C.L. Schneider is an author that some of you might already be familiar with from my “Crown of Stones” Series Spotlight back in February.
I’ve had the pleasure of being in email contact with her, despite her upcoming deadline for her current project. It was a pleasure reading her responses to the questions, and finding out we have a lot of interests in common. We share a love of Jim Butcher’s work, and both believe in the power of networking.
Without the work of Jim Butcher, and Dean Koontz, I would very likely never have had the courage to start consider writing in the first person, and immerse myself as fully in my characters as I do. But, it’s the power of networking that allows me to discover some amazing indie authors, bring them to your attention, and give their readers a chance to discover my own work.
So, without further delay, it’s time for you to meet the wonderful C.L. Schneider…
Introducing C.L. Schneider
C.L. Schneider grew up in a small Kansas town on the Missouri River, in a house of avid readers and overflowing bookshelves. Her first full-length novel was penned at sixteen on a type-writer in her parent’s living room. A self-published author of adult epic and urban fantasy, C. L. currently resides in New York’s Hudson Valley region with her husband and two sons. Her trilogy, The Crown of Stones, is an immersive epic dark fantasy that follows the trials of Ian Troy, a man born with an addiction to magic.
Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.
My name is C. L. (Cynthia or Cindy) Schneider, I am a self-published author of epic and urban fantasy. Originally from a small town in Kansas, I now live in New York’s Hudson Valley Region with my husband and two sons, a hound dog, a kitten named Holly, and Skittles, the grumpy old cat who hates her. I’m a stay at home mom turned full time writer. I published my first novel (The Crown of Stones: Magic-Price) in late December of 2013. Holding that book in my hands for the first time was the best Christmas present ever!
Most of my day is spent at my laptop, or letting the various animals in and out of the house. Coffee, wine, chocolate, and my cell phone are never far out of reach. My guilty pleasures are zombies, Netflix, shopping, torturing my characters, and Twitter (where I am using talking about zombies, Netflix, shopping, and torturing my characters).
Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?
My last release, in February 2016, was The Crown of Stones: Magic-Borne. The final installment in The Crown of Stones Trilogy, Magic-Borne wraps up the story of Ian Troy and his dark journey to embrace the one thing he fears most: his own power. Only then can Ian have a hope of stopping the war, healing the racial divide among the realms, saving the people he cares for, ending the slave laws, and curing his people’s addiction to magic. But the freedom and peace he seeks will only come through great personal sacrifice. Will Ian pay what fate requires?
Magic-Borne was as much an emotional journey for my characters as it was for me. I had lived and breathed Ian Troy and his world for quite a few years. To say it was sad to wrap up the trilogy and say goodbye, is an understatement. It also felt amazing. Ian’s story with the Crown of Stones is complete, but there are definitely more stories to be told down the road, with these characters and in the world that I created for them.
Who is your intended readership?
I write for anyone who likes dark character-driven epic and urban fantasy with lots of twists and turns. My writing is for adults. I don’t shy away from mature themes. I write flawed characters and anti-heroes, whose decisions are sometimes far from good. My intention is to tell an entertaining story that draws my readers in and makes them feel. Whether they laugh, cry, or curse me, as long as I’ve sparked some emotion, then I’ve done my job.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I caught the writing bug when I was a child. By the time I was sixteen, I was dreaming of becoming a published author. I started writing my first full length novel that summer (which is currently sitting in a box in my closet). I never stopped writing after that, but school, career, and family happened, and my dream was put on the back burner for many years. When my children were old enough to be in school full time, I was finally able to devote myself to writing full time. That’s when The Crown of Stones Trilogy was first born.
Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?
One of my favorite authors, who had a large influence on my early writing, is C. J. Cherryh. I discovered her books when I was in my early 20’s and read everything I could get my hands on. Her Gate series (The Morgaine Saga) is amazing, and I fell in love with her Rusalka trilogy. Her character-driven stories just swept me away and taught me so much about developing flawed characters.
Later on, I discovered Jim Butcher and Simon R. Greene, and I devoured their books. I had always enjoyed reading and writing in first person. It felt more natural to me. Yet, I was told to avoid writing in it, because it was hard to do well. Reading Jim Butcher and Simon Greene, and seeing how they handled first person, gave me the courage and confidence to write the way I always wanted to. Their influence allowed me to tell a traditional epic fantasy story with a more contemporary voice.
What advice would you give beginning writers?
- Write every day if you can. Flexing your creative muscle on a regular basis will help you find your own voice. Even if it’s only a few lines and you delete it the next day, it makes a difference.
- Don’t just read in the genre you’re writing in or only read epics because that’s what you like to write. Read across all genres. Read short stories, novellas, epics, poetry. Not only can it be a source of inspiration, it’s a great learning experience. It will help you get a feel for things like character development, pacing, for how other authors handle certain points of view. There is so much you can learn just by reading another’s work.
- Believe in yourself. Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone. It’s a comfy place, but nothing will ever happen if you stay inside.
- Share your stories and ask for feedback. Connect and network with other authors. They are a goldmine of resources and inspiration, even friendship.
- Write fearlessly. Don’t just write outside of the box, throw the box away. Never be afraid to push your limits.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies?
