by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVEâ€”Just about every detail of Tammy Schmidtâ€™s life has taken place locally. She grew up in Sugar Grove, was the editor for the Kaneland Krier, earned a degree in English from Northern Illinois University and student-taught at St. Charles East High School.
These days, Schmidt is an author under the pen name of Tamara Lyon, using small-town settings inspired by Sugar Grove, Elburn and Geneva in her novels.
â€œI began writing my first novel 10 years ago when my son was an infant. Iâ€™ve since had three novels released,â€ Schmidt said. â€œEvery one of my books is unique. I pride myself on the fact that my novels donâ€™t subscribe to one theme.â€
Schmidt, a Kaneland class of 1993 graduate, worked for publications such as The Kane County Chronicle and The Elburn Herald before she wrote her first novel, â€œFalling to Him,â€ while managing her cleaning business and putting her husband, Chris, through medical school.
â€œI scrub toilets for a living, and I am still doing (it),â€ she said. â€œI took several career detours before (I came) back to writing.â€
According to Schmidt, her second novel, â€œFixing Forever Broken,â€ recently received a bronze IPPY award in the romance category. And her third novel, â€œThe Ugly Tree,â€ was nominated for an Abraham Lincoln Award by a Lisle High School librarian.
Her next novel, â€œThe Peel and Stick Heart,â€ is slated to be released in 2012.
Schmidtâ€™s demanding work and family schedule has kept her from being able to consistently market and promote her novels, but sheâ€™s hoping a mini book-signing tour and also some speaking engagements at high schools in Illinois and Wisconsin will have more people talking about Tamara Lyonâ€™s series of novels.
â€œ(Iâ€™ll) talk about my journey as a writer and what brought me back to writing,â€ Schmidt said. â€œI also do a PowerPoint presentation on the publishing industry for students interested in a writing career.â€
Schmidt said she plans to market her novels by giving presentations at womenâ€™s organizations, professional organizations and book clubs, and said she will employ out-of-the-box book promotion concepts, including â€œMeet the Authorâ€ events where sheâ€™ll sell and sign books and network at small gatherings hosted by her friends and family.
â€œThis concept has been taking off like wildfire, as people are intrigued by and enjoy (the) idea of personal interaction with an author,â€ she said.
Schmidt will give a presentation Monday, Oct. 25, at the United Methodist Church in Sugar Grove, where she will read excerpts of her work, answer questions and sign books. Sheâ€™ll also do a similar meet-and-greet on Saturday, Nov. 6, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Methodist Church in Maple Park.
For more information about Schmidtâ€™s novels, visit www.tamaralyon.com or search Tamara Lyon on Facebook.