Wednesday, April 10, 2013

10 Questions with Novelist Ryan Schneider (@RyanLSchneider)


This Author Spotlight is a bit different in that it features a book which I wrote. Hooray!

You know that scene in "The Jerk" when Steve Martin runs around shouting "The new phone books are here! The new phone books are here!"

"Stay Away From The Cans" by Rahzzah

It's kinda like that, except that in stead of a phone book, it's my new novel Eye Candy.

For this week I shall therefore be interviewing myself. At last I shall be answering the same 10 questions I force everyone else to answer. Shall we?

1. How did you get into writing?
Writing is something I’ve always done. Every year in school growing up, I seemed to do well when it came to writing projects and assignments of a literary nature. This progressed in high school when I began doing more creative writing. When I got to college I dumped the pre-med thing and switched majors to English Lit. After graduation, I moved to Hollywood and attended UCLA, where I studied screenwriting and independent producing. After a few years, I got into aviation with the objective being to work for an airline. But after a time I realized that was a difficult lifestyle so I decided to finally obey my calling and decided to write in a professional capacity. The advent of self-publishing has been a blessing in this regard.

2. What do you like best (or least) about writing?
What I like best is when you’re in the midst of a story and you see the magic happening before your eyes. For example, you’re working on a scene and you have absolutely NO idea what you’re writing or why you’re writing it, and why the characters in the scene are saying what they’re saying. But you decide to have faith that it will all work out. And, somehow, a few days or weeks or months later, it does.

I also like the initial stages of beginning a new project, when the idea is just a seed, but it’s exciting. Then the research begins. I love research. Being a novelist is the best job in the world because you can spend 50 hours watching nothing but Mythbusters and it’s legitimate research.

If I had to say what I like least, perhaps it’s the inevitable fear, nay terror, that what you’re writing is simply not good but because you’re in love with your work you can’t see it, and no one else has the heart to tell the cute little “writer” that his work isn’t fit to line the bottom of a rabbit cage. We must fight through such fears and not listen to that Inner Critic. No matter what. Don’t listen.

3. What is your writing process? IE do you outline? Do you stick to a daily word or page count, write 7 days a week, etc?
I tend to outline but not because I want to. I do it out of necessity. The story comes at me so fast, I must get it down as fast as possible. I tend to use a highly efficient combination of stream-of-consciousness rambling bashed into some sort of quasi-coherent outline format.

As for word or page counts, not really. It all depends on what stage of the project I’m in. Once I’m in the actual WRITING phase, where that quasi-coherent outline is my map and my faith that what I’m writing will be everything I hope it can be, then I write a lot, typically every day, and typically for many hours; whatever I can get in given the outside responsibilities life tends to throw at us. When I’m in this stage, my laptop goes everywhere I go.

4. Who are some other writers you read and admire, regardless of whether they are commercially “successful?”
My taste is quite varied. I grew up reading a ton of Stephen King. Carrie and Cujo and Christine and The Shining were all the rage, so I was reading that stuff when I was about 12 or so. Watching the movies, too. But I also enjoyed science fiction guys like Asimov and Bradbury, and fantasy too. I read Narnia three times. I read the Dragonlance Chronicles several times. More recently I became a huge Harry Potter fan. I loathed the little bastard when I first heard about him and saw the book on my mom’s shelf at her house. But when I began writing The Go-Kids, I turned to Harry Potter for research and wound up becoming a huge fan. So I’ve read that series three times. I also like Chuck Pahlaniuk, and Chuck Klosterman. Klosterman’s The Visible Man was probably my favorite book that I read in 2011. It’s one of those books I wish I had written. For 2012 I really loved Ready Player One by Ernst Cline.

I’ve also discovered a lot of indie authors whose work I enjoy. Michael Hicks’ In Her Name series is good. I like R.S. Guthrie’s writing a lot. Russell Blake is single-handedly taking over the spy/thriller genre. I like his Jet series. Reaper of Sorrows by James A. West brought me back to fantasy and made me a fan of his work. There are so many… I could go on and on.

5. Should the question mark in the above question be inside or outside the quotes?
Depends on who you ask. Most people say outside. Some people say inside. Which is why I asked the question.

6. What’s your stance on the Oxford Comma?
Whatever makes the writing clear. But it’s a stylistic choice.

7. What is your book EYE CANDY about and how did it come to fruition?
It’s essentially a love story set in a futuristic Los Angeles. A roboticist goes on a blind date with a robopsychologist and hijinks ensue. There’s a lot of cool futuristic stuff, as well as some serious relationship and philosophy stuff. It’s also about what it means to be a human being.

I began writing it in summer of 2011. I wrote the beginning while doing research (I love research), and got about 75,000 words in the bag before I had to take a break because we moved and big changes in life tend to put a dent in one’s creativity. I finally finished the manuscript in February 2013. The writing process was about a year. 

I also want to mention the cover art for the book. It features an original illustration by a wildly, wildly talented artist who goes by the name of Rahzzah. He and I brainstormed a few ideas and settled on one we both liked. He asked me a few questions about the characters and their physical characteristics, and he did the rest. I think it's positively brilliant. You can see more of his work on his Deviant Art Gallery. Check out Moon Girl, too. He did all the artwork. I don't read a lot of graphic novels or comics, but I read Moon Girl on my Kindle Fire and it was absolutely dazzling.

8. What’s your current writing project?
Don’t know yet. I have four different stories calling me at the moment. Three SciFi, one mainstream. I may take a break from the SciFi for a bit. We’ll see which squeaky wheel gets the grease.

9. What book(s) are you currently reading?
I just finished The Laws of the Ring by Urijah Faber. Enjoyed that immensely. Now I’m reading Mastery by Robert Greene. For some reason I seem to be in a non-fiction phase.

10. Who or what inspires your writing?
I get great inspiration from other writers and their books. But the initial idea for a novel can come from just about anywhere. A movie. A song. Just some random stuff going through my head while I’m driving or exercising. I get a lot of ideas while I’m working out, usually while running. Your mind goes into that zone where your body is on auto pilot and your mind is free to roam. I also get a lot of inspiration from my wife Taliya and our relationship. All kinds of things find their way into the writing. Such was certainly the case with Eye Candy. I dedicated the book to her.

Finally, is there anything you’d care to add? Please also include where people can read your published stories, buy your book, etc.
I want to offer a truly, truly heartfelt thank you to everyone who follows this blog and enjoys the Author Spotlights (I dig them, too!), as well as the folks on Twitter. I literally wouldn’t be where I am today without all of you. I hope you read and enjoy Eye Candy as much as I did when I discovered it through the writing of it. The eBook is available at Amazon now and the paperback will be for sale in about a month. is available HERE.

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