Interview with Sarah J. Schmitt, author of “It’s a Wonderful Death”

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I’m am thrilled to share my interview with Sarah J. Schmitt, author of It’s a Wonderful Death. But first, a brief look at why I love this book so much.

The main character in It’s a Wonderful Death cannot keep her mouth shut. RJ is a seventeen-year-old girl used to ruling her school, not being accidentally collected by a Grimm Reaper. When she gets stuck in limbo, RJ puts up one hell of a fight. But the question is, does a mean girl like RJ deserve a chance to reform?

It’s a Wonderful Death is smart, sassy, and full of laugh-out-loud moments. RJ is an antihero readers can relate to. I found myself rooting for RJ while at the same time feeling disturbed by her past actions.

There were also a lot of deep thoughts imbedded in the storyline but not in a way that’s patronizing. One of my favorite lines comes on page 113: “Everything you do has a consequence. Good, bad, indifferent, there is always a price to pay. The question is: who pays?”

Wrap that quote in witty one-liners, cover it in chocolate, and enjoy reading a wonderful book.

Jenny: There were so many times in It’s a Wonderful Death that I found myself laughing out loud. RJ really is a smart-ass and she says some funny things. Are you that funny in real life? Do you have your family cracking up at the dinner table? Were you the kid in school who got reprimanded for speaking out of turn and making the other kids laugh?

Sarah: I like to think I’m that funny in real life. I do have a gift of fast, snappy comebacks, but part of RJ’s “humor” is that she says things most people wouldn’t. She doesn’t hold back and she doesn’t filter. In that way, I bow down to her. As for the dinner table, honestly, kidlet #2 is the one who has the family in stitches. No one in my household thinks I’m all that entertaining. Maybe they’re just used to it and have built up an immunity to my charms. I don’t really think I came into my “funny side” until I was in college. But I definitely got in trouble a lot for talking. (In eighth grade, our punishment for talking out of turn was writing the states and capitals over and over. I got in trouble so much I started stock piling them so I would have them ready and wouldn’t have to miss much of my lunch recess.)

Jenny: That’s hysterical! I can picture your stack of maps. Back to your book, It’s a Wonderful Death deals with the afterlife without managing to be offensive to any particular religion. You definitely mashed a lot of things together to create a plausible otherworld. As you were writing, did you fine yourself censoring your own work so you wouldn’t be offensive? Or was that not an issue? Had did you mange to strike such a great balance between funny and polite?

Sarah: As a Catholic, I was extremely aware that what I was writing might offend some people, but I don’t think I censored the story because of it. I stand by the idea that there is an afterlife but having never been there, I choose to accept a more eclectic idea of what happens after we die. The balance came about as a result not trying to prove or disprove any one side of the issue, but rather  drawing on simple, universal accepted aspects of most faiths and then tweaking them. I had no interest in starting a religious debate. I just wanted to tell a story about a girl who had a chance to be a better person and the consequences that came about as a result.

Jenny: I love that this book had a Fall launch because there is definitely an autumns vibe going on, especially with Halloween. Was Halloween a big deal for you when you were growing up? Would you care to share a picture of yourself in a favorite costume?

Sarah: I love Halloween! It’s my favorite non-federal holiday. I think it’s because it gives you an excuse to be someone or something that you aren’t. Like a bag of peanut M&Ms.

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A HUGE thank you to Sarah for chatting with us today!!! Here’s one last quote I love from her book:

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