Meet Debut Novelist Ms. Michael Schneider

Ms. Michael Schneider sold the first book she wrote. Her debut novel, Blind Faith, a romantic suspense, is one of the titles launching a new publishing house, The Writer’s Coffee Shop.

Michael lives in Elgin, Texas, the state’s sausage capital, with her husband of 27 years, who is fully disabled but can still make a fantastic cup of coffee, and their teenage daughter, who, Michael says, “is worse than my editor when it comes to my writing.” The also have two cats who demand their share of attention. Michael works for a national insurance company selling life/health/auto/home insurance.

When Michael isn’t putting her characters in peril or spending time with her family, she enjoys quilting, sewing, gardening, reading. She loves to go junking (shopping at flea markets), seeking antique glassware, floral cake plates, and fabric to add to her collections.

Every year Michael looks forward to the holidays and thinks Black Friday should be declared a national holiday. She puts up four Christmas trees: a formal tree with ribbon and flowers, a large “fun” tree with colored blinking lights and all the ornaments she’s collected for her kids over the years, a fishing/hunting tree for her husband, and a pink flamingo tree for her. She says, “I collect pink flamingos for the sole purpose that they’re so tacky they remind you to laugh.”

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Michael has a fondness for French Vanilla latte’s from Starbucks and New York-style cheesecake, so in her honor I’m offering both as virtual treats today. So, grab a latte and some cheesecake (all you want since it’s calorie-free), sit back, and enjoy getting to know more about Michael and her journey to publication.

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Michael Embarks on Her Journey

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•When did you begin writing romances with a goal of publication?

I began writing in an unconventional way. My daughter introduced me to a website for amateur writers in the fall of 2007 when I commented I didn’t have anything good to read at the time. I was sifting through thousands of stories on line, some of which were amazing. I stumbled upon a story with a great summary, but was disappointed in the delivery.

My daughter challenged me to try my hand at writing a story to see what I could come up with. I was actually shocked to find people liked what I wrote. My second on-line story has been entered in several contests hosted by various blogs within this community and has won every category it’s been entered in. It’s also ranked the number one story on the site. My friends and family began encouraging me to expand and do more.

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•What sparked the idea for your first story? A name? A place? An interesting fact? Or did scenes begin playing in your head movie style?

While working on my on-line stories I had a scene stuck in my head that would not work for what I was writing at the time. I put it aside but it just kept coming back to me. I really wanted to use it somewhere so I wrote a whole book around the one scene.

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•I understand all your heroines have one thing in common. What is that?

I like to give my heroines versions of masculine names. I have to live with ‘Michael’ so, so do they.

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Michael’s Milestones

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•You’ve experienced online contest successes. Please tell us about this.

My second story has been entered in several contests within the on line community and has won every category it’s been entered in. It’s also ranked the number one story on the site.

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•I think every writer secretly dreams of selling her first story. You did just that, which is way cool. How did your First Sale come about, and what was your reaction to the BIG news that you’d sold?

Blind Faith is the first manuscript I’ve written outside of the online community. In March of this year I was invited to meet with the head of a start up publishing company to discuss the possibility of publishing my work. During the months I worked on writing and fine-tuning the novel I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop or to wake up and find out it was all a dream. I refused to believe it until I held my copy of the finished book in my hands and saw my name and picture on the cover.

Other than a few very close friends and my immediate family, I didn’t tell anyone I was really doing this until the book went to print. I was so afraid something would go wrong or they would think I was nuts.

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•Your First Sale included you first book, but that’s not all. How many books did The Writer’s Coffee Shop contract?

My first contract was for two stand-alone novels and a series.

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Michael’s Writing Process

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•How long does it take you to write a novel?

Blind Faith took about 6 months to write. Since I also work full-time I gave up television to do this. The last thing I saw on TV was the ending of Lost back in April.

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•What does a typical writing day look like for you? Or is there such a thing as a typical day?

There’s really no such thing as a typical day for me. I write on my lunch hours, or if an idea comes to me at work I jot it down while sitting on hold with underwriters. (I have more scrap pieces of paper floating around in the bottom of my purse or around my house.) After dinner I sit in my recliner and write until midnight. I spend weekends writing when I’m not shopping with my daughter.

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•What is the most thrilling aspect of the writing process for you?

I love seeing the character I create change and grow into someone people will love and cheer for. I don’t outline my stories so I’m just as surprised at the journey as my readers.

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•What’s the most challenging aspect?

That I don’t outline my stories. I generally have one specific idea or scene in my head then just work my way through the story until I get there. I tried outlining and it just doesn’t work well for me. As I’m writing, my characters take on a life of their own and don’t always agree with where I want to take them. I’ve learned to trust my characters and the story benefits from their wisdom. (I think I sound like a nut when I talk like this, but it’s true.)

