Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Jo Schneider: Author, Ninja, Fangirl

Jo Ann Schneider is an accomplished writer with three books on the market and a whole lot more in the works. She writes primarily SciFi/Fantasy, does Shaolin Kempo (a.k.a. martial arts), and is crazy about Star Wars, Psych, Doctor Who, and anything Marvel. (Basically, we get on beautifully!) 

Her third book Fractured Memories, was published in May 2015:
Sixteen year old Wendy never knew the world before the Starvation. She’s learned to put her trust in her knives, and her confidence in her fighting ability. When the Skinnies attack her compound, she's the lone survivor. Injured and near death, Wendy is rescued and nursed back to health by mysterious strangers. Her saviors offer her a place among them, but trust has never been one of Wendy's strengths, and suspicion soon leads to evidence that these people might be the group who killed her family. The decision to get her revenge, and take the settlement down from the inside out is easy. Keeping her distance from those she must befriend in order to make it happen proves to be much more difficult.

To help launch Fractured Memories, I conducted an interview with Jo. As usual, her answers were entertaining and thoughtful.

Inspiration or perspiration? What drives you to write the next book?
Uh, both?  I finish one book and perhaps launch it out into the world, and I’m immediately driven to write something else. Part of me is like, “I’m pretty sure I can do better than that.” And another part of me is like, “This book is bound to be an international best-seller with a fandom that will rival Twilight. I’d better get going on the next one.”

Maybe I’m more about delusions.
I think we're all a bit delusional, Jo. Comes with the territory! Moving on...

Okay, Ms. Traveler, it’s all in the name of research, right? So, what locale would you best enjoy exploring next?
I hate this question. There are so many!!! I have an idea for a book about a Shaolin Monk, so I’d love to go back to the Shaolin temple in China. But that’s a ways off. 

Pretty much anywhere in Europe would be awesome. Japan. You can’t take twenty steps in England without running into something interesting. What I really need to do is figure out where the finale of the New Sight series is going to be and take a trip there.
Yeah...that could be ANYWHERE. Those are some well-traveled magic users. I guess we'll have to wait and see where they end up and hope you get to do some recon beforehand!

Alright, don't lie! We all know you love torturing your characters. What’s the worst thing you’ve done to a character? (And seriously, why do you gotta be so mean?)
Well, I feel like killing Wendy’s family and leaving her alone in the world with the Skinnies is pretty mean. Then I give her PTSD about the attack, then I shove her in with the people she thinks is responsible for the death of her family. That’s pretty mean.

I did make Agent Bunnynose be nice to a very obnoxious woman once. Also very mean of me.
Oy! That had to hurt. Very mean indeed! On to a sweeter topic:

What snack/beverage/goodie keeps your fingers tapping at the keyboard? (If you say water, we can’t be friends.)
Uh…well…cold water? I love it so much.

Don’t hate me, if there are snacks I’m eating and not writing. They’re like my shiny objects. But I am currently going through a phase where a Soda Stream Cola on ice and some Pretzel Thins keep me going when I’m falling asleep in my chair about 3 pm almost every day.
What is it about the afternoon? If I wasn't teaching kindergarten the majority of the year, I'd fall asleep at 2 pm every day! Shall we declare it a Writer Siesta? Let's start a union! Anyway...

What’s your biggest pet peeve about publishing a book? (Be honest, it’s marketing, isn’t it!)
I do hate marketing. Mostly because there isn’t a formula for it.It’s a little different for each market/genre and each author. I haven’t found what really gets me excited yet.

I’ll be honest, my biggest pet peeve about publishing a book is that not everyone thinks by book is a brilliant as I do. 
Sounds familiar. 

Writers are always making stupid mistakes. Oh, Writer Extraordinaire, what’s your best advice for bonehead writers like me? (And don’t just pick on me and say blocking…rude.)
Write down what you learn. Make your own folder of writing tools: character development, plot points, story structure, how to show and not tell, blocking, subtext…all of the things that have helped you make your story good. Gather them from other people as well as books you read and shows you watch. Keep them in a place you can easily browse through them.

I’ve read a lot of books on writing, and I’m sure I only remember about 1/8 of what was in there. Just last night my Sensei was going on and on about how the beginning of a movie showed everything the audience needed to know about the main character through the other characters reactions to simply hearing his name. I know about that tool, but haven’t used it yet. However,  the story I’m working on could actually benefit from that. Which means I need to type it up and toss it in my folder for later.

When you think you’re stuck, just open your folder and start flipping through. You’ll find something that will spark your story forward. 
Wow. I always learn things from you, Jo. Thanks for being my personal writing guru. You're amazing! Best of luck in your writing ventures!

Isn't she amazing? She's a wonderful person and a fabulous writer. There's nothing else to say except go check out her books! 

(YA Fiction/Humor)
(YA SciFi/Fantasy)
(YA Fiction/Distopian)

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