A highlight on PHS published author, James Schroeder

James Schroeder poses next to his published books that are now available to check out at the Palatine Public Library.
James Schroeder poses next to his published books that are now available to check out at the Palatine Public Library.
Courtesy of James Schroeder

Palatine High School’s James A. Schroeder is not only a special education teacher assistant but also a writer. His love for writing has been with him continuously since childhood. 

“I’ve always loved writing even from a young age,” Schroeder noted. “I always had a pen and paper and I always had a notebook, scribbling ideas down, but it also came from my love of reading.”

He has currently published two books and is working on a third book. He publishes books not only because he loves to write, but also because he wants his readers to become more knowledgeable while they read his books.

Schroeder’s books take place in Chicago in the 1930s. The genre of his books are gangsters, mystery, historical fiction and action. There are subtle, historical details in his books about Chicago that make the reading both fun and accurate, such as the changing of the name of a place to fit in with the past.

“What’s fun about doing the research is that [the Chicago Writers Association] will send you newspaper articles from the time,” Schroeder stated. “Something as small as the Walnut Room in Chicago, where, in 1934, the Walnut Room was called the Walnut Grill.”

Schroeder makes sure his books are as historically accurate as possible through multiple sources. Due to this, it sometimes takes longer to write books because he wants the facts to be correct.

The rate at which he publishes books differs depending on the amount of research necessary and the amount of free time Schroeder has to work on his books. “Midnight’s Murder” took him a year and a half to write because he did extensive research about the past to make sure the book wouldn’t be inaccurate. He was assisted in his research by Chicago writers and the Writers Association History Museum. 

“When I was writing both of my books I always thought how would this look in my head if it were a movie,” Schroeder said. “I watched old Humphrey Bogart movies, I watched Cary Grant movies just to kind of get inspiration and kind of hear their voice while I’m talking.”

Schroeder’s spark and inspiration for writing his books came from movies. He was fascinated by the way movies worked and thought about what the movie would look like if it were a book.

“I’d really like to get people more interested in learning about local history,” he said, “even if that’s just 1930s onward. Just inspiring people to read and learn more about things through books even if it’s fiction.”

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  • J

    James SchroederApr 19, 2024 at 2:23 pm

    Thanks for writing this article. I appreciate all the hard work and time you spent putting it together. I’ve had a great time writing my books and doing research with the Chicago History Museum and my fellow Authors at the Writers Association.

    Chicago has such a rich history worth learning about. It is the perfect setting for a Mystery story. So many of the places featured in my books are still around today.

    Some advice I’d like to give all the young writers out there with a story to tell, I highly encourage you to keep writing and read as much as you can. Inspiration can strike you at any moment. Embrace it and use your creativity to bring your stories to life.

    For anyone interested in reading my books or picking up a copy for yourself, you can find the links to the paperbacks and Ebook versions of my books on my website: James Schroeder Author . com

    Thank you all again. Be on the look out for more books in the future. Stay safe and keep reading.