Friday, June 3, 2011

S.L SCHMITZ (INTERVIEW)


S.L. SCHMITZ, AUTHOR OF "LET IT BLEED" (INTERVIEW)


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(Photos courtesy of:www.thedeadgirl.com)


(1) You have a book that is out called "Let It Bleed" can you tell us more about the book?

When people ask me what this book is about, I often respond by telling people that it makes you “question God and the Universe”. It is a stream-of-consciousness re-telling of the Joseph and Mary story, with a 1980’s punk rock soundtrack; a tragic mythology of the Lost Sophia Gospels, rewritten it into a modern day tale of dissatisfied gods, questionable religious motives, and immortal love. The book is complex and has depth…and I’m terribly afraid that it doesn’t have a happy ending.


2) This being your first novel what was some of the driving force behind it?

I spent a long time editing and re-editing Let It Bleed. In fact, my publisher was the driving force for actually finishing and submitting this whole piece of work – if it hadn’t been for Dan Morrill of Dead Tree Comics Publishing, Inc., I probably would never have finished it. He believed in me, and he was passionate enough about the story to really stand by me when it took almost a year to complete. His next step is to turn it into a graphic novel, which is a specialty of Dead Tree Comics. You can view my publisher’s main portal site thru ComicsForge.com.

Nowadays, the field of publishing has changed dramatically – you can self-publish, small press-publish, or try to get an agent and hope for the best. The most valuable advice I have nowadays is that you need to use your connections to get a market. Have you heard of the term ‘six degrees of separation’? The people you already know, the connections you already have – this is the key to today’s successful business and marketing publication plans for new authors. When I was at World Horror Convention 2011, I had the opportunity to speak to such up and coming authors as Gemma Files, Claude LaLumiere, John Prescott, and Adrian Chamberlin – what I heard over and over again was that it mattered who you knew and how you knew them. The indie publishing houses still have open doors and accessible people working behind the laptops. Social Media has played a huge part in bringing authors and publishing houses together – it is much easier these days to be publisher, and it is amazingly easier to friend and become a part of an indie publishing house.


(3) Was there a lot of research involved with writing this book?

The research behind Let It Bleed is beyond description. I had to immerse myself in mythologies, Lovecraftian deities, Lost Gospels, as well as understand obscure scripts and interpretations of prehistoric events. I would read and re-read and then re-investigate Gnostic Sophia Myths and Lost Magdalene Gospels; I am not ashamed to admit that sometimes the language was too high-brow and philosophical for me to understand. I would pore through fiction novels on religion, internet sites, conspiracy theories, and ancient civilizations. Throw in my research into Catholicism, Judaism, and information on the Cold War… and yes, I could easily say that it took months of prep to make myself sound intelligent in describing these details. I was not the only one who spent time fact-checking to make sure that stuff was correct; without my primary beta readers of Bart Conrath and Susan Sahs Acosta, I would never have produced such coherent text.

I can’t resist telling this little anecdote, because it was my recent research Aha! Moment: I was randomly doing a search on the internet when I came across an author named Theodora Goss. I started reading her blog, and I became mesmerized by her topic of defining the new subgenre of speculative fiction called “Mythpunk”. I followed her links to a site called ‘Strange Horizons.com’, which is a weekly online magazine of science fiction, fantasy, science fact, opinion, art, and reviews. There, I found the most amazing, devastating, gorgeous and unsettling writing I have seen in many years. What is Mythpunk, you ask? It is the art of taking a myth or folklore and then punking it – that is, adding modern twists, non-linear writing, unusual use of language/tone, and building on intellectual layers of vocabulary, descriptions, and characters. It was at that moment that I found my home. I knew that my writing was not solely Horror, or Supernatural, or Dark Fiction- and for the first time, I felt as though I had actually found a place to rest my literary head. It was a good feeling, even if the subgenre is still obscure.


(4) What are the appropriate ages for reading this book?

