What say you Derek A. Schneider?
I caught up with Derek a couple of days ago when I heard that Ghost Hunter Z was being released. I wanted to ask about the Magic, what fuelled his writing, and which power he would choose if he could have one.
A must read: As always with a D.A. Schneider book I couldn’t put it down. A steampunk undercurrent set in Victorian London pulled me in from the beginning. The rich character development and interactions kept me turning pages. I can’t wait to see what is in store for Z in future books. – J. Swinford, Amazon
Do you have a favourite out of the characters you have created (I promise I won’t tell the others)?
I suppose the demon Kazul would be up there. He’s popped up in a few of my stories, including Ghost Hunter Z. He has a whip-like finger on each hand, has an obsession with the wild west despite being British, which becomes an obsession with Clint Eastwood in the stories set in later time-lines, and is fond of wearing a serape and chewing on toothpicks.
What got you started? Can you remember the first story you wrote (and do you still have it)?
I had a lot of great story ideas that I’d bounce off a friend of mine, he’d share his as well, and when I finally purchased a computer (I was a little late to the party with that) I started hitting the keys and never looked back. The first story I wrote was called ‘Silver Bullets’ and followed a psychiatrist turned werewolf hunter who was searching for the werewolf that killed his wife. Sadly, the file was lost years ago.
Magic has Rules
You’ve created your own magical rules that weaves through your books, could you tell us more about that? What was the hardest part of creating it? And which of those ten magical gifts would you most like to possess?
These gifts go back to an early novel that I self-published called ‘The 9 Ghosts of Samen’s Bane’ and with each of my books, the protagonist and/or supporting characters have the ability to use one or more of these powers. In ‘The Goat’, Sam Zorah possessed superhuman strength. In ‘Franklin Stewart and the Mourning Mansion’, Mr. Crawley is a shapeshifter (werewolf), and Ghost Hunter Z has the ability to see ghosts. Eventually, I see some of the characters coming together in future books to face a major threat. Creating was fairly easy, it was originally going to be five, but grew to ten as I developed ‘9 Ghosts’. I suppose the ability I’d most like to have would be healing.
What is your process for creating your novels? Do you start with the story or the character?
With Ghost Hunter Z, I started with the character, but usually it starts with the plot. Often times I think of particular plot points I want to hit throughout a story and then come up with the material that connects them all. The same happened with Z once I had the character worked out. I also love to incorporate some history into my stories, whether it be ancient artefacts, deities, locations, or legends.
What has been your biggest hurdle?
My biggest hurdle has been getting my work published outside of self-publishing. After nearly ten years of writing, I’ve really had a good year so far. I’ve had three short stories picked up. Besides ‘The Naglis Uprising’, my sci-fi short ‘Kavidian’ appeared in The Scarlet Leaf Review in two parts this past May and June, and my comedy short ‘Mask of the White Christmas’ appeared in the June issue of Storgy. Then, of course, I signed a three book deal with KGHH Publishing, which has been a wonderful experience thus far. I feel Ghost Hunter Z has been exquisitely edited and formatted. Of course, any author has to relentlessly self-promote, but having a publisher in your corner with connections and a built-in fanbase is a huge advantage.
If someone wanted to do what you do what piece of advice would you give them?
Write first, edit later. I like to knockout the entire short story or book, then go back and look for my blunders. Also, write a lot. Short story after short story without limiting yourself to just one genre.
What book, movie, and comic would you recommend and why?
Read all of Joe Hill’s books and read them now. Everything he’s put out so far has been gold. As for movies, oddly enough I’m not a huge fan of horror movies. I feel scares are more effective in printed form, though I love the classics. Dracula, Frankenstein, and so on. I’m a huge Star Wars geek, but since everyone knows about those, I’ll recommend one people have overlooked. True Romance came out in the 90’s, but don’t let the title fool you.
The story (by Quentin Tarantino) follows a comic book geek who falls in love with a call girl, faces off against her pimp, and ends up on the run from the mob with a suitcase full of cocaine. Great acting throughout by an amazing cast that includes Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken. As for comics, I usually followed artists around. Todd McFarland, Jim Lee, J. Scott Campbell, Joe Mad. I loved the artwork.
Who are your influences? What did you read growing up? And do you think your love of horror fuels your writing or is it sometimes the other way around?
I couldn’t get enough Stephen King growing up. I started with my mother’s copy of Christine and went on from there. King is a huge influence in my work, but I’ve also been a big fan of Tim Burton since his early stuff and I love to infuse some quirkiness into my writing as well. I think the writing fuels my love of horror. Horror has always been my genre of choice when it comes to reading and it seems the more horror I write, the more horror I want to read.
What does the future look like for you as a writer? What have you got planned?
In the immediate future, I have a fantasy short story called ‘The Naglis Uprising’ appearing in The Clarion Call, Vol. 3: UNBOUND, which a collection of short stories from some great writers that will be released in November. The story follows a group of human/animal hybrids that rise up against their oppressors. The sequel to Ghost Hunter Z is nearly completed and I’ve even knocked out a couple chapters in the third book. Beyond that, I have plans for two more books set in present day American Midwest that are connected to each other and may or may not have some connections to Ghost Hunter Z.
Find Derek Here:
- Twitter: @derekschndr2
- Facebook: @derekaschneiderwriter