What is your writing schedule like?
-Schwartz: Any time of the day or evening works for me to write, but I would agree with many that evenings are the best time as they are generally quiet and one can focus on his/her work.
How do you think you’ve improved since you began your writing career?
-Schwartz: It’s amazing how quickly a writer can acknowledge his own mistakes, poor character development, and inefficient language usage. I compare my earlier version of Book 1 to the rest of the series and the improvement there in style, content, and layout is very obvious. Like any kind of designer, upon completion a writer asks himself the enduring question: how would you do it differently next time? I’ve not only become wiser with story creation, description, and layout, but also more show and public relations savvy as I am self-published and attend many book shows and conventions to advertise and sell my books. As with any other discipline, the learning here never ends.
When did you want to become an author and why?
-Schwartz: This story makes and examination of religious fanaticism and gang violence, all woven into a superhero dynamic duo action-adventure. The terror attacks on Sept 11, 2001 inspired me to write about the controversial issue of killing in the name of God, all in an attempt to find an answer. As an elementary school student I loved writing stories, however ridiculous, so I felt the time had come to retread that passion.
What is your favorite part of the writing process?
-Schwartz: My favorite part is writing the climatic conclusion of a particular episode or story. The awesome ending will always race in your mind like a wild animal beating on the cage bars to escape. Writing is a slow hobby, so when the end is finally being written and taking shape it’s an exciting and rewarding experience.
What advice would you give aspiring authors?
-Schwartz: I tell all aspiring authors to always have a writing utensil and a small notebook handy. You won’t think of everything sitting at your desk. Your best ideas oftentimes come when engaged in menial labor, running an errand, exercising, or snoozing in bed. Rest is also excellent advice. Writing is a slow hobby; don’t expect anything to happen quickly. When you force the words onto paper it becomes obvious and the narrative sounds tired and repetitive. Taking a week off between segments is a good idea. Let your mind recover and conceive fresh ideas.
Who is your favorite character throughout your books and why?
-Schwartz: There are three main characters in the Ratarra series, so it’s hard to choose one favorite. All three of them are different and unique in their own way, but more importantly they each offer a particular viewpoint in the story, one we can all relate to. Damian is very ideological, passionate, and emotionally involved with his divine mission. Cam just likes to have fun and cause havoc on the bad guys. Riman, their mentor, is an atheist, a master of guises, a spy, and mechanical engineer. Each have their own perspective on the issue involved with the story, and I can understand each one. As this story involves religious issues, I felt it important to include both theist and atheist attitudes.
If you could live in any fictional universe what would it be?
- Schwartz: The Star Wars universe looks the most appealing to me. I’d love to fly a spaceship from system to system, carrying a blaster, peddling some rare merchandise with some alien vigilantes, and perhaps being drawn in to the larger galactic struggle with the Empire to become some unlikely hero or ace pilot. Learning the Force would be an incredible spiritual adventure, but for that mental and physical crucible I can wait until I’m ready. The time for Yoda will come as the Force wills, you see.
About the Author
Tell us a little about yourself:
I’m an average guy, mild-mannered and soft-spoken, father of three grown children and husband of twenty-five years. I work at a grocery chain by day to make ends meet. I enjoy gardening, writing, tabletop wargaming, and non-fiction reading (mostly history).