- Aside from your dream to be an awesome writer (which I think you really are!), what made you write The Crown of Stones and how does it feels publishing your first book for the first time?
I wrote the Crown of Stones because the character of Ian Troy left me no choice! Once I created Ian, his words and actions, and the entire world of Mirra’kelan, just kept expanding and swirling around in my head. There was very much an obsessive quality to my writing of Ian’s story. I’d put off my desire to write full time and publish for many years. When the time came that I could finally devote myself to it, that’s what I did. Every spare minute was spent writing or plotting or thinking about my characters. Unfortunately, that hasn’t changed much. Once I start a story, I become a little obsessive about it. I could sit my laptop for hours, skipping meals and staying up ridiculously late. Thank goodness for my friends and family. Without them to pull me away, I could seriously become a hermit!
Publishing Magic-Price was the most amazing experience. It was equally exhilarating and terrifying. When the first copy came in the mail, I couldn’t help but cry. It didn’t feel like I was simply holding a book in my hands, it was years of hopes and dreams, and more than a little blood, sweat, and tears. Aside from my children when they were born, looking at that first copy of Magic-Price, I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen!
- Ian Troy is selfless and he acts what he thinks is right, what trait of Ian Troy do you like the best and what personality trait of his do you like the least? Why?
I love Ian’s strength and his bravery. If Ian was a person, I suppose the one trait of his that I would dislike is the snarky attitude he takes with his friends. This is especially prevalent in the beginning of the trilogy. Ian tends to shut out those who care for him. Generally, it’s done in an effort to protect them. He feels they’ll be in danger if they get too close to him. But often he lashes out in frustration and danger, and they bear the brunt of it.
- I was introduced to a lot of fantasy book where the protagonist is female. I don’t have anything against with that but as a male reader, I also wish to read in a perspective of a male protagonist. So, as a female writer, what do you think the hardest part of writing a male point of view in a novel?
The hardest part about being a female and writing from a male perspective is worrying you won’t get it right. The writing of Ian itself wasn’t hard. I didn’t once think about the fact that Ian was male and I’m not—as I was writing him. Then, I fell right into the role and told the story like I was living it. It was after the fact that I worried he might not come across masculine enough. There were a few lines here and there where one of my beta readers marked it as being too feminine, and of course, I changed those. But other than those few instances, my beta readers and my editor both found it spot on.
I knew the real test would come from my readers, though. So it was very gratifying, and very much a relief, when not long after book 1 was published, more than one reader reached out to tell me how amazed they were that I wrote a man so well. After that, my initial fear was squelched, and I never thought of it again when I was writing books 2 and 3. I knew Ian so well by then, it all just flowed out.
- How did you come up with the magic system of The Crown of Stones? It is so wide, boundless and unlimited. I couldn’t imagine how far the magic of your book could bring and I would love to read everything. Is it something you completely made out of scratch?
The bulk of my research for The Crown of Stones books was done in order to create my magic-system, which is based on new age/crystal healing. When a Shinree casts magic, they do so by sensing the aura or energy of a stone, channeling it (drawing it into their bodies), bending it to their will, and casting that aura back out into the word. Each stone can be used for multiple workings and the results are different depending on what type of Shinree magic user is doing the casting.
Every stone used in the books (and every spell) relates in some way to how those same stones are used in real life crystal healing. Most of my research wasn’t applied directly to the story. Rather, I used the information as a foundation and then twisted it to fit my needs. For instance, if my research showed that topaz helps to clear the mind, a Shinree soldier might use it for creating confusion in his enemy, whereas a Shinree healer might use the same stone for calming a patient’s mind after trauma.
- Before you become a writer or maybe before Magic-Price, can you name few books that you think influences you as a reader and a writer, today?
- The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
- Pretty much any book written by C. J.Cherryh (I love her work!), especially her Morgaine Saga and her Rusalka series.
- The Nightside books by Simon Greene
- The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
- The Cheysuli Omnibus by Jennifer Roberson
- How did you come up with the culture, races, identities, and even the history of The Crown of Stones? Is it based on a particular culture? Or totally, everything, made up? If then, how long did you polish the world-building and the magic system of The Crown of Stones?
The races and realms in The Crown of Stones books are entirely of my own creation. Most of the races/realms were built after I created a character and he/she needed a land to hail from. It was important to me to have the races each with their own strengths and weaknesses, and their own secrets. In dealing with the prejudice and the divide and betrayals that had built up over time among these races, I needed them to be diverse and with their own goals. I needed them each to be broken in some way, as was the land after the quake that tore it apart and toppled the Shinree Empire.
Not every nuance was in place after the first book was written, though. Some of the details, especially the ancient history, were created and woven in as the trilogy progressed. The same goes for the magic-system. The bulk of it was in place before I even wrote a word in Magic-Price. But the extent and the laws of Shinree magic continued to evolve as the story did.
If you going to describe your book in five sexy words, what are they?
- Each and every one of your characters has one thing common. It is their will to do something they want. Some of them have their own beliefs, some of them want power for themselves, some of them are hungry of magic, and some of them thinks for the sake of everyone. If there is one character in your book that you wanted to be, who will be that character and why? What do you think your chosen character will fight for?
