Friday Speak Out!: The Accidental Author, guest post by Brandi Schmidt

Friday, February 22, 2013
I never thought I would be an author. I hear lavish tales from other authors about where they began their literary journey, like at age four writing plays and short stories. That was not me. I wasn’t a great student in high school, scraping by to get that diploma. I took a few years off after graduation, found myself, and gained perspective. I did return to college and actually worked my tail off to get the hardest degree I could find. I majored in biomedical engineering science at Washington University in St. Louis. After college graduation, I took a nice position with a local pharmaceutical company and continue to work there full time. I was the ”slacker” turned ”nerd” and loved it.

One day I took my son to see Twilight—he loved vampires and I was an avid Buffy fan. Wait, don’t stop reading! We all have strong feelings about the Twilight saga, and I am not debating them in this post. Seeing that movie changed my life, I know what you are thinking…really? But yes, it did.

I bought the book that night. That was the first time in my life I actually read for pleasure. I had read thousands of books, mainly text books and medical journals, but Twilight was different. I devoured the entire series in a week. Stayed up all night to read, was a zombie at work, ignored my husband. Like a junkie, I was hooked.

I finished the series, and I can’t believe I am going to admit this, but I actually hugged the books. I was so moved by words on a page. I thought, I want to do that. Not marry a vampire and have a half vamp/half human child, but write a book that moves people.

The big question was what would I write about? Did I have a story in me to tell? Two weeks went by. One day driving home, I was given the story. I knew the characters, the story arcs, and all the funny drama that would ensue. Maybe I was given THE KINDLING by accident? Maybe God meant to give it to the car in front of me and miscalculated his idea trajectory. But I got it, and I am forever grateful.

I believe we all have great ideas, and it’s the action or non-action that can change our destiny. I took action that day. I went home and wrote the first three chapters of THE KINDLING. By the way – they were terrible, like I said I wasn’t a writer.

Fast forward four years—yes, four years! I studied, learned, went to conferences, followed agent blogs, met other aspiring authors, got my own blog, and it was hard. I queried way too soon (that’s another funny story!). I made many mistakes along the way, but I learned from them and never gave up. And now my first novel, a paranormal romance titled THE KINDLING is releasing in March 2013 published by MuseItUp Publishing. I hope you find the time to read my accident; it’s a good one.

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Brandi Schmidt lives outside St. Louis with her husband, three beautiful children, and one loveable Golden Retriever. She is in love with love and admittedly cries at anything sappy. You can follow her at or Facebook at www.facebook/authorbrandischmidt. Her twitter handle is @BrandiSchmidt . You can purchase THE KINDLING at or any other ebook suppliers.
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


Margo Dill said...

Go, Brandi, go! I, for one, am so happy that you took your son to see Twilight and then read the books and loved them. IF not for that, we wouldn't be in the same critique group! :) So proud of you, and can't wait for THE KINDLING to be officially out. :) Ladies, it's a clever, humorous romance--you're going to love the heroine in this one!

Amsterdam Mama said...

Hi Brandi, your story was just what I needed today to inspire me to keep writing. Thanks for sharing!!

Sioux Roslawski said...

Brandi--Congratulations. Things happen the way they do for a reason.

Unknown said...

I love reading writer path stories-- we all do it so differently. Although I loved writing from an early age, I wasn't given much encouragement to pursue a "frivolous vocation". After 22 years working in higher ed, I finally decided, staring down the final years of my 40s, to give this dream a go. Yay us! Thanks for sharing, Brandi.

Anonymous said...

Love it! I don't know why people hate on Twilight so much; the books weren't bad, and I loved the movies (and soundtracks!). Good for you, and congratulations on your book :)

Unknown said...

So glad you shared this experience! It can happen!!! :)

Barbara Bettis said...

Hi Brandi *waving from MORWA land*. Thanks for sharing your journey. Hearing your process to publication is encouraging for writers to learn the craft and follow their hearts. Good luck with this book and with all your subsequent ones.

Megan Kelly said...

That's a great story, Brandi. I love that you kept learning until you could write a story to be proud of. God doesn't make mistakes so I'm guessing He hit the right car.

S. Durham said...

Hi Brandi,

I enjoyed hearing about your journey to becoming a published author:) Best wishes on your release!


Mel Kinnel (@TizMellyMel) said...

Hi, Brandi! I really enjoyed your post. That's great how you got your inspiration and the fact that you were determined to see it through is really terrific. Good luck!

Donna Volkenannt said...

So true, Brandi. It's the action that makes the difference. Congratulations on your book.

Unknown said...

Thanks everyone. THE KINDLING will be released March 22nd by MuseItUp Publishing. *big smiles*

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