Monday, October 2, 2017

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Jo Schneider

Tell me about yourself. What got you started in writing?

I grew up in the wild west, and find mountains helpful in telling which direction I’m going. My lifelong goals include: travel to all seven continents, become a Jedi Knight and receive a death threat from a fan. So far I’ve been to five continents, have a black belt in Kempo and am still working on the death threat.

Being a geek at heart, I’ve always been drawn to science fiction and fantasy. I write both and hope to introduce readers to worlds that wow them and characters they can cheer for.

 I got started in writing through other stories. I wanted to live in Saturday morning cartoons when I was a kid and used to play all of them with my friends. Once I grew up, instead of playing make believe, I just started writing.

How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

I write part-time and I work part-time. I’ve found that I’m most productive with writing between noon and 7pm, so I do my best to leave those hours open when I can.  I usually look at my week, see my schedule, and then make a goal of what I want to get accomplished before Friday afternoon.

How and where do you write? Do you prefer a laptop or some other method of getting your words down?

I have an office at my house, and that’s where I write. However, if I’m getting too distracted by chores that need to be done or the candy in the other room, I’ll go to Barnes and Noble. I use a desktop at home, but I have a laptop that gets plenty of words typed on it.

What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

I love editing. I know, that’s strange, but it is my favorite part of the process. It’s me, hammering out my original idea into something even better than I could have imagined! (In theory, anyway.)

My least favorite part is writing the second draft. It kills me. I probably gain five pounds every time I slog through a first draft. Mostly because I know I’m going to have to change over 50% of it no matter how much I outline.

How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write your book?

I used to have a hard time coming up with ideas, now they just come to me. I had to train my brain to think outside the box. To be able to look at something—say a stuffed animal—and wonder twenty ‘what if’ questions about it.

It took me over a year to write my first book. Now I can do it in 5 or 6 months. I’m trying to get faster, but life is so persistent!

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

I’ve just started to try to understand the big bad world of Amazon. I have a newsletter that I try to put out consistently, and that’s really fun. I try to do newsletter swaps with other authors who write my same genres in order to broaden my reader base. And I love going to conferences and author signing activities.

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What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

I’m currently working on the final book of my YA Post-Apocalyptic Jagged Scars series. I had no idea that finishing a 5 book series would be so difficult. Everyone needs screen time, a bunch of stuff needs to get resolved, people have to die…its exhausting! It should be out in November.

Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

Oh, so many back burner projects…
I have a YA Contemporary Fantasy trilogy that still needs a final book, not to mention a novella for Kamau and his sister.

I have one more novella in Jagged Scars to write. It’s going to be amazing.

I also write a satirical series called Babes in Spyland. It’s James Bond in heels, and it is as cheesy as it sounds. I need to get back to this one because it is hilarious.

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

Pfft…talent is overrated.

Seriously. I have a friend who is a phenomenal writer. She blows me out of the water with both her ideas and her prose. However, she has never put the time and effort into cultivating the rest of her writing palette. I have seven novels, three novellas and two short stories published. She has nothing.

Hard work will go further than talent any day of the week. Writing dialogue is easy for me, and I’m good at it. It’s a talent I have. However, plotting doesn’t come easy for me. I have to work at it. Because I put in that effort, I have moved forward in my writing career while so many of my friends have not. If you want it, you can do it.

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