More About the Author
Growing up in Chicago either made me cool or completely crazy; I have yet to determine which. My name is Heather Christena Schmidt. I was born in 1982 and grew up in the south suburbs of the Windy City with my father, a computer programmer and part-time sports writer. My father taught me early on that being yourself and embracing education were perhaps the two most important tasks a person could ever do. I have tried to stay true to those since.
In 2000, after Y2K proved a farce and my father was thoroughly tired of shoveling snow every winter, we decided to move to California to the mini-city of Ventura where my grandmother and grandfather had lived for the majority of their retirement before passing away while I was still in high school. I had just graduated and was ready for college, so California seemed a great opportunity. Unfortunately, over a decade later, I am still shocked by the sheer difference between my childhood home and the place I now call a humble abode. California is rife with personality, drama, stress, varying cultural attitudes (and tensions), narcissism, and a lifestyle that is so ridiculously fast-paced it is a wonder any of these people know where they're going or what they're even doing. Part of the way through graduate school in Philosophy, I realized that writing about my experiences in California was my own path to salvation living with in the Los Angeles sprawl.
My "day job" is to be a writer and editor, although the most important things to me are my immediate family. Besides blogging, I enjoy traveling, wine tasting, reading, art, museum-tripping, reading some more; among other things. I hate to cook, although I am capable of doing it should I find myself in the position of having to. I still live in California but wish I didn't, and surround myself with a unique set of close friends both local and still in Chicago that I could not live without. I love my writers and readers group friends as well; all which encourage me to continue to write in a time where literature and culture is greatly undervalued.
More than anything, I try to still live my life by those two principles my father raised me on: always being myself and valuing education as principle in my ongoing development. As a result, I hold degrees in Political Science and Philosophy, and had a varied work experience in pharmacy and political consulting before becoming a full-time writer. I have been awarded a number of academic distinctions for my undergraduate and graduate work. I also have two academic publications on philosophical topics (which would put you to sleep in an instant were you to read them). Since becoming a full-time writer, I have won poetry contests and submitted a number of short stories to magazines for publication, as well as continued to work on my first novel.
The flip side of those values, though, is that in being myself I am wholly quirky and sometimes crazy. I speak my mind and refuse to patsy around or lie to people for the sake of being as passive as possible. When I see something I know is wrong, I talk about it. This has gotten me called "blunt," "snarky" and "a bitch" on a number of occasions, all of which I am thoroughly proud of. A few years ago a friend began calling me Bitch and within weeks it stuck. The truth, though, is that I think the world needs a lot more bitches, Bitches like me.