Interview with Gregg Schwartzkopf

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It's an almost mystical process where the story takes on a life of its own. I develop the characters and the outline of a plot, but as I let the characters speak they often tell me things about the story that I'd not realized when I started writing.
Who are your favorite authors?
I originally became interested in fantasy through Tolkien and Katherine Kurtz's Deryini series. I was a fan of Robert Asprin's Myth books and Adams' Hitchhiker series. My current favorite is Lisa Shearin.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I follow certain authors, take my wife's recommendations and rely on the opinions of reviewers on sites like io9 and the Backspace Writers group. I admit to being a slow reader, so I don't finish as many books as I'd like.
What do you read for pleasure?
I mostly read science fiction and fantasy, with an occasional mystery slipping in. For every epic/ complicated book (Game of Thrones) I'll alternate something light/ comedic (Another Fine Myth).
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Um... living, I guess. I enjoy my day job as a vocational counselor. My wife and I hike, maintain a house and have geeky conversations. Life in the 21st Century can keep you very busy. I tend to write for an hour after work and early mornings on Saturday.
What are you working on next?
I have two books completed in the story of Caswel's exile. I expect it will be a four book series with the next one out in late 2015. I also have another character with which I'm experimenting, but he's not ready for prime time yet.
What is your writing process?
I usually begin with a character, coming up with his/ her background and personality. I then create a secondary character and force the two of them to have a conversation. That suggests a plot. I do an outline and a first draft. Then I change several things and do a second draft. I let one or two beta readers look at that version and make adjustments based on their comments. It usually takes several months and four drafts to make it ready for a professional editor.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I guess the first story I ever wrote for public consumption was a play. A friend of mine and I wrote a soap opera parody for a middle school English class and recruited other students to put it on with us. I played the Narrator in classic Gary Owens voice.
How do you approach cover design?
I have several pictures in my head when I'm writing the story. I present some of those images to my artist and let them come back to me with proposals. I'm a counselor and a writer. I leave artwork to artists.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a early version of the Nook which I like. I only recently switched to a smartphone, so make of that what you will.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Judgment of the Elders is my first published work. I'm experimenting with several marketing approaches right now. Nothing succeeds like word-of-mouth, however. If you read Judgment, please take the time to review it.
Published 2014-12-04.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Exile of Caswel Esmar-Box Set
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 165,270. Language: American English. Published: September 22, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
Follow Caswel’s journey from arrogant Alfaran knight to Catholic school girl; from sophomore class champion to defender of the Fae and Mortal Realms as he discovers that embracing his feminine side might make him a better man.
Solid as a Rock
Series: The Exile of Caswel Esmar. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 39,040. Language: American English. Published: March 25, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
As Torchbearer’s plan solidifies, the Darkmoon Wardens prepare to repel an invasion of the Fae and Mortal Realms. Between the enemy’s hot rage and the crystal ball’s cold logic, Cass must find his own way forward.
Penny for Your Thoughts
Series: The Exile of Caswel Esmar. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 41,400. Language: American English. Published: November 15, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary, Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
(4.00 from 1 review)
Cass is nervous when Interloper stops communicating, but Joan's sudden romance with a freshman convinces him the world may be ending. Cass tries disrupting the pair, thinking the boy is using spells on Joan, but he discovers that the couple are under the influence of a magic coin. Cass attempts to return things to normal, but finds that when you’re in for a penny, you're in for a pounding
Quick as a Bunny
Series: The Exile of Caswel Esmar. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 40,160. Language: American English. Published: December 2, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
(4.00 from 1 review)
After beating the school’s most obnoxious senior at his own game, Cass and his friends experience fame with varying degrees of appreciation. Just as the whole school’s paying attention to Cass, a rogue sorcerer casts a curse changing him and Rodger into rabbits. Now Cass must guard his true identity, find the mage, and break the spell before he and his friend succumb to permanent bunny brain.
Judgment of the Elders
Series: The Exile of Caswel Esmar. Price: Free! Words: 45,940. Language: American English. Published: March 11, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
(4.33 from 3 reviews)
There are worse things than being exiled to suburban Long Island, and Caswel Esmar is experiencing most of them. Just because he violated rules about unauthorized contact with humans, the Elder Council stripped him of knighthood, deprived him of magic and transformed him into a human teenage girl. If only that were the sum total of his problems.