Who I Am

Where I'm usually found writing, in our library

Where I’m usually found writing, in our library

In many ways I’m a typical writer:  The melancholic who loves to be alone, shut up with my own imagination, paper and pens.  Until 2005 I never even thought about writing seriously; but once I got into it, I’ve never looked back!

The writing process led me to take a course through the London School of Journalism.  I am a diligent researcher and life-student of history, science, technology, linguistics, and any dozen other subjects of interest, and had learned a lot on my own about the process of writing, editing, etc. (and I am an English teacher for adults, so the grammar and syntax were no-brainers); but I took the course mainly to get feedback on my writing, and it was a valuable experience.

I joined a writer’s association in England and at attending my first conference, I was surprised to learn that I could write a short story within a few minutes; we were given the subject and the time-limit of 10 minutes, then from each small group one story was chosen to be read from the front; mine was chosen and through that I was asked for permission to use the story in a book by the main speaker!  I realized at that moment that I had something to say… to share with others.  Shortly thereafter another article was requested by an author in the States and published in his book the following year.  I submitted eight articles in all, and each were published off the bat.  Perversely, that was a bit frustrating as I was submitting to get feedback, to improve – and no feedback came except requests to publish!

One of my feline writing companions, Allegra - and the top of my library "stage" stairs

One of my feline writing companions, Allegra, at the top of my library “stage” stairs

I stopped submitting and got down to the business of writing my first novel, The Price of Freedom (followed by the second, Redemption).  With a wide range of interests, I enjoy an eclectic range of genres:  At the moment I’ve published all three books in the historical fiction genre (see the Northing Trilogy page), and a fantasy epic in two parts called The Cardinal.  Also in the works are manuscripts at various draft phases for science fiction and contemporary fiction.

My first book went onto the back burner for a year as my husband and I rehearsed and recorded his second album; before I became an English teacher here in Switzerland I was (and remain) a vocal coach.  I’ve been singing on stage since I was four, and have sung with four albums to date.  Since I began writing, singing has had to take back seat, though I still give vocal lessons, band consultations and the occasional seminar or weekend workshop.  In some ways I miss it and would love to get back into a band, but I don’t miss the road, and I know that aspect would take too much time away from writing, which has become an addiction in its own right.

What more can I say?  I love writing, developing “organic” characters, the stories and their worlds, painting the canvas with authenticity, wit, depth and colour.  I love sharing those worlds with others who have a rich imagination. Have I mentioned that I love writing?

On a personal note:  I was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas; emigrated to Scotland when I was 20; met my Swiss husband there, and have lived in Switzerland since 1992, happily married since April 1993.

46 responses to “Who I Am

  1. And here I am, just as soon as I received your notification – I came running..

  2. “…no feedback came except requests to publish!”

    Now there’s a problem nearly everyone I know would love to have!

  3. I know that – but I can’t explain why it worked out for me like that, other than that I must have struck a cord with the publishers. If only I could figure that out and bottle it!

  4. Carol Ferenc

    What an interesting life you’ve had. Love your writing and I’m looking forward to reading more!

  5. Thank you so much for the encouragement! I hope you enjoy reading more – I’ve got four blogs on widely different topics, because there’s too much interesting in life to fit into one. 😉 If you like historical fiction, or science fiction / fantasy, I hope you enjoy my books too! 🙂

  6. Hi Stephanie!
    Thank you for visiting kingspech and liking one of my posts. I am so encouraged by your story. I started my blog to be a better writer and I am still on that journey. There is hope for me to be a better writer! That is what I have walked away with after reading your story! I need to keep at it, keep pushing! Thank you!


  7. Hi Rolain! I’m so glad I could encourage you – keep at it, one step at a time toward your goal! It’s an amazing journey, wherever it leads.

  8. I will continue……..thanks again!

  9. Stephanie, whenever I notice someone has decided to follow my blog I tend to get very excited. Not the kind of excited that leads me to lose control of my bladder, mind you. More like the kind of excited that makes me want to write a thank you response—in the form of a novel—that suggest; hey, I guess I can write real good stuff. Of course, there is the other possibility. The one that suggest; maybe they’re following you dummy, because you write so poorly and they want to have an example of how not to write. Either way, you and I tend to benefit. In the first case, if you are following my blog because my writing makes you laugh, then I feel a tingly sensation all over my body. Hopefully, it’s not a bad case of Prickly heat rash. If, on the other hand, you’re following me because my WRITING makes you laugh—as a result of all the poor grammar and terrible punctuation that I am notorious for—then you’ll benefit by not copying me and throwing away a very promising career. Not that you would ever have to copy anything I write, as you are already accomplished in the field of writing, and copying my stuff would only lead you to rack and ruin. Anyway, what I am trying to say—in this roundabout sort of way—is thank you so much for choosing to follow me “In My Cluttered Attic” —shameless plug, but much cheaper than a giant billboard. It is the best compliment a wannabe writer—but forced to blog hack—can receive. Especially, when it comes from someone who knows how to write—my way of begging you (I mean that seriously) to offer any and all corrections on my childish scribble—and I’m a writer who can use all the help I can get. But, in all seriousness, thank you, Stephanie. I love your blog, because it is a wonderful source of inspiration to people like me and other people who love to write. ;o)

  10. Thank you for your kind words! And I followed your blog because I love the way you put a quirky perspective into visual phrases that I can so relate to – I found myself laughing out loud several times! So keep writing!
    Things like grammar, syntax, spelling, punctuation and the lot can (and should) always be honed, but humour and perspective are unique… that’s what makes your writing essential! Feel free to check out my past posts on writing et al; open cupboards, look under the bed, put your feet up on my table and enjoy.

