For SPFBO 9 I’m returning to my old tradition, where I offer to the authors in our batch a spotlight on Queen’s Book Asylum. While in previous years I created a new feature, this year I let them choose between all of my available ones: What the Hungarian?!, Tales from the Asylum, Stuck in the Pages, Party with the Stars, To Be Continued…, as well as the regular author spotlight options of an interview, and a guest post.
Kate Schumacher, the author of Shadow of Fire, chose an interview and so, we sat down for a chat!
KATE SCHUMACHER is the author of Shadow of Fire and Heart of Flame (The Fires of Aileryan series) .
When she isn’t writing, Kate is reading her way through an ever-growing TBR pile. She has wanted to be an author since she was a child, and finds time to write in the in-between moments of life.
Kate completed a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and Journalism, and an Honours degree in Screenwriting, followed by a Graduate Diploma in Education.
She lives in Northern NSW, Australia, with her partner, two children and three very spoiled cats.
Connect with Kate Schumacher
A potent power is about to be unleashed.
Forbidden and forged in flame.
Control over the elements is a gift from the Gods, but since the creation of the Rift, fire magic has been outlawed in Merawuld. The Rift is a source of mystery, fear, and, for some, a tempting source of power.
Ash is a fire caster who has spent years hiding her magic, but when her explosive powers reveal themselves she is imprisoned by the Mage Council. Ash’s powers are coveted by the High Mage, who seeks to use her as a pawn against not only his enemies, but his allies as well.
With the Bone Mother’s winter fast approaching, the fae Princess vows to fight against the corrupting influence of power, forming an alliance whose success rests on a human man’s desire for peace; a man who must decide if he will play the game he’s inherited or begin one of his own.
But in Aileryan, the Gods have their own plans. As the Mother of All turns the wheel of the year, the land is brought to the edge of war. Loyalty and courage will be sorely tested as paths intertwine and Fate plays her hand.
If Ash can’t learn to control her magic, the scheming of gods and mortals could spell doom for them all.
Welcome to the Asylum, Kate! Take a seat by the fire, have a glass of beverage of your choice, and tell us something about yourself that’s not in your bio!
Hi and thanks! I’m a musician – player of multiple instruments, master of none really!
Welcome to SPFBO! Is this your first time in the competition? If yes, how did you learn about it? What are your expectations/experiences so far? How do you plan to cope with the stress/waiting? If this isn’t your first time, what advice would you give to first-timers? How did the competition treat you so far?
This is the first time I’ve entered – I missed the deadline last year but this time, I managed to work out the time zone difference (I live in Australia). An author friend told me about it last year. I’m trying not to have any great expectations for how I’ll go with the competition, but I’m enjoying reading all the posts and the general community vibe on the FaceBook group page. As far as dealing with the waiting – I’m not overly patient, so I told myself to just forget, not think about it, not look at any blogs. But that was a lie and I check all the time!
Have you read any other books that entered into SPFBO9? Or are there any that caught your attention?
I’ve seen a few that have grabbed my attention but I’m yet to read anything. I’m so time poor these days and I’m working on the draft of the second book in my new series so that’s my focus at the moment.
Tell us about your self-publishing journey! Why did you decide to take this path? What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of it? What advice would you give to someone who is considering to self-publish?
Years ago, I wrote a contemporary fiction novel and tried the trad pub route but didn’t get anywhere. At the time, self publishing was not what it is now. Hybrid and vanity publishing was about but I decided I wasn’t interested in that path- if I had to pay for it, I may as well do it myself, you know? And I didn’t really want to try trad pub again – not because of fear of rejection or anything like that, but because I’m impatient and didn’t want to wait potentially a long time before getting my book out there. Before I took the self-publishing route I did a lot of research and created a bit of a check-list for myself. I’ve actually got a page on my website that sets all this out. There is so much to do and so much to learn about the industry and I’m sure I’m probably missing something but it’s been okay so far.
What inspires your writing? Do you listen to music, stare into the fire, listen to the whispering of the wind, make deals with the Devil?
I watch the news. The world around me is probably the biggest inspiration – my work is rather political and I absolutely love history and I love trying to dig into what makes people act the way they do. If you were a dictator, for example, what led you there? Why make the decisions you did? What’s been your motivation? I write multiple POV, including the bad guys, so it’s actually lots of fun digging into everyone’s heads.
Is SHADOW OF FIRE your debut novel? If yes, is there anything you’ll do differently with your next book? What were the biggest lessons during the process? If not, was your approach to this novel different to any previous one? Has it gotten easier or harder to write books?
Yes, it’s my debut published novel. I’ve published the second in the series already and am a few months off my third book, which is the first in a new series. I don’t think there is anything I’ve done differently – it’s been more learning what, in terms of marketing in particular, has been the most effective tool.
What was the main inspiration for the story? Which aspect of the book was the most challenging to write and why?
I actually started writing this story twenty years ago, and then put it aside. I didn’t pick it up again I’d started reading fantasy again – twenty years ago, I’d read everything that was around in the market, so I stopped reading fantasy. Fast forward twenty years and there was a whole stack of books I’d not discovered. After reading a bit, I remembered my half-finished book, so I dug it up and off I went. It became a very different story, which I think is because I was different – a lot changes in your life over twenty years. I can’t really remember what inspired me to write it in the first place to be honest, but in the end, what I wanted to do was explore the notion of power and how it changes people, as a positive or negative driver. I wanted to explore what happens to a world thrust into great change without warning and how people responded to that change. I think the most challenging aspect was some of the character arcs – there are nine POV characters and some of them were a bit shy in letting me know exactly what they wanted, and why. So I had to really work to get their stories out.
Which character of your book do you identify with the most and why? Who would you like to live with in an asylum?
I think I identify with aspects of all of them – I couldn’t pinpoint a specific character that is most like me. Even the bad guys have a little of me in them I guess. If I had to pick someone to be in an asylum with … it would depend I guess. If I wanted to be entertained I’d pick Thalion. If I wanted someone who wouldn’t lose their mind, it would be someone like Mahelivar or Senan. If I wanted someone who’d possibly find us a way out, it would be Fox.
If you were a character in your series/book, how would you be described? And what your profession/role would be? How long do you think, you would survive in that world?
I’m not sure how I’d describe myself. Just a normal person I guess? Hahaha I’m bad at this. In real life I’m a teacher, so I could see myself in a role like that. How long would I last? Depends. If I had to survive by my wits and my brains, I think I’d be okay for a while. If I had to rely on physicality – nah, I’m dead. Unless I had a horse. I can ride a horse and I can start a fire and I’ve got a good sense of direction. I might be ok for a while.
What are your plans for 2023? Any particular events you plan to visit?
My third book will be released in a few months. It’s the first in a new 4 book series that will eventually link with my current series. No events – I live in regional Australia. Nothing happens here!
While you are locked in here for eternity, we will allow you to invite one visitor (fictional and otherwise) – who would you invite? And no, they can’t help you to escape.
I think I’d invite my dad to be honest. We could argue about politics and religion for ages and he tells terrible jokes so I guess I’d be amused.
Well then, it was a pleasure to have a chat with you! Please allow these nice attendants to escort you out. We hope you’ll enjoy your stay in the Asylum! Any last words?
I don’t function without coffee so if someone could swing by my room and drop one or five off, that would be awesome! I’ll drink them cold.
Grab a copy of Shadow of Fire by Kate Schumacher!
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