Cari has worn numerous hats in life. She proudly wore the uniform of the US Air Force. After serving, she worked as a critical care RN for almost a decade. She also owned her own Personal Chef and Catering company for six years. Finally, she chose to turn her attention back to her family.
Closing her business hasn’t made her a couch potato. She cooks at the weekly Wednesday night dinners for her church, and volunteers at the Cross Talk Café in support of the Celebrate Recovery church ministry on Friday nights. She has volunteered her time as a Mentor Mom for two MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) groups. When she’s not busy in the church doors, she’s happily entertaining people in her home.
She not only has a passion for writing, but also for serving. She views writing as a form of service for people from all walks of life. Jesus used story-telling to convey life principles, why can’t we do the same?
She lives in southern Illinois with her ridiculously patient husband of twenty four years, three children, and her two Chihuahua guard dogs, Snoopy and Stanley. Faith, Hope, Love, and Chocolate is her first novel.
How to connect with Cari...
Facebook: Cari Schaeffer
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Author Interview | Cari Schaeffer
You and Writing
Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
...Writing this, my first novel, has been such an incredible journey. It started with my love of great books. My family can attest to the fact that I have been known to read a great novel in a day. I’ve read many wonderful books and a few not so great books. In fact, after finishing one particular book that in my opinion was terrible, I slammed it shut and determined to write a novel better than that. I love a great, engaging plot but really don’t like reading explicit material or foul language. I accomplished that goal.
If published, what was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?
...There are three ways to become published: Traditional, Indie, or Vanity. Indie and Vanity are under the umbrella of “Self-Publishing”, but they are not the same thing. I immediately dismissed the Vanity option – it requires the author to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket.
...I am an Indie author, so for me the hardest part was learning the process. Now that I’ve learned it, it is no longer difficult. Initially in my research, I intended to go traditional, but after discovering the narrowness of the funnel and the years involved, I prayed and felt led to go the Indie route. If I had continued on the traditional publishing trajectory, I would most likely be receiving a dribble of the torrent of rejections that would continue on for years. I’m too impatient for that - I have work to do and people to reach. Gatekeepers are no longer necessary.
...The easiest thing about publishing, honestly, is going Indie. It’s an incredibly satisfying and simple route to take that has given me great rewards, both financially and through reader feedback. I couldn’t imagine this journey any other way.
Tell us a little bit about your book. Why did you write it?
...My first novel, Faith, Hope, Love, and Chocolate is the story of a woman who has allowed one horrific experience to warp not only her view of God, but of herself and her worth. I have yet to meet one woman that isn’t somehow injured or broken because of life. I wrote this book with the hope that it will minister to broken women. It deals with death, infertility, infidelity, parenting, marriage, and friendships. I want women to know how incredibly unique and truly priceless we all are, as defined by God, not by others or by life.
...My next work is going to be a trilogy that covers a little more than two decades in military life. There are so many things that those who have not experienced military life don’t really know. I have collected a number of real life stories from those who’ve worn the uniform themselves and those that have supported them. They’re encouraging, heart-breaking, horrifying, and gratifying all at the same time. I hope I can do it justice.
Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...I find my inspiration from my interactions with people and my experiences in life. In this first novel, the experiences are not based on any one person and none of the experiences are taken straight from anyone’s life. Rather, they are snapshots and stories that I have heard over the years and that have touched me deeply. I took some of those snapshots and stories and, through prayer and much thought, allowed my imagination to weave a fictitious life that a lot of women can relate to.
When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...I want to follow the example Jesus set for us – teach life principles through telling stories. I hope that I can reach my readers through feeling the pain, suffering, laughter, tears, and joy that my characters feel. I write complete resumes for my characters. In some cases, even down to their favorite colors – I want them to be REAL.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...GO FOR IT! If you are led to walk this path, don’t let anyone tell you no. Pray, learn the craft (never stop that, ever) and just jump into the deep end with eyes wide open. There are numerous paths to being published now that allow the author to connect directly with the reader. I look at writing as a written conversation and speaking for myself, I don’t want an interpreter between me and my audience. It’s also important to accept feedback with discernment. Criticism, when offered constructively, is a GOOD thing.
In honor of the fall, what’s your favorite fall treat?
...Oh, boy – I love a really good s’more made with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (Lord have mercy on me…). I actually included some recipes in the back of my novel that the characters enjoy throughout the story and S’Mores Bars is one of them. I love the crimson, gold, and burnt orange colors on the trees and that little nip in the air that allows me to still wear shorts, but requires a sweatshirt, too. Fall is a beautiful time of the year! It means Thanksgiving and Christmas are on the way! How could anyone not love THAT?