There’s a framed book cover hanging on a wall near the fireplace of the Samsills’ log-cabin home southeast of Paradise.
It was a gift Trudy Samsill received from her husband, Steve, after the release of her first book in August.
“I’m just hoping to go up the wall there,” she said.
While working as a supervisor for a custodial company and being a wife and mom who’s homeschooled her four children, Trudy is also a self-published author.
She’s always enjoyed journaling, and she’s even written some blog posts for various religious organizations. But she wasn’t motivated to pursue publication until last year when, at the age of 40, she earned her associate’s degree in elementary teaching.
“When I realized I could do that, that pushed me into believing I could do something new that I’ve always wanted to do,” she said.
Finding abundant, affordable resources helped.
Through CreateSpace, a print-on-demand publisher, authors have the ability to upload their works, format them, select a cover photo and sell the books on Amazon as orders are processed.
“You can order one book, you can order 1,000 books – it’s strictly print on demand,” she said. “(CreateSpace) doesn’t publish a bunch of books that just sit there in a box waiting for you to sell. They only publish them as you order them, then they use Amazon to sell the books for their authors.
“Years ago, we didn’t have the option of print-on-demand companies or ebooks. That has flung the door wide open to new authors.”
Samsill is one of those authors, and in August of 2012, she published her first short story, “Glass Marbles.”
“It was a trial-and-error e-book, just to find out what this was like,” she said. “I just wanted to find out if I could do it.”
She found that she could, and with that experience under her belt, she went to work on a second piece for publication.
“There’s so much I’ve written that I haven’t published,” she said. “But literally in 15 minutes I had this story in my mind. I sat down and wrote it and took it from there.”
That work was “Rescued,” the first in a three-book series on mission work on the Aleutian Islands.
The series combines two of her family’s interests – Alaska and missions.
“My husband’s dad was stationed in Alaska, and my husband has just had this love for Alaska,” she said. “My husband and I have been on a bunch of short-term mission trips. These two things got me thinking.
“I started doing some research on the Aleutian islands, watched some documentaries about the Aleutian Indians and got really interested in them and in their culture and their life. This story just came to mind about combining missionaries and the Aleutian islands.”
Although the island and characters are fictional, extensive research forms the plot’s backbone.
“A lot of my time is spent in research,” she said. “I’ve actually spoken on the phone and through email with some missions organizations in Alaska so I can get good, solid information on missions work there and the Aleutian people and the culture. That takes some time, but I enjoy that part.”
But there is a part about the publishing process she doesn’t enjoy.
“The only thing I would change is to have somebody do the marketing,” she said. “It’s the only downside to self-publishing. I just want to write, but you can’t. You also have to be a salesperson.”
However Trudy said she can appreciate all aspects of the journey.
“It’s challenging, and I need that,” she said. “It’s been fun, and I’ve really enjoyed it. I know I’m going to keep doing this.
“I still have to write two and three,” she added with a laugh.
Book two of the series is slated for release in March, followed by the finale in the fall.
Logistically, her next goal is to sell her books in local stores. But as an author and a person of her faith, she has an overarching ambition.
“My goal is not just to write fiction and inspire somebody with it, but to actually link my books to awareness to missions to a certain group of people that’s in need,” she said. “I’d eventually like to link my stories to a real organization to raise awareness, to maybe raise funding for them.
“My number one goal is to use the ability He has given me and the passion He has given me to bring Him fame,” she said. “I believe God has given every person unique gifts and abilities. If we don’t use those things, we’re going to lose it.
“I don’t care what your passion is – whether it’s mothering, teaching, building something, working on a car – it can’t be just for us. We’re going to get burned out, disheartened. It’s pointless. You have to have a purpose.”
The framed book cover is strategically placed near the crosses on her wall.
There’s room for many more.
Both of Trudy’s works can be found online. Visit www.amazon.com and search ‘Trudy Samsill.’