Small-town settings are local writer’s inspiration

By on October 15, 2010

by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—Just about every detail of Tammy Schmidt’s life has taken place locally. She grew up in Sugar Grove, was the editor for the Kaneland Krier, earned a degree in English from Northern Illinois University and student-taught at St. Charles East High School.

These days, Schmidt is an author under the pen name of Tamara Lyon, using small-town settings inspired by Sugar Grove, Elburn and Geneva in her novels.

“I began writing my first novel 10 years ago when my son was an infant. I’ve since had three novels released,” Schmidt said. “Every one of my books is unique. I pride myself on the fact that my novels don’t subscribe to one theme.”

Schmidt, a Kaneland class of 1993 graduate, worked for publications such as The Kane County Chronicle and The Elburn Herald before she wrote her first novel, “Falling to Him,” while managing her cleaning business and putting her husband, Chris, through medical school.

“I scrub toilets for a living, and I am still doing (it),” she said. “I took several career detours before (I came) back to writing.”

According to Schmidt, her second novel, “Fixing Forever Broken,” recently received a bronze IPPY award in the romance category. And her third novel, “The Ugly Tree,” was nominated for an Abraham Lincoln Award by a Lisle High School librarian.

Her next novel, “The Peel and Stick Heart,” is slated to be released in 2012.

Schmidt’s demanding work and family schedule has kept her from being able to consistently market and promote her novels, but she’s hoping a mini book-signing tour and also some speaking engagements at high schools in Illinois and Wisconsin will have more people talking about Tamara Lyon’s series of novels.

“(I’ll) talk about my journey as a writer and what brought me back to writing,” Schmidt said. “I also do a PowerPoint presentation on the publishing industry for students interested in a writing career.”

Schmidt said she plans to market her novels by giving presentations at women’s organizations, professional organizations and book clubs, and said she will employ out-of-the-box book promotion concepts, including “Meet the Author” events where she’ll sell and sign books and network at small gatherings hosted by her friends and family.

“This concept has been taking off like wildfire, as people are intrigued by and enjoy (the) idea of personal interaction with an author,” she said.

Schmidt will give a presentation Monday, Oct. 25, at the United Methodist Church in Sugar Grove, where she will read excerpts of her work, answer questions and sign books. She’ll also do a similar meet-and-greet on Saturday, Nov. 6, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Methodist Church in Maple Park.

For more information about Schmidt’s novels, visit or search Tamara Lyon on Facebook.