Interview with Christine E. Schulze

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Writing of course! As well as whatever day job I am involved with at the time. I am a definite work-a-holic, but while I like seclusion for writing, I tend to be quite social otherwise. No matter whether I am working with children or adults, I love being around and meeting new people, helping them and sharing my creativity with them!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Another great interest of mine is music. I compose on occasion--when I muster the patience for it. ^_^ I also love to sing. I've taken to recording songs lately and have a friend who is the "Master" at editing and mastering them for me. No originals yet, only favorite songs from favorite artists of mine. When I get the chance, I intend to start uploading them to my Youtube page.

Besides music, I also love gaming--well, where The Legend of Zelda games are concerned anyway. I'm actually extremely biased in their favor. My favorite for ages was the first I ever played, Ocarina of Time. I think Wind Waker might tie; it was such a delight to play, and the characters were so quirky and original. Skyward Sword DEFINITELY ties. Even though they made me replay in Hero Mode and I had no clue what that meant at the time and wanted to chuck the controller across the room for having to start the game all over again--

But I digress. I would say a final big thing I like to do is go for walks. Not just any ol' walks though. I like to explore nature trails, especially the kind that wind through the woods. Someday, I hope to travel, whether for business or personal. I'll explore every trail in the world then, leaving no rock unturned.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Oh, goodness. Well, this is me having to be guilty: I have honestly been writing so much lately I haven't really taken time to read anything in a while! I know, I know, what a terrible admission for an author to make so openly. However, when I do find that I need something to read, I'll usually hop on Smashwords, search for whatever topic I'm interested in at the time, and read a short story or two. Enough to satisfy the need and provide fresh inspiration, but nothing long-term I have to devote loads of my time to. I've actually taken to reading some non-fiction memoirs, and those are nice too because you can read a chapter, learn something, and always come back later to pick it back up.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Ha! Yes, I sure do. I was around four or five--maybe six. I've been creating books since I was about four, using just pictures.

But as for writing, the first book I did was for a family friend. I wrote her a book for a wedding gift--I was the flower girl too. I forget if I'd already created the book and then made a copy for her, or whether I made it for her then made a copy for myself. Either way, I considered it to be an epic book in my five or six-year-old mind. It was called "Jonny to the Rescue." It had action and adventure, humorous villains, a kick-ass princess who, yes, needed rescuing but was also a pretty fierce fighter herself, vine-swinging heroes, and plenty of fun fantasy elements. I've always loved fantasy; I guess even as a young child, my imagination just ran rampant.

What's interesting is that the story behind "Jonny to the Rescue" actually has stuck around, even till the present. When I was in about second grade, I created a whole series based upon the original adventure and characters. I even had a couple of spin-off stories.

Now that I'm an adult and becoming a much more affluent author, those original tales still matter. In middle school/high school, they spawned a series called "The Legends of Surprisers," a series which, in the next few years, I'll be going back to, perfecting, and re-publishing for real, hopefully with a full-fledged illustrator and all.
What is your writing process?
Hmm, this question. Well, it used to be that whenever I was inspired, I'd just sit down and write whatever popped into my head.

Under the guidance of my brilliant editor, Kira Lerner, I've since learned that while this may be an okay idea for getting down a scene idea or an emotion you want to portray, it's awful for stringing together a coherent book that makes sense. ^_^

While I'm still new to the idea, I definitely believe in outlines now. Nothing fancy, just for my personal use. But getting all the scenes and character development down via notes and in chronological order really helps to make sure everything makes sense, flows well, isn't too rushed, etc., before sitting down and writing the book. It saves me from wasting time and my editors' time. Once the initial bones are set in place, it becomes easier to add in the details--descriptions and such. It's the opposite of how I used to do things, but much more efficient and saves a lot of trouble in the long run.
How do you approach cover design?
Well, I used to pride myself in doing everything myself. I'm just that kinda person. Not an entirely bad way to be, though as I've learned since working with professional editors, everyone needs help.

And sometimes, that means NOT being a do-it-all-yourself author. ^_^

Now, I have learned a lot over the years and am quite proud to put together some covers that are loads better than the original amateur stuff I tried to publish. I generally use stock photos and a photo image editing program called "Photo Explosion."

Lately though, I've been about exploring other options and providing a more unique look. In short, for some of my books, like the second editions of "Bloodmaiden" and "Lily in the Snow," I've employed cover artists. So far, everyone I've worked with I've found on Elance and have been absolute delights to work with.

When I look for cover artists, they need to have some sample of work; I don't like to just go in blind. I really like having a painted look, similar to Jason Chan, but I also don't use the same cover artist for all series, because I want there to be some uniqueness and diversity.

