Born in WI. Education: Michigan State University, B.S.; University of California at Berkeley, M.A.
Home—WI. Agent—Andrea Cascardi, Transatlantic Literary Agency; andreatla1.com. E-mail—[email protected]
Writer. Has worked variously as forklift operator, janitor, fitness consultant, stable hand, library assistant, legal secretary, and shipping clerk.
Minnesota State Arts Board fellowship grant, 2003; Outstanding Books for Children by a Wisconsin Author honor, Wisconsin Library Association, and Best Children's Books of the Year selection, Bank Street College of Education, both 2008, both for Circle the Truth.
Mrs. Estronsky and the U.F.O., Blue Works (Port Orchard, WA), 2001.
Circle the Truth, Carolrhoda Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2007.
Mousetraps, illustrated by Bill Hauser, Carolrhoda Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2008.
Born and raised in rural Wisconsin, young-adult novelist Pat Schmatz has set each of her books in the Midwest, "which certainly has a particular cultural flavor," the author remarked in an Under the Covers interview with Lisa Chellman. "I find the upper Midwest—both rural and urban—to have a particular kindness, something almost like innocence," Schmatz added. "That's not quite the right word, but it's a related concept …, and so characters with a gentle sort of progressive political sensibility … can be found everywhere."
Schmatz's debut title, Mrs. Estronsky and the U.F.O., centers on the relationship between a girl and her piano teacher, who both spot an unidentified flying object. In her next work, Circle the Truth, she presents readers with a supernatural fantasy. The work concerns Orithian "Rith" Haley, an angry and resentful teen from a blended family whose father died when Rith was very young. When the boy begins having visions of an elderly man who quotes Biblical passages and is accompanied by a cat that guards him, Rith begins to question his spiritual beliefs. Schmatz's "rhapsody on faith, acceptance, patience and the relationship between ‘truth’ and ‘reality’ is an unusual and valuable addition" to young adult literature, asserted a critic in Kirkus Reviews.
Mousetraps, an illustrated novel, focuses on sixteen-year-old Maxie, a high-school junior who is reunited with Rick, her best pal from elementary school. Rick had disappeared years earlier, after he was attacked by gay-bashers. Although Maxie would like to rekindle the friendship, she has second thoughts after noticing some dangerous changes in her old friend. According to School Library Journal reviewer Natasha Forrester, "Maxie's voice captures the insecurity and wish to fit in that color the adolescent years." A Kirkus Reviews contributor described Mousetraps as "unexpectedly, richly dark, with no easy answers," resulting in a novel that is "both chilling and sweet."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, December 1, 2007, Ilene Cooper, review of Circle the Truth, p. 34.
Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2007, review of Circle the Truth; September 15, 2008, review of Mousetraps.
School Library Journal, November, 2008, Natasha Forrester, review of Mousetraps, p. 136.
Pat Schmatz Home Page,http://www.patschmatz.com (January 20, 2009).
Pat Schmatz Web log,http://patschmatz.livejournal.com/ (January 20, 2009).
Transatlantic Literary Agency Web site,http://www.tla1.com/ (January 20, 2009), "Pat Schmatz."
Under the Covers Web site,http://lisachellman.com/ (October 30, 2008), Lisa Chellman, interview with Schmatz.