I have been writing most of my life and my ‘day’ jobs have all contributed to the creative process: marketing and communications for two international corporations; teaching at the college level; and running a Mom-and-Pop adult daycare business with my husband. During those years I also published four books on eldercare as well as co-writing PARKINSON’S DISEASE FOR DUMMIES under my maiden name of Jo Horne.
Now retired and focused ONLY on writing, I split my time between Wisconsin and Florida. Having been raised in the hills of Appalachia in a town that is often not even a dot on the map, I went from being that small town country kid to being a big city adult — loving the noise and chaos and diversity of city life. But that small town girl is alive and well and has a tendency to show up in one character or another in my stories.
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Q & A with Anna - Click here
1. You are the author of over 40 novels and novellas. Is there a theme that runs through all your novels or a message you wish to communicate?
A: Empathy, unity, and power of diversity are our core strengths as human beings and these qualities are what I am constantly exploring in my novels.
2. Tell us about some of the people who have shaped your writing journey.
A: When I was a kid, my Dad managed a movie theater, so I went to the movies a lot. Even after we moved, and my dad went into another line of work, movies were our preferred entertainment. As I teenager I collected the cast recordings of every Broadway musical and then when I was a junior in college, I spent the summer in NYC at a theater program. I went on to get my masters in Theater Arts. As a result, I write as if my characters are actors on the screen or stage.
3. Can you provide us with some insight into your writing routine?
A: I am constantly writing. If there is one unique thing about my style, it is that I love doing research and for me everything is research — music, books, overheard conversations – it’s all fodder for the mill. Something else that is a bit unique to my ‘routine’ — I love chaos. I write in public places surrounded by people; I love the action and the voices and the snatches of conversation.
4. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
A: Read! Read! Read! And please, diversify your reading. Step outside your box!
5. What’s next on the horizon for you?
A: I have been writing genre fiction (romance, Westerns and inspirationals) for some time now. Recently I finished the manuscript for my first true ‘mainstream’ novel — a coming of age story about a ‘winter keeper’ in Yellowstone National Park in the 1930’s.
Schmidt seamlessly integrates actual events, and courageous real-life individuals… with her fictional characters and their story, to produce a strong tale of hope and love in the face of insurmountable obstacles.