Welcome to Winnie’s Writers Week!
All this week (Aug 23rd-Aug 28th) I will be doing a week of author and book spotlights, showcasing some of the most unique authors and writers I’ve met in a while. This year’s theme is women in fantasy. These posts discuss and showcase women, their writing talents, and their published works. So without further ado let’s get on with the Author Spotlight!
About the Author:
C. L. Schneider was born in a small Kansas town on the Missouri River. Growing up in a family of readers, all with diverse interests, she developed an early and avid love for the written word. Her fascination with science fiction stories and anything supernatural, as well as a keen interest in the Middle Ages, drew her to fantasy. At the age of sixteen, she wrote her first, full-length novel on a typewriter in her parents’ living room. While her primary focus is adult epic and urban fantasy, she dabbles in the occasional science fiction or post-apocalyptic story. C. L. Schneider lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and two sons. An active member of the indie author community.
What and when started your love for writing?
What and when started your love for writing. Back in middle school, Poetry class ever since than I love writing to my soul. Like many authors, my love for writing came from a love of books. I was an early reader and began devouring our extensive home library at a young age.
My parents and older siblings all had different tastes in books, which gave me a wonderful variety of genres to explore. My earliest attempt at writing was in elementary school with children’s stories and poetry. That evolved into murder mysteries and fan faction. I was sixteen when I began writing my first full-length novel. Before I’d even finished the last page, I began dreaming of one day becoming a published author and holding my book in my hands.
Of all of the book genres, what drew you to write about yours?
My brother gave me a copy of The Mists of Avalon when I was a senior in high school. All throughout high school I’d been fascinated with historical fiction, spy novels, and horror, with a little sci-fi mixed in. The Mists of Avalon was my first true epic fantasy novel, and I was captivated.
I read it twice, back to back, and fell in love with the fantasy genre. The scope of the world, the amount of creative energy that must have been poured into the story, how deeply the threads were woven together to pull you into the pages. It was pure imagination and escapism. I was drawn to it. And I knew right then, and there, that fantasy was my genre.
If you could meet your favorite author who would it be and why?
There are a lot of authors I admire and would love to meet, but there is one I’ve read far more than any other. There was a time, years ago, when I could proudly say I’d read every book she’d ever written: C. J. Cherryh. She had a huge influence on my early development as a writer. Though it’s been quite a while since I’ve picked one up, I’m still a fan, and keep several of my favorites on a shelf in my office—including two of her series which I’ve read multiple times. Reading her work taught me a tremendous amount about writing flawed characters. I’d like to thank her for that.
What is your favorite part of the story?
I’m not sure I can pick one favorite. How about two? I love revising. I can’t wait to finish a draft and dive into revisions, rearranging and massaging sentences and paragraphs until they flow like a song. I could revise forever. Or, at least until my editor yells at me to stop!
Maybe it’s not a second favorite, but it’s certainly one of the most important parts of my writing process. Character creation. I compile detailed backgrounds for every main character and some of the side characters, depending on their level of importance. This allows me to get to know them, in-depth, before I even write a single word.
In fact, the majority of my storylines are born out of the creation of my main POV character(s). Once I know their hopes and fears, their strengths and weaknesses, their past mistakes, all it takes is one kernel of that information to open up an entire plot.
What do you like about world-building?
Everything! What’s not to like? World building is what fantasy is all about, the chance to create something from nothing, to shape the impossible and make it a reality in the minds of your readers. The only limits to world building are the ones you, the author, define. It’s pure creativity. But if I had to pick one aspect of it, I’d have to say creature creation. Designing cities is fun, but I absolutely love creating new creatures and monsters for my books. And magic. I had a lot of fun crafting the magic system for my epic fantasy trilogy.
What makes your book(s)/writing special?
I write first person, character-driven, immersive fantasy fiction, full of flawed, anti-hero characters and loaded with twists and turns. My goal is to pull the reader deeply into the mind of the main character(s), to make them feel as if they are experiencing the horrors and joys right along with them. To do this, I don’t write about my characters, I write as them, throwing myself completely into the story world and experiencing it as they would.
It’s basically method acting, but on paper. I don’t do this with every scene, but certainly the more intense or emotional ones. Going deep like this into a character’s struggles or trauma can leave you emotionally or physically, drained. I’ve done it to myself multiple times. But when a reader reaches out to tell you they didn’t feel like they were simply reading your book, but living it, it’s so worth it.
So…what are you working on now?
I’m currently on the second revision of the 5th and final book in my urban fantasy series. Once this revision is done, it’s off to my editor. This will be the second series I’ve completed and wrapping this one up is just as bittersweet as the last. I know it’s time to move on, and I want to end it on a strong note. But the storyline has been a blast to write. It’s been a crazy ride, and I’m going to miss the hell out of these characters.
It was lovely to have C.L. kick off this year’s Writers Week! She is a powerhouse of an author, and it was great to interview and know her better! Best of luck with book editing! If you want to get in contact or connect with C.L., you can follow her on:
Thank you all for reading and remember:
Live. Love. Laugh.