The biggest thing for me is that I work with an individual instead of a company. I like the intimate bond of working with an individual, and more than that, my logic is that if I someday succeed as an author, I'll be able to help them succeed as well. And that's something I really want to be able to do, to help other authors/artists like myself.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Well, as stated previously, my favorite genre has always been Fantasy. As also stated, I don't have a lot of time to devote to reading lately, but I've actually been very into film, and have discovered new genres via that route: horror, dystopian, independent drama, coming-of-age--genres I suppose would translate well into books once I've the time to devote to some serious reading again.

But in the meantime, favorites that helped inspire me, especially as a young, fresh writer include: The Neverending Story, Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Hobbit, Howl's Moving Castle, Castle in the Air, The Darkangel, Stardust, Harry Potter, Dogsbody (I was only ever able to read the first few pages, but it was so unique and gripping that it inspired an entire book), The Chronicles of Narnia, Inkheart, Death Note, Chobits, Wicked Lovely, Mira Mirror, Chains of Gold, The Road, Twilight Collection, A Wrinkle in Time
What do you read for pleasure?
Hmm, these days to fit my busy schedule, I'd say a short story here and there, memoirs on occasion. I also admit a guilty pleasure of reading teeny-bopper magazines to see what's going on out in the world. Hey, it's not a bad thing--teeny-boppers comprise one of my main target groups of readers.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Well, while I haven't done a lot of marketing in a while, I used to engage in many give-aways and blog tours. That and just talking to people online, connecting with those sharing common interests, can help you meet a lot of people and draw interest to your books. Once I start re-releasing the large number of books I have in the works, I'll start more aggressively pursuing this and other avenues again. It's all about just putting yourself out there, making a name for yourself, and connecting with the right people who share an interest in what you do.
Describe your desk
A mess, lol. Full of pens, papers, bills, an the occasional stray wad of gum. But don't you dare touch it! I know where everything is...
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in what I suppose one would call an average town. Suburban areas, cities, but interspersed by country side and farming too. About forty-five minutes away from St. Louis, so there was always the option of stepping out of somewhere quiet into somewhere more exciting, going to the zoo and City Museum and things of that nature.

It was just me and my mom growing up. I'm an only child and always played well by myself. I guess this made me capable of cultivating my imagination, and naturally I had plenty of free time for writing. I liked crafts as a kid too and would use glue, felt, paper, wood, all sorts of things to create these entire worlds and little characters I played with. Everything I did was creative and had purpose. In my mind, it always had to be, and I still operate that way.

I spent the majority of my life attending a small, Christian school. I think this influenced me too because I never really knew the social norms of bullying and peer pressure. I was encouraged in my craft, never looked down upon as a "nerd" or "uncool." To this day, I fully embrace my nerdiness. Indeed, I've often been informed that I am the most self-comfortable person anyone has ever met. I am who I am, and so long as I'm not hurting others, I don't really care what they think.

This may have made me a little naive and honestly conceited when it came to my writing. But I've also always had good teachers and support and have always been open to learning more about my craft and accepting criticism from my editors. While there can be pros and cons, sometimes being sheltered away from the world like that can be a good thing. You have the ability to develop yourself, as your own person, before being thrust into the world. You get to be very confident, instead of growing up having the world tell you what you should be or how you should think of yourself.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
The one thing I really appreciate about Smashwords is that they are connected to Barnes and Noble, Apple, and other major distributors. I make almost all of my sales through Barnes and Noble, so that has been a great benefit, being able to publish in just one place but knowing my books can access millions of readers with different needs.

Another thing I enjoy about Smashwords is the freedom to set my own prices on my books. That way, if someone wants to sample the first book in a series for $.99, they can. If they enjoy the book enough, they'll be willing to pay a little extra for the rest of the series. It's win-win for everyone.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
People. I am both inspired by people--I hardly ever start a new book not inspired by a new friend or other acquaintance I've taken interest in--and love sharing my stories with people. It gives me great joy to hear I have possibly inspired someone or even just made someone's day a little brighter. As a Christian, I believe that should be my goal no matter what my job is--to uplift and inspire others.
What do your fans mean to you?
Well, I think I sort of answered that with the previous question. I love my fans! They are such an encouragement and blessing, and I enjoy bringing even just the smallest bit of wonder, encouragement, and inspiration to them. I enjoy interacting with them very much! Blog tours or even just chatting on various websites are favorite things to do whenever I get the chance.
What are you working on next?
Glad you asked!

I've pulled almost all of my previously published and self-published works so that, along with my brilliant editor Kira Lerner, I can re-edit them and in some cases rewrite them, making them as polished and professional as possible before sending them back out into the world and marketing them hardcore.

