Welcome, Tricia. Thanks for chatting with me today. Let’s get started!
Do any of your characters take over and write the book themselves sometimes? Who?
Yes! In fact, I love when they do! When the character takes over my fingers and types away on my laptop. I feel like I’m not really writing this story, I’m just recording what the characters tell me. This happened for Loving Boone, the first book in the Cougar Shifters. The idea for this story came to me in a dream. I knew the problem from the dream, but both main characters had their story to tell. I didn’t even know what was going to happen throughout the story. When I thought it was going in one direction, they swooped in and took it in another. It was a lot of fun to write!
What do you prefer: ebook or print? Why?
This is a difficult question to answer. I love them both! For different reasons. As an avid reader, I absolutely love print. Of course, I grew up with it and knew of nothing else when I was a kid. Except audio cassettes. Does anyone remember those read-along books that came with an audio cassette tape? I loved those! I’m going way back, I guess.
I love print because I love the feel of a book in my hands. Turning the pages to see how long the next chapter is. Can I read just one more chapter before I force myself to go to sleep at night? And, I think, print is easier on the eyes.
However, I love my ebooks, too! First of all, storage is a breeze! I don’t have to construct more bookshelves or *shudder* pack more of my books in boxes to make room on my shelves. There is no limit in the cloud on the internet! Or if there is, I haven’t reached it, yet. Plus, I don’t have to search through box after box to find the book I’m looking for. All I need to do is type in the title or author in the search bar. The book I’m looking for right at my fingertips!
I see the benefits of both, and I would never want to give either of them up!
How long have you been writing? When did you decide to become an author?
I’ve been writing about twenty-five years, but I’ve only been published for ten of those years. I wrote my first novel when I was 15. It was just for fun. I’d had an adventurous dream that I could envision as a story, so I decided to write it down. I spent a week writing that story during my summer vacation. I didn’t think about becoming an author until I turned 18. I took a creative writing class during my senior year of high school. My teacher, Mr. McCormick, mentioned to the class one day that he recommended the students should read my story assignment. I was shocked and pretty sure I turned all shades of red as I sunk into my seat to avoid all the curious stares. The teacher had never brought attention to a kid’s story like that before. I was equally proud and horrified to be put in the spotlight. After class, he pulled me aside to tell me he believed I had talent. He encouraged me to seek publication with my story. That was the first moment in my life that I considered author as a career choice. It had never really occurred to me until that point that authors got paid for writing books. After that, I began reading everything I could find about writing and how to publish. I went to workshops and writing conferences and I started submitting my work to editors and agents.
What did you do when you received your first Acceptance Letter?
My first acceptance arrived via email. I had entered a contest with The Wild Rose Press. Although, my short story didn’t make the cut for the anthology, the editor in charge sent me a message requesting that I submit my manuscript as a regular submission. Not long after, she sent an acceptance letter. I opened the email on the day of my eldest son’s 4th birthday party. With the party finished and my two sons playing with their new toys, I had taken a break from cleaning up. I checked my email, read the message and then started yelling for all to see (which was, of course, only my two little boys!). I stood when they came running over. I grabbed them both in my arms and I danced them around the dining room and kitchen. They laughed and giggled while I spun them around singing, “Mommy’s getting published!”
All writers suffer from writer’s block at least once in their career. What’s your go-to cure?
When I get stuck on a story, I often hop over to another. Sometimes, I need to give myself a break from the story I’m writing. I also like to brainstorm while I take long walks, long showers or long drives. My favorite method when I get stuck is to grab some headphones, pull up a playlist and listen to music while I relax on the sofa. I close my eyes and envision my characters. Sometimes, I like to pretend I’m watching a movie trailer about my book, watching the characters play out their story in my mind while listening to the soundtrack. This often helps me get back on track.
We all need a little inspiration in our lives. What’s your favorite quote and why?
Many of my favorite quotes come from Oscar Wilde. He had an incredible wit that I adore! Cheeky and at times out-right insulting, but always guaranteed to make me smile or laugh at his audacity.
Among my favorite quotes:
“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” ~ Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest
Any advice for the aspiring authors out there? Particularly those who are feeling a little discouraged?
Please, don’t give up. There are so many times in my life where I said to myself, “That’s it. I quit. I need to get a ‘real’ job and give up this daydreaming.” I know it’s difficult, but you must believe in yourself. Believe you will succeed. My first offer of advice, before you even begin writing is to read. Whatever genre you’re interested in, read and read. Then read some more. You’ll learn a lot simply from reading. Also, read as much as you can about the writing craft, then take that knowledge to the books you read. Even when you’re writing, keep reading. Don’t ever stop.
What is your favorite book? Favorite author?
There is no way I can pick only one favorite book or favorite author. I have a top twenty list! You can find the list on my Goodreads page. But I will say among my top favorite books is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. From the moment I started that book, it took me into a place I never knew existed. I fell completely in love with gothic romance from that moment on.
