Introducing: Sarah J. Schmitt

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Hello everyone! I’m Sarah J. Schmitt and I’m a Fearless Fifteeners premie. My YA Ghost story, IT’S A WONDERFUL DEATH, comes out from Strange Chemistry (Fall, 2014).

When I was in fourth grade, I proclaimed to my mother that I was going to be a writer. Many decades later, that dream is finally coming true. I even came in second in a county wide writing contest when I was a freshman in high school. (I lost to my English teacher’s son… I wanted to cry fix, but they showed me the shiny trophy and I was distracted.) When I got to college, I decided I needed to get serious and got a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Psychology, but I kept writing a few pages of fiction here and there. When I graduated, I was pretty directionless. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, so when someone commented that I would be a good college administrator, I thought, “Sure, what the heck.”

Best and worst decision of my life. Worst decision because midway through my first semester of graduate school, I realized I was tired of school and just wanted to be a writer. Best decision because I finally figured out what I wanted to do with my life and I met so many amazing people who encouraged me to follow my dreams. They continue to be the greatest cheerleaders of all time. I graduated with my Masters, came home, wrote seventeen chapters of a horrible novel, had two babies and thought this is as good as it’s going to get.

Then one day, when I was folding clothes and watching The Ellen Show. Ellen was interviewing Stephanie Meyer about Twilight and I remember Stephanie saying she had three small kids at home and had never wanted to write a book before but she had to know how the dream ended. I thought to myself, “Hey. I only have two kids and I’ve always wanted to write a book. If she can do it, why can’t I?” That week I started writing and within 6 months had a first draft. It was that moment, on October 3, 2009, that I knew this is what I was supposed to do with my life.

Three years and two completed manuscripts later, I decided that I was FINALLY going to “win” NaNoWriMo, but instead of saving the world like my other books, I just wanted to save the cheerleader… a snarky, self-centered, barely redeemable cheerleader. I finished in 23 days and then revised for six months before sending out my first batch of query letters. A week later I signed with my agent, Liza Fleissig of Liza Royce Agency and five months later received my offer from Strange Chemistry.

I’m looking forward to the year to come and celebrating the successes of my Fearless Fifteeners! This is a crazy wicked talented group of writers!

Here’s the summary of IT’S A WONDERFUL DEATH.

Seventeen-year-old RJ always gets what she wants. So when her soul is accidentally collected by a distracted Grim Reaper, somebody in the afterlife better figure out a way to send her back from the dead or heads will roll. But in her quest for mortality, she becomes a pawn in a power struggle between an over-zealous arch angel, who has grown tired of the white wings and harps, and the Hawaiian-shirt wearing Death Himself.

While she waits for the decision of the Tribunal charged with determining whether her life is worth rewinding the hands of time, RJ wanders through the afterlife where she meets several colorful characters including the Cornhole-playing St. Peter and Al, the handler for the 3-headed Hound that guards the gates to Hell. Finally, the Tribunal present her with two options: she can remain in the Lobby, where souls wait to be processed, until her original lifeline expires or replay three moments in her life in an effort to make choices that will produce a future deemed worthy of being saved. It sounds like a no brainer. She’ll take the walk down memory lane. How hard can changing her future be?
But with each moment, RJ’s life begins to unravel until this self-proclaimed Queen Bee is a social pariah. She begins to wonder if walking among the living is worth it if she has to spend the next sixty years as an outcast.
SarahJSchmitt_color_lowresSarah J. Schmitt is a K-8 school librarian and Youth Service Professional for Teens at a public library. She lives outside of Indianapolis with her husband, two kidlets and a cat who might actually be a secret agent. Her debut novel, IT’S A WONDERFUL DEATH, comes out Fall 2014 from Strange Chemistry. Check out her antics on Twitter.
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