Welcome to It’s Just Life- Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary where plays on words are the norm and where authors are held in highest esteem. Today I am thrilled to share one of my North Iowa Blogger friends, Jennifer K. Schmitt. Jen has recently become a published author and I am thrilled to share her new children’s book Tawanda’s Tales: Best Friends Forever with my readers today.
When I first met Jen I was impressed by her spirit, her drive and her energy. She always has a kind word for others and is one of the most genuinely kind people that I have had the chance to meet. When I found out that she had written a children’s book I was thrilled and had to share it with you. It is such a great story and the illustrations by C. J. Love are adorable. And who doesn’t love a book about horses and friendships?
I asked Jen to answer a few questions for my readers and our interview follows.
1. What made you decide to be an author? Was it always part of your dream or did it happen later in life?
I have always loved writing and have many stories in my head, so I finally started “speaking” them into my phone. Many of the stories are from my childhood, stories about our farm and my girls, etc. While attending college at NIACC I wrote for the NIACC Newspaper Logo’s and through adulthood have had a couple of articles published in magazines and of course my blog, Tails From The Gravel Road is another place for me to be creative. The idea to really “go for it” and hire an illustrator came in 2018 when I had enough courage to dream big and huge.
2. If you could have dinner with any one author dead or alive who would it be and why?
This is a REALLY tough question! I would say John C. Maxwell. He has written so many great books on personal development and leadership. I love reading personal development books so having the opportunity to sit and visit him would be amazing. I would specifically want to talk to him about his book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.
3. What is your favorite spot to write? Are you a creature of habit and always write in the same spot or do you need variety?
Like I said, sometimes, I speak into my phone to write, but at home my favorite place to write is in my bedroom. I feel like often the ideas start to flow when I am laying in bed so I always keep a notepad near to get the ideas down.
4.When you write do you have a particular process that you use or do you change it up? Do you do an outline and stick to that ? What is your writing process like?
I tend to write just as I would have a conversation with someone. I tend to just sit down and write with no outline, put it away for awhile (even months) then get it back out and make changes. I also share my really important writings with a very small group of friends that I know will give me honest feedback.
6. If you could give one piece of advice to the younger you —say maybe the teenage you—what would it be?
Oh wow, I think of this often, especially with an 11 year old daughter. If I could give my teenage self advice, it would be to live by the mantra that I have finally decided to live by at age 38. Dream Big and Huge! Don’t be afraid of what others will think or how something may look through “their”eyes, encourage others and don’t be afraid to have huge audacious goals and write them down as if they have happened. You will never come close to your goals if you don’t have them!
7. Obviously your book is a children’s book and draws on your experiences growing up. What can we expect from you in the future? More children’s books? Adult novels? Inquiring minds want to know!
There will be more Tawanda’s Tales adventures to share, she had a lot of adventures growing up on her Iowa farm, as well as some stories that include a “famous” pig from our family farm. In the future I would love to write a personal development book about the challenges that I have overcome in my 38 years and what has assisted me through some very difficult times with loss of family members as a teenager, a crohn’s disease diagnosis, and a near death experience with spinal meningitis in 2009.
I would like to add that I am extremely excited that publishing my first book has launched me to begin speaking engagements with children and adults to encourage them to live by the words “Dream Big and Huge!” I feel like I am being called to do more with the platform that I have been given and can’t wait to help others overcome their struggles to live their best life through my life coaching business!
Thanks to Jen for an amazing interview and for such a wonderful book that will win the hearts of many readers young and old alike. If you are interested in buying a copy of Tawanda’s Tales: Best Friends Forever you can order a signed copy directly from Jen by clicking here.You can also order from Amazon by clicking here.
Please connect with Jen and follow her on her social media links below.
If you would like to listen to a brief interview with Jen from KCMR Radio in Mason City please click below to listen to the clip.