Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is Mary Schmidt aka pen name S. Jackson and since I’m retired, age isn’t relevant. 😊
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was bred and born smack in the middle of Kansas, and have lived in Kansas most of my life except for a few, seven years in Colorado.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Mary L. Schmidt writes under the pen name of S. Jackson, and she is a retired registered nurse, who won the coveted Leora B. Stroup Bachelor of Science in Nursing Award for outstanding clinical performance, community involvement and academic achievement in Nursing Award, while at Fort Hays State University. She is a member of the Catholic Church, and has taught kindergarten Catechism; she has worked in various capacities for The American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, Cub and Boy Scouts, (son, Gene, is an Eagle Scout), and sponsored trips for high school children music. She loves all forms of art but mostly focuses on the visual arts; amateur photography, traditional, and graphic art as her disabilities allow. She has published fifteen books since retirement; the first a memoir, When Angels Fly, followed by an Art Picture book featuring her own works of art, one cookbook, and thirteen books for children of which seven are a part of a full series. Protecting children from molestation is important to her, and with that in mind she wrote Suzy Has A Secret. Seeing what bullies can do to a child inspired her to write the book, The Big Cheese Festival. Schmidt has designed all her book covers. She loves spending time with her husband (and co-author under the pen name A. Raymond) Michael, and especially their first grandchild, Austin, age two years. She is a Member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators: The international professional organization for writers and illustrators of children’s literature, and Sigma Theta Tau International: The Honor Society of Nursing, which is the second-largest nursing organization in the world with approximately 135,000 active members.
I’m married to Michael, who is the love of my life. We love Jeeping in the mountains and playing Texas Hold ‘Em. Spending time with our children, grandson, Austin, and soon to be second grandchild arriving the end of June this year. Michael co-authors with me under the pen name of A. Raymond
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Recently, we were in Miami and received the Readers’ Favorite Bronze Medal in Children’s Adventure, for our book, The Big Cheese Festival. Talk about exciting!!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I wrote poems, short stories, and a play when I was a small child however my desire was to be a nurse. Hence, I did become a nurse and enjoyed a successful career in helping all my patients. When health issues cropped up and I became home bound (for the most part), my focus turned back to writing. That was in January 2013. Since then I have 15 books published and four works in process.
As a child, I was mentally, emotionally, and physically abused by my mother, and this abuse didn’t end until her death in November of 2013. Throughout all the cruelties, I knew something better would happen in my life and I knew God was in control. My battered body cried out, but I thought God must be too busy to help me. From that abuse, I went into another relationship post high school and it turned out to be abusive as well. I just couldn’t get away from domestic abuse and I was in that vicious cycle of abuse.
My oldest son, Shane, was stillborn. I had been to my doctor, and he said that my baby boy no longer had a heart beat and that labor had to be induced. The one thing that I thought was all good and wonderful in my life was snatched away from me and I was angry at God. I lashed out at Him, with so much anger and I fell into a deep depression, a hole I just couldn’t climb out of. I had tried so hard to become pregnant, and ended up burying my son.
After about a year, I learned I was pregnant again! Elation and fear took turns in my head and heart. When I reached eight months gestation, I decided that I would, indeed, have the baby I dearly wanted. After 36 hours labor, my baby boy came into this world blue! Feverishly the staff worked on him and then I heard his cry. I knew that God had intervened and touched my new-born with His Holy Spirit, and that He breathed life into my baby. I doted on my baby boy, Gene, and I felt completely blessed by Jesus.
Fifteen months later, I had another boy, Sam. Elation soared through me and my boys took to each other instantly. Best playmates, best friends, they were inseparable. However, my husband remained abusive in all imaginable ways to me. He left me know, if I left him, he would kill me. That was the only I ever believed that came out of his mouth.
When my boys were ages four and five, I knew I had to leave him for their sake. Long story short, we moved into an apartment. Time and again their father would harass me. Sam had multiple sinus infections, and upper respiratory issues as well as other issues, and tubes were placed in his ears, CT scans were done multiple times, and he never remained well. In hindsight, those scans were misread and my son was misdiagnosed for eight months!
