Interview with Teresa Schulz

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes it was about a flying horse (Pegasus) who saved two children, who had been orphaned. Typed on my first little plastic typewriter at around eight years old.
What is your writing process?
I have to have a strong inspiration, where the characters speak to me, and something I feel passionate about is involved. If I have those, the story just sits and stews and either develops into something I can run with ie. write thousands of words, or wake up at night to write notes on, or else the idea goes cold and sits in the back recesses of my mind until it resurfaces again, or goes dormant.
How do you approach cover design?
It has to have an obvious relevance to the story, but be a little different - have some sort of X-factor in its design, intriguing so you are curious, and with striking colours.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Diana Gabaldon's whole series (there are eight so far, but I'll count that as one) because she has very real characters I love, learning history without getting bored, and great sense of humour.
Harry Potter, I love magic, wizards, castles, who doesn't? And love the little guy to win over the baddies.
Game of Thrones, George Martin, I'm into medieval stories, brave knights and you have to offset that with really evil villains. George keeps you coming back to find out what will happen next.
Clan of the Cave Bear, Jean Auel, she describes the prehistoric world so well, you feel the ice and hear the mammoths ... its like time travel.
Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit - master piece, has the little guys who save the day, and add humour to a violent frightening world, has the handsome heroes and beautiful strong heroines, as well as magic, dragons, and strange new lands.... all the ingredients to a recipie for my favourite stories.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Yet to find that out, but I'm sure it will have a great deal to do with social media and word of mouth.
Describe your desk
Ha ha, untidy at the moment. Laptop, notes, bits of paper, dictionary, diary, phonebook, pen (only one because my kids steal them and I'm lucky if I have one), and a lamp. Behind it stands a tall bookshelf, crammed to bursting point with my favourite books.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Palmerston North, New Zealand. In a bit of a rough neighbourhood, where you learned resilience, and which friends to value, and who to stay the heck away from. I think my childhood was a little difficult, and I think that any good artist has suffered pain in their lives which they draw on from time to time for their art. But I have also had some really happy times, and awesome family to share it with, their personalities influence my characters regularly.
When did you first start writing?
As soon as I learned my ABC's and how to make them into sentences, I would say?
What's the story behind your latest book?
It came from a Science Communication paper I did on Biofuels. I discovered when the oil supply is supposed to peak (Hubbert peak oil graph) around 2030, and as a mother, this concerned me. We lived in the valley and I thought, "What if?" I had to survive and protect my family, in the aftermath of the oil running out all of a sudden.... this is how the story was born.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
To have people enjoy my work. To smile at me, and get wrapped up in the fictitious lives of my fictional characters just blows my mind (in a really good way.) Its the most exciting high you can get without breaking the law.
I also feel like writing is very therapeutic for me, its good to get feelings out sometimes, even if only on paper. Whether they're read or not, doesn't really matter, its the act of getting them out and expressing them that soothes the soul.
What are you working on next?
The Chameleon Shop, a children's book with magic, and dragons and giant cats.
Who are your favorite authors?
Diana Gabaldon, George Martin and JRR Tolkien to name a few.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My children first, and then my stories call out to me, asking where I am, and could I come join them. One always dreams of reaching the greatness of JK Rowling
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Sleeping if I'm very lucky, otherwise up to my elbows in play dough, or colouring in a Frozen colouring-book, building with lego blocks or watching Peppa damn Pig for the millionth time. But my mind is always in journalist mode. Looking for that 'good' story person, who you can steal to add a bit of zing to your book from time to time.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Looking at stories by my favourite author, and seeing who is similar to theirs, perhaps. Or recommended by a friend.
What do you read for pleasure?
