Winners' Circle - Bertha Schwartz

October 18, 2019


Welcome to the Winners' Circle where we celebrate the success of our ICL students. Today we are celebrating published author Bertha Schwartz!

What are the names of your books? Who is the publisher?

Daisy's Search for Freedom
Kelly's Search for Family
Sarah's Search for Treasure

All published by Ambassador International

Give us a short summary of your books.

Daisy's Search for Freedom

It's the 1850's and Daisy, a slave girl from Alabama, is thrilled when her Mama is brought to her plantation to be the new cook. Six Oaks Plantation has been Daisy's home for years, and the future looks bright now that she and her Mama have been reunited. The happiness doesn't last, though, when a dangerous encounter with a notorious slave hunter endangers Daisy's life. She has no choice but to run. Leaving behind everything she has ever known, Daisy strikes out alone on the Underground Railroad.

Daisy's search for freedom leads her deep into the woods. Along the way she is joined by Simon, a four-year-old boy and his pet kitten. Pursued by dogs, uncertainty, and a slave tracker determined  to capture them by any means necessary. Daisy starts to wonder if she will ever be safe again. Does Jesus care about runaway slaves lost in the woods?  

Kelly's Search for Family

It's 1880 and Kelly lives alone with her Papa, a lighthouse keeper in Massachusetts. She longs to know more about her Mama, and Papa has finally promised to tell her on her fourteenth birthday. Before Kelly can learn much though, dangerous men - the notorious Blackburn Brothers - arrive unannounced and take Papa away. Kelly is left alone and responsible for the light house.

Granny, a former slave and family friend, learns of Kelly's plight and decides to help find the answers to her questions. Mysterious letters, snow storms, and violence threaten Kelly's safe haven as new friends help unearth old secrets in Kelly's lighthouse home. How can she bring her Papa back? Who is her true family?

Sarah's Search for Treasure

It's 1849 and when Sarah's Papa and brother strike out for gold, she is stuck at home to help take care of the family and farm. This task quickly turns dangerous as the Gold Rush rises in frenzy around them. Neighbors abandon their livestock, and the family must fend off half-starved miners ready to steal everything they have. Sarah decides to turn her circumstances into a business - feeding the miners in exchange for gold or labor.

Sarah's ingenuity and leadership are tested as she faces thieves, mysteries, and violent miners. Trouble closes in on all sides, and Sarah must make tough decisions on her own. Soon Sarah learns that true treasure is not always gold, and that the greatest adventures can happen without even leaving home.

Tell us a bit about your path to publishing, from idea to submission to published book.

I always loved to write. I had actually written quite a few manuscripts before I finally got up courage to find a publisher. One of the first publishers I contacted was Ambassador International. I was very pleased when they accepted not one, but all three manuscripts that I had submitted.

How long have you been writing?

I started writing short stories in grade school, but didn't actually write complete manuscripts until about eighteen years ago. 

What's your favorite genre to write and why?

Historical fiction. I have always loved reading historical fiction and also historical nonfiction.

What ICL courses have your taken?

Writing for Children and Teens

Writing and Selling Children's Books

Breaking into Print

Shape, Write and Sell Your Novel

How has taking our course helped your writing and/or career?

It help me flesh out not only just my stories, but also my characters. It taught me how to stay on track.   

Have any of your class assignments been published?

I wrote Sarah's Search for Treasure while doing the Advanced Course for Children's Literature.

An article I wrote for Institute for Writers (formerly Long Ridge Writers Group), The Blizzard of '78, was published in County Extra.

Do you have a favorite writing tip you'd like to share?

Don't be afraid to attempt to get your work published.

If you could travel back in time and give yourself one piece of writing advice, how far back would you go, and what would you tell yourself?

I would probably go back fifteen years and tell myself to get out of my comfort zone and send my manuscripts in to potential publishers.

Please tell us the best or most valuable thing you learned from your experience with ICL.

I gathered a lot of good information taking these courses, but probably the best thing I learned is to believe in myself and to make time to write. 

If you had a choice about taking these courses, would you take them again?

Yes, and I would work them faster. 

Bertha Schwartz is a Swiss Amish and Swiss is her mother language. Languages and different dialects are a special interest of hers. She loves spending time with family and friends. Her hobbies include scrapbooking, sewing and reading.

To start your own path to the Winners' Circle, show us a sample of work and let us help you become the writer you want to be. Click here.

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