You caught me. I didn't go to college to be a writer. I never studied English literature or journalism in school. (I mean, beyond what a liberal arts education forces you to do.) I wasn’t bad at writing growing up. I pulled in good grades in English and creative writing, but I was good at science too, and that was the big distraction for me. Shouldn’t a girl who is good at science take advantage of her ability to think logically? That’s what I was told anyway, and I liked science, so I stuck with it. I got my first degree in Dietetics which is basically physiology, chemistry, psychology, and nutrition. Unfortunately, when I graduated, jobs were hard to come by, and I ended up working outside my field. I worked in every job from corporate management and sales to restaurant management. It wasn’t what I wanted, so when the opportunity came up, I went back to school and got my second science degree in nursing.
I mostly worked with expectant mothers jockeying to lose twenty pounds with just a few hours of hard labor. I was the one who got screamed at because labor hurts and I obviously was responsible for them getting knocked up. I was the one who they took pictures with when they earned their prize for working hard and held their baby in their arms for the first time. I was the one who held their hands as we rushed down the hospital corridor on our way for an emergency C-section. I was that nurse, and it taught me a lot.
I learned how to multitask and use what I had at that moment to make a difference in someone else’s story. I found myself embedded in other peoples’ lives when they were at their worst. I played the roles of social worker, family counselor, mediator, pastor, coach, pharmacist, and caregiver all before lunch, always having to mesh multiple points of view into one story that made sense—one patient’s life. (Or two because pregnant women come with an extra patient.)
You may be asking why I mention my work experience. Shouldn’t I be touting all my writing experience?
The truth is, I’m new to this author thing. I’ve only been writing seriously for the past five years, and that’s not much time in an author’s timeline. As I said, I never planned to be a writer. Maybe I should have thought of writing as a career earlier. It’s in my blood—my grandfather was a political speechwriter and newspaper editor, my aunt a syndicated columnist—but for me writing was just something I did for fun. Writing was my relaxation, my therapy. If I could distract myself from the problems of the day in a couple of paragraphs with fictional characters, I could sleep at night.
I wrote my first novel, Between the Raindrops, during an extremely stressful period of my life. My mother had died, my son was sick, and my father and my mother-in-law were both in hospice care. I wrote it as an escape, a way to cope. I’m a stress writer. Stress gets my creative nectar flowing. Some of my best ideas come when I’m stuck in traffic or when the oven breaks two hours before twenty people plan to eat dinner at my house. That’s just how it works for me. My debut novel was the happily-ever-after story that made my life bearable. My mother always fostered a love for celebrities and fashion in me and maybe writing the story was a tribute to her in some way. Even though I never planned to get it published, that’s when writing became real to me. My mother-in-law and my father both passed, my son got better, and my first book got published. I became an author.
In the time since I became serious about writing, I’ve worked hard to educate myself and hone my skills. Writing is a process. I will always strive to make my next novel better than my last. Still, I don’t know what kind of author I would be if I never lived the life I lived. My experiences taught me a ton about people, and I bring everything I’ve learned about human nature, social interaction, primal fears, and family dynamics into my stories. (Did I mention I’m the youngest of eight children? I could write so many books if I just had another twenty-four hours in the day.)
Just like in real life, in my novels, my characters drag their baggage (their families, their cultures, their experiences, and their temperaments) with them into a story and it shapes their point of view as they interact with others. Every one of my characters is an individual and has a different story to tell. You may not get to see everyone’s story in a particular novel, but I’ve written it somewhere in my notes, and hopefully, the important parts show through in my writing. I strive to make relatable characters, and I love puzzling their baggage together into complicated stories. Real life is not neat and orderly. It’s complex, but every detail has its place. I hope this comes through for you in my novels (and my blog), and I hope you enjoy my books. If you want to know more about my books, check out my About the Author page on Amazon, sign up for my newsletter to get updates and exclusive offers, and you can always find me on Facebook or Twitter. I would love to connect.
Between Scenes will be my next book release. It’s a spin-off from the Between the Raindrops Series. Neither of the main characters was in the first two books, but they are all friends now, and you will get to see glimpses of all the past character’s lives. Micah is a doll and Kat isn’t going to be the only one who will fall quickly for him. I can’t wait for you to meet him, and I can’t wait for you to read Kat and Micah’s story.
I am also working on a project not related to the Between the Raindrops Series. It’s edgy and more personal for me. The psychological thriller inspired by real life events is set in the Great State of Texas, but there are no cowboys. I’ll reveal more soon.
If you love my books consider becoming a member of my Street Team. Share your enthusiasm on social media and by word of mouth. Street team members are the first to get ARCs, swag and more. Sign up for my news letter, and drop me a line at SSchusslerbooks@gmail.com if you are interested in being part of my team. You can always contact me via Twitter or Facebook as well.
Between Scenes (a stand-alone spin-off from the Between the Raindrops Series) will be the next book released.
Newbie actress, Katya Avery struggles to provide for her younger brother after an accident has left him with a brain-injury. She's out of options, and the only way she can get her brother the care he needs is to stay with her cheating ex-boyfriend, mega-action star, Jake Gorboni. It’s an act—a means to an end—but the disdain in cartoonist, Micah Fallston’s eyes every time Jake touches her slays her, and all she wants to do is tell Micah the truth.