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  • Writer's pictureCheré Dastugue Coen

Southern Writer Spotlight: Victor L. Schmitt

Updated: Mar 21, 2023

Memoir teaches others how to find their true purpose and think outside the box.

Book(s): “Jack in the Box: Finding MY Hidden Truth and Purpose in the Game of Life"

Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana

Latest Book Set Where: Louisiana

Gives us a brief description of your book.

We are all placed in a box at birth and become a programmed version of ourself, from the way we think, believe, dress, eat, worship and our cultural experiences, all based on when and what part of the world we were born. So, how does a young boy — growing up in an abusive childhood, who never traveled anywhere outside of his hometown — climb out of the box he was born in to become an international fashion model who traveled to more than 26 countries throughout the world, finding his true purpose in becoming the Jack OUT of the Box?

My life story runs through this memoir/self-help book, challenging the reader to question everything. Does this work for me?

What brought you to write these stories?

I knew I was going to write a book when I was about 19 or 20 years old. I also knew it was not going to happen until I was much older, with a life full of experience. At that time I never really knew when that would be, but I felt sure I’d know when the time was right. I’m 61 now, and the voice within told me it was time about six years ago.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

I discuss several different topics in the book, so every time I had a thought or idea, I would write it down and place it in a box. If I read an article that interested me, I would place it in the box. It took me about a year to sort out everything into the different chapters I wanted to write about.

Where does the story take place?

It starts in my hometown of New Orleans, where I was born, and makes its way through my travels all over the world.

How does setting play in the telling of the story?

It’s the heart of my message. We can’t really expand ourselves mentally and spiritually if we don’t step outside the box we’re raised in to learn about what else is out there. It’s how we grow, learn, and develop empathy for how the rest of the world lives.

What do you think makes a good story/book?

A good book is a real, honest, bold look at a person’s life. It was what I set out to do in my book.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I knew at an early age I would write one day. But I don’t necessarily consider myself a “writer” per se.

When did you write your first book? And how was that experience?

This is my first book, and I loved it. It was a long process, and I learned that you write a lot and get rid of most of it. But the key is expressing what you want to say, exactly how you want to say it.

Is writing your primary job or do you have another career?

I am a talent agent and a film producer.

What does your family think of your writing?

They never knew exactly what the finished product would be, because I never let them see anything until it was printed. But they are really proud of what I did.

What was the most surprising thing you learned writing your stories?

I was surprised by how amazed I was to have gotten to the point where I’m at in my life today, how grateful I am to have taken that first step and made the opportunity, as afraid as I was, to live the life I’ve experienced. That is also a core message in the book: If I can get through what I endured as a child and make my dream come true, you can too!

Did writing your book lead you to other things?

I believe it will lead to speaking to people about my story, helping them find their way out of the box they may not know how to climb out of.

What suggestions do you have for aspiring writers?

Just do it! If you feel it is something you really want to do, trust your instincts and take that leap of faith. I did it for me, first and foremost. It was something I believed I was meant to do, so I did.

How can readers find and purchase your books?

My website presently:

Weird, Wacky & Wild South is written by travel journalist Cheré Dastugue Coen, who also writes novels under the pen name of Cherie Claire. You can learn more about her Southern-based mysteries and romance at

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1 Comment

Bruce Coen
Bruce Coen
Aug 27, 2022

Very interesting. Definitely encourages me to seek out and read this book.

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