AUTHOR INTERVIEW PAUL SCHUMACHER BOOK REVIEW THE IMPORTANCE OF NOW

FEATURED AUTHOR: PAUL SCHUMACHER

It is my honor to feature Paul Schumacher, Colorado author of the coming-of-age novel, The Importance of Now, which was recently released by Black Rose Writing on May 27, 2021 (234 pages). I first met Paul at a writing workshop sponsored by the Northern Colorado Writers and was moved by his heartfelt, poignant writing style in his first book, The Tattered Box, at which time I interviewed him (See Paul Schumacher Interview). 

Below are highlights of The Importance of Now, Paul Schumacher’s author bio, author interview, and my review of his book.

HIGHLIGHTS: THE IMPORTANCE OF NOW

The Importance of Now

by Paul Schumacher

At 14, Shawn Stevens commits a horrible crime the day after his father’s funeral. These two events define his life. After leaving juvenile detention, he starts life over but is haunted by his past, unable to forgive anybody, including himself. When Shawn becomes a mentor, he finally confronts what he’s done, questioning everything.

In a parallel story from the present, Shawn’s 13-year-old son, Aidan, finds letters in the attic introducing him to the father he never met. Aidan discovers the secrets his mom kept all these years and uncovers what drove his dad to finally forgive before it was too late.

Buy Links:

Amazon US  ♠  Amazon UK  ♠  Amazon AU   Amazon CA  ♠  Barnes & Noble

The Tattered Box

by Paul Schumacher

Eighteen-year-old John receives a peculiar gift from his elderly grandpa: a timeworn box filled with items from the past. John soon discovers what they all mean when he travels back to 1941 and suddenly finds himself the same age as his grandpa. They play baseball together, enjoy a double date, yet endure hardships and the imminent threat of war. As the items in the box become the ultimate storytellers, John hopes to appreciate his grandpa for who he is.

Buy Links:

Amazon US  ♠  Amazon UK  ♠  Amazon AU  ♠  Amazon CA  ♠  Barnes & Noble

AUTHOR BIO: PAUL SCHUMACHER

Paul Schumacher was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He currently lives in Colorado with his wife, Gail, and their three children. He has authored more than twenty technical papers and is an inventor on more than forty patents. His first novel, The Tattered Box, was published in December 2016, and his second book, The Importance of Now, was published in May 2021.

Social Media Links:

Website  ♠  Twitter  ♠   Facebook  ♠  Goodreads

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: PAUL SCHUMACHER

1) What’s the first line in your newest book, “The Importance of Now?”

I hated going up, but I had to.

2) What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.

The back cover summary will speak for itself. To me, it’s about learning to forgive, both others and yourself. The protagonist, Shawn, is a flawed guy with a good heart. He’s trying to move beyond his past, but it’s difficult in so many ways. Like us, he finds inspiration and love in unexpected places, which makes for an interesting road to recovery.

3) What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

I mentored six boys at my church back in Minnesota in the late 1990s, and it really opened my eyes to the love and forgiveness that everyone wants and needs, especially youth. While kids require a lot, they can also be very open-minded and willing to accept others, much more so than many adults. As I was the only mentor who was not a parent, I wondered how I would have been treated if I had a shady past, if I needed some oft-mentioned forgiveness but the church was reluctant to give it. I have also been to many of the places described in the book, so they provided a great backdrop for the story.

4) What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

We all struggle with learning to forgive, and it’s especially hard when the person in need of forgiveness is yourself. This story also makes you think about redemption and your unforeseen impact on others. We could all use some reminders of that now and then.

5) What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character? Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?

Shawn seems so real to me, partly because he is composed of many people I know, including myself. I purposely made his road to recovery an up and down rollercoaster, as that is what most personal roads are like. I’ve experienced it myself. I love how he fights his way through his struggles. I was rooting for him the whole time I wrote it. I hope you will, too.

6) Is this the first book you’ve written?

It’s my second book. My first novel, The Tattered Box, was published in December 2016. It’s a story about a grandson who travels back in time to hang out with his grandpa.  

7) When did you first decide to become an author?

I had often considered it but never really got around to finding the time (I’m sure you can relate). The day before my farther-in-law passed away, I was taking my oldest to school. During the short drive, he said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if I could somehow travel back in time to hang out with Grandpa. We’d golf, bowl, fish, you name it.” Well, needless to say, I was hooked. I knew right away that’d make a great story, so that’s where the inspiration for my first book came from. I then had to convince myself I could do it again, so in some ways this second one was more difficult to write. But I love how it turned out. 

