Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Delving into the World of Author Liz Schulte

Once in a while there are stories that enliven your day or, helps you to endure your commute in an enjoyable pursuit.

Once in a great while there comes an epic story that commands your attention and imagination; drawing you into its world so deeply you miss your stop.  Or, you bypass favorite activities -- such as sleeping or eating -- in order to remain enmeshed.

Some of the great stories that have captivated us now and in the past have been Gone With the Wind, Harry Potter, Tom Sawyer, Catcher in the Rye, I, Robot, The Terrillian series, A Wrinkle in Time, The Time Traveler's Wife and so many more.

I think we have another book to add to our collective all-time fav list -- The Guardian Trilogy.  In October 2012, I wrote a book review about the first book in the series Secrets.  I read all three books in about a week.  I could not put them down!  I needed to know how my new friends were going to fare and if I could dare go to sleep lest they may do something and collapse our, ahem their universe.  As many of you know, in November I did NaNoWriMo and completed 51,107 words in 30 days.  This left me no time to do what I knew had to be done -- do an author spotlight of Liz Schulte the writer who brought the Guardian Trilogy into reality.

Sit back and enjoy the entertaining wit of Ms. Schulte and don't forget to pick up Secrets (Book One) absolutely free for Kindle users.

NB: Liz, tell us about yourself.

I never wanted to be a writer. It isn’t that I disliked the profession; I simply never thought about it. After I realized I didn’t really want to go to law school, there were a couple of Walter Mitty-esque years during which many careers sounded fun in theory, but not many appealed in practice. I finally found my way, with gentle pushes from my mother, to putting pen to paper—er, fingers to keys.

I have five novels, with a sixth on the way, and have been featured in two anthologies. When I’m not glued to my laptop (which isn’t as often as I would like), I enjoy traveling. I have been to Italy (twice), England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Germany, Austria, Canada and Mexico and all over the United States (including both Hawaii and Alaska). I am never home long before I get the itch to go again. I also enjoy spending time with my family, eight nieces and nephews, and two very ornery poodles.

Did writing this new book teach you anything and what was it?

This was the first series I had ever written. It taught me a lot about world building, pacing, and how much planning and work go into creating a series.

What is your greatest strength as a writer?

I think my greatest strength is creating very human characters. I like to make sure they react like a normal person would even though they are in exceptional circumstances.

Tell us about your latest work.  Can you share a little of it with us?

My next book comes out at the end of this month. It is titled Easy Bake Coven and I just so happen to have the blurb.
Being a witch wasn’t a big deal to Selene Warren. She dabbled in magic with her friends and never really thought much about it, but the Abyss was watching, waiting for her return. When her grandmother is attacked, Selene uncovers an ancient grudge that threatens to take her life and the lives of all those she holds dear. 
With no choice but to put her trust in a stranger who knows more about her past than she does, a new world of elves, half-elves, fae and one peculiar sekhmet, named Femi, opens up to Selene. If she’s not careful, this strange new world could swallow her whole, and she could lose everything that makes her who she is.

Does the writing get easier with each new book?

Yes, I actually think it does. You learn things as you go that helps smooth out the process a lot. But some books are still easier to write than other books. I can’t say definitively why that is. Some muses are just more chatty than others, I guess.

Olivia Martin is a normal girl with a fairly happy, peaceful life. She isn’t looking for an adventure, but when she runs into a man in a bar, the life she thought she knew begins to crumble away. Olivia is stronger than she thinks, stubborn, she always believes she is right, she always sees the best in people even when they don’t deserve it, and she isn’t afraid to risk herself for the people she loves.

How did you come up with the title?

For the longest time the title of the first book in the Guardian Trilogy was the first word, simply because that was how it saved on my computer. When it came time to title the work, I knew it was going to be a series and I knew I wanted them to mean something. In the first book everything revolves around the secrets the characters are keeping. In the second book, with most of the secrets revealed, it becomes about the choices they make. 

The last book is the natural culmination of secrets and choices—consequences.
The series title, The Guardian Trilogy, comes from the fact that this series is about Olivia’s journey to her ultimate destiny. The next series centered around her and Holden will be the Jinn Trilogy because it is about his journey.

Can you tell us about your main character?

This series really has three main characters. Each of them grows in their own way by the end.

Holden Smith is bored. He is cold, calculating, and so over everything he thinks life as to offer. He is cynical about people and their motivations, but often sees the situation more clearly than Olivia and her rose colored glasses does.  Holden is obsessively neat, controlled, and withdrawn. When he meets Olivia, he begins to question his world view and gut reactions.

Quintus is the last main character. He is good. His heart is always in the right place, He has lived a long time, but maintains a certain degree of innocence; however, being immortal makes it hard to sympathize with mortals. Quintus is a company man through and through. He believes strongly in rules and following orders.

How did you develop your plot and characters?

I like to write the first draft with no outline or notes. However, when I finish, I make an outline of the story I wanted to tell. That way when I start revising I can see where I got off course or the parts I need to expand. I also make a timeline of event, notes about layers to foreshadow earlier in the book and any other details that need to be changed.

For characters, I like to get to know them. It isn’t always easy. Quintus was an especially difficult character for me to connect with, but by the end of the series I finally found a good rhythm with writing him.

What do you look for in a cover?

I had a very particular idea for the cover of this series. I wanted to show the progression of the storyline with my covers. I chose the ying-yang symbol because it represents conflicting ideas working in harmony and that is how my fictional world of the Abyss is set up. The series has many internal conflicts between good and evil, light and dark, angels and demons, guardians and jinn, love and hate, and it all exists in harmony until the natural order is disrupted by Olivia, who is the color gray in a world of black and white. On the first cover I have the symbol with a light coming from it. The next book is the symbol on fire and the final book is the symbol flaking away. 

Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot?

I have some. The dreams Olivia has in the first books are all dreams I took from my dream journal. Certainly conversations and personality quirks might allude to some people I know, but most of what is there is complete and utter fiction.

How important do you think villains are in a story?
I think villains are extremely important. It is good to allow the reader to understand why the bad guy is doing what he is doing, maybe even sympathize with him or her. A good villain can make a story.

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Here's where you can find out more about The Guardian Trilogy and Easy Bake Coven.

  • Twitter - @LizSchulte

Where can readers purchase your book?


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