Favorite author is also too much to answer. There’s no way I can ever narrow that down! I’ll say the authors who have influenced me the most are Kelley Armstrong, Maggie Shayne, Gayle Wilson, Elizabeth Thornton, Deborah Simmons and Claire Delacroix/Deborah Cooke.
Besides writing and reading, what are some of your hobbies?
Around the time my fourth baby was born, I’d decided to learn how to crochet again. When I was younger, before my mother passed away, she’d begun to teach me how to crochet. I could make a simple blanket with the stitches she taught me. After she died, I packed my yarn away. It was too painful. It took me a good twenty years to pull that yarn back out and re-learn what she’d taught me. I feel connected again to my mom when I crochet and it’s a beautiful feeling.
I then took it a step further by learning how to knit. As far as I know and can remember, my mom never knew how to knit. This was new territory for me. It looked so complicated! But I was determined, so I drove to a Michaels craft store, bought the how-to books and supplies and by that night, I was knitting.
Crocheting and knitting is one of the most relaxing things I’ve ever done. It’s enjoyable to create something of use out of a simple piece of yarn. I’ve made dozens of baby blankets, baby booties, hats, scarves, sweaters, and even masks during our pandemic days. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments for my masks. Some people have even offered to buy them.
Beth-Ann Miller returns to her Tennessee mountain home to find chaos erupting between her survivalist family and their shape-shifting neighbors. Her father is convinced the were-cougar clan is responsible for the murders occurring in their area and interrogates one of the shifters, Boone Evans, her childhood sweetheart. When Boone declares several members of his shifter family have gone missing including his little brother, Beth-Ann suspects someone else is behind both the murders and abductions.
Boone never expected to see Beth-Ann again. When she frees him from her father’s cabin and promises to help find his brother, Boone doesn’t plan on rekindling their passionate love affair or facing the pain of past mistakes. Nor does he plan on coming face to face with the man responsible for altering his family’s life forever.
With men hunting the were-cougars, can Beth-Ann and Boone risk all to have a future together? Or is loving Boone too high a price to pay?
Boone returned her stare, his green-eyed gaze boring fiercely into her heart, her father’s rage reflected in his gaze. It wounded her to see him look at her with such fury.
Although they hadn’t parted on the best of terms when she left for college, she had done nothing to hurt his people. And she didn’t believe her father would either.
But Boone stared at her with such accusation, he didn’t need to verbalize his thoughts.
She was one of them.
Beth-Ann parted her lips, trying to think of something appropriate to say. Nothing seemed right. What words could she say to fix this? To fix what happened between them.
There was nothing.
So, she closed her eyes, took a deep breath and straightened her shoulders.
When she opened her eyes, he remained straining against his bounds and staring as if he wanted to cut her apart.
But this was Boone.
He’d never hurt her.
She stepped forward. From the corner of her eye, she caught sight of her Uncle Travis about to protest, but she raised her hand to silence him. She stopped when she was an arm’s length away from Boone.
He kept his gaze fastened with hers, not even blinking as she approached.
Beth-Ann gently pushed a few sweat-soaked strands of hair out of his face so she could view his injuries better.
She gasped at the blood seeping from several cuts on his cheeks and around his eyes. Redness discolored his cheekbones from the impact of her father’s fists and swelling was not far behind.
His face was going to be one big bruise.
Even as she stared, the flesh around his left eye was growing puffy.
“You’re going to need ice,” she muttered, more to herself than to him.
“I’m going to need that knife,” he answered, nodding to the dagger still sunk into the floorboards.
“Not here,” she said with a shake of her head. Her father wouldn’t kill him. It wasn’t in his nature. “No one will hurt you here.”
This wasn’t the Boone she left behind. It was as if she gazed into a stranger’s face expecting to see the boy she remembered. He might look the same, but his eyes had changed. His soul had changed. He’d been wounded in ways she couldn’t comprehend.
And, he had it right. Despite her beliefs, he’d been hurt by her father’s hand. Geoffrey already inflicted injuries on him that might have killed a normal human.
But Boone wasn’t human, was he?
Tricia Schneider is a multi-genre romance author. From werewolves, vampires and witches to wicked pirates and sexy aliens, she weaves sensual stories where happily-ever-after is a guarantee. She firmly believes there is a book for everyone. A sentiment she gained after years of working as Assistant Manager and bookseller at Waldenbooks. After the store closed, she turned to writing full-time, publishing paranormal, historical, fantasy, sci-fi and gothic romances.
Tricia lives in Pennsylvania with her four children and two rescued cats. When she’s not typing away on her laptop, she’s riding shotgun in a ’67 Impala while keeping her eyes open for a madman in a Big Blue Box.
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