Tell us a little bit about your writing and educational background
Ms. Schwartz: I have a B.A. in Marketing Communications with an Advertising emphasis from Columbia College in Chicago, IL. I worked at ad agencies and radio stations for years. I wrote press releases and copy, and did media buying as well as radio air time sales before turning to my true love… selling manuscripts. I wrote for 10 years, then opened my own literary agency, The Purcell Agency, LLC in 2012.
What is your book about?
Ms. Schwartz: My book is not only for teens, but for friends and family members as well. It shows what it is like to have depression, or what it’s like to love someone with depression. It gives a ray of hope on how to live with the condition, and shows that while not curable, per se, it is manageable. The book describes things like healthy and unhealthy coping mechanisms, and positive ways to lessen the severity of your down cycles.
Why should readers read your book?
Ms. Schwartz: Due to the many interviews and quotes from teens with depression, my main hope is to show teens and adults that things DO get better. There is always hope, and I show kids who have survived insurmountable odds, and come out on the other side with positive lives. I myself suffered from very serious teen depression, so my writing comes from an honest place of understanding and compassion.
Did you have any obstacles while writing this book? What were they?
Ms. Schwartz: As I mentioned, I’ve suffered from depression ever since I can remember. While writing the book, both of my parents died unexpectedly, and I was extremely close to both of them. Having to go forward and write about dark things like suicide and unhealthy coping mechanisms was difficult when I wasn’t feeling the most optimistic or positive about life myself at the time. But that was almost the point, really. I was proof that you can be faced with truly difficult situations in life, and push forward. You can make it through another day, even if – at times, you don’t really think you have the will to do so.
Is this the first book you have ever had published? If not, please share with us what other books you have previously had published.
Ms. Schwartz: I’ve written seven non-fiction, short, chapter books for grade school kids on Motocross Freestyle and various types of fishing.
My three other books are all 200+ page non-fiction reference books for teens, all in the same series as Depression. They are called Organ Transplants: A Survival Guide for the Entire Family, and Writing and Publishing: The Ultimate Teen Guide. Those subjects are all near and dear to my heart. My dad received a liver transplant that gave him 17 extra years of life! And I love to write and teach about it, so it was a pleasure to share my knowledge in a fun and friendly way in my Writing & Publishing book. I do “Author Boot Camps” based on that book. My depression book will be my 10th published book, so it’s a bit of a milestone that I’m really proud of.
Are you working on any projects right now? Tell us about your upcoming book.
Ms. Schwartz: I’ve completed writing two novels, one for middle grade readers titled The Year I Had No Friends, inspired by my 7th grade year (my best friend went with the cool crowd and got the whole grade not to talk to me all year). The other novel is a Young Adult novel about a senior in high school who gets a full-ride Lacrosse scholarship to Northwestern University in Chicago, IL, then has an accident and goes completely blind. It is a story of reinventing her life, first loves, coming-of-age really. They are both being revised based on comments from editors (aka: rejection letters with nice comments) so I’ve stopped submitting them so I can polish them just a tad more.
What is your advice for writers wanting to turn authors out there?
Ms. Schwartz: Read and write every day, train like an athlete, even if you only write for 15 minutes a day. You’ll eventually find more time here and there, and before you know it, you’ll start devoting an hour or two, then three, and so on. Be sure to get into a critique group. Writing can be lonely, and it’s great to have others that share your passion for writing. Join a group or organization, as well, for your genre such as SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) if you write for children or teens, or RWA (Romance Writers of America) if you write romance, and so on. These organizations have conferences and resources that are amazingly helpful!
What made you become a writer?
Ms. Schwartz: Two weeks before giving birth to my first son, I lost my job. I was too pregnant to go on interviews, so I couldn’t collect unemployment. I had to think of something I was good at, that I could make money doing, and that I could do from home. I finally decided to try writing. I was always pretty good at it, and I truly enjoyed it!
Who is your favorite author and why?
Ms. Schwartz: I have tons of favorite authors, but my absolute fave has to be S.E. Hinton, simply because she took a kid who hated to read (me) and after reading The Outsiders (my favorite book, still), made me go to the library and check out every other single book she had written and read them immediately. I had never done that before her.
Where can we find you?
Ms. Schwartz: My writing website is www.tinaPschwartz.com, my agency website is www.ThePurcellAgency.com, and you can find me on Twitter @TinaPSchwartz, and on Facebook, Tina P. Schwartz’s author page, or The Purcell Agency’s page. My work email address is: QueryTinaP@gmail.com if any authors who write for children or teens would like to submit to my agency.
Anything you would like to add?
Ms. Schwartz: I truly appreciate you taking the time to bring attention to my books, especially the new one on depression. I’m very passionate about the topic and hope it helps many, many lives!
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