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About Theresa Nichols Schuster

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Theresa Nichols Schuster is author of "Brittle Silver" and "We Are the Warriors" a 2015 USA Regional Excellence Book Award Finalist. She currently lives in southwest Montana where she appreciates the wonders of nature, family, friends, a bit of pottery.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

2016 Montana Book Festival: What kind of an author, writer, reader do you want to be?

On September 20-25th, in Missoula, the 2016 edition of the Montana Book Festival will kick off a rousing week of workshops, discussions, panels and readings from nearly 150 authors from Montana and beyond. The offerings are richly varied and include young adult and children’s activities, discussions about self-publishing, the American west, Montana mystery, Approaches to Spiritual Inquiry, Healing through Native and native Western Voices, Revision and the Poetic Process, a book fair, and much more to tantalize the literary palette.

The children and young adult events are free, as are most Thursday and Sunday events. Workshops have special pricing. Access to the Friday and Saturday events is $5 each or a button for $15 covers those days plus the author/reader reception and other gatherings. Check the full listings at The Festival promises to be an enthusiastic and creative week.

I am delighted to again be part of the Youth Festival portion of the event with my young adult novel, We Are the Warriors, a 2015 USA Regional Excellence Book Award Finalist. I will be co-presenting the teen workshop, “Creating Dynamic Characters,” with Kris Dinnison of Spokane, author of You and Me and Him, and Frank Nappi, author of Welcome to the Show, the third installment in the Mickey Tussler series.

The Youth portion of the Festival includes other outstanding Montana authors such as Susan Adrian, whose young adult novel, Tunnel Vision, garnered Honor Book for the Montana Book Award and Blythe Woolston, the author of Black Helicopters, winner of the High Plains Book Award for YA literature. Recent middle-grade books that have splashed onto the scene include Janet Fox’s The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle, receiving multiple starred reviews and Kent Davis’ A Riddle in Ruby recipient of a Kirkus starred review.

With so many literary choices, I am again faced with the dilemma, “What kind of author do I want to be? What kind of writer? What do I want to read?” There are so many options.

A year ago I decided to embark on some short story writing. After I wrote and edited and re-edited a story for about eight weeks, I realized I would rather spend that quantity and quality of time continuing to work on my next novel.

Sometimes our interests or abilities are a bit preordained, seemingly not in our decision-making power. Contrary to my instincts, every now and then I decide to read a book my gut knows I won’t really like. It’s not my genre. Not my cup of tea. But I want to be able to say I know how it is written, how it reads, what its audience is...I read to accomplish a mission. Most often though, I prefer to read for enjoyment or education—that is my compelling draw.

Many of my favorite choices lately have been to read Montana authors. This has been an enlightening, fun and captivating endeavor. Such talent and creativity in so many voices. Always wish I had more time to read. The 2016 Montana Book Festival offers a unique opportunity to hear from many of these dedicated and talented individuals—from an awesome array of genres.

On a recent hike up the old road to the Granite Ghost Town, high in the Flint Creek Mountains, I had the occasion to revel in an era over one hundred years before. All my research, reading and study opened a door that displayed the lives of women and men many years before. The old granite foundations, roads and rotting timbers spoke of vitality—once, or again—so very real. My YA novel of time travel, rich in historical accuracy is taking shape...More to come later...maybe the ghosts do speak to us. #MBF2016  #treasure