I would suggest that the average reader be over 18, only because there are certain situations and thought patterns in this book which require a more mature audience


(5) You live in North Carolina, how long have you lived there?

We have lived in North Carolina since 2002; initially, my husband and I moved here because we were interested in buying a house and obtaining employment in a state which promised lower taxes and a higher standard of living. We like the South –everybody here is really nice. But we miss the East Coast and the culture of living near a huge metropolitan city. I don’t think I even knew what Nascar was until we moved here! In the next few years, when the economy gets better, I would love to move back to a suburb of Chicago, near my parents.


(6) Do you ever find it hard to find time to write while taking care of a family?

I guess this is the place where I’m supposed to say how hard I slave away at keeping my house clean, doing laundry, and cooking nutritious meals for my family? Ummm…NOT! Clutter is a good thing, folding clean clothes is overrated, and alcohol is a food group. I write whenever I get a chance, lugging my laptop around with me. Every time I sit down, there is either a cat crawling in my lap or a 5-year old demanding a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Oh, plus I have a regular job, too. I know from Facebook friends that the average writer successfully accomplishes 2500-5000 words per day in writing. Damn! I consider it a good day if I can complete 1000 decent words, with syntax and punctuation and all that good stuff! Of course, I’m not even going to touch on the whole problem that I have with editing and re-editing my writing. I could re-edit forever! You practically have to tear the draft out of my hands!


(7) What are your future plans for writing? Do you plan to turn this book into a series?

I have ideas for a sequel, but I am not sure that I will ever write another novel in the “Let It Bleed” series. In many ways, the story is complete. In other ways, there is room for answers to questions. Do I have a finale in mind? Yes, I do. Will I ever write it? I don’t know. Right now, I am focused on completing a novella about a werewolf pack in turn-of-the-century Russia, and a novel-length re-interpretation of a Grimm’s Fairy Tale called “The Seven Ravens”.


(8) What is your favorite thing about this book?

My favorite thing about Let It Bleed is the voice of the Dead Girl. She is so damaged, so fraught with mythological interpretations and mysteries; while at the same time she is powerful and completely in control. I wanted to create a character that keeps the reader guessing – is she crazy? Is she hallucinating the whole thing? Could this really happen? There is a deliberate stream-of-conscious way that I wrote the story, so it is smooth in some places and jagged in others. I hope people like it, because it is a totally fresh and dark and unique way to interpret the Mary Mythos and the idea that there are Gospels of the Bible that are still waiting to be written.


(9) Where can our readers find this book and in what formats? 

Let It Bleed is available in both E-book and soft cover on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, Borders, Smashwords, and all other typical internet portals. The book is also registered with the ABA via Indiebound for independent chain distribution, and will hopefully be available on Barnes and Noble’s and BooksAMillion bookshelves in the next few months.

(10) Do you have any advice you could offer to other writers?

Go to Cons and meet people! And if you to a pitch session with an agent or a publication house at a Con, make sure that you have a rough draft of your novel ready to hand over. Agents and editors prefer a tangible product which they can immediately asses, not just an ‘idea’

Join organizations – I really like BroadUniverse.org right now. It is support network for women writers, editors, publishers, etc – as well as avenues for participating in author readings, dealer room tables, and valuable information sharing. I am also amazed at the grass roots marketing campaigns going on with authors and readers via the power of blogs and twitter; blog hosts will champion an “Author for Day”, and encourage large numbers of people to purchase a certain book on a certain day. KindleNation is a pay-as-you-go marketing forum where authors pay between $100-400 to have their novel featured for up to a week in a variety of advertisment mediums; authors report that their book number rankings on Amazon shoot through the roof, and they sell hundreds if not thousands of their books on the days they are featured. Finally, I would suggest that you submit to as many magazines, e-publications, and anthologies as you can. The more you get your name out there, the better your branding!

For more information about author S.L. Schmitz or her writing go to:http://www.thedeadgirl.com/
©2010, Kitty, all rights reserved.

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