Author: M.J. Schiller

I was born in Overland Park, KS, in the heart of Tornado Alley, and my life has been a bit twisted since. Actually, it’s not all that twisted, but I’ve always wanted to use that line. I grew up in St. Louis, MO, went to school at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and moved to Bloomington, IL, fresh out of college, after my husband got a job at State Farm’s corporate headquarters. I’ve worked as a high school/junior college teacher, personnel recruiter, office manager of a jewelry store, and, for the past ten years, as a lunch lady. I like to karaoke and attend rock concerts. I am actively involved at church and spend too much time on Facebook. I am the mother of a seventeen-year-old, and fifteen-year-old triplets, and have been married to my husband, Don, for over twenty-four years.

I have been a writer all my life. My first book, which was co-written with Mary Ellen Murphey in second grade, was titled The Black Cat, and was written on blue hotel stationary, hole-punched, and bound by white yarn. I believe it is currently out of circulation.

When I turned forty, I had an epiphany of sorts. I realized those bigwig publishing houses in New York were now probably run by people younger than me, so I shouldn’t be intimidated by them. At about the same time I was watching one of those award shows, and Jaclyn Smith got up to give a post-humorous award to Aaron Spelling. She credited him for encouraging her to go into acting, saying something brilliant like, “Reach for your dreams.” Nothing new. Almost even seems a little Jiminy Cricketish. But, for some reason, it struck me that night. When Aaron Spelling was thirteen, he was probably just like any other acned thirteen-year-old. But he worked to achieve his dreams, and became a household name. So, I began to write. Once I finished my first book, I wasn’t able to stop. I would rather write than do just about anything else. After all, you get to make people (characters) do what you want and design your own happy endings. What power! What a privilege.