I have thoroughly enjoyed writing every single character in the Crown books, but Ian Troy will always have a special place in my heart. I love his story arc. He has it hard, don’t get me wrong, but Ian is as vulnerable as he is strong. He’s not afraid to do what’s necessary or to take chances. He has an inner strength that keeps him going long after many would have given up. I think Ian would fight for anyone in need.
- I don’t like Draken and I’m pretty curious about what is happening on his end. Or how he planned everything with Jem for the destruction of Ian. Will there be more of Draken’s? As a reader, will we understand him? And as for Troy, should I prepare myself because the broken I knew on Book one is different to the broken Troy that I will encounter on Book two?
In an effort to avoid spoilers, I can’t tell you too much. But I will tell you that there will be more of Draken in Magic-Scars, book 2, and by the end of the trilogy, you will learn much more about the Langorians as a race, and about Draken. You will come to understand Draken’s motivations; like them or not.
And yes, if you’re an Ian fan, you might want to prepare yourself. Expect a lot of emotional roller coaster moments, and not just in the second book, in both the remaining books in the trilogy. In Magic-Scars, book 2, Ian is definitely a different man than the one introduced in Magic-Price. He goes through so much in book 2, including some extremely difficult and heartbreaking decisions and a transformation that carries through to the rest of the trilogy. To heal the realms and save those he cares for, even to save himself, Ian has to endure many things. He must not only accept who and what he is, he must learn how to embrace it and to accept the consequences of doing so. By the end of book 3 (Magic-Borne), Ian must become the hero everyone else believes he can be—the hero he needs to be.
- Random question: Name your Top 5 favorite foods!
Shrimp, pizza, chocolate, duck, ice cream.
- What made you write a fantasy novel?
I’ve been fascinated with the medieval time period since I was a little girl. Growing up, I read a lot of historical fiction, which satisfied my interest. I read horror and sci-fi, but I didn’t start reading fantasy until after high school when my brother gave me a copy of The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I fell in love from page one. I read it cover to cover, back to back. My love of reading and writing fantasy novels started with that book. I’d been writing for years before that, but after reading The Mists of Avalon, I knew exactly what genre I wanted to write.
- Is there a particular song that you are listening to whenever you are writing a book? Or it is different songs on different books? Or you didn’t listen to a song at all when you are writing?
I love music, especially alternative rock or industrial metal, but I actually prefer to write in the quiet. If I listen while I’m writing, I end up singing along and listening to the song instead of writing. I find music very inspiriting, though, so I much prefer to listen to it before I sit down and write.
If I’m up writing late at night, sometimes I’ll watch TV or put the movie on in the background. Usually, it’s a horror movie or something with zombies.
- Who is your character the most difficult to write? Could you elaborate, why?
I’m not sure any of the characters in the Crown books were difficult to write, not as far as their actions or story arcs go. The trick to being comfortable with writing a character is to know them, and I got to know them all very well. By the time I was writing the third book, the dialogue felt like it was almost writing itself.
When I don’t know a character well is the only time I have a difficult time writing them. My beta readers can always tell if I’m still figuring a character out or haven’t fleshed them out fully yet. But even then, I wouldn’t say that makes the characters themselves difficult, just the process.
- What was your childhood like? Any happy memories to share?
I grew up in a small town. We had a great old house in the country near a lake. I spent a lot of time outside, exploring, playing pretend, or playing with one of our many animals. We had this wonderful home library. The bookshelves were floor to ceiling with a big picture window in between. Everyone in my family read different genres and the shelves were packed. I used to love to sit in that room and loose myself in a book. It’s where my love for reading, and writing, was born.
- Last question, your favorite quote from your book, The Crown of Stones: Magic – Price? And why you choose that quote?
There are so many lines of Ian’s that I love from Magic-Price, but one that always stands out to me is:
“I’m not a hero. I never was.”
To me, that one line sums Ian up perfectly. He doesn’t see his actions as heroic or brave. He sees them as necessary. He’s not looking for thanks or accolades. He does what needs to be done—so no one else has to. That’s who Ian Troy is.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Born in the Midwest, I live in upstate New York with my husband and two sons. A huge reader since childhood, I penned my first full-length novel in high school on a typewriter in my parent’s living room.
Magic-Price, the first book in The Crown of Stones trilogy, was not only my first published novel but a lifelong dream come true. With the release of Magic-Borne, the trilogy is complete. Next up: Nite Fire, the first book in an urban fantasy series featuring shapeshifters and parallel worlds.
My stories tend to run in the realm of dark, adult, and epic. If I wrote about vampires, they most definitely would not sparkle.
You can learn more about me and my work at clschneiderauthor.com where you can read reviews, excerpts, sneak peeks and teasers, subscribe to my newsletter and follow my journey as an indie author on my blog, “Heading Down The Yellow Brick Road”. I love to chat with fellow authors and readers, so please come find me on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, where I spend most of my time talking about books, zombies, coffee, and the wonderful roller coaster of a writer’s life.