Jeff Schilling was born in San Diego, California, but grew up in Falls Church, Virginia. He remembers lying in bed, listening to his father read The Hobbit to him and can still recall how it felt to hear that story for the first time. And although he’s always wished he was someone who knew exactly what he wanted to do from a very early age, he wasn’t. But he did love music, reading, and football. He was quiet and unremarkable during his middle and high school years. After graduation, he attended Virginia Tech and chose English as his major because he still liked to read and nothing else seemed terribly appealing. While attending Virginia Tech, he managed to take one Creative Writing course, but was secretly put out when his professor didn’t feel his work was astonishing.
After college, he worked as a waiter, dialysis clerk, purchasing assistant, case manager, and in a number of cubes before deciding he’d better find something he liked. During this time, he lived in Richmond, Virginia, Denver, Colorado and Freeport, Maine. He still loved books and music, but decided to write since he didn’t play an instrument, is terrified of doing anything in front of an audience, and isn’t good at staying up late. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to quit his day job to pursue this endeavor, because no one was willing (or able) to support him. He did, however, manage to break free of the cubicle and has worked with children for the past ten years, writing when he can.
Mr. Schilling claims if he’d known it would take this much work and so many years to achieve his goal, he might have given up long ago. After many manuscripts, two halfway decent, self-published books, and hundreds of rejection letters, he was fortunate enough to come to the attention of Bruce Bortz, publisher of Bancroft Press. Without the infinite patience of Mr. Bortz and his tremendously gifted editor (Harrison Demchick, The Listeners), Changing Michael would not exist. (The patience and perseverance the author cultivated during the edit and rewrite process, the author believes, is probably good for him, he adds.).
He is currently living in Colorado with his wife, daughter, house rabbit, and two guinea pigs. He hopes to write a few more books . . . if anyone’s interested. He also hopes that his vague and unremarkable biography might inspire other closeted artists. If it could happen to him, it could happen to anybody. Really.
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by Jeff Schilling
An entertaining teen novel that even adults can enjoy. --Gary Longwell, YA Librarian
It's been a while since I've seen young adult fiction done quite this well. --Stuart Krause, Teacher
Does what all great stories do: challenges the way we think about ourselves and our relationships. --Christine Avery, English Teacher at Eaglecrest High School
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