Samantha Biskup is living proof of the old adage: if you want to be a writer, write something.
Biskup has wanted to be an author all her life. But unlike many who leave their great American novel unfinished, this Montgomery resident has two books out now, and more on the way. She’s embraced self-publishing as a way of getting her work out there, and she has big plans for the future.
Her new novel is called The Delivery Girl, and it’s the first of a series. Biskup already has the second book written, and is weeks away from finishing the third, she said. The books tell the story of Liz Parker, a young country girl who moves to Chicago, gets a job at a casino, and falls in with friendly gangsters who help her achieve her dreams.
One can’t help but see the parallels to Biskup’s own life. Her family is from Kentucky, and she grew up on a farm in Ohio, moving to Illinois to attend Kishwaukee College in Malta. She admits to a touch of naivety when she first came to Illinois, and said she drew on that when writing Liz Parker.
But it’s Biskup’s love of writing that defines her, and separates her from her character. Biskup has been obsessed with writing since second grade. She was reading at an early age, and crafting her own stories shortly thereafter. In middle school, she received an award in a writing competition organized by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
It was a real-life event that set her on the road toward writing her first book, a children’s novella called My Little Angel. Biskup’s daughter, Emma, lost her power of speech before she was two years old.
“We went through occupational therapy, speech therapy,” she said. “It was a hard part of our lives. All I wanted was a normal day with my daughter.”
So eventually, she sat down to envision that normal day. The result is an illustrated poem, adorned with real baby pictures of Emma, now 6 years old. Biskup said she wrote it in a couple of hours, and rejected the idea of more traditional illustration: “This is her book,” she explained. (Biskup is also the mother of a son, 12-year-old Christian.)
Knowing how difficult it is to find a literary agent, Biskup decided last year to go the self-publishing route for My Little Angel. Along the way, she put together a team—editor Cathy Rasmussen, illustrator and marketer Marie King, and Biskup’s husband Dave, who reads the rough drafts of her work and handles the multimedia aspect of her website.
That’s the group who put together The Delivery Girl, which is out now in paperback and available for all forms of e-readers. She calls it a light-hearted read, full of funny jokes and misadventures—as the book jacket describes it, it’s marked by “twists and turns, runs and guns, and the search for Mr. Right.”
That book has been written for five years, Biskup explained, and sitting on a shelf with its sequel, To Catch a Rat. She hopes to release that book later this year.
And she’s begun collaborating with King on a new series of children’s books featuring animal characters with disabilities. The first will be called Willie the One-Eyed Owl from Wistoria, and Biskup hopes to use this series to help kids with disabilities overcome them.
It’s an ambitious slate of projects, but Biskup believes this is her calling, and she’s ready to pursue it. She said it’s not about money for her, although she says someday she’d like to outsell her favorite author, Janet Evanovich. It’s more about changing the way people view the world, she said, and giving people something to enjoy.
“If one person has a bad day, but then ends up laughing while reading (The Delivery Girl), then that’s a win,” she said.
For more on Biskup, and to order copies of her book, check out her website.