Thursday, August 18, 2016

Inside the Mind of Don Schlaich

Lily: First, thank you for agreeing to do this interview. We at The Faerie Review have been dying to pick the brain of the author who created the epic young adult fantasy Reckless Magus (Excerpts from the Spellchaser Chronicles). First, I’d like to find out more about your creative process. Where is your favorite place to write?
Don: It’s not really any given place, but I write in public. Most of Reckless Magus was written when I was between jobs, using the writing as a method to keep me from sinking into depression. I would get up, go to a library and write for much of the day. It build a habit that’s stuck. I like to go someplace outside of my apartment and write. Current favorite is a coffee shop a couple of blocks away from my job. I go there after work, unwind with a coffee and write. It’s cliche, I know. But it’s a little ritual that helps me focus.
Lily: You actually just wrote a guest article about ritual that people can read here. Ok, so your ritual helps you get in the right headspace to write, but where do you get inspiration from?
Don: There’s this wonderful little mail order place in Tacoma- sorry, had to borrow that joke at least once. It’s like a faucet that only goes in one direction; it seems like the more you write, the easier it is to find stories to write.
Lily: Sounds like turning on a faucet. So how do you cope with writer’s block?
Don: It’s a difficult process sometimes. Most of the time, it’s a stumbling block in the road, and I can power past it if I sit down and force myself to put words to screen. The bad nights? I might open up a new document, let the characters talk to me for a little while, get the word pump primed.

Lily: Out of everything, what is your FAVORITE part of being an author?
Don: I love sharing something that got its start in my head and sparked something in a person, reaching them in some way. I really feed off the energy my beta readers give back to me, that feedback.
Lily: Love the cycle of energy going there. Now what’s the most challenging part of being an author?
Don: The solitary nature of it. You spend so long putting words to paper that you wonder if it ever makes sense in any head but your own.
Lily: I’d say so far you’ve succeeded with that, even doing some fairly popular writeups of RPG games you’ve participated in. Ok let’s get down to the nitty gritty about fantasy Reckless Magus (Excerpts from the Spellchaser Chronicles). Who inspired your main character Abe? Do you mix a little of yourself into your main character?
Don: Abe started as a character in a fantasy RPG that I was playing, but quickly started to grow behind a life at the table. He started telling me about his life.
Abraxas is someone that grew from who I am. He’s faster to mouth off than I am, less prone to think about things before he does them.
Lily: Its always nice to have an insight into part of the author through their characters, especially when such a big chunk of the author ends up in them. We absolutely love the cover. Who designed it?
Don: An artist named Grace Palmer did the artwork, and I did the typography. Her portfolio can be found here. I found her through a Kickstarter called the Prismatic Art Collection, made to try and increase the number of non-white males shown as fantasy heroes.
Lily: That’s awesome! We’ve heard rumors there’s a sequel already in the works. Can you tell us about that?
Don: I’m currently editing Dragon Magus, which details the troubles Abe manages to get himself into starting from moments after the end of Reckless. Abe finds himself somewhere new, and promptly end up in over his head.
Lily: We can’t wait for it to come out. Are you planning on a similar cover or trying something new?
Don: I’m probably going to try something new. I feel like the type work is the weakest part of Reckless’ cover, so I’ll probably reach out to an artist who I’ll have do both.
Lily: We were pretty impressed with the type work, but we also know what goes into trying to get typography just right. We hope the next cover will be just as enchanting! Ok now we’d like to learn more about YOU, the man behind the epic. What do you like to do in your downtime when you aren’t writing?
Don: I flip between needing my alone time, when I like to read, and people time, when I’m with the people I love, sharing life or playing a game.
Lily: That sounds like a lot of fun. Do your loved ones know about your writing? Are they supportive?
Don: They do. It was something I shared with the people in my life as the thing that was keeping me sane during a very trying time. Following through on that flipped a bit of a switch inside me, and so it’s just become part of who I am. My girlfriend even bought my book before our first date.
I’ve got a couple of people who really go above and beyond in supporting me and giving me feedback, for most of them it’s just another facet of my life.
Lily: That’s awesome! Glad you have so much support. Now it’s veg time, you’re planning on just chilling and turning on your favorite movie, what is it?
Don: Promise not to roll your eyes at some of my unbearable pretension, but Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. I borrowed the VHS of it back in high school from a friend, and kept it for a year where I watched it so many times. I even imported the DVD from England in college because I couldn’t find it on Amazon.
Lily: That is a pretty awesome movie. It sounds like it had an impact on you pretty young too! Before we wrap up tell us how readers can discover more about you and you work?
Don: You can find me on my website, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. You can buy Reckless Magus here.

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