C.L. Schneider grew up in a small Kansas town on the Missouri River, in a house of avid readers and overflowing bookshelves. Her first full-length novel was penned at sixteen on a type-writer in her parent’s living room. With her debut novel, The Crown of Stones: Magic-Price, she has fulfilled her lifelong dream of becoming a published author. Currently residing in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and two sons, C. L. spends her days torturing characters, drinking too much coffee, and daydreaming about the zombie apocalypse.
Magic-Scars, the second book in The Crown of Stones trilogy was released earlier this year. She is currently working on the third and final installment in the trilogy.
Angela B. Chrysler: I want to take a moment to welcome C.L. Schneider, the author of The Crown of Stones series available on Amazon. Thank you so much for speaking with me, Cindy. Please take a moment to tell us about your book.
C.L. Schneider: The Crown of Stones is an adult epic fantasy that follows the trials of Ian Troy, a man born with an addiction to magic. Descended from the fallen race of the Shinree, Ian lives in a war-torn world plagued by prejudice and slavery. His people are bred and solid like cattle, their magic suppressed by a drug that steals their mind and their will.
In an attempt to end a war that has been raging since before he was born, Ian wields the Crown of Stones, an ancient Shinree artifact with untold power. Unaware of the crown’s true purpose, Ian unleashes its magic—with catastrophic consequences.
A decade later, Ian is still haunted by the tragic aftermath of that day. Living in isolation, he struggles to control his deadly addition to magic. He strives to forget; running from a past that is quickly catching up to him.
ABC: How did you come up with the idea for your book?
CLS: The Crown of Stones trilogy was inspired mostly by my creation of the main character, Ian Troy. With him, I wanted to pay homage to some of the characters I fell in love with many years ago when I would lose myself in the overflowing bookshelves in my parent’s house. I wanted Ian to be walk in two worlds, to be both cowboy, and outlaw, hero and monster.
As Ian evolved, the story developed around him. I always intended magic to be the central focus. Since flawed characters are the most interesting to me, I combined the two and magic became his greatest flaw.
The idea behind the magic came from this amazing chunk of amethyst that used to sit on my bookshelf. I’d had it for years and always wanted to write it into a story. In fact, the original title, back during the first incarnation of Ian’s story, was The Amethyst Crown.
ABC: Stories always require some form of research. What kind of research did you do for your book?
CLS: The bulk of my research was in gemstones and crystal healing. Every spell used or described in the books relates in some fashion to how the stone is actually used in new age healing. Often though, I would twist the results depending on the type of magic the Shinree was casting or referring to.
For instance, if in new age healing a stone is attributed to curing headaches, a Shinree healer might use it for the same thing. But a Shinree soldier, like Ian, would use the stone for causing pain in the head, not curing it. A stone used in real life by new age healers to calm a person’s fears, would in a soldier’s hands be used for bringing your worst fears to life.
ABC: Which scene or chapter was the hardest for you to write?
CLS: I can honestly say that none of the scenes in Magic-Price were hard to write, if you’re referring to them being emotionally draining or the subject matter being difficult. However, there were scenes that I rewrote multiple times because I felt they weren’t coming across the way I wanted. One in particular was a chapter where Ian is dreaming. There was a lot to convey. It’s also the first time you see Ian’s nemesis, King Draken of Langor. The scene was the perfect introduction for his character, but I needed him to come across just right from the start.
ABC: Please describe your favorite scene or chapter in your book and tell us why it’s your favorite?
CLS: That’s a tough question. I have several. But the first one that pops into my head is a scene where Ian discovers the truth about his past. That’s something that happens in stages, actually. The layers are peeled back over multiple scenes. Those are some of my favorites. I love each time a piece of Ian is revealed. The reader learns who he really is right along with him.
CLS: Ian is definitely my favorite character. There is no one I love to torture more. But one of my favorites to write is the exiled prince, Malaq Roarke. Calm, cool, and collected, Malaq’s suave sophistication, his humor, and charisma (not to mention his way with the ladies), gives birth to some really fun dialogue. He has an unmistakable air of mystery about him that makes you wonder if Malaq Roarke is really who he seems.
ABC: I once read that every author is simply a compilation of his/her favorite authors. Which authors have done the most to influence your writing and why?
CLS: My earliest introduction to fantasy was through the beautifully penned The Mists of Avalon by Marian Zimmer Bradley. I’d never read anything like it. That book made me want to write fantasy over any other genre. From there, I ventured into the worlds of Andrew Norton, Mary Steward, Jennifer Roberson, and C. J. Cherryh. Roberson’s Chronicles of the Cheysuli had some amazing characters, and CJ Cherryh’s world building was topnotch. In more recent years, I was drawn to the works of Simon Green and Jim butcher. I was impressed by their easy first person style, and learned a lot about writing my favorite POV.
ABC: “Story” has always been the center of all human cultures. We need it. We seek it out. We invent it. What does “story” mean to you?
CLS: Stories have always been very near and dear to my heart. As a young girl I devoured my family’s over-stuffed bookshelves. By the time I was in high school, the stack I carried out of the library was often too tall for me to see over the top. I didn’t read for diversion or hobby. I dived into the pages and lived there. Books were my Tardis, removing me from my small town existence and allowing me to journey through all of time and space. I craved the emotion and excitement I found in those pages. At that time, ‘story’ meant adventure and escape.
When I started truly devoting myself to writing, the meaning became deeper. Creating my own adventures and designing my own means of escape, plotting my own journeys with no restrictions but my imagination, opening up a vein and letting the emotions drain freely out—that’s freedom.
That’s what story means to me: freedom.
ABC: Tells us about your next project.
CLS: I am currently working on the 3rd book in the Crown of Stones trilogy. I’ve nearly completed the first revision and have received some early feedback from my beta readers. The final installment in Ian’s story, entitled The Crown of Stones: Magic-Borne, will be published next winter.
ABC: Where can we find you and your book?
CLS: You can find me on my website http://www.clschneiderauthor.com/
Connect with me via social media.
The first two books in The Crown of Stones trilogy are available on Amazon.
Magic-Price Kindle http://bit.ly/COSBk1Kindle
Magic-Price paperback http://bit.ly/MagicPricePB
Magic-Scars Kindle http://bit.ly/ScarsKindle
Magic-Scars paperback http://bit.ly/MagicScarsPB
ABC: Thank you again, so much for speaking with me.
CLS: The pleasure was all mine, Angela. I appreciate the interview and your continued support.
If you’re interested in reading a review for Crown of Stones Magic-Price visit Books Advisor here.