PLEASE WELCOME ONE AWESOME FANTASY AUTHOR
C.L. Schneider is an author mom who just penned her first published work, The Crown of Stones. The first in a trilogy, Magic-Price is a gripping account of one man’s struggle to accept who and what he is. It’s the journey of a flawed hero, a fallen race, and a land at war. A page-turning tale of prejudice, betrayal, secrets and lies.
*It sounds absolutely and deliciously scrumptious!*
THE CROWN OF STONES
*How long did you live in Kansas?
I was born and raised in Atchison, Kansas, a small town on the Missouri river. Atchison is the birthplace of Amelia Earhart. It is also considered the most haunted small town in Kansas. I came to New York after I finished school and have lived in the same general area (the Hudson Valley region) ever since.
Haunted small towns, eh? Just in time for Halloween!
*What sorts of books did you read growing up?
I come from a family of readers, all with different interests, so the bookshelves in my house were bursting with books from all genres. I was an early reader. In elementary school I devoured my older sibling’s collections of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, but by the time I was in middle school I was reading a lot of the classics. Some of my favorites were: Gone with the Wind, Jane Eyre, Rebecca, Frankenstein, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Northwest Passage, The Time Machine. I loved mysteries and gothic novels. From there, I moved onto historical fiction and horror. I didn’t start reading fantasy until after high school when my brother bought me a copy of The Mists of Avalon. I fell in love and read it twice within a couple of months. I had already finished my first novel at that point, but that book changed everything for me. It narrowed my writing focus. Once I read Mists of Avalon, I knew fantasy was my genre.
That’s an interesting mix of books there! It intrigues me how certain books can have a particular affect on us. In your case it was The Mists of Avalon.
The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.-Dr. Seuss
*Who were your favorite characters growing up, and how did you relate to them?
I adored Scarlett O’Hara. She was such an amazing character. On the surface she was this incredibly strong woman who let nothing stand in her way. She knew how to work the system to get what she wanted. Yet underneath, she was vulnerable. Scarlett O’Hara was the first truly flawed character that I ever encountered and she definitely set the bar high. I was also drawn to Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights. To me, at the time, he was the epitome of a tortured character. I loved his passion and recklessness.
YESSSS. Flawed characters are the name of the game. It’s amazing how we’re touched by them isn’t it?
*What’s your educational background?
I’ve had no formal writing education. Writing is just something I’ve done for as long as I can remember.
Me neither!! Hah! But you’re trilogy looks AMAZING. The reviews I’ve seen are also very astounding. Impressive for someone who has no formal background in writing. You’re an encouragement for the rest of us!
*Who are you favorite characters today and how do you relate to them?
One of my favorite characters that I’ve discovered recently is Mason Stone from the Saint Monolith series by fellow indie author Tom Reinhart. Mason Stone is such a compelling character. He’s an unsung hero, a loose cannon vigilante, a tortured man, and a very lost soul. I can’t say that I relate to him, really, but I admire how he doesn’t hold back. He does the things that everyone else wishes they could.
Hmm…I haven’t heard of him, but I’ll check him out!
*Tell us about Ian Troy and how you crafted him.
There is a quote by Kahlil Gibran that I believe describes Ian Troy perfectly: “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” That is Ian Troy.
Ian is an anti-hero, flawed as they come. He’s solder, a magic user, a drinker, a smart-ass, and an outcast who’s maddeningly stubborn and guilt ridden. Ian’s story is a dark one, and he goes to some very dark places. He doesn’t always do the right thing. In fact, he does some very bad things. But you can always count on him to be selfless in the face of danger and put other’s lives ahead of his own. How did he get to be this way? Over the course of the trilogy, you learn about the roller coaster of his life and how he was manipulated and coerced even before he was born.
I love flawed characters. The more flawed they are, the more opportunities they have to incite emotions in a reader. Flawed characters, to me, are far more interesting that the gallant white knights and the perfect super heroes. Those are fine, to a point. But I’m far more intrigued by what’s underneath the shining armor and the mask. What trials and tribulations did they have to endure? What past mistakes or secret desires are they hiding?
