Today’s Writers’ Corner post will feature an interview with the lovely Erin Schulz! She is the author of Super Doll, released December 2019 by W.S. Beetle & Company.
What do you love about writing?
Even as a little girl, I suffered from insomnia and, in a way, I am grateful because insomnia made me a writer. During those long, dark hours when I would be awake and alone in the middle of the night, I would make up elaborate stories and then write them down the next day. The stories kept me company and they still do. What I love about writing is that it is the perfect antidote for loneliness.
Are you a planner or pantser (or a bit of both?)
I think I am a bit of both because I had a general idea of the plot and setting before I started writing, although I do not work with an outline. In the case of Super Doll, I knew my main character, Piper, would go to the Caribbean and become a pawn between the leader of the island and the Black Mariahs. I also knew she would fall in love. But that is about it. The rest came to me as I started writing. The only other thing I do to plan is to pick out names beforehand. I have an old baby names book and I like to go through it and find ones for my main characters.
If you are a planner: How do you outline your novel? If you a pantser: Do you have any tips for solving plot problems along the way?
My tip for solving plot problems is to step away from your computer or typewriter, or in my case, putting my fountain pen down. (I can’t type so I still handwrite everything in cursive and then a typist who works with me puts it into Word). My plot problems are usually solved when I get outside and start walking or jogging, alone, with my music. I try to visualize the part I am stuck on as though it is a scene in a movie and eventually the images will come to me and then I’ll write them down.
When did the idea for your novel Super Doll first come to you?
My family is in the boat business and we often traveled to the Caribbean for work. In those days, it was rather exotic to travel there, and I always told myself one day I would write about a girl who goes there for her first adventure. Tortola and Saint Lucia are the basis for the fictional island of Carabajel. Also, I attended Catholic school growing up and I became intrigued by the mysterious nature of nuns and convents. I wondered what it would be like if a sect of nuns “went rogue.” And I always thought a convent would be a great setting for a gothic novel. Super Doll borrows some of the Gothic elements and has an undercurrent of suspense.
Your publisher, W.S. Beetle & Company, is a small-press publisher. Why did you select this route of publishing compared to publishing with the Big 5, or self-publishing? What is your experience with small-press?
In 2008, my family and several colleagues formed W.S. Beetle & Company to publish books for the marine industry. I was fortunate that it was therefore easy for me to work with W.S. Beetle to publish my first book, The King and Mrs. Simpson: The True Story of the Commoner Who Captured the Heart of a King even though it wasn’t about boats. When I wrote Super Doll, it seemed only natural to work with them again. In general, using a small press allows a writer to retain control and rights over their work. From what I understand, it is very difficult for a new writer to be published by the Big 5, but I never tried myself. I think using a small press is a fantastic option for writers as long as there is a team of professional editors, formatters, and cover designers involved.
About the Book
Rebellious 17-year-old Air Force brat, Ruth “Piper” Pfeiffer, has always dreamed of seeing the world. When she wins a contest to spend eight weeks on the mysterious Caribbean island of Carabajel studying Spanish she jumps at the chance. Carabajel is a stunning landscape, and her jet-set classmates are rich and glamorous, but nothing prepares her for a lurking darkness behind the island’s lush beauty. From the moment she lands on the island things are amiss. Haunted by a strange sense of déjà vu, she soon notices the locals are taken aback by her mere presence. Before long she finds herself a pawn between the islands two warring factions – the ruling leader, General Miguel Castillo, and Malfaedra, the high priestess of the Black Mariahs, an order of nuns who have turned to black magic. When General Castillo’s son, Julian, falls in love with her, Piper finds herself in a race against time and a hurricane to uncover the truth of her connection to Carabajel.
About the Author
Erin Schulz is an American writer from Newport, Rhode Island. She holds a baccalaureate in history from Fordham University in New York City and a postgraduate degree in international affairs from American University’s School of International Service. She is also a graduate of the Swiss finishing school, Institut Villa Pierrefeu. She lives in California.
Psst!!! My 3-year blogiversary giveaway is still happening!! I am giving away $40USD and $20USD on BookDepository to 2 lucky winners (available internationally.) Click here (or the happy fishy below) to check out my giveaway post.