By then, cancer had spread from his neck into his brain and metastases found in both lungs. For seven and a half months he fought for his life. My faith wavered and faltered throughout this time, and I was angry at God. By then, Sam was age five. Most remarkable is that Sam wanted to go to Heaven! Sam knew Jesus! Sam knew God! Even though I was afraid to teach him about God, my son knew! My son said to me, “I want to go to Heaven, Mom.”
Twenty three years later, in 2013, I started the process of putting my journals and events into digital format, which became an award winning book, When Angels Fly.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Not at first but somewhere in the fifth grader, I wrote a play for three friends and myself, all on my own for a school assignment. In reflection, it seems hilarious now. My ‘co-writers’ were quite glad when I volunteered to write the play by myself (how little did I know at the time). Picture in your mind a young girl about 9 years old, using an old manual typewriter, not knowing how to type, and using old style carbon paper between layers of white paper. That was a recipe for disaster in 1969. Needless to say, I had many errors, and with carbon paper the copies underneath were unreadable. We performed our skit and so many laughed at our pathetic yet humorous play. I wrote short stories growing up and kept journals, however books were really my thing. It seemed like every time I turned around I was obtaining a new library card due to the current one being stamped complete. Diving into a good book made any day perfect and you would be surprised at the number of books I read over and over. I drew paper dolls and clothing for them, and using watercolor as my medium when painting scenes, and especially flowers. I continued with art in high school exploring a wide variety of arts and I loved it! The creative side of me loves being an amateur “shutter-bug” and we actually have an online art gallery.When I was published fours ago, then I considered myself an actual writer. In hindsight, I should have given myself credit in when in grade school. 😊
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My youngest son, Sammy,inspired me to write this story and the story of my own life in parts, so it is a true memoir.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Since my youngest is in Heaven, it seemed natural title my memoir, When Angels Fly.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
As a multi-genre author, I have used a couple of different ways. My memoir, When Angels Fly, already had a strong base (journals) in which to build upon. This book has two beginnings and rightly so. For our children’s books, the wildlife in our neighborhood, especially the squirrels, are so much fun to write about. From an idea comes a title, then we jot down what we want to occur, and we write the paragraphs for each illustrated page.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Well the character of Sarah in ‘When Angels Fly’ is me, and as it is a memoir all of it is true. The events, everything. This was also the hardest book to write. Hard as it was, I had to write it as I knew if I could help even one person, then this effort was worth it. People need to know they aren’t alone and help is available.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
As a visual artist, I have created all my book covers, and I love doing them so much.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Newer authors that I favour are Mrs. D. ( @MRSDBOOKS ) as he is such a great and artistic children’s book author. I also the mysterious romances by Susan Vance.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. I’m good with our latest release, ‘Shadow and Friends Celebrate Ellsworth, KS 150th Birthday’.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
The character of Sarah, in my memoir, When Angels fly, should be played by a strong female, and I have often thought that Andrea Dover would make the part of Sarah come alive.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Just do it! Write those thoughts! Keep on writing. Edit, edit and edit some more. Don’t give up! You must hire a highly rated professional editor. Just because your sister, or your aunt is an English teacher, you still need to hire an editor.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
‘When Angels Fly’ will be available on audible this spring. Paula Slade is my narrator. She is awesome.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
‘I Can See You’ by Joss Landry. I met her at the readers’ Favorite Awards in Miami last November. She is a phenomenal author.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The old ‘Dick and Jane’ primers. Do you know those books? I’m giving away my age again.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Christmas movies, love stories, comedies, running out of coffee.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Jesus – it will happen when I pass on.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Art, photography, travel, and Jeeping mountain trails are my favorites.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Chocolate, pork loin, lavender, blue, Styxx, classic rock, and county. Love Reba.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would continue with my visual art works.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
“She gave it her all.”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
When Angels Fly Book Trailer:
When Angels Fly .99 cents!!
The Big Cheese Festival .99 cents!!
Shadow and Friends Celebrate Ellsworth, KS 150th Birthday (book 7 in series)
Below links included…