? When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? I want to say around the time I was four; that was when I composed my first book, Jonny to the Rescue. I was a flower girl for a friend’s wedding, and the bride wanted a story as a wedding present. This would be the start in a flood of fantasy stories and books that span from then until today; that first book itself spawned the later creation of my Legends of Surprisers series.Also as a child, I remember watching painters on T.V. with grandma and wanting to be an artist; I think that fancy passed soon enough though, especially when I realized that, to this day, my painting has little merit. Thus, author it was.
? How many jobs did you have before you became a writer? Well, first of all, I must thank you for suggesting I am well-known enough to be solely an author, living entirely off my writing! That is my goal, someday, not so much for the pay but so that millions of people can enjoymy books and get something from them. Unfortunately, though I have been called “prolific” by several, I am still fairly new in this world of publication.
But to answer the question: well, my first job was Quizno’s, which I started during my first year of college. I worked there all through getting my bachelor’s in elementary education, which was about a year ago, and up until recently. For the past several months, I’ve also been working full-time at a daycare. Not my usual age group, but I do love them! I’ve had the chance to teach an enrichment course on world cultures to elementary students and also plan to pick up some substitute teaching this fall.
? How long does it take you to write a book? Hard to say, really. IF I am very inspired to write something, and IF I have plenty of free time, not long at all. I am very proud of my four-book series, The Gailean Quartet, one of my favorites, and one which I call “the series written in a year-and-a-half.” Pretty amazing considering it contains the longest books I’ve ever written, most over four hundred pages; I amazed even myself when I saw how little time it took to write it. I’m also one of those people who won’t write anything I don’t feel like. I never try to “force” the writing, so if I am tired of something, I’ll set it aside a little while and start something else.
? What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? Perhaps the way in which I write a book or story. I only ever write what I am inspired to; I don’t have to start from the beginning and work straight through to the end. In fact, doing so would probably drive me nuts, and the writing would be consequently awful. I love gripping beginnings and beautiful and/or powerful endings and often have these written before all of the middle. Right now, I am working for a teen novel for Books By You, a company that specializes in personalized books. They want me to send them the first three or so chapters in the next couple of weeks, and while I am working on them, I actually have already finished the ending chapters.
? Do you have a routine that you use to get into the right frame of mind to write? Honestly, not really. If I feel it, I do, and if I don’t, I don’t. Sometimes, watching a new movie or reading a new book will trigger the right mood for a certain scene I am writing or will inspire a new work, but mostly, I write when I feel inspired.
? Where do you get your ideas or inspiration for your characters? Mostly from everyday life, people I know and love, or maybe an interesting person with an interesting name that I meet only once. The entirety of my Gailean Quartet was inspired by my favorite teacher and choir instructor, Dr. Gail Fleming. Other stories of mine, such as “AutumnFalls” from The Chronicles of the Mira, soon to be released by Writers-Exchange, was inspired by a very sweet girl whom I met in my college’s hallway one day. We talked maybe a couple times and then I never saw her again, save to share a smile in the ladies’ room. Still, she inspired me to write about an “Autumn”, and from there, many legends of the Scintillate and Mira peoples were born.
? How do you decide what you want to write about? As sort of said above, it just comes to me. I’ve always loved fantasy and can hardly write anything but; the real world limits my imagination. In fantasy worlds, I can make up all the rules, and this leads to not only unique fantasy worlds but deeper plots and characters for me.
I write largely though based on my characters, many inspired by real people I know. There are many times I’ve also been inspired by other books, movies, video games, something I saw in a store, etc. You name it, and you never know—it could inspire a story.
? What books have most influenced your life? Well, as a Christian, I must first say the Bible; though I am not a preachy writer—and a couple of my reviewers have attested to this—my books that are Christian fantasy often contain themes of forgiveness, love, and friendship, a few even focusing a little on salvation. I’m working on a Christian fantasy allegory right now as well.
Some authors who have made an impact on me are C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Rowling, Nancy Springer, Neil Gaiman, and especially the late Diana Wynne Jones; while I don’t claim to be as quirky and creative as she, I am quirky and have had such a humbling comparison made.
? What do you like to do when you are not writing? I love creating coverart for my books, composing music for my books, playing piano, singing, reading, and playing video games. Of course, I do none of these things very often, because many lead to new inspirations, and then I’m just writing all over again. I also like going on adventures, like walking on new trails and exploring new places. I’ve never traveled very far, but someday, perhaps. In the meantime, I am a writer, so I can go anywhere I please in my books.
? What is your favorite comfort food? Well, I have food allergies—milk and sugar—so my menu is somewhat limited. However, there are two things. First, a meal I like to call “hamburgury goodness”, which is similar to spaghetti; however, because of the sugar issue, I have to use a specific tomato sauce instead of spaghetti sauce—it contains some very yummy spices—and I mix hamburger into it. Also, for a quick snack, I love pineapple and also what I like to call “Choco Bunnies”. A company named Annie’s makes organic foods, and the bunnies taste like chocolate Teddy Grahams, even there is no milk and the sugar is organically processed.
