F. A. Schneider

Biography

Rick Schneider first started to write fiction as a high school student in Nebraska. He was admitted to the selective Fiction Section of Harvard's Freshman Composition Seminars in 1978. While at Harvard, Rick studied Russian Area Studies and fell in love with the literature of the great Russian writers and especially with the short stories of Anton Chekhov. After Harvard, Rick attended various fiction writing workshops while he worked as a campus chaplain at Harvard and later moved on to pick up a PhD and teach social history at several Russian universities in Moscow while working with the Christian Embassy there from 1993 through 2003. Rick is currently a Senior Fellow with the Rivendell Institute at Yale University. He and his wife Soozie live in Hamden, CT and have three children who all admit to loving historical fiction even though they grew up with many, many nightly readings from the great historical writers of the last several centuries.

Rick has published various articles and essays in newspapers and journals (mostly in Russian). In 2008, while teaching in Moscow, Rick stumbled across some of the details of John Paul Jones' collision with Russian bureaucratic culture (and Prince Grigory Potyemkin) that ended Jones' career. Rick knew that he must bring all of his experience, passion and education to bear to tell the story of Jones' rise and fall. "John Paul: Into the Breach" is the first salvo of this effort.

Smashwords Interview

What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have enjoyed reading great fiction since I was barely big enough to sit on my Dad's lap. Sometimes, he would read to me (and my brothers) from a big book of Pushkin's fairy tales. He would read it in Russian and then translate on the fly into English. I still remember the scary pictures of Baba Yaga who would sit in her evil hut (mounted on twisted chicken's feet!). Pretty soon he was having us do book reports to "earn the right" to watch TV. I started to write in high school and kept on in college. Then came life... Finally, when I heard a little about John Paul Jones' career in Russia during the reign of Catherine the Great, I started reading about his life. Pretty soon I knew that I just had to try to tell his story. As I started in on this project I rediscovered my old love of writing itself. Hopefully life won't get in the way of writing the whole series!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love the feeling of creating a story out of nothing. You start with a blank screen (or paper) and an idea. The idea falls into the screen and dies. Then something starts to sprout. First it is just the bare shoot. Then a leaf appears. Then another. Then another shoot. More leaves. Winter comes and blows away the weak shoots and leaves. Finally you have a structure that can carry all the leaves and even a few blossoms. Once in a while you "finish" a blossom and you look at it and suddenly realize it has more shades and petals than you planned for. So you prune and trim a bit. And gradually something beautiful has appeared almost on its own. How does that happen? Is there a bit of the breath of God at work in it? That reflection of a Good and loving God, fighting its way into reality, even in the midst of our own self-inflicted tragedy - isn't there something miraculous about joy that springs to life despite all?
Read more of this interview.

Books

Unto the Breach
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 79,810. Language: English. Published: August 31, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Colonial America, Fiction » Adventure » Sea adventures
1761. As a teenage ship's apprentice, John Paul is thrown into the physical and human maelstroms of life on the high seas during the height of the Seven Year's War. Though Paul will go on to become the "Father of the American Navy," he must first survive this first voyage and navigate the treacherous waters of scandal and conspiracy that threaten the lives of every crew member on the Friendship.

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