Book Description for Yellow-billed Magpie (Book #1):
Unlike their black-billed cousins, yellow-billed magpies are rarely found outside California’s central valley. So when they begin showing up in Samantha O’Malley’s dreams, she wonders: are they calling me home?
Disappointed by failed fertility treatments and the break-up of her marriage, Samantha returns to her home town and slips into old habits, resuming her teaching career, even hooking up with an old lover. But she also renews her friendship with Craig, the school custodian she honors as her spiritual guide. The work they do together with Samantha’s special education students will lead her to discoveries she never thought possible.
Yellow-billed Magpie is a love story, a spiritual journey, a quest to look beyond appearances to the mystical rhythms that guide the human heart.
Book Description for Red-tailed Hawk (Book #2):
When Mariah Easter encounters a large hawk in her urban midtown neighborhood, her father Charlie is concerned. He can see a wild and mystical path opening before his daughter, a path he himself would never be able to resist. The hawk soon reappears: engraved with its twin on a golden thimble that has been an Easter family heirloom for generations. After the thimble is stolen at a funeral reception, Mariah and her mother Samantha set off on a road trip to find it, a journey that will bring healing to the grieving family and change Mariah's life forever.
Red-tailed Hawk is a coming of age story, the tale of a young woman's quest to discover the source of her own longing and to understand the mystical legacy of her family.
Q. What inspired you to write Red-Tailed Hawk?
A. I had an encounter with a large hawk one quiet morning in the middle of the city just as Mariah does at the beginning of the book. It was stunning and beautiful. I had to write this story to honor my majestic bird friend.
Q. How long have you been writing?
A. I’ve been seriously writing since high school, over 40 years.
Q. Where do you write?
A. I’ve never liked sitting at a desk! It feels too confining.
I had a real life friend, Craig, who was my spiritual mentor just as the fictional Craig is Samantha’s mentor. He died a few years ago. Lately I find myself sitting in the corner of my old comfy teal-colored sofa where he used to sit when he came to visit me. I do most of my writing there now.
Q. In today’s tech-savvy world, most writers use a computer or laptop. Have you ever written parts of your book on paper?
A. I love to scribble in cheap, college-ruled notebooks I buy at Back-to-School sales in September. I use longhand when I’m developing the story, getting ready. When I’m set to go full force on the first draft, I prop my laptop on a pillow and type as fast as I can. When it’s time for revision, it’s back to the notebook and pen I go!
Q. Do you have advice for budding writers?
A. Write every day if you can. It’s important to develop a practice, a routine. Read Natalie Goldberg (Writing Down the Bones, and Wild Mind from Shambhala Publications.) She won’t steer you wrong.
Q. Do you have a favorite snack while you’re writing?
A. California almonds, of course! Lightly salted or coconut flavored.
Nancy Schoellkopf is the author of Yellow-billed Magpie, the first in her Easter Family series. Nancy has been telling stories and writing poems for many lifetimes. It goes without saying that she'd need a second income, so this time around she has happily taught amazing children in special education classes in two urban school districts in Sacramento, California. A full time writer now, she enjoys lavishing attention on her cats, her garden, and her intriguing circle of family and friends.