Today I’m interviewing J.A. Schneider, author of “Fear Dreams”, “Her last Breath”, and the upcoming third novel in the Detective Kerri Blasco series, “Watching You”. Thanks so much for the interview today!
Leigh: Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi Leigh, and thanks for inviting me! Okay, I’m happiest being quiet, either reading or writing. Maybe because life before this was a bit tumultuous.
I majored in French Lit, spent my Jr Year Abroad at the Sorbonne; then, six days after graduating got sent with the US-USSR Student Exchange to the Soviet Union where with friends I promptly got arrested for spreading anti-Soviet propaganda – in our ol’ stinky hotel room, we’d been laughing our heads off at their pea-green-colored water, then heard pounding on the door, and, “Vwi aristoveni!” (“You’re arrested!”) Three broad guys in trench coats, no kidding. Our door had been closed! Who knew the room was bugged?
That was smoothed out; then, while hiking in the Caucasus mountains near Sochi with Russian, East German & Bulgarian students, I fell down a ravine and wound up in a Soviet hospital. Sochi doctors were nice, really.
Then came Newsweek, then marriage and children (a soccer mom!), then two books published by Simon & Schuster. Then Kindle and KDP, and I couldn’t be happier. So far, I much prefer going the Indie route. No 18-month-long waits because the editor got laid off & the book spent six months “orphaned” till somebody new got hired & caught up. Traditional publishing is slow and cumbersome!
Leigh: What other books have you written?
Six medical thrillers in my Embryo series; then, more recently, the three so far in my Detective Kerri Blasco police/psychological thriller series. They are Fear Dreams, Her Last Breath, and Watching You. Plus, years earlier, the two Simon & Schuster books which were kinda my training wheels, plus a non-fiction book written with my husband, a physician, on health and weight loss to avoid or deal with type 2 diabetes.
Leigh: What draws you to the Psychological Thriller genre?
I’ve always loved Hitchcock. What’s behind the masks people wear – and how not-nice people manipulate others – is scarier to me than any generic crime story.
Leigh: Who do you picture playing Kerri Blasco in film?
I really don’t know, haven’t thought about it. Someone the camera “likes,” who can seem smart, tough, and tender all at once.
Leigh: What kind of research do you do and how long do you spend researching before you start to write a book?
I don’t research much. I use Google a lot. The Kerri Blasco stories take place in NYC, where my husband & lived for five years before moving to the ‘burbs, but NYC changes so fast – so I google locations just to make sure they’re still there, see what they look like now. (A block of brownstones I once knew is now a huge Chase Manhattan). Then there’s the police stuff, which I’ve picked up from police detective friends in our Connecticut town…and for the morgue scenes, anatomy etc? My husband helps with that. I hate stopping the writing, so I cheat whenever possible. But that’s where imagination comes in, right? Rimbaud never saw the sea, Stephen Crane never saw a real battle when he wrote Red Badge of Courage.
Leigh: What was it like to write from the perspective of a killer?
Scary, compelling, pulse-pounding. Evil and psychosis do exist in this world. Plus villains are vital. What would Peter Pan be without Captain Hook?
Leigh: What was your favorite childhood book?
The Nancy Drew series. Also Treasure Island.
Leigh: What is your favorite motivational saying?
“Every writer is terrified.” David Baldacci. All successful authors say what amounts to the same thing; i.e., “Do you have the guts to stay with it?” (Tess Gerritsen), and, “Just keep flailing away at the g-d thing!” (Stephen King)
Leigh: What are some of your hobbies?
I garden with a passion, so have really ugly hands. I battle boulders, grow rose ramblers that reach 20+ feet. Thorns? People ask if we keep big cats. I’ll prune anything that can’t run away. I also love watching good movies with my family, and good TV cop shows; could watch Dexter over and over…
Leigh: How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Fear Dreams getBook.at/FearDreams
Her Last Breath http://getBook.at/HerLastBreath
Watching You getBook.at/watchingyou
Leigh: Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
Thank you so much for inviting me, Leigh! I was happy to participate in your beautiful blog!
Readers- don’t forget to check out “Watching You” here in digital at Amazon !