Author News & Biography

Frances Schoonmaker
Image courtesy of Teachers College, Columbia University


  • Really excited and honored to be invited to be a panel member at Malice Domestic in April: Mysterie For All Ages: Inspiring Young and Grown-Up Readers. Richie Narvaez  will moderate. Other members are authors Roberta Rogow, Kelly Oliver, and John Copenhaver. A great line-up. The panel will be Sunday morning at 10:00.
  • The Last Crystal, the third book in the trilogy has pulled in two new awards: The Outstanding Creator Award: 1st place in Young Adult/Teen books and 2nd place in Historical Fiction and Midcrest Media Award for excellence in young adult/teen fiction.

Featured guest on podcasts: 


EARLY YEARS  I was reared on a farm in Western Oklahoma, not far from where The Black Alabaster Box takes place. My parents were farmers and school teachers. Growing up on a farm gave my brothers and me many opportunities to explore and use our imaginations. We learned about hard work, success and failure, and caring for the world around us.

Every summer my mother ordered a box of library books from the Oklahoma State Library Commission (now the Oklahoma State Department of Libraries). It was always a great day when the books came. As soon as we finished one box, she sent for another. Reading took us around the world.

TEACHER AND TEACHER EDUCATOR In college I studied to be a teacher. I taught just about all of the elementary school grades. It was valuable experience when I became a professor at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York. There I taught men and women who were studying to be teachers, school principals, and to work in education-related jobs. I have worked with educators all over the world to support their efforts to provide quality education to children and young people.

AUTHOR AND TRAVELER Now I share my time between Baltimore and with my daughter and granddaughter in Stratford-upon-Avon, England where my daughter is studying at the famous Shakespeare Institute. I like to garden, read, write, and go for long walks. I like to travel, too.  I’ve been lucky enough to work in many places around the world. What a wonderful world we live in! Below are some pictures taken in some of the places I’ve been lucky enough to visit.

Still, I think Bilbo Baggins had it right, Yet feet that wandering have gone, Turn at last to home afar. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit. For me, home is where family is.

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Daguerreotype image of Walker's branded hand, 1845 by photographers Southworth & Hawes.
In 1844, Jonathan Walker’s hand was branded with SS for Slave Stealer. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Coming soon from Auctus Publishers: Sid Johnson and the Phantom Slave Stealer.  Watch for the cover reveal later this spring. Read about why I chose the title and more about Walker in my blog.

When Sid Johnson discovers that their Illinois farm is a stop on the Underground Railroad he is afraid of what will happen if Ma and Pa are caught. But bounty hunters threaten Pa, and Sid overhears them talking about a phantom slave stealer. He decides that to protect the family, he has to find out more. Before his plans are in place, bounty hunters burn the Johnson’s barn, compromising the farm as a stop on the Railroad. Ma and Pa decide to go west. Disappointed that he failed to learn any more about the slave stealer, Sid is relieved to leave the slave question behind. He is about to find out that the ugly shadow of slavery reaches to the Santa Fe Trail and that his involvement with the Phantom Slave Stealer has just begun.

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