Journey Back in Time

Dear friends, my long journey from back in time taught me to be a good listener and silent observer of human behavior. My historical novel is a glimpse into the lives of generations of tenants from various parts of the world in search of personal and economic freedom in America.

My observations helped me understand what it must be like to be human and shaped my destiny to share their legacy with current and future generations. They no longer have a voice. My author’s words speak on behalf of all of us.

My tenants’ personal tales enriched my life beyond belief. They became family to me. I held their secrets, disappointments, grief, and was fortunate to share their many moments of joy and success within my walls. I was a silent member of their families, entering their lives without their knowledge, with the exception of one special young boy who grew up protected within my walls.

I was able to connect with my tenants and their families, whose lives were impacted by historical events beyond their control. My firsthand history lessons are vivid and extensive as I imagine them in my mind’s eye, filled with unbelievable actual events. I learned about the Civil War, the Hooks, the Great Strike of 1899, the Suffragettes, World War 1, the right to vote, the Buffalo Children’s Aid Society, the News and Black Boot Boys, and major events that took place around the world during this 118-year period.

You might ask me “Why is this story important?”. And, I will tell you.

I am a survivor, a modest apartment building with a heart and soul and tales to tell. I’m still standing proudly like my tenants were when they first moved into my building.

My hope is that readers will be able to step back in time and see themselves in the struggles and hopes, the heartaches and dreams, and the common humanity that all my tenants shared – and share with you.

In a way I’m like my tenants. I have ups and downs, fears, unknown challenges, only I have no control over what happens to me. My fate is in my owner’s hands. How I wish I had the free will to make the types of choices my tenants made to survive and thrive.

FRED: Buffalo Building of Dreams (Publication in 2020: Buffalo Heritage Press)

Hi. I’m Fred!

My Novice Novelist blog has now transitioned to FRED SPEAKS, a blog written through the voice of FRED: Buffalo Building of Dreams.  Currently in the publication process, the book will be available in 2020 through Buffalo Heritage Press.

Hi. My name is FRED and this is my very first blog. I’m an apartment building who has waited patiently to tell the story about many of the tenants who lived in my building from 1900-2018. I tried to get someone to listen, but it was decades before someone actually heard my plea.  Finally, in 2006 Fran Schmidt, the woman in the black Toyota, heard my voice.  It took her another six years to actually begin work on this multi-period historical fiction novel, but my story started to come to fruition in 2012 when she began writing about me.

I want her to know I appreciate her, her research partners, and the new friends and acquaintances who believe in me and my tales.  They all make me feel so alive! Great thanks also goes out to the Buffalo Heritage Press for publishing this novel in 2020.

I am so excited that I’m actually still standing and currently undergoing a preservation process.  My new apartments will be authentic and almost like they were when I was first built and will then be the home to a new generation of tenants with their own amazing stories! My own blog is launching now because I want my potential readers to be excited too.

You will learn interesting historical information decade-by-decade…about how I came alive and lived vicariously through the lives of many of my immigrants, refugees, internal migrants, and descendants of enslaved peoples of Africa, They were German, Sicilian, Italian, Irish, Polish, Hungarian, Canadian, English, French, Puerto Rican, Jewish and African American.

I provided shelter and comfort to my tenants after they had experienced extreme poverty and the effects of war and other traumas. Freedom was the common denominator that tied each generation of tenants together regardless of their backgrounds. I’m not human, but I have learned first-hand through these amazing people, what it’s like to be one.

I can’t wait to tell you more…

Pathway to Publication

My pathway to publication finally opened wide when I signed an author contract with an excellent Western New York publisher, Marti Gorman, of Buffalo Heritage Press.  When I left Marti’s office, I could have flown home if only I had wings!  Before the good news happened, during our first meeting, I was asked if I was willing to make changes to the manuscript if necessary.  “Yes” I said.  “I’ll do anything I’m asked to do to make the manuscript “reader ready”.

The publisher then said she would try to find the perfect developmental editor for FRED.  It was hard to believe that after more than a decade, Fred’s goal (and mine!) was within reach, but it would all depend on finding an editor who also would be passionate about the novel.  Unexpectedly, a few days later,  I received a message from the publisher to please return her call.  One out of the three editors who reviewed the manuscript was definitely passionate about the historical novel and wanted to start work on it right away.

I was then asked by the publisher if I wanted to sign a contract as soon as possible, and of course I said, “Yes!”.  It was an exciting moment I’ll never forget. The editor was willing to spend hundreds and hundreds of hours correcting the manuscript, reviewing dialogue, making suggestions, and possibly expanding some of the text.  As a novice novelist I welcome the opportunity to make the novel a solid read.

When I receive the manuscript back, which should be any day now, I’ll have two months to make all the necessary changes before it goes back to the developmental editor.  Needless to say, it’s an unbelievable opportunity of a lifetime and I can’t wait to start the process.

My advice to new historical novelists is to make sure you understand the research process.  It’s time-consuming and hard to gather and cross-check facts that may be relevant when creating your characters. Chapter by chapter they emerged only after hundreds and hundreds of hours of reading and re-reading the research generated by my Orphan Building Research Team of three, including me.  I was lucky to have them assist me because I now know it would have taken a few more years to gather 115 years of Fred’s building history.  Perhaps Fred made this good luck possible?

Have passion for your project and gather supporters as you travel the road to publication, as they provide you with unconditional support when you need it most.  Be diligent and passionate about your novel.   Multitasking will be the name of the game. Life will often step in and change your schedule.  Stay focused and never give up until your novel is published!

Frances R. Schmidt