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Local author publishes first novel focusing on good, bad in everyone

Adam Schuitema's "Haymaker" dives into the life of two groups of vastly different people and shows that everyone, even characters in books, have flaws.
Adam Schuitema

Adam Schuitema

Local book signings and events

September 19, 2015 

6:30 p.m. at The Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters


September 24, 2015

7 p.m. at Schuler Books & Music

Schuitema at a reading following the release of "Haymaker".

Schuitema at a reading following the release of "Haymaker".

Adam Schuitema, an English professor at Kendall College, just published “Haymaker,” his second book but his first novel. 

Set in the small Upper Peninsula town of Haymaker, Michigan, “Haymaker” follows what happens when a small group of libertarians looking for a permanent residence clashes with the people who already live there - people who like to be left alone.

With the political nature of “Haymaker,” Schuitema wanted to make sure to write a narrative that didn’t force the readers to choose one side or the other, something that he says he got a lot of practice doing from teaching. 

“I wanted people to get attached to the characters and lost in the story,” he says. “If they keep bumping up against political beliefs, it’s gonna wake them from the dream of the story.”

Libertarianism is the central focus of the novel, though Schuitema says that readers don’t necessarily have to be political and that it’s meant to be relatable to everyone. Schuitema says that learning about libertarianism as he was researching and writing the book has taught him that it’s so multi-sided, many people relate to it in different ways. Many arguments about libertarianism come from the fact that so many people agree or disagree on different sides of it, he says. 

The characters of the novel, too, are meant to be as lifelike as possible -- there is no clear “good” or “bad” side, because there are heroes and villains on both sides, much like it is in reality.

Teaching has helped Schuitema’s writing in that he has learned to be as even-handed as possible and to present the story from all sides. 

“It’s not so much interpreting the actions or analyzing the actions and thoughts of the characters," he says, "as much as simple presenting them.”

Schuitema has been working on the novel since 2004, when he first got the idea to write the book. The entire book took about five years to write and a few more to get published. 

Schuitema had always known he was naturally good at writing. In high school, he was complimented on his skills as a writer and even won nonfiction writing contests. Even still, he didn’t pursue writing as a career at first, and ended up getting a degree in education. Unable to let it go, Schuitema returned to school to complete his master’s and even his doctorate in English and writing. 

He has been a professor at Kendall for around eight years. In that time, he has taught creative writing, rhetoric and modern literature and has had the opportunity to mentor young writers. 

“(Teaching is) really interesting in a place like Kendall, where I’m surrounded by visual artists,” Schuitema says. “I’m being influenced by visual art and I think a lot of my students... see the parallels and connections between the two.” 

Now that “Haymaker” has been released, Schuitema has had time to reflect on the project.

“Because this is a decade in the making, I’m really trying to take the time to appreciate and enjoy now that it’s out,” he says.

Schuitema will be doing book readings and signings throughout the next few months across Michigan. For more information, visit his website.

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