Mom’s Choice Awards is excited to announce another post in our interview series where we chat with the inventors, designers, publishers, and others behind some of our favorite family-friendly products.
Hello, Mom’s Choice readers! Thank you for joining us for another interview in our series. For this interview, we were able to speak with Rene’ Schultz, author of the Mom’s Choice Award-winning book, A Million More Kisses! A Million More Kisses is a touching story that teaches an important message about coping with loss through beautiful illustrations and text. A Million More Kisses address important issues such as dementia, loss, and healthy ways to grieve and keep memories alive! Keep reading to find out more about Rene’ and her award-winning book, A Million More Kisses!
MCA: Hi Rene’! Thank you so much for sitting down with us today and congratulations on your MCA! A Million More Kisses is such a meaningful story with a very important message that is sure to touch the heart of anyone who has dealt with loss in their life. Can we first start the interview by finding out a little bit about yourself?
Rene’: About myself, my childhood was pretty rough and my body and mind suffered for 30 years from it. Between issues with concentration and learning, and the chronic physical pain which kicked in at age 20, I never had the career I wanted and was also unable to continue the physical workouts I loved. My concentration issues became so that I was unable to read anymore. I felt useless for 30 years. From 2013-2017, suicide was imminent.
In 2017, after rehab and a lot of work learning about my trauma symptoms, by the grace of God, I was able to take suicide off the table.
I was still a lump on the couch. I still felt I had no worth even though as a Christian I knew I am a child of God. I didn’t know how I’d overcome without relapsing, as I could do nothing that was worth anything.
Now I write children’s books, mentor teens, and do podcast interviews. My whole platform is to teach people to never give up because we just don’t know what we are being strengthened for.
MCA: I am so sorry to hear about your struggles. It is amazing that you have been able to turn your pain into something so beautiful! What lead you to start writing children’s books?
Rene’: As a teen, I dabbled in poetry. Somewhere around 1996, I wrote a short story. I lost it on a floppy disk and never tried to rewrite it.
In 2017 there was a great shift. After years of my psychiatrist feeding me medication for a misdiagnosis and not listening to me, I left him. I could finally think, I could breathe. I wrote a short children’s story and posted it to an author’s page. A publisher/coach messaged me. He coached me well but also made promises he didn’t keep while charging me a lot of money. Two years went by, with my new knowledge, minus several thousand dollars, I started my company and published a story about the two passions in my life.
MCA: That is an amazing journey you’ve had, congratulations! What was the inspiration behind writing A Million More Kisses?
Rene’: My inspiration for writing ‘A Million More Kisses,’ was all of my loss. For 30 years I’d worked part-time in special needs and eldercare. I knew dementia would be the plot.
As I healed, I realized I was stuck in grief. For 40 years I grieved a lost childhood, lost adulthood. I was sobbing internally over my ‘gross,’ sick body, my inability to have a career or make money. I couldn’t walk around the mall or sit at the movies. I grieved lost relationships which were toxic, I learned boundaries. It was a huge learning process. I want to teach kids early, about faith, hope, and boundaries and how to at least cope with any loss. I also want to reignite the hope in adults.
MCA: What are some of the key lessons found in A Million More Kisses?
Rene’: Geronimo the chihuahua teaches a lesson on almost every page. Opening the story, we find newly adopted Geronimo, scared to go down the stairs. With positive reinforcement, he succeeds. Then he meets Nonnie, and even though little G is scared, he trusts her. When Nonnie gets sick Geronimo learns patience and compassion. Then our deep thinker brings the child through his loss. At Nonnie’s funeral, Geronimo learns things about her which reaffirms his own identity! Children see Geronimo’s unwavering faith as he sits with nature and chooses hope and joy. The back includes talking points on grief, including ways for kids to express their emotions.
MCA: Why is it so important for kids to have a strong identity in who they are in order to harness the faith and hope it will take to overcome grief?
Rene’: What I want readers to think about and really teach the kids, is that our faith is the foundation of our identity. Who we are, how we act or react, our daily thoughts and habits. When kids get older, their faith should answer their tough questions. Why are we here? What is our purpose? What’s it all for? Faith and hope determine the type of boundaries we put up for ourselves. It’s a beautiful cycle by which we smash goals.
MCA: That is a beautiful cycle indeed. What kind of response from readers have you received?
Rene’: I’ve gotten such amazing feedback from readers. Kids as young as 4 love it. 17 y olds love it! A teen with autism loved it. I have a woman who said, “this book is a gift to my soul.” Another said, “I needed this more than my daughter did.” And “I healed in places I didn’t know needed healing.” I have been unable for ten years, to finish my memoir, my brain just won’t let me. But God is still using me. He is still using me.
MCA: If you could ensure readers of your book walk away with one main lesson, what would it be?
Rene’: One lesson, if your faith isn’t infallible, how will your hope stay strong in your darkest days? If I sound dramatic it’s because I’ve had a dramatic life and mentor teens around the world whose lives are very dramatic. Way too many kids are suffering, confused, broken, and dying. Teach the kids who are confident and strong, how to be a light. This is my passion. My next book is in final editing. A spectacular piece of art! I can’t wait to release it and apply for a Mom’s Choice Awards award!
MCA: That is a beautiful message to leave us off with, thank you, Rene’!
You can learn more about Rene’ Schultz and her award-winning book, A Million More Kisses by visiting her MCA Shop pages.