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UH Mānoa alumna Victoria Heckman

Victoria Heckman moved to Hawai‘i to attend UH Mānoa through sheer luck and understanding parents. Her mom was born on O‘ahu, which may have had something to do with it. 

Heckman graduated in 1986 with a BA in theater and has used it ever since. She is currently a middle school theater and writing teacher who also writes mysteries, most of them set in Hawai‘i. 

Often asked why she writes mysteries, again, it was an accident. Heckman has always loved reading mysteries, starting with Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown, graduating to Agatha Christie and Erle Stanley Gardener by age twelve. When her children were small, she thought, I have a lot of free time (as most parents of young children do). She saw a flier for a short mystery contest sponsored by the local Sisters in Crime chapter. Never heard of them, but how hard could it be? Turns out, really hard. But publication was the prize and after many attempts, she entered the contest and won, thereby becoming a published author.

The excitement of that winning phone call was all she needed to keep going for the next five years until K.O.’d in Honolulu was written and published. That and her “sisters” and “brothers” in the Central Coast Chapter of Sisters in Crime, of which she is still a member today.

Her years in Hawai‘i gave her all the background she needed to forge a writing career, along with the support of her friends. 

As for her days at UH, she uses her education every day teaching theater and filmmaking to her students, several of whom have gone on to professional careers in theater and film. 

She has fond memories of surviving on toast in the dining hall, and dozing under the stairs at Kennedy Theatre between classes.

University of Hawai‘i Alumni