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•Where do you craft your stories? Do you hole up in an office, hang out at a coffee house, or sit on a chair in your front yard gazing at the lake?

I’ve learned I can’t sit at a desk, because then it feels like work. I will usually sit in my recliner or lay out on my sofa in the living room. When I’m stuck I like to watch the hummingbirds and butterflies enjoying the cypress vine outside my windows.

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Michael’s Challenges and Solutions

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•Writers face many challenges. What are some of yours? What do you do to overcome them?

I work full time and have a disabled husband and a teen daughter still at home. Sometimes it gets a little crazy around our house. I’m fortunate my daughter and I have a close relationship and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I know so many teens want nothing to do with their parents. It means though that she spends a lot of time sitting with me while I’m writing wanting me to listen to a song she likes, discuss a book she’s reading, or just read quotes from several blogs she follows.

My husband has good days and bad days. On bad days I have to care more for him. On good days he likes to make up for it by talking or aggravating me for fun. He’s very supportive of my writing and so he thinks it’s his job to ‘crack the whip’ for my publisher to keep me on track. He thinks it’s funny to harass me if I’m doing anything else on line besides writing.

My family has a very twisted sense of humor.

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Partners on Michael’s Journey

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•When you ended The Call and finished shrieking, shaking, and/or sobbing, who were some of the first people with whom you shared your BIG news? What roles had they played as you pursued the path to publication?

I was so shocked and nervous; I only told my husband, kids and my mother. I didn’t want anyone to know in case something went wrong. I did tell one other group of people and that was my co-workers. I was too insecure in my ability to reach a larger diverse audience with my writing so I asked two women in my office to read and critique my work as it went through the editing process. Part of the dedication page in Blind Faith is to them.

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Michael’s Debut Novel

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•Please tell us about Blind Faith.

Blind Faith is a romantic suspense novel set in modern day east Texas. Small town life has taken an unexpected turn for the sheltered Karsyn McKenna. Caught in a web of deception and lies that has led to murder, she must choose between Chase Carter, a local rancher who is secretly in love with her and Gabriel Thompson, the mysterious new stranger in town.

Will blind faith be Karsyn McKenna’s salvation or her destruction?

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Reactions and Reviews

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Blind Faith is in readers’ hands. It’s also in yours. What were your thoughts and feelings when you beheld your book for the first time?

I asked my husband to pinch me and started laughing. I think my first thought was “I really did it”. I sat down that night and read the book for the first time from start to finish. I’d only read it by individual chapters between writing and editing or only going back a couple of chapters at a time. I had never just read the story. I have to admit I’m proud of what I wrote.

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•You’ve already received a number of glowing reviews. Which have meant the most to you, and why?

Actually it was from a friend of my mother who read the book. I never expected her to actually read it. She called my mother and told her that her only recommendation is to put a warning on the cover to start reading earlier in the day. She stayed up until 2am to finish the book. She said she couldn’t put it down and had to read it until the end.

Another was from a stranger who said I made her actually feel for both the hero and the villain.

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Michael’s Journey Continues

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•What captivating new ideas are swirling in your creative mind? Have new characters begun chattering away?

I’m actually working out details for a supernatural series involving maverick humans, ancients, and other legends native to Texas and Mexico. It is set several hundred years in the future and centered around the Texas Hill Country and wineries.

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Five Fun Questions for Michael

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•As the Christmas season approaches, what song are you most eager to hear?

I have 3 – Oh Holy Night, Mary Did You Know? by Kenny Rogers & Wynonna Judd and I Wanna Hippopotamus for Christmas.

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•If you could be one of America’s “most wanted,” but wanted because of some great skill you possess, what skill would you want to have?

I have no idea how to even answer this one. I guess if sarcasm or a dry sense of humor was a skill you’d see my picture on the wall at the post office.

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•Of all the book or movie characters you’ve seen, which one do you believe is most like you?

My daughter thinks I’m like Dr Jekyll and Mr(s) Hyde. I only show one side of my personality to different people at a time. The quiet reserved Baptist wife and mom vs the closet Trekkie who dreams of one day attending a Star Trek Convention (in costume).

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•If all the drinking fountains could dispense another liquid in addition to water, what would you want it to be?

Coffee and Cream!!!

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•What event/activity that will take place in the next few months are you looking forward to more than anything else?

Besides Black Friday and Christmas? Hopefully my oldest daughter’s wedding next year. We’re all waiting for them to make it official and set a date.

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Michael’s Question for You

What mythical or science fiction creature do you find the most appealing?

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Michael’s Drawing

Michael has generously offered to give away a pink flamingo ornament and an autographed copy of Blind Faith.

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Michael by midnight November 30th (Pacific time) and enter your email address when prompted during the comment process. (You don’t have to leave it in the body of your comment this way.)

