The Auselsen Seven - An interview with Zachary T.M. Schmitz

1- How did you start writing? What does it mean to you?

I started writing when I was in fourth grade. The teacher asked for a written assignment depicting the next chapter of the book we had just finished reading. He was expecting a half page of type from the students (and that was double-spaced). I turned in 20 full pages of single spaced type (typed on a typewriter). My teacher made a point to tell my mother to encourage my writing when he presented her with the paper during parent-teacher conferences.

2- What was your first publication, what was it about, and with whom was it published?

The first thing I ever had published was a patriotic poem I wrote in my senior year of High School entitled "My Baby Country." I don't remember what poetry contest it was anymore, but I was awarded a really nice plaque with the poem written on it as well as $50. I didn't win first place, but I was happy that it made it to the top 5.

3- Could you tell us more about 'Over the seventh Mountain'?

The Auslesen Seven, over the Seven Mountains is actually a sequel to The Auslesen Seven, In the Land of the Unicorn. The main characters are Chris Hailey and James Hoch, two orphans who discovered their magical origins by a chance encounter with a convicted criminal from the Magical Universe.
There is a 3000-year-old war constantly wrecking havoc in the Magical Universe and Chris is chosen by the Dragon gods to bring peace to the Universe.
There is an incredible plot twist that throws the readers off my scent and leaves them wondering what's going on. The Auslesen Seven, Over the Seven Mountains picks up by immediately satiating the readers' needs to have their questions from the first book answered.
I like to mix my favorite topics: Fantasy, Science fiction, as well as satire. Though my humor is subtle, I make fun of everything I think is ridiculous in our actual world by putting my characters in those situations and having them respond to it.
My personal favorite character to write for is the bad guy in the second novel. When you read the book, you will find that Shade is everything a magical bad guy should be and more. Reading the third book (scheduled to come out in October of 2011), you will find that everything you ever thought you knew or understood about the workings of the Magical Universe has just been turned upside down, as an amazing revelation becomes apparent.
I know I sound cryptic, but I don't want to give away anything. Just know that anyone who LIKES fantasy has LOVED my books.

4- What feature of your latest works are you the most proud about?

I am most proud of the way I have been able to bring subtle humor and symbolism into my writing without it taking away from the actual story. If the reader misses my hidden messages, he/she will not miss out on any plot points. The symbolism is merely there to enhance the story, not make it.

5- Who are your inspirations? What authors do you think helped you or motivated you along your path?

My favorite author of all time it Roald Dahl (Matilda, witches). Next would be L. Frank Baum (Wizard of Oz) and lastly Stephen King.

6- How do you plan on promoting your book? What is it like working with your current publisher?

With two descent reviews to back me up--Sacramento Book review calls my first book "intriguing" while Kirkus Book review says "The Words are delightful" -- I plan on getting the book on major bookstore shelves as soon as humanly possible. Then I will be doing small book tours in my local area (Hampton Roads area of Virginia)

7- Who helped you along with the book, and how?

I had a few English majors read the second book and help me out with grammatical errors as well as plot points that I missed. I cannot thank them enough, although I will keep their names to myself as I do not have their permission to say their names within any article I write or any interview questions I answer.

8- What are your future projects? Do you plan on continuing the series? Do you intend to stay with the same publishing company?

I am currently taking a break from fantasy and endeavoring to write a science fiction piece I've been working on off and on for almost 4 years. The third book of the Auslesen Seven series will be out by next October as promised, but I need to take a break from those characters and get this story out of my head.
As for staying with the same publishing company... that depends on how successful the marketing is with them. As much as I want to be an artist, this business does cost money and I need to be with the best people who can get my book out there to the most people.

9- Anything else our readers should know about Zachary Schmitz?

I grew up in a farmer's community, joined the Navy at the age of 18. By the age of 20, I was promoted to Petty Officer Second class (sergeant equivalent) and given my own division of 10 men and women to lead. I was forced to mature very quickly and thusly have a very strange sense of humor for only being 24 years old.
By the age of 21, I was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps achievement medal for superior performance in teaching my entire fleet a new operations system for a top secret operation. In all honesty, I really can't tell you more... or I'd have to kill you. ;)
I left the military to be with my wife and start a family as well as a writing career, having experienced some real life outside the comfortable confines of my small farming community.

10- Where can our readers get your books?

Any and all my books are available through any major online bookstore or at your local bookstore's ordering desk. Just type in the search bar: The Auslesen Seven and it will bring you to both my books, available in eBook, hardcover and paperback.
I'm crazy about eBooks. They're the cheapest way to get a great book and you don't have to overstuff your carryon bag with bulky books when taking a trip. I like that.

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