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Title: “Into the Surf,” in the anthology Letting Hope Enter 

Genre: Short story

Author: Maggie Jane Schuler

All proceeds benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Get your copy HERE.  Only $2.99 for this Kindle Deal! (Please note, this anthology may be a bit steamy for some readers.) 

Mental Health Awareness and Suicide Prevention and are two issues that are very near and dear to my heart. My job as a pastor brings me into close contact with many people who are suffering. The People of the United Methodist Church believe that we are called to be in ministry alongside those who are impacted by mental illness. 

I have multiple people in my life who are precious to me that struggle with issues related to their mental health. Removing the stigma related to mental illness and raising awareness are two key steps in working to prevent suicide. The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that as many as one in five adults will struggle with their mental health in any given year.   This is an issue that effects millions of lives, but no one wants to talk about it. Frequently, when the issue of mental health or suicide is mentioned, people become uncomfortable and silence reigns.

A group of authors have joined together in order to help end the stigma.

Letting Hope Enter is a charity anthology published by a group of authors who are passionate about preventing suicide. Together, they are using their gift of writing to raise awareness about mental health. Their stories help to give a human face to the very real issue of suicide. All proceeds from the anthology are being donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

In the Surf Teaser Discussed

“Into The Surf,” by Maggie Jane Schuler

One of my favorite stories in this anthology is entitled “Into the Surf,” by Maggie Jane Schuler.  It tells the story of a family struggling to process a tragic loss. I don’t want to spoil this poignant story for you by revealing too many details, but allow me to say that it is deeply moving.

Schuler paints her characters as if they were real flesh and blood. I was particularly touched by her portrayal of parenthood and how she depicted the children. The story truly came alive for me when I read about how the loss impacted the little ones.

I have seen such grief firsthand and Schuler’s portrayal of complex emotions is strikingly accurate. She manages to portray the very real impact of suicide and a family’s search for hope without ever becoming exploitative or saccharine.

Her story ends on a note of hope that left me with a lump in my throat. I advise readers to keep a tissue box nearby when they read this tale of heartache and triumph.

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Interview with Maggie Jane Schuler, the author of “Into the Surf”

I was so excited that Maggie Jane Schuler, the author of “Into the Surf,” was willing to take some time to talk to me about her work. Check out the following interview, in which we discuss her inspiration, writing process, and her upcoming novel, The Playbook!

Me: I think it’s great that you joined with a group of other writers in order to raise money and awareness for such an important issue. How did you become involved in this project?

Maggie Jane Schuler: I was asked to join the project by fellow author and friend Trinity Hanrahan. She and I met several years ago and hit off with reading and writing. She’s amazing and a fabulous coordinator with for this project.

Me: Mental Health Awareness and Suicide Prevention are such important issues that impact more lives than we realize. What made you passionate about this cause?

MJS: When I was approached for the anthology I was hesitant to answer before speaking with my good friend who lost two of his four children to suicide within 14 months of each other. I wrote a spot for him on my website prior to this anthology (https://wp.me/p7JrID-6W), and I wanted to make sure that sharing a survivors story would have his approval. He was on board immediately as he struggles daily as a father who lives with this tragedy every day. He sat copilot as I wrote In the Surf, making sure I hit the emotional keys for the situation straight on without candy coating the truth.

Me: Your characters seem like real flesh and blood. What steps did you take to capture the very real pain of loss while still remaining sensitive to those who have lost loved ones?

MJS: Forrest was the key. He and I have a special bond as friends and colleagues in my day job. We often read together and discuss books like the nerds we are underneath all the day to day stuff! He and I openly speak about his tragic loss and he shared some private information with me prior to being asked to join the anthology. I wanted this message in our characters to be real and he truly is the key to this story.

Me: What did you find most challenging while writing this piece?

MJS: There were several challenges in writing this piece. One, I had thirty days to create it from start to finish with edits. Two, Forrest needed time to process the pieces I wrote and at times the emotions ran high. Our work together became a daily therapy of sorts for both of us. Third, my beta reading team knew the nature of this piece and they held tight for me as the timeline was rigid.

Me: What was your favorite part about this piece? Did you have a favorite character or scene?

MJS: There are truths woven in this work from first-hand experiences Forrest shared with me. He asked I keep those things confidential at this point, but a lot of Byron is a mixture of his two sons sewn into the fabric of one spirit within him. Liam’s eulogy was the most difficult to write but it was the cathartic moment of brings life, death, and the future together.

Me: I enjoy writing and I love to help others. Do you have any advice for writers who would like to use their skills to help others?

MJS: Passion and willpower are two characteristics which motivate me to proceed in this writing, charity, and literacy endeavor. I think networking is key and finding your tribe who helps stoke the fire as well as provides solid feedback and critiques of your work as you move through the creative process is the core. I have been fortunate in the three years I’ve been active to meet amazing people who bolster my confidence and keep the community of reading and writing alive and well for all to experience.

Me: I heard that you have a new book coming out called, The Playbook! Can you say a little bit more about your upcoming project?

MJS: The Playbook is the second novel in my Diamond Series. Blake and Sam are my original book babies which started this entire ball rolling. It is a suspense romance with a twist of learning to trust and changing one’s mindset as one matures. I’m pushing to release in November or December. I am a bit of a perfectionist and want to make sure my edits are spot on. This is a follow up to the first novel, Up to Bat, which is a cliffhanger, so it is vital The Playbook receives its due diligence!

Letting Hope Enter IG Live

Don’t wait another minute! I encourage you to go ahead and take the plunge. Go ahead and dive, “Into the Surf,” with Maggie Jane Schuler!

Want to know more about Maggie Jane Schuler? Check out these links! 

Website: www.maggiejaneschuler.com

FB: bit.ly/AuthorMaggieJaneSchulerFB

Twitter: bit.ly/MaggieJaneSchulerTwitter

IG: bit.ly/maggiejanenerdynovelistInstagram

Google+: bit.ly/MJSchulerGooglePlus

Goodreads: bit.ly/GoodreadsMJS

Amazon: Author.to/AmazonMaggieJaneSchuler

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Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and to Subscribe to my blog so that you never miss a post!

Next Friday I will be doing an interview with the poet Lori Katherine about her collection entitled, Flow Like Lyrics. You won’t want to miss it!

Peace Be With You,

-Rev. Rebecca