Thursday, May 1, 2014

Jo Schnieder – of addicts and magic

Jo Schnieder
Addicted to things.
I took debut author Jo Schnieder fresh off just releasing her first book New Sight, to an addiction addicts anonymous meeting. I love going to them. I can’t stop.

Johnny: You ever been to one of these before?

Jo: Nope. But I’ve been to Comic Con a couple of times. Feels pretty similar.

Johnny: This one is a little different. It’s for addiction addicts.

Jo: Did you stutter? Because sometimes you say crazy stuff, Johnny. I have to verify.

Johnny: People here are addicted to being addicted to things.

Microphone: I’m Perry and I’m addicted to sepia.

Crowd: Hello Perry.

Perry (crying): I had a relapse. Last thing I remember, was that I was at lunch and the next thing I know, I’m at the library in the rare photos collection surrounded by civil war daguerreotype.

Crowd: gasps.

Johnny whispering in the back: Your book’s about addiction isn’t it? And magic. Two things near to my heart. Tell me about it.

Jo: Well, the main character, Lysandra, is consumed by the need to rip people’s eyes out of their sockets. She thinks she’s crazy—pretty logical conclusion. Turns out she’s a magic user (which is all hush-hush in the world) and that magic is more than a tiny bit addictive. Magic is connected to one of the users senses, and  Lys’ sense is sight. Thus the eyeball fetish. Creepy? Why yes, it is. Thanks for noticing.

Johnny: Have you any experience with addiction? Drugs? Cleaning? Sepia tones? Any family in rehab for Otter Pops?
Jo: I don’t really have an addictive personality. Maybe chocolate? But I think that one’s so wide-spread that it’s been taken off the addiction list. More like a societal need. You know? Back me up on this or I whip out my Kung Fu and make you cry like a little girl.  Er, I mean, did I answer your question?

Johnny: Is New Sight a standalone? Is there a series planned?

Jo: New Sight can stand alone, but I have a two other books planned for the series. If only I can convince the publisher that they’re awesome…

Microphone: My names Shannon and I’m addicted to lint.

Crowd: Hello Shannon.

Johnny: Tell me about your setting, the modern era with fantasy and magic. What’s urban fantasy exactly?

Jo: Urban fantasy is basically magic in the big city. Not much of my book takes place in the big city (unless you count to seedy sewers under Las Vegas) so maybe mine is more rural fantasy? Naw, I just call it a YA contemporary fantasy novel. Our time, our setting, our world but magic is lurking in the shadows. My favorite “setting” is the climax of the book at Druid Arch. The place is awesome. I tricked a couple of friends into hiking there with me. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.
Druid Arch

Johnny: You’re getting some press about addressing modern day issues. Is that addiction or is there more?

Jo: Mostly just the addiction. I admit that I’ve taken years to perfect my chocolate need. It would really suck to end up like Lys, addicted to something you’ve never gotten to try, abuse or make a bad habit out of. She doesn’t really have a choice, the rest of us do. Even if we can’t see it.

Johnny: Tell me about the eye-patch promotion.

Jo: Well, before the story starts Lys actually attacks someone to get their eye. She uses a spoon. When she realizes what she’s doing, Lys stops and tries to take her own eye out. So she’s wearing an eye patch when the story starts. No pirates involved. Sadly.

Johnny: What books and authors besides my debut occult thriller (upmarket horror) Beatrysel, now available from Amazon and at The King's English Bookstore in Sugarhouse and my much anticipated Young Adult paranormal Eleanor (The Unseen) coming July 1st, have influenced you?

Jo: Well, I classify it as an X-Men-ish story. But the local paper said that if people liked Michael Vey and the Hunger Games that they would like New Sight. I do admit that it’s fantastical, full of action, cool technology and powers. Everybody wants powers, right? But mostly your novel. Of course.

Two people sitting in front of us: What are you two talking about?

Johnny & Jo: Football. What are you two talking about?

The two, in unison: Shopping.

Microphone: I’m addicted to salt water taffy hair gel with red number 7.

Johnny: So where you from?

Jo: I’ve lived in Utah, Colorado, Idaho and Washington (the state). But I’ve traveled all over the place. That was my consolation prize (which I pretty much loved) for not being married for 38 years. I’ve been to China, Israel, Peru, Russia, all over Europe, England several times, Toronto, Mexico, Aruba…but never the Grand Canyon. Gotta get on that.

Johnny: How was your journey to publishing? How did you go from writer to author?

Jo: I made up my mind to get a book traditionally published. I took a year writing it before pitching it to an agent who rejected it. So I re-worked it again and sent New Sight out into the scary world of editors and agents. After about 25 rejections Jolly Fish Press picked it up! Mostly I wrote my guts out. That first year of really writing I spent every free second I had writing and re-writing New Sight.

Johnny: 25 whole rejections huh...

Microphone: I’m Peter and I’m addicted to eating.

Crowd: Hello Peter.

Peter: I can’t stop. I can’t go more than a couple days without food before the withdrawals drive me to eat again.

Crowd: sympathetic clucks.
Food: an insidious ultimately fatal addiction.

Peter: I’m doomed. I’ve learned through my extensive research that no one who has ever had my addiction survived. It has killed them all. I’m on a clock. Sooner or later, whether I eat or not, I’ll die.

Crowd: gasps.

Jo: Wait? Eating? He’s addicted to eating? Maybe I’m addicted to eating too!

Johnny: Yeah. Marge over there will get up and talk about her addiction to oxygen in a minute. It’s tearing her apart. She can’t even come to a meeting without breathing right in front of us. She's hopless.

Jo: Yeah, oxygen would be a tough one. I can stop anytime, by the way. Why do you come here?

Johnny: I’m addicted. Oh. right.

Johnny: What are you digits? Where can people find you on the net?

Jo's links:
Barnes & Noble

Johnny: Grab a pillow. Here comes Marge.

Jo: What's the pillow for?

Johnny: We're making Marge go cold turkey tonight. Kind of an intervention.

Jo: With pillows?

Johnny: She's the one addicted to oxygen, remember?

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