René Schmidt is a writer and retired teacher living near Trenton, Ontario. He and his wife are 'living the dream' on 40 acres of land. René says hello to all his former students.
Professional Memberships René is a member of the Writer’s Union of Canada where he sometimes judges the Union’s new short fiction writing contests. He belongs to The Spirit of The Hills Arts Group of Northumberland County and is a member of the Author’s Booking Service. René visits schools and libraries where he speaks about books, writing and editing to students and teachers. He has a current police check on file registered with the Toronto District School Board and Author's Booking Service. See the Contact René page for booking him.
Education René Schmidt attended public and high schools in Ontario and Illinois. He studied Theatre Performance at Ryerson and graduated from York University with an Honours B.A. and a B.Ed. degree. René auditioned into the exclusive Creative Writing program at York where he wrote many short stories, play scripts and a novel. René was taught and encouraged by Canadian authors Clark Blaise, Mavor Moore, Matthew Corrigan, Sheldon Rosen, and Tim Wynne-Jones. Although René was able to sell some of his writing as early as 1980, he could not earn enough to write full time. René taught school for twenty-seven years in Scarborough and Northumberland County.
Personal Life René was born in Zaandam Holland in 1954 and immigrated to Canada in 1957. His brothers say he was usually on another planet; day-dreaming and making up stories in his head. His teachers weren't too impressed. René spent several years after high school working, travelling by bicycle, truck and motorcycle and doing a wide variety of jobs including underground mine-worker, construction labourer, truck driver, upholsterer, and taxi-driver before returning to University. René is married to Shirley and they have two sons; Adrian and Daniel. René retired from teaching in 2009 and recently served as director of a youth drop-in centre. He also taught Senior Drama at a local high school for a semester. René continues to write.
On Writing René will freely admit to a love-hate relationship with writing. He loves to write, but hates getting stuck with a plot that doesn't work or an uncooperative character. He loves when a story is finished, but he is seldom satisfied so his stories are seldom finished. He re-writes dozens of times before moving on. Sending a story out for possible publication is hard because rejection is painful. However, in René's filing cabinet, Rejection Letters are right next to Reviews - and so far he usually gets good reviews...
Book Themes René's novel Leaving Fletchville is based on a true story of a young woman taking care of her siblings although she was underage. It also deals with bullying and racism he witnessed in his schools. He often focuses on ordinary heroes who achieve much despite adversity. While René's early writing was mostly fiction, he found many amazing true heroic stories while researching all those Canadian Disaster stories (seventy one of them!) over the years. René has probably enough material in his filing cabinet and computer for about ten books. Now he needs to find the time to do it right!
On Teaching René was a reluctant teacher at first, but now he is grateful for the years spent teaching elementary students. Teaching younger students forced him to simplify his writing while maintaining a high level of interest for his students.