Pressing her fingers to the keyboard for the last time, Joliet Junior College Bookstore Office Assistant Nancy Skroko took in a deep breath as she finished her 26-years-in-the-making historical romance novel, “Live for Tomorrow” in August 2012.
After writing, revising, fixing and editing – from word processor to computer to paperback – Skroko’s dream can now be found on the shelves of the JJC Bookstore, located on the Main Campus at 1215 Houbolt Road in Joliet.
“I’m really glad I accomplished my goal,” said Skroko, who is also a JJC alumna. “I feel good when I do something and finish it.”
Skroko’s book, partly based on her grandmother’s life in Germany, follows Karina Winkler and her spellbinding romance with World War I soldier Derek von Kampler. Karina and Derek get married, but the celebration doesn’t last for long. Derek gets sent back to war, and Karina struggles to adjust to the obvious disapproval from her mother-in-law, and Derek’s sister, Fredericka. Then, tragedy strikes.
“With divine inspiration from God, the story just took place in my mind, and the character took on a life of her own,” Skroko said.
Skroko knew as a child that she wanted to write a book based on the stories she had always heard from her grandmother.
Her journey as a writer began in 1986 after she enrolled in Ruth Harley’s class at the Institute of Children’s Literature in West Redding, Conn. It was there that she scribbled the first draft of “Live for Tomorrow.”
When she finished the book in 1988, Skroko tried to get it published, but had no luck. Her life began to get busy, raising a son and working, but she made a trip to Germany with her then 95-year-old grandmother and husband to do more research on the book.
She revisited the story on and off for years, but it wasn’t until 2012 that a creative writing contest in Guidepost Magazine caught her eye. Skroko entered “Live for Tomorrow,” hoping she’d win the prize of getting her book published.
Even though her book didn’t place in the contest, with the encouragement of her husband, Skroko decided to self-publish “Live for Tomorrow” anyway.
Today, Skroko said she owes everything to her grandmother.
“I think she’d be really proud,” Skroko said. “She’d be going around saying, ‘My granddaughter wrote this book!’ I think she’d be happy.”
Since the book made its debut earlier this summer, Skroko has gotten a lot of feedback, with many readers suggesting she write a sequel.
“When I wrote it, I didn’t realize I left it wide open for a sequel,” she said.
Before getting started on a sequel, Skroko wants to see how well “Live For Tomorrow” does. Skroko teased that if she did write a sequel, the story would follow Karina and her family through World War II.
With a smile on her face, she added that she wouldn’t take as long as it took her to write “Live for Tomorrow” to write the sequel.
“Live for Tomorrow,” is available for purchase at the JJC Bookstore, Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Inspiringvoices.com, or at Skroko’s website, www.livefortomorrownovelbynancyskroko.com. The book is also available in an e-book format.
Skroko, a Joliet native who now lives in Shorewood, can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.