By Pam Chamberlain, submitted 2011
When Lacey Schnitzler graduated from Augustana with a major in business economics, she never imagined she’d end up writing fantasy novels.
Lacey (née Cadieux) graduated in 2005 from the Bachelor of Management program. She followed that with a certificate in project management from Mount Royal College. Her first job was as a business development coordinator with Calgary-based M-Tech Information Technology. She quickly moved up to project coordinator and then project manager in a group responsible for implementing identity management systems. Lacey’s role was to coordinate the scope, time, and cost of the project.
In 2007, Lacey became a self-employed project coordinator and worked on a contract for the United Farmers of Alberta (UFA). She was awarded Most Valuable Project Coordinator for her work on the Enterprise Solutions Initiative, which focussed on implementing new UFA offerings for agricultural producers.
Lacey says her work in project management was rewarding: “I enjoyed working with a team of professionals who were committed to seeing a project through from beginning to end. Mitigating challenges, big or small, within a set budget and timeline made the successful completion of an individual project rewarding.”
In 2008, Lacey and her husband, Ryan Schnitzler (BA, ’05) (a junior negotiating landman for ConocoPhillips), had a baby girl named Shea. This life-changing experience inspired Lacey to shift gears, and now she stays home to care for her daughter. This has allowed her to explore another passion: writing. In the past two years, she’s completed two manuscripts for young adult fantasy novels.
Lacey was drawn to the fantasy genre because she loves fairy tales. Her stories are inspired by The Princess Bride, Bridge to Terabithia, and King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. She didn’t take creative writing courses in university; however, she explains, “The creative flame was lit in my first-year English literature course when I was introduced to Jane Austen, who is now my favourite author. Her work helped me develop an appreciation for the craft of writing and inspired me to write.”
After working with a freelance editor to polish her manuscript, Lacey is heading to the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference in Seattle to pitch her first novel, Reverie, to literary agents.
“Writing is a release of creative energy for me,” she explains. “I enjoy creating new characters and seeing my stories through to the end. Originally it was a hobby, but now it has turned into my passion. It was a huge goal to finish these two novels, and I am proud of accomplishing it.”