Thursday, June 30, 2011

Author Interview: Christine E. Schulze!

Book Details:
Title: The Silver Stag 
Series: The Gailean Quartet 
Genre: YA Fantasy 
Release: February 26, 2010
Paperback: 196 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace
Language: English
ISBN-10: 144999055X
ISBN-13: 978-1449990558
Purchase: Amazon

  Author Interview:
Christine E. Schulze

Hi, Christine! Thanks for stopping by! Can you tell us a little bit about Chrysillee and the inspiration behind her story?
The inspiration for Chrysillee’s character is tied with strong, unbreakable bonds to the inspiration for Gail’s character, for whom the series is named after; The Gailean Quartet is, in essence, Gail’s story, though there is a lot more going on than her personal tale in each book. Still, her story is woven throughout, and without her, there would never be a series.

When I first started college, I had been going through a hard emotional issue at home for a while. Upon taking my first class with Dr. Gail Hagler Fleming, I fell in love with her and adopted her as a second mother of sorts. She was a brilliant teacher, and more than that, a sincerely caring teacher.

At some point, I suppose I became a bit of a stalker. I joined choir after seeing them perform, not only because they were great, but especially because I didn’t want to never see Mrs. Fleming again. I used my love for her and the relationship I crafted in my imagination—and the books—to fill an emotional void.

At some point, I told her how I felt. She was able to still care and sympathize instead of being weirded out and suggested a great counselor at school for me to talk to. Between that, and her just being there in my music classes, Mrs. Fleming helped me through a hard time. Often, just being in choir made me feel better. I suppose it’s true what they say that, in being a teacher, you often don’t know most of the impact you make in students’ lives, but you do make a lot.

All this explains the need for me to create Chrysillee and why she is so close to Gail’s character, if in a less creepy way. Chrysillee is me more than many of my other characters who represent me. She mirrors a particular time in my life, immortalizing it and the people who helped me through. God bless for giving those people to me.

Oh, and Chrysillee being modeled after me also explains many of her quirks as well, such as my naming Mrs. Fleming’s Hyundai Accent “Kiwi”. ^_^

Is there a scene in THE SILVER STAG that you absolutely love and could never cut? 
Well, I honestly love all of the scenes; I never write anything I don’t love, because I figure if I don’t fall in love with what I write, neither will my readers. But I must say that the scenes which could never be cut are the end scenes with Gail and then the after-story with Lil Gail as well. The emotional pull of these scenes is so powerful if bittersweet, and as the end to not only a book but an entire series, I believe they really do a brilliant job of not only wrapping up Gail’s story, which weaves through the books from start to finish, but also of bringing the entire story of The Gailean Quartet to an end.

Another aspect which heightens the poignant emotions of these scenes for me is a song I composed called “Siren of the Woods/Reflection”. The first part of the song accompanies the beginning of The Silver Stag, while the second part reflects The Silver Stag, including “Reflection”.

Finally, another favorite excerpt of mine. It does not come at the end; even though I’ve been talking about those scenes, I don’t wish to give the series finale away. But I truly enjoy the opening of the Silver Stag as well, so without further ado:

“She had never seen a forest as green as the Wood. It seemed ironic. The apparent life and vitality flowing from the lush, green woods, mocking all those who’d entered in the past, never to return again.

“Chrysillee would not become one of those though. She was on a quest, a mission she would sooner die than leave unfulfilled, a journey she was willing to die for to fulfill, if need be.

“The sunlight filtering through the trees emitted a glittering, golden-green light. The Wood smelled thick with sweet, succulent magic luring her forward yet making her sleepy. She stumbled on. The peddler had warned of the legendary dangers of the Wood. She must not allow herself to give in…

“Suddenly, she stopped, listening. She heard it. The music. The sprightly call of the fiddle. She carefully made her way towards it, lured by its enchanting, lively strain. The melody awakened her sleepy spirit and body, spurred her slow steps into a quick walk, then a run, and then—

“She stopped as she emerged into a clearing where a girl danced on feet light as feathers, fingers weaving and skipping across the fiddle as delicately yet boldly as a spider spins her web. Both feet and hands moved deftly, skillfully, swiftly. Her white-gold hair twirled about her like beams of sunlight, as did the full folds of her white-gold dress. Everything shimmered and glowed as she wove in and out of the green-gold beams of light streaming through the trees like the grand pillars of a princess’ inner sanctum.

“Her eyes were closed, but the they burst open, as if she sensed Chrysillee’s presence. A striking, sapphire blue. The girl smiled, still dancing, still playing, her feet not missing a beat, her hands not faltering on a single note, her eyes sparkling in a playful yet powerful sort of way. As Chrysillee continued to watch, she knew her quest would indeed not prove in vain, for she had found the Siren of the Wood, the Sunlit Wind Whisperer. Or maybe she had found Chrysillee.”

Was Chrysillee's character challenging to write?
Not at all, actually. As stated above, Chrysillee is related largely to myself and a particular time of my life. She reflects that time and the importance Gail Fleming played in my life.

What songs would be most played on Chrysillee's favorite playlist?
-“Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven; dark and passionate, and oh-so-romantically-dramatic like Chrysillee herself
-“Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis” by Robert Vaugn Williams; my favorite classical piece, dripping with pure fantasy and whimsy, and also the inspiration behind Kezia’s Garden in The Legends of Surprisers series
-Celtic Woman; also has that classical but fantasy feel; their “Scarborough Fair” helped inspire the opening scene of The Silver Stag
-All other things fantasy; Chrysillee also loves soundtracks from her favorite movies, like The Lord of the Rings and Tangled
-Evanescence; yes, this is Chrysillee’s “wild and rebellious” streak. Wild for her anyways, lol. Some of the songs still have a classical feel though, so even this artist is appropriate for her.

What are three fun facts about Chrysillee that no one else knows?
-It is known Chrysillee has food allergies, milk and sugar. However, only Adrian, her steadfast boyfriend, knows that it was she who invented the official recipe for “Hamburgery Goodness”, a delicacy savored in Adelar’s finest restaurants.
-Chrysillee loves singing and making recordings while in the shower. She’s quite good but is too shy to sing in front of many people unless it’s in choir. Then, she’ll sing full-throttle!
-Chrysillee is holding onto three magical paperclips that a lost love gave to her long ago. Though she loves Adrian dearly, she can never forget this first love; besides, the paperclips make very obedient bookmarks, reshaping themselves at her command.

Where is your favorite place to read and write?
I hardly ever write with pen and paper anymore because when I get inspired, the ideas come so fast that I must be quickly typing them or else go mad! I best enjoy typing in the comfort of my new apartment at my faithful Compalina (yes, I name things, much like Chrysillee). Second choices include the SWIC campus library and my sweetheart’s apartment. As far as reading, my bed or couch or anywhere of particular comfort will do.

Are you excited about any other releases or works in progress?
Yes, very! I am looking forward to two releases this year, The Chronicles of the Mira with Writers-Exchange (date not yet set) and Lily in the Snow and Other Elemental Tales, scheduled for October with Old Line Publishing.

I’m also working on a couple books with Book By You, a publisher specializing in personalized books. I’m having great fun with that so far, and also learning much from Kira, the brilliant editor there.

Thanks for your time! Anything else you would like our readers to know?
Just to encourage both readers and all other dreamers alike to pursue their dreams, no matter what they are! With hard work and practice, you can achieve. God has given you gifts, so use them the best you can!

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