Saturday, 9 January 2016

INTERVIEW: James Schannep

Flurries Unlimited (FU) was lucky enough to catch up with up-and-coming cross-genre author, James Schannep (JS) while he was busy dodging Zeus' lightning bolts. Thankfully, we all emerged unscathed and this is what we had to say:

FU:  Your books are cross-genre with a very creative edge (choose your endings).  What inspired you to write these?

JS:  I loved so-called "gamebooks" as a kid. Choose Your Own Adventure, Give Yourself Goosebumps, and others. The interactive nature really drew me into reading and I think helped foster a lifelong habit. Recently, I wondered if there were any such branching-path novels written for adults. When I couldn't find quite what I was looking for, I knew I'd found a niche waiting to be explored.

FU:  The bit about Hephaestus and the Muses on your author bio is fab. What was the impetus for that?

JS:  Thanks! I'd originally written the paint-by-numbers bio all authors start with. Went to a school, got a degree. Check. Won some minor awards. Check. Live by the mountains and/or ocean with a cat and/or dog. Double check. But do these really tell you much about an author? Not by my estimates. So, I just got a wild hair one day and wanted to show that I am (and that my books by extension are) something different and playful. 

FU:  You've published three books so far.  Which is your favourite and why?

JS:  I've been revisiting MURDERED recently because the book is set in Brazil and I just spent the holidays in Rio de Janeiro and the Amazon rainforest to check out the locales featured, and to see how they compared to my imagination and research. Shameless plug: the book is on sale now and I'm currently blogging about my Brazil trip on It's definitely the
most difficult book I've written, as an interactive mystery with many layers, clues, and misdirection, as well as my most heavily researched. The final product is something of which I feel quite proud.

FU: They say that every character has some of the author in him/her.  But your characters are essentially the readers themselves.  What part of you comes through most in your books?

JS: Writers are (usually) very empathetic people because of the tremendous task of putting oneself in the shoes of every person we meet. That said, I've had to do the opposite with my protagonists. I wanted the reader to step seamlessly into the shoes of my main characters, so I wrote them intentionally without strong backgrounds. Ideally, a reader of any age, gender, race, sexual orientation, or other diversifying factor can enjoy my books and be themselves within the confines of the story. It's you who make the choices, so each reader's experience is personal.

FU:  So what is on the horizon?  What are your new projects? When is your next new release?

JS:  I'm constantly challenging myself as a writer, so the next book will be a little different. Still interactive, but with your first choice being a "character select" option. In this way, I think I can do a much more in-depth character study. It's a spin-off of my zombie book INFECTED and is set in that same universe. This story, called PATHOGENS, is slated for release in spring/summer 2016.   

FU:  Thank you for taking the time to chat with us.

JS: Thank you for the questions, it was a lot of fun!

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