? What do you think makes a good story? For me, I love intricacy. Intricacy of characters, back stories, side stories, and intertwining plots. Now, this is not to say each of my books is overly complicated. Some have a lot going on, while others, like The Legends of Surprisers series, which is for a bit young of readers, contain simpler stories. However, even those stories all connect in some way or other. In fact, many of my books and series connect, so that while someone can read just one and understand it, the more they read, the more they are rewarded, like being let in on a secret.
I also like my stories to have a purpose, moral or otherwise, and always believed that the writing itself was important, even as a child, if not quite as much as now. I’ve been complimented for making my stories seem very visual, the emotions very real, as if the readers are right there in the story. This too is important to me and one of my aims; almost everyone who reads wants to feel like they are whisked off to another time and place.
? Who would you consider your favorite author and why?
I named several above, but again, if I must choose, I shall say Diana Wynne Jones. Her fantasy worlds are so unique, with quirky characters and interesting stories. While I have many books that are definitely more serious than Jones’ or that contain more romance, a little horror, etc., she has been a major influence, especially in my writings for middle grade. The mere description of Dogsbody and the first few pages—I have yet to get my hands on a copy and devour it—inspired me to write The Last Star, a middle grade fantasy which I shall soon seek an agent for.
? What book, if any, do you read over and over again? I can honestly say I’ve never read a book through twice, except for school. I don’t have the time, honestly, since I write so much lately. Plus, I have a pretty good memory, so a lot of time would have to have passed for me to feel an interest. But I have picked up The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter books, and other favorites just to re-read favorite scenes.
Fun random questions:
dogs or cats? Both! But as a child, I was allergic to cats, so though I really wanted one, I could never have one. I’ve had four wonderful dogs though, since my childhood, and I also wrote plenty of stories with dogs and cats as a child as well.
Coffee or tea? Tea. Coffee smells good, but I am both picky and particular and know I won’t like it. Besides, I never drink or eat caffeine, so if I do, it makes me a little crazy. And green tea is very healthy for you.
Dark or milk chocolate? Milk Chocolate. Unfortunately, I cannot consume much of this right now—I am allergic to milk and sugar; all us nerds have strange allergies, right?—but am at the point now where I can eat a little here and there. I don’t mind dark chocolate, but it’s not worth risking a sinus infection.
Rocks or flowers? Rocks, believe it or not. I always have loved flowers and include gardens in many of my books; I live near St. Louis, and their Botanical Gardens is gorgeous, and I have dreams of someday going there without misery, but again—allergies. So, I must pick rocks. I’ve loved collecting different rocks and emeralds since I was a young child, and their influence also found their way into my books, such as the Thebaziles from my Legends of Surprisers series.
Night or day? Day, because I have always been a morning person. Though, now that I live on my own, there is a thrill in being able to get so much writing and such done in the middle of the night. ^_^
Favorite color? Ah, this answer actually has a long history. As a child, it was a vibrant neon hot pink; I even had a crayon color to match it. When I was around twelve, it became purple, in honor of my crush on Pokemon’s James from Team Rocket; wrote a book about adventures with him, though I don’t plan to publish that one ever. Then, my favorite color finally changed to green; it was the favorite color of my seven-plus-year crush, Aaron—whose various characters are found in many books, namely Aaryn from Golden Healer, Dark Enchantress, Aaron from The Hero Chronicles, and Phillip from The Legends of Surprisers. Even though his love was never reciprocated—though we are still good friends—and I finally moved on, this color remain my favorite. Others I enjoy are still purple, what I like to call “Zelda pink”, and aqua, for my favorite gemstone, phosphopherite.
Crayons or markers? Crayons; as a kid, there were more color varieties, and they can’t dry out.
Pens or pencils? Depends on my varying moods, actually; I seem to go in rounds. Right now it’s pens because they don’t smudge so terribly.
Christine Schulze has been creating books since she was too young to even write them in words. Her collection of YA fantasy books, The Amielian Legacy, is comprised of series and stand-alone books which can all be read separately but which weave together to create an amazing fantasy. Her fanatsies also incorporate many other genres, such as Christian fantasy, romance, and even a spark of horror at times. She hopes to inspire readers throughout the world with these books by publishing in both traditional and electronic formats to make them available to all readers.
Christine has published several stories with Calliope and Kalkion magazines and is an active member of the WEbook online writing community. She has also published several Christian/fantasy books which are available at various online retailers, as well as publishing several eBooks via Writers-Exchange.
Her latest and most exciting venture includes her publications with Old Line Publishing: Bloodmaiden and Tears of a Vampire Prince: the First Krystine. She also anticipates her upcoming publication with Old Line, Lily in the Snow, as well as releasing The Chronicles of the Mira with Writers-Exchange in both paperback and electronic forms.
Christine currently lives in Belleville, Illinois in her first and most thrilling apartment.
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