Here is my author interview with S. M. Schmitz for The Virtual Book Con Event featuring sci-fi and fantasy authors. We will be highlighting The Cambria Code trilogy by her so make sure to check book one Peyton’s Myth which is available now.
What is your favorite thing about the fantasy/sci-fi genres?
Fantasy and science-fiction allow us to create entirely new worlds and incorporate characters that don’t actually exist. I absolutely love drawing on mythology and incorporating these legends of our ancestors into modern-day stories. The Immortals series is heavily influenced by the Book of Enoch and Middle Eastern myths, while my current fantasy & mythology series, The Unbreakable Sword (book one is Shadows of the Gods), incorporates multiple mythologies into our contemporary world. There are a lot of gods to keep up with in The Unbreakable Sword series: we are introduced to Aztec mythology, the Tuatha Dé of Irish mythology, the Olympians of Greek mythology, the Norse, a Sumerian god, a Persian god, a Slavic god, and so many more – and the series isn’t even finished!
My science-fiction romance series offer readers something different. The Resurrected trilogy is quite edgy. There is considerable violence in the series, which is intended to provoke readers into questioning at what point our heroes cease to be heroes. Surprisingly, far more people have been bothered by the profanity in the series, which I’ve found to be remarkably telling about the desensitization of violence in our culture. There is far less “on-screen” violence and far less profanity in The Cambria Code trilogy, but I still took risks with this one by creating a female main character who isn’t always likable, not in the first two books anyway. I allowed her to be deeply, and at times, tragically flawed.
What is your favorite fantasy/sci-fi based movie?
I am a huge Marvel fan! In a lot of ways, the Marvel universe does what many of us science-fiction and fantasy writers do all the time: they draw on myths and legends and retell them in unique and entertaining ways. Anyone familiar with The Unbreakable Sword series wouldn’t be surprised to learn that The Avengers movies are my favorites – combining legendary characters from different Marvel worlds in one kickass, Earth-saving team. Brilliant
How many books do you currently have in the fantasy/sci-fi genres and which one would you recommend new readers starting with?
I have two science-fiction romance trilogies: the Resurrected trilogy and The Cambria Code trilogy. As for fantasy, The Immortals shares some characteristics with urban fantasy, but it’s not a true urban fantasy series: it’s a fantasy romance series inspired by the mythos of the on-going battle between good and evil represented by Heaven and Hell. There are quite a few unique spins on this trope though, some of which are inspired directly by my experience as a college world history instructor. The Immortals is set in the present day world, but through Colin and Anna’s memories, we are allowed to become time-travelers and witness some of the greatest events in world history of the past three centuries.
The Unbreakable Sword series is also a fantasy romance series, with book three releasing in early August. I’ve already mentioned this series and all of the mythology in it, so I’ll only add that there’s a really sweet love story that develops between the two main characters, Selena and Cameron.
Dreamwalkers is a stand-alone novel that I include as a fantasy, but because of its themes of mental illness and suicidality, it can be a tough read for some. But interwoven in Gavyn’s narrative of his descent into madness is a second story, that of Caleb Ellis, a young man who lived on a sugar plantation in the early nineteenth century in Louisiana. There are two love stories in this novel, two unimaginably painful tragedies, yet sparks of hope. That’s what I want readers to come away with – the “hows” and “whys” of Gavyn’s journey are far less important than its culmination. Although my husband and I are no longer together, this is a novel I wrote in his honor as a psychologist and suicidologist. Suicide prevention efforts DO save lives, and there are resources out there. This is a signal we simply can’t boost enough.
Finally, The Golden Eagle duology also has a touch of fantasy in it as it borrows on some dystopian elements to create an America that has survived a second, vicious Civil War. But that survival is tenuous at best, and amidst the story of a forbidden love are themes that this former history instructor is finding alarmingly applicable to our country today.
As to which novel or series I would recommend to readers, it would depend on what type of novel interests them since I write in slightly different genres! I will always have a special place in my heart for the Resurrected trilogy. If I could pull two characters from any of my books to live in our world, it would be Dietrich and Eric, although Dietrich may never forgive me if I didn’t bring Lottie along, too. Truthfully, I’m not sure I want to share Dietrich. Is that weird? That’s really weird, isn’t it?
What one thing has changed about you or your writing from when you first started to now? Considering I wrote my first novel in the eighth grade, quite a lot has changed! Every novel I wrote until just last year when I began writing science-fiction and fantasy was either literary fiction or a contemporary romance, so there has been a significant change in genres, although I still love to read widely.
If you could vacation to any spot in the world with anyone where would you go and who would accompany you?
Easiest question! I would go to Berlin, Germany with my children!
What do you find to be the hardest thing about writing or publishing a book?
Marketing. This is probably a common answer to this question! But achieving and maintaining visibility is extremely difficult for most of us.
Do you find that you sell more books during certain months or holidays versus other times?
The summer months tend to be difficult for me. I know the “summer doldrums” don’t affect all authors, but for whatever reason, there’s a noticeable slump for me.
If you had one redo in life what would it be and why?
Learning more about publishing before I began this journey. There are some mistakes I’ve made I’m stuck with now – like not publishing under a pseudonym. My name is difficult to spell, pronounce, and remember!
What is your favorite part about being an author?
I’ve loved to write for as long as I can remember. When I was in the fourth grade, we had an assignment to write a short story, and I decided to integrate two stories into one. I wrote a story for my teacher about riding horses with my cousin, the true story part, then one of our horses being horse-napped and having to rescue it (obviously, the fictionalized part)! To this day, even though I was a straight A student all the way through graduate school, that story is the only A++++ I’ve ever received. I never lost my love for telling stories though.
Do you have any specific reviews or comments that stand out that you have received over time?
Every single time someone tells me they read one of my novels and enjoyed it, I feel like it’s the first time all over again. It’s a thrilling honor to have created something that brings someone else an escape and enjoyment.
I am always incredibly humbled when someone compares one of my novels to one of their favorites. For example, “Overall, Dreamwalkers reminded me of The Time Traveler’s Wife — and I don’t say that lightly since TTTW is one of my all-time favorite books. Unlike TTTW, Dreamwalkers isn’t a romance, yet it still includes one of the sweetest, truest renditions of a loving married couple that I’ve ever read,” and from a review on Resurrected, “One of the best books that I have read in a very long time. There was a love story, action and a touch of fantasy. Very Stephanie Meyer: The Host but still unique. And because I loved that book this book captured my attention from the beginning. Lottie and Dietrich have the kind of love that transcends death… Very highly recommended and I am now on to book two.”