How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
I wrote poems, short stories, and a play when I was a small child however my desire was to be a nurse. Hence I did become a nurse and enjoyed a successful career in helping all of my patients. When health issues cropped up and I became home bound (for the most part), my focus turned back to writing. That was in January 2013. Since then I have 14 books published.
As a child, I was mentally, emotionally, and physically abused by my mother, and this abuse didn’t end until her death in November of 2013. Throughout all the cruelties, I knew something better would happen in my life and I knew God was in control. My battered body cried out, but I thought God must be too busy to help me. From that abuse, I went into another relationship post high school and it turned out to be abusive as well. I just couldn’t get away from domestic abuse and I was in that vicious cycle of abuse.
My oldest son, Shane, was stillborn. I had been to my doctor, and he said that my baby boy no longer had a heart beat and that labor had to be induced. The one thing that I thought was all good and wonderful in my life was snatched away from me and I was angry at God. I lashed out at Him with so much anger and I fell into a deep depression, a hole I just couldn’t climb out of. I had tried so hard to become pregnant, and ended up burying my son.
After about a year, I learned I was pregnant again! Elation and fear took turns in my head and heart. When I reached eight months gestation, I decided that I would, indeed, have the baby I dearly wanted. After 36 hours labor, my baby boy came into this world blue! Feverishly the staff worked on him and then I heard his cry. I knew that God had intervened and touched my newborn with His Holy Spirit, and that He breathed life into my baby. I doted on my baby boy, Gene, and I felt completely blessed by Jesus.
Fifteen months later, I had another boy, Sam. Elation soared and my boys took to each other instantly. Best playmates, best friends, they were inseparable. However my husband remained abusive in all imaginable ways to me. He left me know, if I left him, he would kill me. That was the only I ever believed that came out of his mouth.
When my boys were ages four and five, I knew I had to leave him for their sake. Long story short, we moved into an apartment. Time and again their father would harass me. Sam had multiple sinus infections, and upper respiratory issues as well as other issues, and tubes were placed in his ears, CT scans were done multiple times, and he never remained well. In hindsight, those scans were misread and my son was misdiagnosed for eight months!
By then, cancer had spread from his neck into his brain and metastases found in both lungs. For seven and a half months he fought for his life. My faith wavered and faltered throughout this time, and I was angry at God. By then, Sam was age five. Most remarkable is that Sam wanted to go to Heaven! Sam knew Jesus! Sam knew God! Even though I was afraid to teach him about God, my son knew! My son said to me, “I want to go to Heaven, Mom.”
Twenty three years later, in 2013, I started the process of putting my journals and events into digital format, which became an award winning book, When Angels Fly.
Who are your favorite authors? (Please limit your answer to five or ten.)
Carolyn Keene, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and many more are in my favorites. I read all the Nancy Drew, Little House, and Cherry Ames books more than once.
What are your greatest sources of inspiration?
My first book ‘When Angels Fly’ was inspired by my son, Eli (Sam), and his battle with cancer. This memoir has three beginnings and rightly so once a reader starts reading it. I always thought I would be a one book author, but that soon changed! We have wild backyard squirrels and they provide plenty of antics and fun. Naturally they became incorporated into our children’s books.
What genre(s) do you write?
I am a rather eclectic author as it turns out. I have one memoir, one cookbook, one coffee table art book of my own works, a book on USA’s national parks, two books full of comical memes using our backyard squirrels, a book on child abuse and molestation, one on bullies, and six books in our ‘Shadow and Friends’ series.
Do you have any current or future projects?
We have two more children’s books in the works, another memoir, and we are working with producers on our screenplay – The King of Loss, which is derived from ‘When Angels Fly’.
Do you have any blogs?
Sure my blog is called ‘When Angels Fly’ and I post on many topics.
Where can people find your work? (to purchase or just to read)
When Angels Fly Book Trailer – I really think this is the best to look at before buying my memoir.
If you could just feature one title, what would it be?
This memoir has won several awards including Ring of Honor Circle of Books Silver Medalist 2nd Place 2016, New Apple Official Selection E-Book 2016, McGrath House House Independent Book Awards Finalist 2016, Amazon Best Selling Book with Number One Ranking for five days in a row 2016, and Readers Favorite Five Stars 2016.
Do you have any pseudonyms?
We (hubby and me) write under the names S. Jackson and S. Raymond.
Do you have any other hobbies besides writing?
I gave up sewing, crafting and needlework due to hand tremors, and now we focus on some travel, off road mountain trails, and our grandson, Austin. Much of the time, we are focused on trips to doctors due to my health.
Tell us something interesting about yourself.
Mary L. Schmidt writes under the pen name of S. Jackson, and she is a retired registered nurse, who won the coveted Leora B. Stroup Bachelor of Science in Nursing Award for outstanding clinical performance, community involvement and academic achievement in Nursing Award, while at Fort Hays State University. She is a member of the Catholic Church, and has taught kindergarten Catechism; she has worked in various capacities for The American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, Cub and Boy Scouts, (son, Gene, is an Eagle Scout), and sponsored trips for high school children music. She loves all forms of art but mostly focuses on the visual arts; amateur photography, traditional, and graphic art as her disabilities allow. She has published fourteen books since leaving her nursing career. Schmidt has designed all of her book covers. She loves spending time with her husband, Michael, and especially her first grandchild, Austin, just one year old. She is a Member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators: The international professional organization for writers and illustrators of children’s literature, and Sigma Theta Tau International: The Honor Society of Nursing, which is the second-largest nursing organization in the world with approximately 135,000 active members.
WORDS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT LOST A CHILD/ CHILDREN
Does it get any easier after losing a child? Somewhat…
Is it possible for a parent to be happy their child/children are perfect in Heaven above… and feel peace with that? Sure… (It took me twenty-three years for Eli and somewhat less for Joshua.)
Can a parent ever “get over” losing a child? No. This is the KING of loss. We can be happy that they are perfect in Heaven and sad at times when we miss them the most.
Bereaved parents are continually re-writing each day, as they try to cope with their new “normal.” This won’t change. We will think of our loss when other children reach milestones such as their first tooth, first steps, first words, kindergarten, holidays, best friend, graduation, prom, falling in love, first kiss, learning to drive, getting married… the list is endless. There will always be reminders of our loss.
The WORST things you can ever say to a parent who has suffered the KING of loss, even after one, ten, twenty, or more years? “You should be over it by now,” or “Move on with life.” You see, we are moving on with life. We just do it one hour… one day at a time… re-writing life as we go along.
~S Jackson, October 2014