Christian Schoon’s new book, UNDER NAMELESS STARS, will be out on April 1st, and I caught up with him to chat about the 2nd book in his Zenn Scarlett series!
Also, the awesome folks at Strange Chemistry are offering a tour wide giveaway (it’s INTERNATIONAL) of copies of Zenn Scarlett and Under Nameless Stars and a Name Your Own Star Prize Package, so, check out the question at the bottom of the post and answer it in the widget for a chance to win (hint: read the extract for the answer)! You can enter at each stop, and if you head over to the Strange Chemistry website, they’ve got the full list of tour stops. Have fun!
Welcome back to the blog, Christian! Under Nameless Stars, your 2nd novel featuring Zenn Scarlett, will be out next month! Will you give us a bit of a teaser?
Hi and thanks for letting me drop in to visit with you and your Bookish minions! So, in Zenn’s newest adventure, our exovet heroine catapults the story to the next level, so to speak. She’s forced to step up and take drastic action for several reasons. The first is her father, or rather, his absence. If the “vision” that Zenn had of her dad being in dire danger is true, he needs help. And if she’s to be useful at all in this regard, she has to act fast. So, she manages to smuggle herself aboard the starliner Helen of Troy. Now, all she has to do is locate the skirni she believes is responsible for kidnapping her father and, through him, rescue Warrra Scarlett. Turns out to be a tall order. Another reason for Zenn to venture beyond her comfort-zone on Mars is what’s happening inside her. She’s mentally linking with various animals at certain times, and this is stressing her out. Because Zenn knows there’s no such thing as ESP… and yet, she’s sharing mind-space with alien creatures. Serious assault on her worldview going on here. But the answers she needs can’t be found in her home valley, or anywhere on Mars. Can’t say more than that without getting all spoilery, but what I can say is that her quest will lead Zenn into the chaotic center of an interplanetary conspiracy to, yes, end civilization as we know it (or, as those in the mid-distant future know it).
In the process, Zenn will encounter a dazzling variety of new races, exotic environments and numerous, fascinating and occasionally treacherous new alien life forms. She’ll also have her exovet skills, and her romantic boundaries, challenged. Big time. So, buckle up, Earthers….
How do you think Zenn has grown since the first book? What do you enjoy the most about writing her character, and why do you think readers will connect with her?
In Under Nameless Stars, Zenn steps beyond her cloistered world to brave the unknown. She’s always been the sort to do what she believes is right – but she’s also prone to rushing into situations when less than prepared. Now, though, doing what’s right will entail leaving behind everyone she loves, both human and alien, and striking off on her own. Her growth as a character will come as Zenn reaches within herself to find the courage to forge ahead against what appear to be insurmountable odds. She’ll also come to believe more strongly in her own competence as an exoveterinarian, as she’s forced to “make do” with the tools at hand when confronted with an array of daunting medical emergencies.
Zenn’s fun to write because of the above, plus: she’s smart, daring, sometimes foolish and overconfident, with quirks that make her an enjoyable human for me to spend time with. And, like me she’s big on animals, and sees the beauty and evolutionary uber-coolness that each and every living thing contains within it. Which is also why I think a certain kind of reader has reported back that they totally, deeply connect with her. This, of course, is always awesome to hear about when I interact with readers.
Worldbuilding is a very important part of this series. What are a few of your favorite literary “worlds”?
I could drone on and on about this… Let’s see, a few random books that, to me, offer worlds that invite the reader in and refuse to let them out again: Dune’s planetary empire, The Hobbitt/Lord of the Rings sprawling Middle Earth, the undersea realm of Jonathan Howard’s Katya’s World/Katya’s War, any of the steampunkish worlds of Jules Verne, the swashbuckle-and-swordlands of Game of Thrones, E.C. Meyers Fair Coin books, the Earthsea novels… just for starters.
What have you enjoyed the most about writing for a young audience?
I’d say it’s the enthusiasm with which young readers approach a story, and the powerfully felt and personal ways they identify with characters. The responses I’ve gotten so far from readers are truly phenomenal and stand out as one of the really great and continually refreshing perks of being an author. So, thanks y’all! (you know who you are…)
On that note, what has been one of the most exciting ( interesting/surprising?) things about being a published author?
Other than reader input/contact/interaction, one of the more interesting facets of authordom is simply learning how the publishing process functions, from query letters, to agent-signing, to selling the books to a publisher to working with an editor to prep the manuscript for release into the wild. You can read other authors’ tales on what this is all like, but until your own words are on the conveyor belt heading for daylight, it’s never quite real.
Read any good books lately?
Why yes, yes I have:
- The Ashfall books by Mike Mullen
- The Fair Coin books by E.C. Meyers
- The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu
Basically, all the books by my Strange Chemistry author brothers/sisters. Seriously. This imprint knows genre excellence, if I say so myself… And then there’s Angry Robot’s remarkable list. Too much awesome.
- Five Billon Years of Solitude – The Search for Life Among the Stars by Lee Billings
- The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
- Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched: Life and Lessons at the World’s Premier School for Exotic Animal Trainers by Amy Sutherland
What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Put butt in chair. Write. Rinse. Repeat. (OK, that sounds like you need to rinse the butt. Sorry.) Seriously, this authory stuff is work and ya gotta have enough discipline to crank out content even when you’d rather be surfing the interwebs or playing with your ferrets (not that I’d know…). Also: finish. Finish the book. Don’t get half-way through and start sending out query letters about your half-done novel’s amazingness. No agent/publisher will look at an unfinished book, at least not if you’re a debut author and you’re writing fiction. Besides, when yer done ya get to type “The End” and go have a celebratory night out. With bubbly.
What’s next for you?
I’m polishing up an animated steampunk kids TV series pitch and rough-drafting a middle grade novel with monsters, monsters and more monsters. Stay tuned…
Read an Extract:
**Here’s your question (answer in the widget!) My question is Q3
Under Nameless Stars author Christian Schoon previously worked at which one of these
companies (you may find the answer HERE):
a. International House of Pancakes
b. The Walt Disney Company
a Rafflecopter giveaway
About UNDER NAMELESS STARS:
After barely surviving a plot to destroy her school and its menagerie of alien patients, could things get worse for novice exoveterinarian Zenn Scarlett? Yes, they could: her absent father has been kidnapped.
Desperate to find him, Zenn stows away aboard the Helen of Troy, a starliner powered by one of the immense, dimension-jumping beasts known as Indra. With her is Liam Tucker, a Martian boy who is either very fond of her, very dangerous to her, or both. On the verge of learning the truth about her missing dad, Zenn’s quest suddenly catapults her and Liam thousands of light years beyond known space, and into the dark heart of a monstrous conspiracy.