In March of this year--2014--I will be re-releasing two of my first published works, Bloodmaiden and Lily in the Snow. These second editions will be very similar to the originals but were in need of a serious line edit on my part, to make the writing tighter, more fluid, and honestly just make more sense. I'm also working with an artist right now to develop a manga version of Bloodmaiden. His name is Philip, and he is also working as a co-author of sorts, beefing up the original tale so that it's more appealing to a manga audience.

In addition, I've also brought on Kira Lerner as a co-author for a series of mine once entitled "The Hero Chronicles." It's getting a full make-over, will become "A Shadow Beyond Time," and we'll start releasing either this year or next, not sure yet.

Finally, I'll be revamping "The Gailean Quartet" and "The Legends of Surprisers," two series published only briefly--thank God.

Oh! And I do have a couple of new projects lined up as well, including one called "D.N.A." It's my first book to include elements of Sci-fi, but there will still be plenty of fantasy, and certainly plenty of character drama. I won't say too much yet--no spoilers!

That's about it, though I guess that's more than enough for now.
Published 2014-02-13.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

One Starry Knight
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 37,310. Language: English. Published: October 14, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Romance
Evren doesn't really understand why Sir Kaos Jaspar rescued her from the slave market, or why he is so focused on taking her south. His heart seems like an impenetrable fortress, with many secrets locked inside. But Evren carries secrets too. Secrets that have to do with legends of the stars and making wishes on a sunset gemstone. Can a simple wish upon a star bring love and healing to life?
In the Land of Giants
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 1,090. Language: English. Published: July 11, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Social Issues / Special Needs, Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy tales & fables
A young boy journeys into the Land of Giants. The giants are very different from him and at first, he is frightened. Some of the giants can't see and chase him with sticks. Others talk using a strange hand language, while others move in chairs with huge wheels. But when one of the giants really wants to be his friend, the boy soon learns that they are not really so different from him after all.
The Adventures of William the Brownie
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 24,400. Language: English. Published: November 21, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Religious / Christian / Fantasy, Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Survival Stories
William the Brownie loves his family—even more than he loves chocolate and super hero comics. So when his mommy and daddy get kidnapped by monsters, he embarks at once with his little brother, Brendan, on a grand adventure to find them. Can William become the super hero he has always imagined himself and save his parents before it's too late?
Beyond the Veil
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,550. Language: English. Published: April 4, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Romance
Trapped inside a betrothal she loathes, Jillian of Adelar seeks escape inside the forbidden magical Veil. Beyond, she meets Callum. They connect through their shared hatred of their peoples’ prejudices. But loving someone outside the Adelaran race is also forbidden. Will she flee with Callum and find freedom? Her one hope lies within a magic song and a giant eagle with ruby and sapphire eyes.
The Crystal Rings
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 60,570. Language: English. Published: October 23, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Christian » Romance
Three stories. Four princesses. Yet all are bound by the fate of two crystal rings. From YA Fantasy and Christian Fantasy author comes a new collection set on the Isle of Spaniño where magic awaits around every corner.
Follow Me
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 16,890. Language: English. Published: August 28, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Romance » Fantasy
Liam is a brooding young wizard whose home has fallen prey to the Dark Circle. Esma is a Story-traveler and also Liam's long-lost, truest friend. As friendship blazes into romance, Liam must make a choice which will place either his love or his family in danger. Can Esma use the last of her Story-traveler wishes to save both Liam and his family? If not, what--and how--can Liam possibly choose?
Dream Catcher, Heart Listener
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,260. Language: English. Published: November 15, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
(4.00)
Michaela Hania was born blind. However, one night, a mysterious young man comes to her in dreams, to show her colors and share worlds with her she would have never imagined being able to see. But his identity remains a mystery; in the dreams, he appears to her only as a white figure, like a hidden angel. Who is this strange new lover who paints fairy worlds and composes lullabies for her?
Inside Me
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,590. Language: English. Published: November 5, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Short stories, Fiction » Anthologies » Poetry - general
A passionate collection of poetry, mingling love, discovery, loss, and renewal.
Larimar: Gem of the Sea
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 17,190. Language: English. Published: August 17, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure
Captain Michael Biekert, a prince and renowned young captain, searched for the legendary underwater city of Larimar and finds much more than he bargained for, including a lovely lady who walks on water and carries a singing sea shell around her neck, and whose people Michael alone can save from an ancient evil.
Silent Hero: a tribute to Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda
Price: Free! Words: 54,520. Language: English. Published: November 3, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure
(3.00)
The Triforce is broken into nine shards. Darkness creeps into the realms of Hyrule, Termina, and Twilight. These three realms, intimately linked, can only be rescued by... A young boy who cannot speak but whose courage will emanate louder than any evil he faces. A princess as timeless as the shadowy realm from which she returns. Can light and dark converge without creating shadow?