Christine Schimpf

Christian Romance Author

Becoming a Writer - What I Have Learned on the Journey by Christine Schimpf                                       2017

I recently wrote an article for the Wisconsin Chapter of Romance Writers of America. The article addresses my journey with writing and highlights some of the key lessons I've learned along the way. If you're a budding writer or someone who has always wanted to write "that book" but hasn't yet, I hope this article helps you in some way large or small. 

Writing came to me by accident. After graduating college as an older adult, I was busy applying and interviewing for positions in the public relations field, eager to put my degree to work and ready to get a return on my financial and personal investment in my education.

It was during that time, that my husband asked me if I would write his grandparents’ story. He explained that it was a cute love story, but he left out some of the essential details. Their story was also one of ethnic cleansing, immigration, determination and courage to start a brand-new life in the United States of America. It took me longer than I ever expected and more than one attempt until it was done.

I learned a lot about myself writing my first book. What kind of writer I am—an outliner, or plotter.  What time of the day I write best in—mornings and early evenings. Where my inspiration comes from—nature, the great outdoors. The type of support I need—my critique group and finally, how many hats I’d actually wear during the process—from creative writer to savvy marketer to professional speaker.

My first book was published five years ago and remains a best seller in a local store in my hometown. Since then, I’ve written two more books. My first two books were independently published. My last book was picked up by a small Christian publishing press. Presently, I’m working on outlining book number four with plans for a novella on the back burner. I’ve learned plenty of hard lessons along the way that I’d like to share with you in hopes that my learning curve will steer you in the right direction and encourage you forward in your own work-in-progress. Here are a few quick tips:

Know where your inspiration comes from. For me, it’s simple . . . nature. For example walking my dog in the crisp Wisconsin winters, kayaking across the lake in summer, pulling weeds and making order in spring or raking leaves in the fall. It doesn’t have to be an exotic retreat, it may be right in your own backyard.

Understand your writing style. Do you like to write scenes out on index cards or on a large sheet of paper and then tape it on a wall? If so, you’re a plotter like me. Or, do you prefer to write whatever moves you on a particular day, jumping scenes, or writing projects for that matter. If so, you’re in the panster camp. Once you understand your style, you can set your goals for the week, month, and year.

Find a critique group or writing class to join and bond with other writers. Writers live very solitary lives and reaching out to others may be uncomfortable at first, but I encourage you to take that first step. There are so many opportunities available online through professional organizations linked to your specific genre. Another suggestion would be to contact your local library or bookstores and inquire about writing groups that may meet. Having a regular group of dedicated writers to critique your work and support you along the way is invaluable and will keep you motivated.

Create a tracking system.  Knowledge is a powerful weapon. Understanding what made high volume days productive and other days not will help you to formulate a commitment that works for you, eventually meeting your goal.

These are the lessons I learned after I wrote my first book and what I live by in my writing life. If you are new to writing, I would suggest some introspection on where your inspiration comes from, so when you need it, you know where to find it. Understand that everyone takes a different avenue to writing. No two writers approach it the same way. Don’t second guess your approach. If it works for you, run with it. Seek out other writers who are on the same path those who will support you. Considering forming your own group—it’s not hard, I actually did it. And finally, make a commitment to your work-in-progress and stick to it. It’s the only way to the end.

My hope is that you embrace your call to write and figure out the puzzles pieces that will make it all come together in a beautiful story. You can accomplish what may feel impossible with the right tools and with the understanding of the writer within you.

Christine Schimpf, Author

Christine Schimpf was born and raised in a small town in southeastern Wisconsin. Growing up she enjoyed fishing with her dad, bicycle riding, and climbing trees. She attended a Catholic elementary school where she met her husband in second grade.

When she’s not writing she enjoys planting seeds and flowers in the spring, golfing and kayaking in the summer, and playing indoor tennis over the winter months. She and her dog Rudy walk every day unless the temperature drops below 20 degrees. Presently, she lives on five acres in the country with her husband and golden retriever.

