Science Fiction Author Interview w/ Trevor Schmidt | #AskTrevor

Today I thought I’d do something a bit different from my usual posts. I recently read a Science Fiction Author interview with one of my favorite authors out there on the Interweb and so I thought I’d try my hand at my own.  In this interview, I use a combination of questions from Twitter and a few good questions I found online. To ask questions for future question and answer sessions, tweet me @TrevorSSchmidt and use the hashtag #AskTrevor

1. From @Sydner_Writer on Twitter: “What was the first story you wrote about?”
If you want to go way back, my first story was written on a really old computer when I was about five years old. It was called “Ben and the Dragon” and it was a supremely cliché fairy tale riddled with typographical errors. My parents were pretty impressed though because it was about two pages long. I still know people that dread a 500 word essay. I don’t remember many of the plot details, but it involved Ben having to slay a dragon to save the princess, who was definitely modeled after Princess Peach from the Mario franchise. I’m happy to say I’ve gotten more creative over the years and written more intriguing roles for women in my books, especially in my latest series.
2. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
From the time I was nine I wanted to be an astronaut. I got a simple telescope for Christmas and looked at the stars and spent a lot of time wondering what was out there. Around that time I started reading science fiction as well as science books targeted toward my age group (like those Eyewitness books about the space shuttle and different things like that). One of the most common ways to become an astronaut back in the day was to be a pilot in the Air Force (Now they are mostly scientists). While I never made it to space, I did enlist in the Air Force which is about as close as I expect to get unless my situation changes drastically. Unfortunately my eyesight precludes me from flying a plane. Drat. However, I also knew from a fairly young age that I wanted to write, no doubt spurred from watching my dad publish countless books. So at least I still have my books to hold on to.
3. When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote my first book in 2009 right after graduating college with a B.A. in English. I would have been 22 years old. It was a short young adult mystery geared especially to the 9-12 age group. I meant it to be a series, but to be honest everything changed when I wrote Memory Leak, my first science fiction novel. Not only did it sell tremendously better than my first book, Memory Leak was a far superior tale that interested me a lot more. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea because I experimented with an interrupting narrator, which played into the story nicely I thought. I don’t want to give anything away, so you’d have to read it to understand.
4. How long does it take you to write a book?
It varies based on length and whether or not it is a sequel. I have found that it’s easier to write a sequel because I already have most of the characters hashed out and if it’s a more linear series meant to be read in order I can spend less time world-building because the reader will already know some of the basics. However, I do try to add in enough so that if someone was coming to the story somewhere in the middle of the series they could still enjoy it. That said, please read them in order to avoid massive spoilers! Back to the question, once I’ve plotted out what’s going to happen in the story and who my characters are, it takes me about three months to write and do the majority of the editing. You should note that I’m also not writing epics like A Song of Ice and Fire. I take a lot of my book length cues from Philip K. Dick, who I think had the right idea.
5. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I probably spend too much time on Youtube and playing guitar. Though I have cable TV, I hardly use it. I tend to favor Netflix anyway. I try to get out of the house and do things with friends as much as possible. On Fridays I like to play Pathfinder or something similar. Right now I’m doing a Dead Lands version of Savage Worlds. I can feel myself pushing my glasses up the bridge of my nose as I type. Also, it’s always a good day for Magic.
6. What do you think makes a good story?
A good story should have a conflict that gets the reader involved emotionally. I think it’s also important to write realistic characters who the reader can grow to care about, even if the feelings they manifest toward that character is hatred. As a writer, I revel in the times I can get my readers to squirm just as much as the times I can lift their spirits. Does that make me sadistic?
7. What is your favorite color?
Blue. No, green. Ahhhh!
8. Speaking of Game of Thrones, what’s your perspective on the HBO series? Do you like where it’s headed?
R + L = J (enough said).
9. Do you have any special talents?
I’ve played guitar since I was 11 years old. I recently bought a Martin GPCPA4 and I’m in love. When I was in my early twenties I toured in eight states from the West to the Midwest. It sounds a lot cooler than it actually was. If I’m going to travel, I prefer to travel overseas and not on long road trips. I’ve had enough, thanks!
10. What are you currently writing?
I am knee-deep in writing the third novel in The Corsair Uprising series entitled Death Wish. It will be released this summer (2015) and I’m shooting for July. Without giving anything away, this one is going to be both the end of a trilogy and the beginning of a much larger Universe that I hope will go on for a long time. There really is a lot to explore in the world I’ve created and there are so many juicy characters that I want to see more. If all goes as planned, Book 4 will come out sometime in the Fall of 2015 and should be an excellent read as well. Books one and two are available on Amazon in eBook form and at a bunch of retailers in paperback. You can visit my website to see a detailed list.
11. From @Simbelsim on Twitter: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I have wanted to write a book since I was around five or six, but the first time I really acknowledged that it was something I needed to do was Junior year of college. I changed from being a Business major to an English major. You don’t know how many people asked me what I was going to do with my life with a ‘useless’ degree. Even though I’m not Arthur C. Clarke yet, I feel I’ve been fairly successful in the short time I’ve been doing it seriously.