When I created Ian Troy, I set out to construct a character that I, as a reader, would want to get lost in. It was important to me that Ian carried traits from some of the characters that sparked my imagination growing up. I wanted him to be a cowboy and an outlaw, a good guy and a rogue; a detective when he needed to be, a monster when he could help it, and a hero even when he tried not to be. I knew his story would revolve around magic. That he would be flawed and suffering, bold yet strong, valiant yet broken. To me, the best way to create and explore a tortured character was to make his greatest strength (magic) also his greatest weakness.
I love, love, love your description of your characters and your entire premise.
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”- Kahlil Gibran
*What do you love most about him?
I love Ian’s strength, his ability to keep going, to keep striving for what he knows is right even against terrible odds. It probably sounds strange, but when I’m faced with a difficult task and I feel like giving up, I think: Ian wouldn’t give up, and it pushes me to keep going.
Now that’s awesome. You’re inspired by your own character! That’s heroism at its best.
*If you were to meet him in person how would you feel?
Oh, I’m not sure! No one has ever asked me that before. I might feel a little star struck, actually. Though, I would love to find out. It would be amazing to have the opportunity to sit down with Ian and the gang at one of the taverns in my book and share a bottle. That would be a fun night!
I can almost picture this playing out in my head, lol! That would be EPIC.
*What did you enjoy most in writing the Crown of Stones Trilogy?
Worldbuilding was definitely one of my favorite parts of writing The Crown of Stones. I loved forming all those realms and crafting their history. Taking the flaws and accomplishments (and the secrets) of each society and interweaving them together over the three books was so much fun. Mirra’kelan is a world I’m proud of. I think it has a lot of potential for future stories.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the characters. One of the hardest parts of moving onto a new project was letting them go.
Yeah, that sounds like it would be pretty hard. Having to let them go and move on would be tough.
*What exactly is Epic Fantasy?
Epic fantasy is generally described as a novel set in an entirely imaginary world, completely unlike our own, with environments and societies that are fully explored and realized. As a rule, the story is lengthy and often evolves over multiple books. It frequently includes a large cast of characters, complex magic systems, sweeping battles, and/or a journey across multiple realms. The plot is complex and game-changing, leaving the story-world altered on a grand scale and the characters evolved.
I like it. Just realized my story sounds a lot like epic fantasy.
*What is Urban Fantasy?
With urban fantasy, the magical/supernatural elements are still there, but story generally takes place in more of a contemporary, urban setting than epic fantasy.
I wonder what is it if your story has both elements of Urban and Epic fantasy? Interesting.
*Can you give us a teaser about your next book?
My next book, Nite Fire, is the first in an urban fantasy series. It’s the story of Dahlia Nite, a half-dragon shapeshifter from a parallel world very different from our own. Many years ago, Dahlia’s emerging empathic abilities interfered with her job as an assassin. She failed the dragon queen, Naalish, and was condemned to die. Being half human (and able to shift into human form), Dahlia fled her home for the only other world where she had a hope of blending in: ours.
Nite Fire is set in the fictitious Sentinel City. Already a hot-spot for the unexplained, when a series of brutal killings disguised as spontaneous combustion strike the city, Dahlia knows the killer is one of her own kind. She worms her way into the investigation, teaming up with a human detective to solve the case, while struggling to maintain the lies that have kept humanity in the dark for centuries; believing myths and legends were just that.
As Dahlia searches for the truth behind the murders, the bit of peace she’s found in this world starts to unravel. Nite Fire is the first book in a series. An early excerpt is posted on my website on the Playground page Nite Fire Play if you’d like to have a look! Leave a comment, too. I’d love to hear what you think of it.
You really now how to craft a story with intriguing characters! Please drop me a line when you finish. I’d be open to review it.
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Thanks for ridin’ the train folks!!
When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature. -Ernest Miller Hemingway
To write well, express yourself like the common people, but think like a wise man. -Aristotle
“When I want to read a novel, I write one.” -Benjamin Disraeli
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