CRAIG SCHAEFER: I SPENT ABOUT A YEAR DRAFTING HARMONY BLACK SERIES
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Craig Schaefer started a new mystery series with his new book Harmony Black. The novel is set for official release on February 1, but already scored very good results. The title averaged 4.7 Amazon stars from 60 plus reviews. “Fun read”, “Tremendously enjoyable”, and “Absolutely fantastic,” are just part of the comments by the readers.
Our next guest is residing in Illinois and already had a nice volume of quality books. Let’s welcome Craig Schaefer at Land of Books.
– Craig, what is your new book Harmony Black about?
– A veteran FBI agent with a concealed talent for witchcraft is drafted into Vigilant Lock, a black-ops wing of the government dedicated to hunting and eradicating supernatural threats. Her latest mission turns personal when she’s set on the trail of the Bogeyman, the creature who tore her family apart thirty years ago.
– How did you decide to write the story?
– I’m a very long-term planner; by way of example, the Daniel Faust series is five books in, and I have outlines for around fifteen more (as well as the final scene of the final book already written, so I know how it all ends). Harmony was originally introduced in 2014’s Redemption Song as a hero-antagonist, but even then I had my eye on writing a parallel series that would take place inside the same fictional universe, exploring it in a new way with a different cast of characters.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– Working out long-term story arcs for each new character, as well as for the setting itself, and making sure nothing in one series would disrupt my plans for the other one. I can’t blow up Miami in the Faust books without Harmony’s cast reacting to it, after all. (That’s just a made-up example. Miami is safe. For now.)
– Tell us something more about your main character Harmony? Is she close to someone from your real life?
– In the old west, Harmony would have been a white-hat sheriff with a fast gun. In a fantasy realm, she’d be a crusading paladin in shining armor. As it is, she carries an FBI badge and values her duties to protect the innocent and uphold justice – as highly as she values her own life.
I think all of my characters are based to some loose degree on people I’ve met or read about – rarely based on one specific person, but more a composite of elements. One person’s looks, one person’s sense of humor, one person’s integrity. That’s part of the alchemy of writing: sifting through reality, finding the boldest, most striking elements of humanity (the best and the worst), and shining a spotlight on them.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– I’d say I spent about a year drafting the series bible and setting up outlines, character profiles, and such, and maybe six months for the actual writing (i.e., the hard part). Then I worked with a developmental editor for a month to polish it up, then a copyeditor and finally a proofreader (though they did all the real work).
– Give us some insight about your popular Daniel Faust series?
– The Daniel Faust series follows the titular character – a sorcerer, con artist and thief – and his crew of rogues as they grift their way through a supernaturally-charged Las Vegas. The books are essentially crime thrillers with a splash of magic, and an unapologetic villain taking the leading role.
– What the readers will find in Revanche cycle books?
– The Revanche Cycle is a departure from my other work: it’s a third-person, multiple viewpoint dark political fantasy, set in a world inspired by the Italian renaissance. A wealthy revolutionary unleashes a plan of revenge twenty years in the making, aimed at bringing down an empire, and a cast of diverse characters – from the daughter of a dying pope, to a pair of low-rent bounty hunters, to a sadistic coven of witches – are drawn into his machinations.
Unlike Daniel Faust and Harmony Black, the Revanche Cycle is only four books long – the final volume is due to come out in July 2016.
– Who are you?
– I’m an entertainer. As an artist, it’s my goal to craft compelling stories that keep readers turning pages, and leave them with a smile on their face. I try to touch on weighty, real-world topics, things that are important to me, but never by waving a billboard in your face. Instead, if I do my job right, you’ll be thinking about the deeper stuff while enjoying the afterglow of a solid, well-told story.
– What are your writing habits?
– I’m in front of the computer and working by seven in the morning, six days a week. No exceptions outside of illness or unavoidable appointments. I do my best work in the morning, and a successful life as a writer means putting in a lot of long hours. Inspiration starts a story, but consistency and discipline gets it done.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of your book?
– I’m gratified by the response so far. Lots of readers seem to be thoroughly enjoying it and signing up for the next one, and that means I’m doing my job properly.
– What are you doing to promote your book by the best possible way?
– I mostly try to be available. I answer emails, tweets, Facebook posts – if you contact me and don’t hear back, I missed your message by accident. I don’t use social media to promote myself, outside of new book releases; instead, I’m there to hang out, chat, and get to know my readers. Just being a real human being, I think, is worth a million “buy my book now!” posts.
– When we will see your next novel and would you unveil something more about it?
– My next book is Red Knight Falling, debuting on April 26. It’s the second book in the Harmony Black series, finding Harmony and her team on a trek across the Oregonian wilderness to find the wreckage of a satellite that shouldn’t exist. They aren’t the only hunters in the woods, though, and what seems like a simple mission soon turns into a coast-to-coast race against time.
– Do you remember the exact moment when you decide to become a full time writer?
– Exact? No. I learned to love reading at a very early age, and the moment I discovered the joy of reading stories, I immediately wanted to learn how to write them, too. I can recall the moment that long-time dream became an absolute, do-or-die drive to succeed, though: A loft in Las Vegas, February 5th, my 40th birthday, standing under the downpour of a waterfall showerhead. If this was one of my novels, I’d say something probably possessed my body under the torrent, and that the man who checked into that room wasn’t the same man who checked out.
Of course, all of my novels are fictional.
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be?
– Ooh, good one. Hm. How about: “Why should I try your books?” Why, thanks for asking! Do you like dark fantasies with thrills, explosive action, mysteries and monsters? Then you might like my work! I hope that you do.
Take a look at his books
The Long Way Down (Daniel Faust Book 1)
Redemption Song (Daniel Faust Book 2)
Harmony Black (Harmony Black Series Book 1)
Red Knight Falling (Harmony Black)
Winter’s Reach (The Revanche Cycle Book 1)