Thursday, 2 May 2013

Author Interview: Christian Schoon

Christian Schoon has written Zenn Scarlett.

1. What is your name and where do you call home?
I’m Christian Schoon and I live in the heart of the heartland in a 170-year-old Victorian farmhouse in Iowa.

2. Do you have a pen name?
No, I just call him Pen. Or sometimes, “Yo, ink-for-brains.” (gee, bet nobody thought of THIS sort of quip before, huh?)

3. What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or less words, what would you say?
Book title:  Zenn Scarlett
20 words:
Zenn is a novice exoveterinarian specializing in healing big gnarly alien creatures at a training cloister on a dystopian Mars.   

4. Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
 Yes, I signed a two-book deal with my publisher, Strange Chemistry Books. And yes again, the sequel to Zenn Scarlett will follow her continuing adventures as a novice exovet -- who gets caught up in an interplanetary web of intrigue, betrayal and thrilling encounters with more exotic alien animals.

5. What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?
The inspiration for Zenn Scarlett and her determination to become an exovet working with dangerous-but-fascinating alien life forms grew out of my involvement with several animal welfare organizations that I volunteer with. In addition to fostering abused or neglected horses on my farm, I’ve also lent a hand in the rescue and/or re-habilitation of black bears, cougars, coyotes, Burmese pythons, American alligators and lots of other critters. As far as length of time I’ve been writing, I’ve done that since high school (lots of reeeeally bad poetry…sorry about that, Mrs. Spease…).

6. Do you gift books to readers for book reviews?
My editor at Strange Chemistry handles all the requests for ARCs or other review copies of my books. Keeps me safely outa the loop…

7. How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book?
The gorgeous, celestial cover art for Zenn Scarlett was hatched by my editor and the insanely creative art-elves at the “Argh! Oxford” design group at their sprawling high-tech campus over there in the green and pleasant British Isles...

8. Which is your favourite cover of all the books you have written?
That would be Zenn Scarlett. I mean, I couldn’t have conjured up a better looking Zenn if I’d had access to Bill Gates’s massive, underground ReplicaSynthroidaSoft android-cloning factory. Oh… was that supposed to be secret? Oops.

9. Is there anything you would change about your book covers?
I do not mess about with perfection.

10. Do you have a playlist in mind for any of your books?  
The later work of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan has the right otherworldly kind of vibe for Zenn.

11. Did you listen to any particular songs whilst writing your books?
Nope. I distract too easily, so don’t put the tunes on till I’m done for the day. Then I can crank it up. Gritty, swamp-stomp blues is usually just right.

12. Would you have different book covers for different countries?
In a perfect, highly-budgeted world? Sure.

13. How did you come up with the title for your book?
I wanted my heroine to have a name I enjoyed saying. Go ahead, try it. “Zenn Scarlett.” See what I mean?

14. Is there anything you would change about your book? And why?
Gotta say I worked on it a long time to get it to where it is. And I’m good with where it finished up, but I think most authors will inevitably find SOMETHING to change every time they read through a book again. You know, a tweak here, a different character attribute there… but, overall I’m very pleased with Zenn.

15. Do you have a book trailer? And what are your thoughts on book trailers?
I’m ambivalent about book trailers. I wrote tons of movie trailers as an in-house copywriter at Disney, and then as a freelance copywriter working for various film studios in LA. So, I know the drill. I just don’t know how effective book trailers are as a medium to reach and influence readers; very different psychographic profile, pardon my French…. But who knows? Maybe I’ll put one together, fall in love with the format and change my mind.

16. Do you have a “Dreamcast” in mind for any of your books?

Zenn Scarlett: Lily Collins

Liam Tucker: Logan Lerman or Robbie Amell

Otha Scarlett: Liam Neeson, Harrison Ford

Fane Reth Fanesson: Steven Strait

Sister Hild: Tilda Swinton

17. What is your opinion of ARCs?
Pretty positive, seeing as they’re an essential tool of the publishing world right now.

18. Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hardcovers or audiobooks?
I’m fine with all of the above; if it’s a really hefty, doorstop-of-a-book, give me a paperback. But I’ve got no problem w/ reading on my trusty Kindle Fire.

19. Are you a self-published / Indie author?
I’m published through the molecular grace of the shiny new young adult imprint Strange Chemistry, cloven from the titanium husk of their brooding cyber-overlords, Angry Robot Books.

20. Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so what was it?
Must admit I’m not a re-reader.

25. What is your favourite film based on a book?
Never Cry Wolf. It’s a masterpiece. Carroll Ballard is a genius. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is a very close second.

26. What is your favourite book genre at the moment?
Science fiction is always good, but I also like to break it up with a decent Brit-lit spy thriller now and then.

27. What books have made it onto your wishlist recently? And why?
Blackwood by Gwenda Bond, Shift by Kim Curran, Poltergeeks by Sean Cummings, The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Clarke, Katya’s World by Jonathan Howard, Broken by A E Rought, Pantomime by Laura Lam, The Holders by Julianna Scott, Emilie and the Hollow World by Martha Wells, When the World Was Flat (and we were in love) by Ingrid Jonach. Hmmm… seems to be a pattern developing here…

28. What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format?
Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd – old school paperback; it’s that Brit-spy things. And Boyd is just such a comfortable, predictably excellent author to come back to again and again.

29. If you could invite any four celebrities (alive or dead) to your dinner party, who would you invite and why?
Celebrities. They’re highly overrated…. Could I have dinner with a Siberian tiger, a wolverine, a dolphin and a silverback mountain gorilla instead?

30. Do you have any advice for other writers? And what’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing?
Best advice, and the advice I’d give: B.I.C. – butt in chair. Seriously. Sit down. Write. Tomorrow? Same thing. Repeat as necessary. That’s the secret. You heard it here first.

31. Do you have any hobbies that aren’t related to reading & writing?
Looking after the animals on my farm takes the place of an actual “hobby.” Tho, I do like building things with my hands, simply as an antidote to long hours at the keyboard. There’s a scale model of the International Space Station hanging over my desk… LOTS of parts, lemme tell ya.

31. Where can your readers follow you?

Twitter: @cjschoon


Thankyou so much for taking the time to do this interview and allowing us a glimpse into your writing world!

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