Contract Signed for Third Book!!!                               2016

Great news everyone! I just signed my very first author contract for my third book, a contemporary Christian romance titled, "A Christmas Kind of Perfect" with Prism an imprint of Pelican Book Group. I'm crazy excited and out-of-this-world happy. This was my goal for the year! I can't wait to start the polishing process with the editorial staff and help launch the book next Christmas season. Please watch for it and I'll keep you posted!

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                                  An Interview                                   2012

Last week, I was interviewed on on Gail Grenier's blog, "Gail Grenier Here." My attendance in her Creative Writing for Publication class empowered to finish my first book, "Nick, The Journey of a Lifetime."  Here's the interview, I hope you enjoy it.

Virtual book tour: Christine Schimpf tells an immigrant's true story

I’d like to share an interview with Christine Schimpf, my writing student and friend, who recently published her book Nick, the Journey of a Lifetime. It’s no secret to any reader of my blog that I love all things ethnic. How could I not love a story like Nick’s?

Christine Schimpf at a book signing
Gail: Tell me about your book, Chris.

Chris:What I have heard the most about my book, from those who have read it, was “It was hard to put down.” The story begins with an aerial view of the village of Calma, Yugoslavia, formerly the Austrian-Hungary Empire. The reader enters the world of a small ethnic group of people known as Donauschwabens. Soon the reader is walking in the shoes of the Nicholas Russ. He’s a young man working a carpentry apprenticeship. The coins in his pocket are jingling as he walks down the cobblestone walk, making his way to local Gausthaus to meet up with his favorite girl Theresa.

Gail:Interesting background. How does the story take off?

Chris:Well, the reader soon discovers that Nick has a bit of a problem. He finds out that his sweetheart, Theresa, has been promised to a butcher in the next village. Now, this is not that unusual given the time period. Parents often arranged marriages for their offspring to benefit not only their child, but themselves as well. In this case, an alliance with a butcher would be welcoming, as meat was a scarce commodity. Unfortunately, this arrangement is not what Nick had in mind, so he does what any man in love would do.
Gail:I bet you’re not going to tell us that part, right?
Chris:(Laughter) That’s right. At first, I thought the book would center on this unique and wonderful way a marriage began. However, as the events of Nick’s life unfold, the reader experiences firsthand the life of an ethnic German living in Europe during and after World War II. The story reveals the hardships, challenges, and opportunities that Nick had to deal with it and the consequences that followed his decisions.

Gail:Are there many books written about the experience of the Donauschwaben people?

Chris:Most books that I have found are in memoir format. My book is unique because it is based on true events but written as fiction through the eyes of Nick. As Americans, we haven’t had the experiences of ethnic cleansing, displacement, living in refugee camps and considering leaving our homeland. Nick and his family did. Call it luck or call it fate, but things turn around in their lives and by the Grace of God they become very successful entrepreneurs.

Gail:Christine, who is the audience for your book?

Chris:Since the book is void of sex, violence, and foul language, it is most appropriate for sixth grade to adult. My intention, Gail, was to inspire and encourage the reading audience to begin asking questions about their own rich histories and traditions. The book could easily supplement history, social studies, reading and English classes and is also a good choice for book clubs.

Gail:World War II, ethnic cleansing, and displacement those sound like pretty serious topics.

Chris:True, the book is sprinkled with some pretty tough experiences as well as the some pretty beautiful ones as well. For example, the reader is present for weddings, births, and family celebrations. It spans Nick’s entire life. We learn of the beautiful traditions the family held dear and we feel the torment Nick feels with the tough decisions that had to be made. The Epilogue pulls everything forward to present day.

Gail:What’s next for you, Christine, any writing projects?

Chris: As a matter of fact, yes! I’m polishing my next work entitled, “THE TICKET, A LOVE AFFAIR WITH TITANIC.” It’s considered historical romance and set in Belfast, Ireland, during the construction of the Titanic. A young woman is torn between her attraction for adventure and her desire for love.

Gail: Sounds like an interesting tale. When do you plan to release it?

Chris:In 2013, so please keep it in mind.

Gail:Good luck to you, Christine.

Chris:I appreciate the opportunity to share my work, Gail. Thank you.