8) What’s a great piece of advice that you can share with fellow indie authors?

Write to an audience of one: yourself. Especially in early drafts, don’t think about what will sell or what others will want to read or think of you. Don’t care, just write. Write the story that only you can write, and do it with enough passion that others will want to come along for the ride.

9) Which book do you wish you could have written?

I’m going to cheat and name two:

  • A Separate Peaceby John Knowles
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany by John IrvinG

BOOK REVIEW: THE IMPORTANCE OF NOW

5 of 5 Stars 

The Importance of Now by Paul Schumacher is a coming-of-age literary fiction with themes of forgiveness, redemption, and unconditional love. The story is told primarily by Aiden and his father, Shawn, as a young man in a time/slip narrative. Both of their stories unfold after thirteen-year-old Aiden finds letters about his father in an attic, and he confronts his mother, Grace, to find out more about him. As Aiden uncovers the truth, Shawn’s story is told in parallel in the past after returning from a boy’s detention home for a crime he committed shortly after his own father’s death. Shawn struggles to redeem himself by mentoring teen boys at a church and learning how to forgive others to set him free from bitterness. Falling deeply in love, Shawn looks forward to a bright future, but he must grasp happiness at the moment before it escapes him.

Author Paul Schumacher has written a poignant, beautifully written story with the powerful themes of forgiveness, redemption, and unconditional love. The prose is rich with sensory descriptions and metaphors. It is a character-driven story with the unique structure of time/slip narratives, letters, and police records. The author nails the character’s voices through internal thoughts, natural dialogue, and descriptions. Both Shawn and Aiden are relatable characters as they struggle to understand themselves in their coming-of-age life journeys. I was particularly moved by Shawn, who finally understands why he made reckless decisions as a teen and what he needs to move forward in the depths of his despair. Grace helps light the way for Shawn through her forgiveness and unconditional love for him. Finally, Aidan learns by vicariously experiencing what his father went through so he can accept his mother.

The Importance of Now speaks to the heart about redemption, forgiveness, and unconditional love. These themes resonated with me long after I read the story—characteristics of a classic novel. Highly recommended.

Author Interview Paul Schumacher

INTRODUCTION

It is my pleasure to introduce Paul Schumacher, Colorado author of the debut novel, The Tattered Box. I first met Paul a couple years ago in a writing workshop sponsored by the Northern Colorado Writers and was moved by his heartfelt and poignant writing style in another story.

During the day, he works as an electrical engineer and at night, fits his writing into an active lifestyle with his wife, three children, and two cats. I’m honored that I had an opportunity to learn more about Paul and the background to his debut novel. Below is my interview of Paul.

Paul Schumacher Head Shot

Paul Schumacher, Author, The Tattered Box

INTERVIEW

Tell me about your latest book, The Tattered Box.

It’s a story about a grandson who travels back in time to hang out with his grandpa. Initially, he’s doubtful of his grandpa’s never-ending stories, and frankly doesn’t even believe some of them happened. But then he’s granted this wonderful opportunity to experience them firsthand. Through his experiences, he learns to love and appreciate his grandpa for who he really is. Much of the story is told through innocent items in a raggedy old box from his grandpa.

What inspired you to write a story about the relationship between a grandfather and grandson and the memories they share? Are these characters based on people you know?

The day before my father-in-law passed away, I was taking my then 13-year-old son to school. We were reminiscing about his grandpa, and he said something that really struck me. He wondered how cool it would be to somehow go back in time and hang out with his grandpa. Not only was his grandpa a fun-loving storyteller, he also loved his sports: baseball, bowling, golf, or anything with a ball. My son figured they’d be the best of friends, if only he was somehow granted that wish. Writing this book was one way to fulfill that.

Once I heard my son’s comment and started crafting a storyline in my head, I was hooked. I simply had to share it with the world. I started writing down many of my father-in-law’s stories and eventually fashioned them into a complete novel. Thus much of the book is based on real events. It became a not-so-gentle reminder to me (and hopefully others who read it) that time is short, and I need to learn to better appreciate my fleeting moments with others. Make the most of life! We never know how much time we have left.

Is there a special item in the tattered box that evoked a personal memory for you?

Probably the muddy ball. The story of the ball, which is told in the first chapter, is based almost entirely on a true story that I heard many times from my father-in-law. Every time I read that chapter, it’s like he’s sitting next to me telling me the story. The elaborate hand motions, the strong fluctuations in his voice, the glimmer in his eye as he reveals the punchline. I can see it all.

