No two authors are alike. Some write one book in a lifetime. Some write about one per quarter (like me). Others pump them out like they’re possessed by the Muses themselves.
S.M. Schmitz is the possessed kind.
In a year, she’s published FIFTEEN books (according to the count on Goodreads) that all have reviews of at least three stars or higher.
This girl is good. She’s damn good.
As soon as I heard about her, I knew I had to interview her to find out what she writes about, how she does it, and what secrets she has to offer the rest of us mere mortals.
Without further introduction, here’s my interview with this incredibly prolific author.
Welcome, S.M.! Sell yourself to us in a paragraph.
S.M. Schmitz has an M.A. in modern European history and is a former world history instructor. Her novels are infused with the same humorous sarcasm that she employed frequently in the classroom. As a native of Louisiana, she sets many of her scenes here, and like Dietrich in Resurrected, she is also convinced Louisiana has been cursed with mosquitoes much like Biblical Egypt with its locusts.
[Adan’s note: Southeast Texas is the same! Sometimes I’m afraid the mosquitoes are actually going to carry one of us away.]
Who do you write for?
I write for anyone who loves a little genre blending with a good love story thrown in. My target audience is always adults though. Even for my novels that would pass the PG-13 test, the ideas and themes that I explore are far more relatable for adults than young adults.
You write fantasy and mythology, sci-fi romance, and suspense. How do you keep it all separate in your head?
I’m always composing stories in my mind, even when I’m not writing. Often, there’s some little spark, some “What if?” that triggers this cascade of ideas that eventually coalesce into a novel. I don’t always have the details worked out before I sit down at my computer and put “Chapter 1” on the first page. In fact, I usually don’t! All of my stories are really character driven though, so I tend to know my characters far better than I know the sequence of events that will get us from the beginning to the end.
When I wrote Resurrected, I knew that Lottie’s character would somehow have to come back to life, and that she’d have to be her but not her at the same time. That’s the whole impetus for the trilogy – this idea I had of what it would be like to wake up in someone else’s body, but having her memories and thoughts and feelings and personality now, too. I could have developed the novel and how her resurrection was possible in a number of ways, but I decided to create this world that allowed me to pull in some fun science-fiction elements.
For other series like The Immortals and The Unbreakable Sword, the idea to draw on mythology was present from the beginning. The Immortals is inspired largely by The Book of Enoch and the stories of fallen angels, plus it was my chance to dabble in historical fiction by incorporating memories from major world events over the past three centuries. I’m frequently asked why I don’t write historical fiction given my background, and while I loved getting to throw in these snippets while writing The Immortals, I’ve never really had any interest in writing historical fiction. I rarely even read it!
The Unbreakable Sword series is my second fantasy & mythology series, and I knew from the beginning with this one as well that I wanted to write a mythology based series that drew on as many world mythologies as I could fit into one series. It hasn’t been easy keeping up with this many pantheons!
But I love the idea of all of these gods coexisting in one world and forming alliances and battling each other throughout the millennia for control of Earth’s worshipers, and once monotheism replaced their pantheons, one of the final realms of the gods: the Otherworld of the Tuatha Dé.
The primary mythology I’ve based this series on is that of the Irish and the Tuatha Dé, but readers will find the Norse, the Aztec, the Olympians, the Egyptians, and a few Slavic and Finnish gods in there as well – and that’s not even all! This series has been so much fun to write, and I hope readers enjoy reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.
A lot of your books are part of trilogies or series. Do you find you like writing in a world so much that you just keep going, or do you plan to write more than one book from the beginning?
All of my trilogies and series have been planned from the beginning as such. I did something a little different with the Resurrected trilogy by having a different character narrate each book of the trilogy because I wanted to allow Lottie to finish her own story, but it’s her fiancé, Dietrich, who begins the series (and has to since the novel begins with Lottie’s death). All of my fantasy series have been planned as four book series, and it’s just worked out that my science fiction romance titles have been planned as trilogies.
As soon as I’ve finished a project, I move on to the next one, and eventually, I find that I do miss the world I created in a series I’ve finished. I’m currently writing a spin-off novel of the Resurrected trilogy, which can be read as a standalone, although I think readers’ experiences will be enhanced by familiarity with the events in the trilogy, and next year, I’d love to write a spin-off series to The Immortals.
You have books coming out in August, September, and October. Are you always so prolific?
Since I began writing full-time in June of last year, I have managed to get one book published a month. It’s certainly not easy! Aside from getting the words down on the page, I need time for editing, revisions, final proofing, getting covers made, etc. It takes quite a bit of planning.
The book that I’ll publish in August, for example, is now in the proofreading stage. Once I get the manuscript back, I’ll make revisions and do my own final read-through. I typically have covers weeks to months in advance.
I am now working on the manuscript I intend to publish in September. Being a fast writer, I can have the first draft finished in two weeks, in my editor’s hands, and on to the final book of The Unbreakable Sword series in anticipation of an October release – all by mid-August.
What does it take to keep up with this schedule? Working twelve hour days and not having any hobbies!
[Adan’s note: I’m in awe of you. Getting out three or four books in a year is all I can manage!]
Which is your favorite book of all those you’ve written?
Wow, this is a tough one. Dietrich is my favorite character, so I will always have a soft spot for Resurrected. I am really proud of the way Dreamwalkers turned out – it was a difficult novel to write, because of the sensitive subject matter and having dual narrators.
What fuels your writing?
Coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.
I’ve loved writing for so long that I don’t remember any specific reason for it as a child. I was always a daydreamer, and as soon as I was old enough to put some of those stories down on paper, I began to write them in spiral notebooks with a ballpoint pen. Few people had computers in their homes yet. I can’t imagine that love and passion ever changing.
Tell us about your writing hideout.
I write in my bedroom. Originally, I got into this habit because it was the quietest room in the house. Now, even if I have quiet elsewhere, I still focus best writing in bed with my laptop propped up on one of those lap desks.
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