I had the pleasure of making Andrew G. Schneider’s acquaintance after two of our articles for Dungeons & Dragons Insider contained some overlapping material. (Both adventures were set in the Chaos Scar, but Andrew’s “Scarred for Life” connected nicely with my adventure “Reflections of Ruin” thanks to an exceptional ogre and the Deck of Many Things.) We continued to correspond and commiserate about the joys of freelance and have even managed to get a game or two in on occasion.
Recently, Andrew published not one but two novels so I took a few minutes to lob some questions his way, chat about YA fiction, and see what he has planned now that Nothing Left to Wish For and Undercaffeinated and Overexposed: The Tale of a Coffee Shop Princess are off his desk.
5 Questions for Andrew G. Schneider
What led you to release your novels Nothing Left to Wish For and Undercaffeinated and Overexposed: The Tale of a Coffee Shop Princess at the same time?
Timing. Not to say that the markets were ready or the stars aligned. It amounted to having both novels ready at the time I exhausted traditional avenues of publishing, I learned about e-publishing, and received the cover art.
Both books are YA offerings, what appeals to you about YA fiction?
People always say to write what you know. Maybe I’m just a teenage girl at heart? Seriously though, I think it’s the themes of change, transformation, and uncertainty that draw me. Figuring out who you are and where you want to be in life can lead to some interesting (and often dubious) decisions that make for great fiction.
What niche do these books fill that you think is missing, or maybe just under-represented, in YA fiction?
Through no fault of my own I wrote strong female protagonists who resolve situations on their own merits, as opposed to beating the male characters on their terms. Niche-wise, Undercaffeinated and Overexposed: The Tale of a Coffee Shop Princess was written about fairy tale characters in the modern world before that became a “thing”, so it was under-represented when I started writing. Nothing Left to Wish For, a desert adventure inspired by Arabian myth, is a growing trend. Novels have a necessarily long fuse, and mine took an average of 3 years to finish. Not having a working crystal ball, I try to write stories that remain relevant, regardless of time or trends.
There’s already a short story, Cool, With Plenty of Water, featuring Mr. Tamish Briggs, that comes packaged with the novel and is also available for free online (I recommend checking out the version hosted at fellow writer Alana Joli Abbott’s website if you’re considering purchasing the book. There’s a surprise at the end starting February 1st). Beyond that, I’ll give you the classic Hollywood answer: “I’d love to write in that setting again.” Translation: If the stars align, if the book does well and there’s demand from fans, or if I just feel like it – then yes. No story is ever “finished”, though sometimes the possibility of a larger world – or a sequel – is better than actually writing one (I can think of a few novels & movies that fit that bill). I never know what my next project will be until I’m hip deep in the writing – I don’t hold stories in my head – so wait and see.
Building off of that, what’s next for you?
I’m currently working on Robin Hood: Ghosts of Sherwood Forest [working title], a piece of interactive fiction (read: a text-based game for tablets, smartphones, and your internet browser) with Choice of Games. Build your legend as Robin Hood and choose your path through the forest, the romance of Maid Marian, and how you defeat the Sheriff of Nottingham — or maybe none of the above. It’s a mammoth game of epic, interactive proportions. Every page you get to make a choice, every choice you make changes the story, and every story is different. It’s like writing a dozen novels at once. Look for it, hopefully, in late 2014.
Nothing Left to Wish For and Undercaffeinated and Overexposed: The Tale of a Coffee Shop Princess
You can pick up either Nothing Left to Wish For or Undercaffeinated and Overexposed: The Tale of a Coffee Shop Princess (but really, why not both?) via Smashwords, the iTunes store, and Barnes & Noble. You can also check out Andrew G. Schneider’s website here.
Also, watch this space as the books will also soon be made available in other formats.