Betty Jo Schuler, an author and former elementary teacher who writes for children, teens, and adults, has had seventeen books published. She is an instructor for Writers Digest University where she's taught online courses in writing romance novels, children's books, and most recently teaches "Writing the Young Adult Novel" on a fairly regular basis. She also edits YA Novels in WDU's Second Draft Critique program. A former Indiana native, she loves life in Florida where she gaze out at palm trees, tropical flowers, and sunshine while fulfilling her lifelong love of working with words. Betty Jo has a BS in Education from Miami University of Ohio and an MA from Ball State University of Indiana. She's married with four grown kids who have families of their own. In her spare time, this writer and instructor enjoys yoga, water aerobics, time with friends and many other "fun" activities" She invites you to visit her website at http://bettyjowrites.com/
BWL: Why did you choose the genre you write in? Is it your favorite to read, or another reason?
BJS: It’s more like they choose me! I have written for children, young adults, romance, and fiction and non-fiction for about every age. That’s typical of my tendency to jump about. I started writing for kids because I had four of my own and then went back to college and became an elementary teacher, so that was what I knew. I took a part-time job as a diet instructor for a major weight loss company and started writing health and nutrition articles for magazines and columns for newspapers. I think you get the idea. I just wanted to write. I love characterization and that’s what I really look for in books I read.
BWL: Describe yourself using 5 words.
BJS: Imaginative, sentimental, loving, restless, and a procrastinator.
BWL: What might readers be surprised to learn about you?
BJS: A number of years ago, I won seven trophies drag racing the family station wagon—P- stock automatic at a sanctioned drag strip. I’m surprised myself. I am not usually daring or sports-minded. Go figure. Read my YA novel, Heart Strings, in which the heroine lost her boyfriend when he was drag racing on a country road. I call that my heart transplant book. I’m from Indiana by the way, home of the Indianapolis 500.
BWL: What was your favorite book as a child or young adult?
BJS: As a child…Bambi, Little Women, Nancy Drew books, Bobbsey Twins (giving away my age), Heidi, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
BWL: If you could go back in time for one day, which time period would you like to visit?
BJS: The carefree days of the 1940s when you could play outdoors until after dark or walk to a friend’s house without fear. Playing tag, jumping rope, roller skating…
BWL: Choose one person, living or dead, you'd like to share a meal with.
BJS: My mother. She just passed away three years ago, but she was a fascinating person who even at 96, had an amazing memory and the vocabulary of a dock worker (for want of a better term). One of my granddaughters in her teens was amused and fascinated by G’ma O’Leary’s language. I miss my mother. She was outgoing and loved by many people.
BWL: Name one thing you'd change about yourself if you could.
BJS: I try hard to organize, but my mind just won’t work that way. I tend to have scattered documents, etcetera, in my work area, and too many files on my computer. I need to spend more time “in the moment” and less thinking ahead to what I should be doing or am going to do next. My yoga instructor calls this trait which so many of us today possess, “the drunken monkey mind.” While she stresses staying in the present and repeating mantras, I struggle to keep my mind still.
Writing is the one thing that totally absorbs me. I like the discoveries I make while creating and bringing the characters’ stories to life. I know outlining a book beforehand is probably sensible, but my “map” isn’t detailed. I’m pretty much a “by the seat of your pants” author enjoying the journey, even if it means extra work in the end.
BWL: Thanks Betty Jo!
Please stop back over the next few days to read some excerpts from her Books We Love titles. Find all her BWL books here: http://bookswelove.net/bettyjoschuler.php