Travel nurse Amy Schexnider is known by her patients and colleagues for the empathy, skill, and care she brings to the labor and delivery floor. But to young adult urban fantasy fans, she is better known as author Elizabetta Holcomb, the creator of Sir Jareth Tremaine and the heroes of Dover’s Amalgam.
The L&D nurse, single mother of five, and USA Today bestselling author shares how the flexibility of travel nursing has helped her find success in her other pursuits.
Inspired by her mother, who worked as a librarian, Amy developed a love for reading and writing from a young age.
“I’ve written since I was little; it’s just something I’ve always done,” Amy says. “It started out as journaling and then when I was about 11 or 12, I started writing stories and sharing them with my sister and it escalated from there. I went to college and was a creative writing major. I knew it’s what I wanted to do.”
Writing on hold
During college, Amy was married and had her first child. She sought out a profession that afforded stability, security, and the ability to support her children, so she followed in the footsteps of many family members in the medical field and went to nursing school. While her love for writing never waned, her writing was moved to the back burner for nearly two decades.
“I didn’t write for 18 years. But when you have that kind of creative intuition it comes out in other ways. I started baking, doing crafts with my kids, and painting. It’s just something that you can’t suppress whenever you have that need to create,” Amy says. “It came to a point where I just couldn’t suppress it anymore and when I started writing, it’s all I did. I exploded; I couldn’t stop writing.”
A writer’s inspiration
Amy’s books grew out of stories she would make up with her children when they were young. They would start a story and build on it whenever they were outside playing or telling bedtime stories.
Their tale began of a knight who met an ordinary girl in present day. They imagined what it would be like for people from different time periods to meet, and her son wanted to include a superhero component. The story evolved into one of time travel and they gave the knight abilities to be a guardian over time and help protect people.
“When I started writing again, my oldest daughter was old enough to provide feedback and get excited about reading,” Amy says. “As I wrote, I would print out chapters for her and she couldn’t wait for me to be done so she could read. She built a character board of all my characters. She was so excited and supportive. My children are amazing.”
Her family’s support and the influence of her upbringing and life skills are evident in her writing. As a child, Amy read about Dover, England, and became obsessed with the town and the castle located there. Amy’s mother painted an oil painting for her of the White Cliffs of Dover — the location that would eventually become the setting of her books.
Her father read her books for the first time when he was living in a nursing home. He loved the books and gave them out to the other residents. He noted with delight the accuracy with which she presented medical information and experiences from growing up in south Louisiana, such as fixing a hydraulic hose on a crawfish boat.
“My dad observed how much of my life experience I pulled into my books; he just couldn’t believe there was so much accuracy,” Amy says. “It was funny to me when he said, ‘They’re really good. They’re really well written. How did you do that?’ I told him, ‘Thanks, Dad! That’s what you sent me to school for.’”
Her next chapter
As Amy continues work on the rest of the books in the Chronicles of Dover’s Amalgam series as well as a collaboration with another well-known author on another series, she values the flexibility of travel nursing. She uses an editing app so she can work during lunches or during quiet nights while she watches fetal monitors.
“It can be hard. It can be a slow process. But I do my best to make time for it,” Amy says.
Purpose and passion
Amy is fueled by a desire to do and create good. In all she pursues, she seeks to build a healthy environment where the people around her — whether her children, patients, or the characters in her books — can see how it’s possible to choose right, even in difficult circumstances.
“Life works the same way. Sometimes it doesn’t always feel good to do what’s right…or you’re tired, but it’s never an excuse not to do what’s right,” Amy says. “The family I wrote about is such a functional family. When my family was going through a difficult transition, I wanted to give my children a healthy mindset and help keep their wellbeing intact. As my children have grown, they really are amazing. They’ve done great things despite the hard things they’ve been through. That’s what inspires me to write.”
Does Amy’s story resonate with you? Travel nursing can help you find the work/life balance to pursue your life passions. Give us a call at 800.866.0407 to learn more or view today’s travel nurse job openings.