About C.W. Schutter:
Born and raised in Hawaii, I was a reclusive child whose favorite pastime was reading. The stories I read transported me into magical, exotic worlds and lifestyles I could only dream of. I always wanted to be a writer but instead, majored in Psychology because people interested me more than anything at that point. I wanted to know what made them tick and why they were the way they were. In short, I was still interested in stories. I found real life stories more fascinating than fiction and a lot of my novel reading turned to bios, non-fiction and case studies. Through it all, I still loved history. I had two husbands. My first husband was a famous lawyer in Hawaii who oddly enough represented my father’s best childhood friend who grew up and formed the first Korean/Japanese/Portuguese mob. In Hawaii they called it the Syndicate. In fact, my first husband represented every mob boss in Hawaii for income tax evasion.
I’m also a screenwriter who had a wonderful experience making a movie with Jon Voight called “September Dawn.”
I’ve lived in two wonderful places, Honolulu, Hawaii and Aspen, Colorado. I’ve had an exciting life full of adventure, love, and tragedy. Now my life is quiet down valley from glamorous Aspen. I love the Lord who has helped me through the bad times and showered me with unbelievable blessings. I feel lucky despite all the tragedy. The granddaughter of immigrants from Japan and Korea who grew up in back of a taxi stand in Kaimuki isn’t complaining. I’m thankful for every memory, good and bad, every friend, every love I’ve ever had, every betrayal and every sorrow. The bad things remind us we’re alive and help us to appreciate the sunlight, the beauty of God’s world, and all the simple things in life that bring a smile to our lips.
What inspires you to write?
LIFE inspires me to write. People inspire me to write. Their stories, their struggles, their defeats and victories inspire me to write. Love, hate, jealousy, fear, and all human emotion inspire me to write.
Many of the stories in my book “The Ohana,” (family in Hawaiian) are basically true stories told to me. Of course, they have been altered, disguised, changed for fiction’s sake. I’m now a made screenwriter (September Dawn, I also wrote the book) of a historical event, the first 9/11 and the first act of religious terrorism in the year 1857.
I’ve now co-written another historical screenplay, soon to be a book (I do things opposite, you see, movie first, novel second) of the only woman in Colorado’s Pioneer Hall of Fame who has a stained glass window of her in the state capitol. Her name was Clara Brown, a former slave nicknamed “The Angel of the Rockies.” The movie is called “Finding Eliza.” I love history and people’s stories because they inspire me as well as enthrall me. Her accomplishments were so memorable, her life is deserving of a movie and a book.
Tell you what – there is at least one part of your life that could be a book or a movie, or both. We inspire people with our successes but we teach and touch people with our defeats.
Tell us about your writing process.
I am a seat of the pants writer. Undisciplined, unprofessional, automatic writer.
The only thing I can teach you about writing is never give up. Never quit. Write your dream.
Miracles sometimes do happen – oh, I wrote an inspirational series called “Miracles Happen.” Why? Because I’ve had so many miracles. Because I want to inspire people to not quit. I want to tell people about the life-giving, love abundant message of Jesus Christ who will never give up on you. Doesn’t matter if you’re an atheist, agnostic or even a God-hater. He’s got your number and He loves you. Open the door and He will show you the miracle of life.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I feel my characters. They are people I know, I understand, I relate to and sometimes I really don’t like some of them. They reflect the people I know. The wonderful friends and relatives, the ones who treated me like dirt, the ones who cheated and betrayed me – people with flaws like me. I know them because most of them are a combination of people I know. I try to picture them (I’m very visual which is why I can see my movie in my head before anyone else does so forgive me when I lack certain details in my book!), I understand them. They get under my skin. My characters are better if I relate them to someone I know.
What advice would you give other writers?
Never give up. Never quit. Write from the heart. Write stories you know and understand because in some way, shape and form, you’ve lived it. If you write from your own experiences, no matter how heart wrenching, it will show. I once advised a writer who pitched me different stories for a screenplay. I listened. Then she started telling me about her past. And I told her, that’s the story you should write.” She answer, “I don’t think I can.”
My advice? “Yes you can. It will help you and because its from the heart, it will shine forth.” Now she’s up for a big award. She thanked me for my simple advice. “Write from the heart, it always turns out better.”
I don’t always do that and it shows. Let me say this. Even in a historical novel or screenplay, find yourself in one of the characters or find a friend or relative you love and know really well. Embrace the people who hurt you because boy can they ever become fabulous antagonists. Just make sure they’re not too one dimensional. Okay, I’ve been guilty of that.
Just remember, write from the heart.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Oh, maybe I’m lazy and impatient. New authors explore all options!
I didn’t know how to write a screenplay. I didn’t even know how they looked or that there were programs like Final Draft. All I knew was God gave me an idea. A screenwriting guru told me that what happened to me was akin to going up to bat for the first time and hitting a home run.
Sometimes you’ve got to get out of the boat to be able to walk on water.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Some people will cling to a book they can hold. But those people are vanishing fast with my generation! LOL!
Definitely ebooks, definitely more self-published.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?: historical fiction, historical romance, inspirational, paranormal NA fiction
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print