I’m a Netflix junkie. Does that count?? I enjoy baking, walking/hiking, and reading. I love the movies, and I’m a bit of a foodie. My husband and I both are. From food trucks in Hawaii to fine dining in Quebec, we love the presentation and experience of finding new and exotic foods and drinks to enjoy.
What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?
My current work in progress is Nite Fire, the first book in my new adult urban fantasy series. Nite Fire is told from the POV of female protagonist, Dahlia Nite, an empathic shapeshifter from a parallel world. The series is present day and set mainly in the fictitious, Sentinel City (an urban hot-spot for the unexplained). It will also feature travel to parallel worlds, including Dahlia’s home, Drimera, which is very different from our own. Though ruled by dragons, Drimera is mainly populated by lyrriken; a half-dragon, half-human species capable of shifting between two forms: full human and a human-dragon hybrid. Bearing some of the gifts of their dragon fathers, lyrriken are capable of using a higher percentage of their brain then humans, giving them the ability to manipulate their bodies in ways we would consider magical.
Dahlia fled her world for ours over ninety years ago after being condemned to die by the powerful dragon queen, Naalish. Dahlia spends her life here living on the road, hunting the creatures that cross illegally into the human world to do us harm. When a series of brutal killings disguised as spontaneous combustion strike Sentinel City, Dahlia knows the killer is one of her own. Worming her way into the investigation, she teams up with a human detective to solve the case, while struggling to maintain the lies that have kept humanity in the dark for centuries.
As Dahlia searches for the truth behind the murders, the bit of peace she’s found in this world starts to unravel.
Nite Fire will be released in 2017. If you would like a sneak peek, you can find an early excerpt of the first chapter on my website on the My Playground page.
#1 : Magic-Price
Ian Troy is one of the Shinree, a fallen people with an inherent addiction to magic. Scorned and reviled for the deadly side of their spells, the Shinree are bred as slaves. Their magic is suppressed by drugs and used only as it serves the purposes of the other races.
Descended from a long line of soldiers, Ian is conscripted into the Rellan army and made to fight in their longstanding conflict against the ruthless Langorian invaders. The downfall of Rella imminent, Ian goes against orders and turns to the Crown of Stones, an ancient Shinree relic of untold power. Ignorant of its true purpose, Ian uses the crown to end the war, and pays a terrible price.
A decade later, still tortured by the aftermath of that day, Ian lives as a bounty hunter in self-imposed exile. Having renounced his magical heritage, he curbs his obsession with a steady stream of wine and regret. He struggles to put it all behind him, until a fateful encounter with a pretty assassin brings Ian’s past crashing into the present. Targeted by a rogue Shinree, and a ruthless old enemy, Ian is forced to use magic again. His deadly addiction is rekindled and his life of isolation is brought to a swift end.
With the land he gave up everything to protect once more in jeopardy, and his people’s future at stake, Ian becomes embroiled in a violent race for control of the Crown of Stones. To save the realms and those he cares for, Ian must embrace the thing he fears most: his own power.
#2 : Magic-Scars
Magic doesn’t wound the same as a sword.
The story of Ian Troy continues in Magic-Scars, the second installment in C. L. Schneider’s riveting epic fantasy trilogy, The Crown of Stones.
Captured by his old enemy, King Draken of Langor, Shinree magic user Ian Troy was sentenced to prison. Tortured and drugged, robbed of his will, his memories, and his magic, Ian was made to do unspeakable things. Rescued, as his body slowly rids itself of the drug, Ian realizes he has returned to an unfamiliar world gripped with fear. In the wake of his fall, those he cared for were left to their own grim fates. Draken has seized control of the realms and named himself High King. His brutal rein has sparked a desperate rebellion that Ian now finds himself a part of. His one task: recover and repair the Crown of Stones, in hopes it will tip the balance in the revolution that is brewing. In pursuit of the reason behind the artifact’s strange loss of magic, Ian is driven to release an explosion of retribution and power that leaves him irrevocably scarred.
Struggling to reconcile the man he has become with the man he once was, Ian strives to understand the growing number of magic-scars adorning his body. He searches for the truth behind his link to the Crown of Stones and uncovers shocking secrets buried for generations beneath the sand. To become the weapon the resistance needs, he must assume responsibility for his magical inheritance. But can he curb the destructive appetite that comes with it?
The price of Ian’s magic and his addiction have never been higher.
#3 : Magic-Borne
In one fell swoop, the resistance was shattered. Lives were taken. Hope was lost. Peace slipped like grains of sand through his fingers. So did the Crown of Stones. Now, forced into hiding, Ian Troy grapples for a way to save the realm—and free its people—from the sadistic clutches of Jem Reth; Mirra’kelan’s new self-appointed emperor. Plagued with the knowledge of a tragic future, he strives to influence events and save those he cares for. But his magic has betrayed him, and Fate has other plans.
Marked by the crown, hindered by the transformation spell contained within, each cast brings Ian one step closer to becoming more beast than man. Each move brings the death and destruction foretold in his vision inexplicably nearer. With Langor on the brink of war, and King Malaq’s plan for peace hanging in the balance, Ian returns to the ancient past; seeking an end to the eldring spell and a means to thwart Jem’s growing domination. What he finds there sets off a chain of revelations that leads Ian places he never thought to go.
Entrusted with the future of his race, Ian becomes the linchpin for lasting change. But how much weight can one man carry? And how much is he willing to sacrifice in the name of peace?