Into The ‘Abyss’
With more than a dozen books and several short stories published, Liz Schulte is one of Columbia’s most prolific authors. Schulte writes urban fantasies, paranormal romances and romantic suspense. Often she utilizes short stories to blur the lines between the worlds she has created, allowing her characters to interact and her readers to see how things fit together in the “Abyss World” she created.
Surprisingly, Schulte didn’t always want to write books. Initially she intended to become a lawyer, but after getting her degree in psychology at the University of Missouri she did not continue on to law school. Her dreams shifted and she began work toward a second degree in forensics, hoping to become a criminal profiler.
“Around that time, I was fairly stressed, working 40 hours a week and trying to go to school,” she says. While looking for ways to de-stress, a minor interest took on a major role.
“My mom said, ‘Why don’t you try writing? You have always liked writing.’ To begin with, it was more cathartic for me.” Schulte says. “I was writing and enjoying myself, and when I finished [my first book], I had the bug. I wanted to keep doing it, so at that point I started looking at how I could make writing my full-time job.”
Few authors make writing into a career with Schulte’s level of focus. The bubbly writer credits her success to forethought and personal investment.
“I embraced the 40-hour workweek,” she says. “Really, the only thing you can do is put in lots and lots of hours. You make sacrifices, which most people don’t want to do. It is hard.”
Schulte continued working full time, filling her spare moments with words. “I worked all day. I went home and had dinner. I would write until I couldn’t keep my eyes open,” she says. “Then, I would wake up and do it all over again. On weekends, I would do all-night writes. I didn’t go out with my friends, and I was tired, but I knew I had to get the books out in order to do this.”
By 2013, Schulte had nearly 10 released titles and a solid financial cushion. She took the plunge to write full time that year. Now she sets aside time for both sides of her new career. “I have the creative mindset where I am writing, and then I have the very business-oriented mind. You can’t manage your own career without that.”
Schulte sets aside time for managing business — utilizing editors, cover artists, formatters and other skilled professionals. She enjoys publicity and the detailed work, but also loves to let her creative side run free. She wanders to different places in her home as she writes, depending upon her mood. Schulte also admits to writing with the TV on in the background.
“It takes me out of what I am writing and gives the characters freedom to be themselves,” she says. “Watching TV while I write takes me out of the story.”
She allows bits of the author to sneak into her characters. Her first title, Dark Corners, features Ella, an author of supernatural mysteries. “I have a soft spot for my first book,” she says, “because so much of yourself goes into your first work.”
Although her characters tend to be darker than Schulte’s cheerful nature, they carry morsels of humor and lightheartedness, with a snarky edge. She believes it is important to give that human quality of contrast in stories that could feel heavy.
Her hard work has been rewarded with a cult following. In turn, Schulte gifts her readers with a highly interactive online presence.
“I really think my readers are a lot like me,” she says. She shares pictures of her two toy poodles, Whiskey and Rachel, and answers questions about her work and life. “I feel pretty comfortable with my fans,” she says, and this bond between her readers and herself makes for a faithful reader base and a unique author experience.
To learn more about Liz Schulte, visit www.lizschulte.com or find her on Facebook.