on top of a character’s shoulder to stay for the ride. I would say in many ways, this book was, for me, the most ambitious and the most fun. I hope the reader sees that, as well.”

Support Local Journalism