Have you received reactions/feedback to your work that has surprised you? In what way?

I’ve heard so many wonderful stories from people who reminisce about their own grandparents. Most have such wonderful memories of getting to know loved ones who lived in an entirely different era. Like a complex jigsaw puzzle, attempting to decipher the life and times of someone you barely relate to. Many also had regrets: if only they’d asked more questions. If only they’d spent more time with them.

Specifically, one of my favorite feedbacks was from someone who had an elderly parent who lived far away. As she finished the book, she felt inspired to fly out and visit with her ailing father. Spending time with him while she still could. I felt honored that I played a role in that.

Are you currently working on another book? What are your projects for the near future?

My second novel is a story of secrets and redemption. The working title is I Wish I Had Known and is partly based on some of my own life experiences. It’s about a teenager who mentors some boys younger than him, and he also falls in love with a young woman along the way. But there’s a darker side. He needs to learn to forgive the drunk driver who killed his father, and others need to forgive him for his past missteps. I continued with the inter-generational aspect of The Tattered Box that I find so fascinating. I guarantee you’ll love the ending!

Are you an avid reader? Which books are your favorite ones? Which books inspire you?

I’ve always loved reading, and my list of books is always quite diverse. I read everything from classics to murder mysteries to Christian non-fiction. Lots of topics can capture my attention, and I always enjoy learning from the opinions and writings of others. As far as favorite books, the two that come to mind are A Prayer for Owen Meany and The Jesus I Never Knew. I laugh as I write this as those two books alone are very different, but they have both taught me (in their own unique way) to be a better person and writer.

What is your life like outside of writing?

My family is very important to me. We spend a lot of time doing fun stuff like golf, tennis, watching movies, playing games, or just hanging out. Of course, like all modern families, my kids are involved in their fair share of activities and sports, and I play the role of the proud spectator. My life isn’t about me, and I’m perfectly fine with that. I also fit in work when I can to pay for it all. I’m an electrical engineer by day, husband, father, and author by night.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

This might sound funny, but the first one that comes to mind was a sand wedge I received from my brother when I was a teenager. He filled a shoe box with sand, placed a ball on top, and included a ‘coupon’ for a sand wedge which I desperately wanted at the time. Maybe it was its uniqueness or its presentation, but that Christmas was one of my favorites.

What might we be surprised to know about you?

I certainly don’t look like one, but I used to be an avid runner. I actually completed a marathon a long time ago, a badge of honor I’m darn proud of. I also used to bike a lot, and finished eight MS 150 bike tours (yes, they’re 150 miles).

What simple pleasure makes you smile?

Writing. In my sunroom, on my deck, in a coffee shop. Wherever I find inspiration, that’s where I am. Writing is such a creative process and is such a dramatic shift from the analytical tasks I perform at work. A blank page with no rules on what to say next is pretty exciting to me.

CONTACT PAUL SCHUMACHER

You can contact Paul at the following sites:

Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

You can purchase his printed book and e-book at Amazon

Book Review: The Tattered Box

Book Review: The Tattered Box 

Below is my Goodreads book review: The Tattered Box by Paul Schumacher, a Colorado author.

The Tattered BoxThe Tattered Box by Paul Schumacher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Tattered Box by Paul Schumacher is a memorable coming of age story of John, a young man coming to grips that his own father left him when he was a young boy. However, his elderly grandfather Bill leaves him a tattered box full of items evoking memories of his past. After John is hit by a baseball and knocked unconscious, he mysteriously time travels to 1941 when he again meets his grandfather as a young man the same age as him. It is as if the past, present, and future join into one time. All of the items in the tattered box are still left intact at the beginning of John’s journey in the past. As he adjusts to the pre-WWII culture, he becomes friends with his grandfather whom he fondly calls Bill and shares the moments that the items in the tattered box represent. By learning more about his grandfather, John learns about himself and the importance that memories have for the future.

This is a beautifully written story that is multi-layered with rich symbolism. One of the more poignant scenes is when John and Bill observe an eagle protecting their helpless eaglets in the nest. John comments, “Their father would teach them everything he knew, then suddenly push them out of the nest, forcing them to flap their wings in one death-defying leap.” This is a pivotal scene that will tie into the heartfelt ending, leaving a visual memory that will forever be embedded in a reader’s mind. I highly recommend this book for the rich message it offers that moments of the past, present, and future co-exist between generations.

View all my reviews