Anna Schmidt is an award-winning author of historical fiction. Her latest novel—THE WINTERKEEPER—is a coming of age story set in Yellowstone National Park in the winter of 1933. Publisher’s Weekly had high praise for Anna’s WWII series–THE PEACEMAKERS–stating that Schmidt “seamlessly integrates…actual events, and the courageous real-life individuals who fought against Hitler’s regime, with her fictional characters and their story, to produce a strong tale of hope and love in the face of insurmountable obstacles.”
What is your background?
I was raised in a small town in the far southwest corner of Virginia. After earning my bachelor’s in history, I attended the University of Cincinnati for my masters in theater arts. Since moving to Milwaukee (and marrying the love of my life), my career has run the gamut from teaching at the college level, to creating costumes for several theater companies to working with my husband in the adult daycare business to several years spent working in corporate communications and marketing for two international companies. Everything has been part of my education as a storyteller.
What inspires you to create?
Writing is therapy for me—I would write even if I had no chance at publication. Especially during the long years of my husband’s failing health and now the years after his death, writing has been my salvation.
How has your career influenced your passions (or vice versa)?
My career as a novelist has only solidified a love of history and research that goes back to my childhood. The older I get, the more I realize that if we would only pay attention, history can teach us how to be and do better.
What is something that you must do every day (by choice)?
I am totally undisciplined—I have nothing I am driven to do every day. Each day is its own 24-hour lifetime and I just get out of bed and see what is waiting.
What are some things that you would tell yourself 10, 20, 30 years ago?
The usual: I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, successful enough, pretty enough…..
If you could be answering these questions from another location, anywhere in the world, where would that be?
Right now, it would be Denmark, the setting for my next book.
Who are some role models in your life?
My husband who taught me to believe in myself and gave me a love story for the ages; my dad—he was a simple but amazing man; my mom who struggled with rejection, depression and insecurities and yet raised me to believe there were no limits.
What are some common misconceptions about the older generation that you’d like to change?
A huge one is that once people retire, they become irrelevant—“He/she USED to be…” can set off fireworks in my brain—and mouth! I am still a writer and a teacher and someone who can put together a game plan for building a business or developing a project. I am the sum total of all the years of experience I have been blessed to have.
What is something that you appreciate now that you hadn’t before?
I never fully appreciated my marriage—until my husband wasn’t here anymore. Only then did I fully realize the amount of time I wasted lamenting about things I thought I wanted or needed when all the while he was standing right there next to me.
What’s a lesson you learned within the last year that you’d like to share?
Not to allow what other people might think to guide my thinking—it’s a lesson I’ve had to learn over and over again. Most recently I began to think perhaps I was done writing. THE WINTERKEEPER was rejected by a number of publishers, and that hurt until I realized their rejection had nothing to do with me or the book – it had to do with the bottom line. Selling a book about the Great Depression set in winter in Montana? Not a huge market. The book was good—they knew it and so did I. SO, I self-published and in the process learned a whole new career skill!
What kinds of relationships are important to your work?
My agent and I have been together through some tough times and some wonderful times—our friendship has far exceeded our business partnership. Similarly, I have been privileged to work with some really terrific editors who have made my stories better.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
I’m undisciplined, remember? So, maintaining social media is a huge chore for me. I do have a Twitter account @annaschmidt70 and am on GoodReads, Linked In and Bookbub. Truth is, I’d rather be writing my stories!
Where can people go for more information? Please share full website address and full social media links.