I enjoy Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, in fact have re-read them several times. Stephen King's The Stand was one I read recently, although it came out years ago I thought it relevant to my dystopian thriller series Barbed Wire and Daisies. I also read Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale which was a very interesting story again in an alternate future. I usually read the kind of books that have a strong, smart, intelligent female protagonist because these are the kinds of stories I enjoy writing myself. My children's book series The Chameleon Shop also has a smart female protagonist, although she is only twelve years old.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I just read them on my lap-top via Kindle or the mobi version. No preference really, either works fine.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
More exposure to a wider audience.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything. They are the reason you want to write these enjoyable stories to begin with.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Ooh that's a very long time ago ha ha. Possibly Black Beauty. I remember it being very emotional and sad in parts, especially given my love for horses. It also might have helped to instill in me good ethics as far as never being cruel to animals and also this could be related to human relationships. A powerful lot of lessons for a young mind to gain from a story. Good moral to it. I hope my stories manage to achieve a certain degree of this.
What do you find is the hardest part of becoming a published author?
Waiting for the world to find me ... and enjoy my books. Being seen, and worthy of the time to read my stories.
Published 2016-07-28.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Last Haven
Series: The Lost Lands. Price: $3.79 USD. Words: 52,160. Language: English. Published: March 7, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Adventure » Action
Genevieve MacGregor has tried to move on from the untimely loss of her beloved husband Nate, two years past. When Neil hears an explosion on the northern border of the valley, he is first on the spot to investigate. An old woman's dying words could be the key to making things right again. Only problem being, this Holy Grail of Redemption resides in the Hell on Earth he had escaped from 7 years ago
Avenge My Chief
Series: The Lost Lands. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 55,090. Language: English. Published: March 7, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Adventure » Action
It is now 2035 and Gen and Nate MacGregor's family have overcome the traumatic upheaval in their lives since the oil ran out. Five years on and they are finally looking forward to some 'quiet' years together. The cruel twist of fate's knife is felt once again when newcomers to Arrow Valley betray their generosity and Gen finds herself in danger, again, of losing everything she loves.
The Chameleon Shop Book 3
Series: The Chameleon Shop. Price: $3.80 USD. Words: 43,220. Language: English. Published: May 12, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Pirates, Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy tales & fables
This is the exciting finale of the Chameleon Shop trilogy. With the aid of the magical key and the mysterious Chameleon Shop, Kaylee returns to the Five Realms, bewildered mother in tow. She hopes to help her new friends defeat the wicked Guardian, Wilfrey Hobbs. Hobbs, livid at the fact this girl from the Other Lands keeps messing up his ruthless plans, vows to unleash every creature of evil at h
Unwilling to Break
Price: $2.49 USD. Words: 39,940. Language: English. Published: November 7, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
Emma Johnson thinks she has a good marriage. Everyone has their problems, right? However, all this changes when she becomes payment to Albanian drug dealers, in lieu of her husband Greg's debt. Emma is not that easy to break though. With a fire in her belly that can only be quenched by revenge, she will do whatever it takes to rescue her children and make him pay.
The Chameleon Shop Book 2
Series: The Chameleon Shop. Price: $2.49 USD. Words: 42,230. Language: English. Published: June 12, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Pirates
After an exciting adventure in the Five Realms, Kaylee Browne has just returned home to Feilding, through the magical Chameleon Shop, which to her surprise, has now become a chocolate shop. Unless she returns to the Five Realms within seven days, her father will be put to death. Somehow she would rather face the Dragon in the Five Realms again, than the one waiting for her at home.
The Chameleon Shop Book One
Series: The Chameleon Shop. Price: Free! Words: 55,230. Language: English. Published: February 25, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Pirates, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Kaylee Browne discovered a magic key in a new bookstore in town. The key takes her to the faraway lands of The Five Realms, where she begins a quest to find the maker of the key so she can learn how to get home... then to her surprise, a completely new quest to save someone very dear to her and help a dragon. The shop is called the Chameleon Shop for a good reason ... would you care to find out?
Barbed Wire and Daisies
Series: The Lost Lands. Price: Free! Words: 68,230. Language: English. Published: December 6, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
The year is 2030 and oil supplies have suddenly run out. Food is now in very short supply and there are a lot of hungry people trying to survive in New Zealand. Gen is a kick-ass protective mother who lives in a remote valley in the hills. This story is what happens when the depraved, sometimes cannibalistic survivors come crawling out from the city to try and take by force, what is hers.