  11. Hi, I nominated you for The Blogger Recognition Award. Well done! Check my post for more details – https://uldisblog.wordpress.com/2016/01/30/blogger-recognition-award/

  12. Thanks for visiting and liking Toy Cemetery.

  13. You’re welcome! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  14. Thanks for visiting The Glasgow Gallivanter. How interesting that you are an American who moved to Scotland and met her Swiss husband here! The international, outward looking way the world should be – which I fear is being lost at the moment.

  15. You’re welcome! Thanks for stopping by here, too. 🙂
    When I get homesick, it’s for bonnie Scotland! I lived mainly in Paisley (but also down in the Borders), so I know Glasgow well. 🙂

  16. My mum lives in Paisley so I know it well too.

  17. Stuart McEwan

    You have led a rich and exciting life.

  18. I’ve been blessed! May it continue…

  19. Stuart McEwan

    I certainly hope so.

  20. Thanks for popping in to my blog. Always love meeting another writer, but your About has made me curious – does music sneak into your writing? Or do you keep it at arms length?

  21. A very good question! I don’t keep it at arm’s length, but I don’t specifically include it. Having said that, I did write a few ship’s shanties for my 5th book (the third in an 18th C. historical fiction trilogy), coming out (hopefully) this year!
    I think music rather affects my sense of rhythm in a sentence, or drawing out the sense of a place or character through the music of words.

  22. Aaaaah! The rhythm…yes, I’m very aware of that as well, although I’m no musician. I tend to read my writing out loud to get the flow right.

  23. I do too! It’s the best way to get it right. 🙂

  24. Thank you for stopping by my blog! I love the covers of your books…especially the dress on The Cardinal. It was pretty exciting to hear that you’re from Wichita, Kansas…not far from where I live. I look forward to reading more on here!

  25. You’re welcome! Where do you live? Welcome to my writing pad… look around, put your feet up and enjoy. 🙂

  26. Even I love writing too. I tend to separate the fact and the fiction. At times, I create fiction to depict the true fact of life.

    Thank you to follow my blog and like my poetry. Hope you enjoy it 🙂

  27. Fiction is often a reflection of real life… I think that’s why so many people can relate to characters and their struggles.

  28. I commend you for getting down to the business of writing at a young age. I have always, good or bad, done things in life a bit backwards and due to family circumstances and choices I wish had been different now, am just getting back to it at age 64. I’ve been blogging for five years now but after retiring due to open heart surgery have decided to finally complete a book on the ‘back burner’. You have the energy I wish I did have so my process is different than yours but I am still trying nonetheless. Thank you for visiting my site recently. 🙂

  29. I haven’t been called “young” in a long time, so thank you! 😉 Everyone’s life is unique – everyone faces different challenges, and circumstances that change their goals and timing, so no two paths are comparable. Do what you love, and love what you do, and whatever comes out of that will be worthwhile. Just go for it, and enjoy the ride! 🙂

  30. When you get to be 64 and your oldest is nearly 44 everyone looks young! But yes, you do look young. 🙂

  31. I’m 48, but I’ll take the compliment. 😉

  32. You don’t look it so keep it up! 🙂 You are Welcome!

  33. Thank you very much for visiting my blog and liking my story. Your writing and accomplishments are very impressive. I wish you all the best in your writing career and all else. P.S. Been through Wichita many times (having lived in Mo. and Colorado), but never to Scotland. It would be a wonderful place to visit.

  34. Thank you, and you’re very welcome! I haven’t been to Wichita in years, but I was in Scotland last summer for holidays – you should definitely visit the bonnie country! 🙂

  35. Would love to. I’ve heard how beautiful it is.

  36. It’s almost as beautiful as Switzerland, and that’s saying a lot. 😉

  37. Thank you so much for the recent visit to my humble blog and comment on my story, “Sug,” Your body of writing is impressive! All the best to you!

  38. Thank you! And I’m glad I stumbled across your blog. Keep working on that story, and turn it into a page-turner novel! 🙂

  39. Hi Stephanie! Thanks for stopping by my blog today! I admire your wit! Have you or your husband posted any music online? I’d love to listen.

    I’m amused by the similarity in our last names; in fact, Heusler is one of the many ways my last name is pronounced or spelled on occasion. No one ever wants to say “hell sir” (Helser). More often than not, people say Hesler. I don’t even correct them any more – just smile and wish my name was Smith or Jones. 😉 Jack

  40. My husband’s working on getting the CDs onto Spotify, but in the meantime you can listen to short clips from the songs of the 2nd CD at http://plauschimraege.ch/index.html – on the right-hand side you’ll see “Jukebox”. You can hear me mainly on tracks 3 & 8. I hope you can understand Swiss German. 😉
    Heusler is how many people mispronounce our name here, too! Ours is closer to “hues-ler” but the High German name is usually Heusler, so they “correct” it to High German; I used to get frustrated by that, thinking I wasn’t saying it correctly, but my M-i-L gets “corrected” too. The ironic thing is that my maiden name was Herring, and people always mispronounced it (Harrington, Herringbone!) until I said, “like the fish.” I used to think, “When I get married I’ll finally get rid of this…” Well, not only did I marry a Swiss man, but here, he gets my maiden name too – so we’re officially Hüsler-Herring!! Look on the bright side – there are fewer Helsers on social media, making you easier to find by friends. 🙂

  41. Very inspiring to read your story, from the point of view of someone just starting out. Thanks!

  42. Thank you! I hope it encourages you to press on! 🙂

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