On December 1st, I will hold the drawing and post the winner’s name here as well as in a comment and will contact her/him via email to get a mailing address. (I don’t share your information with anyone, other than sending your mailing address to my guest, and I don’t add your name to any mailing lists.)

Congratulations to Mary, winner of Michael’s book and the pink flamingo ornament.

Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.

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Learn More About Michael

Friend her on Facebook ~ Michael Elaine Schneider

Follow her on Twitter ~ rmcrms5

Email her ~ rmcrms5@gmail.com

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About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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19 Responses to Meet Debut Novelist Ms. Michael Schneider

  1. Michael Schneider says:

    Hello everyone,

    Thank you to everyone who is on-line tonight. I welcome all questions and comments.

    Michael

  2. Paty says:

    I am a huge fan of Michael since her writing comes from her heart! Her talent is unmeasurable and cannot wait to see more of her work.

  3. Jen says:

    Michael,
    I’ve been a fan of you for so long. Yours was one of the first stories I read when I started getting involved with the online fic community. I’m so happy that your story is in print. I so look forward to your future work and was thrilled by your review. I too am a Jekyll and Hyde of sorts and a closet Trekkie. It was so fun to read more about you and your life. Thanks for sharing and we look forward to more!

    🙂 Jen

  4. kim sales says:

    as one of the most fortunate few to converse but not meet this amazing woman–which we will have to rectify soon since i am only 5 minutes from the flea market on 290E–i just want to comment on what a generous and genuine person i have found mic to be. thanks to her, i too will be publishing thru TWCS in may 2011. she has shared the wealth with me in a way no one ever has and i hope her book becomes a blockbuster movie! luv ya mic. kim aka kathryn gayle

    • rmcrms5 says:

      Kim,

      Thank you for your kind words. Lunch is a must. I’m glad that everything worked out for you as well and I look forward to seeing your own interview in the future and purchasing your book next year. You’re close enough I want an autographed copy!

  5. Michael, I am fascinated by your story. As always when I come to Keli’s sight I meet wonderful people who inspire me.

    The character I am thinking of might also represent part of your personality as well … Athena, The Greek Goddess Warrior … because she was both powerful and beautiful. I love to think of my main characters as being both.

    Look forward to reading your book. The title sounds like a description of your life, Blind Faith. Thanks again 🙂

    • Michael Schneider says:

      I’m humbled to be paired with Athena. She is truly one tough woman. I only wish I had her strength and beauty, but I’ll take what I can get. 🙂

  6. Mary says:

    Hi Michael,

    I always enjoy the story behind a writer’s journey to publication. Sounds like an intriguing story.

    • Michael Schneider says:

      Hi Mary,

      I hope you will give my book a try and I’d love to hear what you thought of it.

  7. trilby97 says:

    hey Michael,
    since i read your online fic, i have been intrigued by the novel you were working on. and now viola, it’s here. i didn’t know the exact date but wow it’s been so long since the release…i’m gonna hit the bookshop first thing in the morning. can’t wait to read the much anticipated novel^^

    • Michael Schneider says:

      Right now the book is only available directly thru twcs publishing house in paperback and ebook format. They are working to get everything in place with B&N in the near future.

      I hope you enjoy it!

  8. Keli Gwyn says:

    Welcome, Michael! It’s great to have you as my guest and to learn about your journey to publication. It think it’s way cool that your book is one of those to launch your publishing house. What an honor!

    So, how was Black Friday? Did you shop ’til you dropped? Were the bargains as good as or better than those you found in previous years?

    Do you have all four of your trees up? If so, I’d love to add pics of them to your post for all to see. =)

    • Michael Schneider says:

      Hi Keli,
      Black Friday was great because it’s one of the only days in the year that I have all 4 of my girls home at the same time. We stratagize all afternoon Thanksgiving and then it’s standing in the cold, dark rain at 2am to save $10 on a blender. Its fantastic!!! Can’t wait til next year!

  9. Keli Gwyn says:

    Thanks to everyone who stopped by to learn more about Michael and her journey to publication.

    I held the drawing for the autographed copy of Michael’s debut novel, Blind Faith, and the pink flamingo ornament she so generously offered as prizes, and the winner is Mary.

    Congratulations, Mary! I’ll be in touch.

  10. Michael Schneider says:

    I want to thank Keli again for hosting me on her website. I had a truly enjoyable experience and look forward to checking out the other authors interviewed on her site as well. I’m always looking for something new to read.

    I want to also congratulate Mary for winning the drawing. I’ll be mailing your signed copy of Blind Faith and pink flamingo ornament in the next few days. Warm air is also packed inside as an added gift.

    Take care! Michael

  11. penny says:

    WOW! It is official! I know a celebrity! I am also proud to know a women that had a little “Blind Faith” in herself and accomplished what most people only dream about! I’m now an everday-night reader thanks to Michael and I can’t wait 2 see whats gonna keep me up reading next!

Comments are closed.