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An Interview with Christina Schepker-Pikul, author of 13 Miles Northwest

schepker Pikul

I have always loved to write! I have also always loved to spin a tale verbally, whether it be truthful, or a slightly elaborated version of the truth. My best friend and I used to team write full-length stories when we were younger, one of which my Sophomore English teacher actually thought was good enough to be published.

Unfortunately, as the years passed, responsibility began to take precedence, and along with that, my creativity dwindled. At 35, my best friend and partner in crime passed away. I went through a long bout of writer’s block following this, feeling I had lost my “muse.”

During the same time frame as my loss, I also went through a divorce, the loss of my beloved farm after the divorce, and the loss of my dream job. During a very short time, virtually everything in my life changed. Along with this came what I felt to be a very profound loss of self-image.

I finished my first full-length story, 13 Miles North, after restarting it three times. By the time it was completed, there were pieces written in three separate notebooks. It was only by running my ideas past my husband and my mother and receiving ideas from them on how to connect the many pieces that I was able to finish it.

I also had the support of another self-published author who was able to provide guidance as well as design the cover, edit, and format the book.

Along with the help of these wonderful people and the support of many friends, I am at the point of being able to feel confident in the publication of this first finished work.

I hope that this will be successful, and I hope it is the first of many works for me.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

I partially credit my best friend. I also credit my mom and my High School English teacher. Mostly, I credit the desire to use my talent to remove myself from working a job I don’t enjoy.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

My book was inspired by my own pain. This book is a fictional work, mixed with some truths from my own life. I have used the writing of this story to move past some of the most painful, traumatic experiences in my life, while also creating an entertaining fictional story for others to enjoy.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

The book’s title was easy. It is the location of the actual place that inspired the story.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

“Cowgirls Don’t Cry,” “Fools Rush In,” “I Want You to Want Me.”

Describe your dream book cover.

I believe I have it. My cover shows the barn, which is at the center of the story. It also shows a tree, and a lock intertwined with the tree.

You will have to read the book in order to know the importance of these.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I have worked in various telephone jobs most of my adult life. These have ranged from sales to surveys, and collections to customer service.

I have also sold cars, worked in factories, worked at a gas station, done prep cooking and dishwashing at a restaurant, worked in a bank, and several financial institutions.

Currently I work with a third-party administrator for COBRA insurance maintaining customer information to be shared with clients.

What readers wouldn’t know name is that in my twenties I went to World Finals and set a world record with the stereo in my 84 Cutlass. I’m also a yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do, which I started at forty-one years old.

What books did you read (for research or comfort) throughout your writing process?

I love books by Craig Johnson!

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

I hope readers take away a desire to read more of my writing.

My perfect reader would be another woman who has been through a divorce and is looking for an explanation as to why it happened.

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