Where are you from:
Elizabeth Schechter has been called one of the top erotica and alternative sexuality writers in the world. Her writing credits include the award-winning steampunk erotic romance House of Sable Locks, the science fiction BDSM duology Tales from the Arena, and the Celtic fantasy Princes of Air. Her shorter work has appeared in anthologies edited by D.L King (Carnal Machines), Laura Antoniou (No Safewords), and Cecilia Tan (Jingle Balls; Like a Prince).
Elizabeth Schechter was born in New York at some point in the past. She is officially old enough to know better, but refuses to grow up. She lives in Central Florida with her husband and son, and a most accepting circle of friends who are both very amused and very proud of the pervy, fetish writer in their midst.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Right now, things are quiet on the release front — I have two novels in various stages of production at my publishers, one that I’m trying to sell, and one that I’m writing.
I’ll be making a few appearances this year. In April, I’ll be a guest at Oasis (http://oasfis.org/oasis/index.php ), in August I’ll be at Speculative Fiction: South East (http://sfse2016.com/) and in November I’ll be a guest at Chessiecon (http://chessiecon.org/index.html ).
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil. I think I wrote my first story in third or fourth grade. I’ve learned a lot since then!
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
After my first sale in 2009 — a short story entitled The Hand You’re Dealt.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first short story was completely spur of the moment, a “Hey, I can do that!” response to an open call from Circlet Press.
I wrote my first novel because a short story that I’d written was rejected (again, by Circlet) with the editorial note of “The story isn’t finished.” That story grew into the novel Princes of Air, which was eventually acquired by Circlet.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I don’t think so, but my readers would disagree.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I try to come up with something that fits, but occasionally my editors have other ideas. The original title of my most recent novel was The School. My editor decided it wasn’t enough, so we brainstormed and came up with Counsel of the Wicked.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I never see the messages until writers point them out to me later. I’m just telling stories.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic ?
At the heart, I hope the relationships are realistic, but since I write science-fiction romance, nothing else would be.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Counsel of the Wicked was based partially on the news, and partially on the historic ruins of a notorious boys school in North Carolina that I passed six times in one day.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Two authors in particular — Jacqueline Carey and Laura Antoniou. I’ve had the honor of telling Jacqueline that it’s all her fault — I started writing erotic content while playing a game based on her Kushiel books. And I’ve been privileged to work with Laura and to now have some of my work be part of her Marketplace universe.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Right now, I’m reading The Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer. I think it should be recommended reading for all writers and artists.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
New or new to me? I’m chronically behind the times. I just discovered NK Jemison’s Hundred Thousand Kingdoms books, and she’s amazing, but this series has been around a few years now. Same with Scott Lynch and the Gentleman Bastard series.
One author I need to start reading is Moira Katson. She’s another alumna of the Kushiel game that got me started. I didn’t know until recently that she’d gone on to become a writer, too!
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Right now, I’m finishing the Rebel Mage trilogy — the series started with Counsel of the Wicked. Book two is Burden of Truth, and is with my editor. Book three is Sins of the Father, and is still mostly in my head.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I have an entire cadre of ladies who I love like sisters, and who are behind me 110%.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not a word. I love my editors. They make me look awesome!
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
It started young, and I really can’t remember not being interested in writing.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
My current WIP is Sins of the Father, the third book in the Rebel Mage trilogy. There isn’t much I can tell you about this scene without spoiling things. In a nutshell, Matthias and his friends are trying to find the identity of whoever has been trying to kill Matthias.
“That’s a good idea,” Tam murmured, not looking up. “Matt, how many different version of the Codex are there?”
Before Matthias could answer, Ilane did. “Is that rhetorical?” she asked in response. “I’ve already found… let me think. Seventeen?”
“Seventeen?” Matthias gasped. “Did you find one of the originals?”
“You’d have to tell us which one that would be,” Ilane said. “I’ve put the copies we’ve found away, out of sight. Just in case. I’ll show you later.”
Matthias nodded. “Found anything else interesting?”
“Spell books,” Tam answered, still not raising his head. He was flipping through a large book on his lap. “This is some scary shit.” He looked up and blanched. “Sorry, Auntie.”
“I’ve heard worse, Tam,” Rachel said. She looked very pleased at the honorific.
Matthias handed the bundle to his grandmother and went to crouch next to Tam, wincing as a sharp pain shot through his knee.
“Sit down before you can’t walk tomorrow,” Tam said absently. He tapped the page with one finger. “Can you do this?”
“Depends on what this is,” Matthias answered, sitting next to Tam on the floor and craning his next to read the page. “Can I see?”
Tam handed the book to him, and Matthias settled the heavy tome on his knees and started to read. The spell looked similar to the truth-spell he’d just used on Uriah, but there was more to it. He read further, then shuddered and closed the book.
“Scary is right,” he said, putting the book off to the side and looking at it as if it were going to bite him. “I’ll have to read it at some point, but I think it will be to learn what not to do. Then I’m going to burn them, so that no one else knows how to do that.”
“What did you call it, Tam?” Ilane asked. “Something about snakes?”
“Bird-meets-snake,” Tam answered. “A lot of the writing that the Elders did was like that. The way they twisted things. That page, that was a truth-spell at the heart of it, wasn’t it?”
Matthias looked at Tam in surprise. “How did you know that?”
Tam blinked, then laughed. “You jumped right to the spell, didn’t you? Did you even look at the rest? At the description?” He cleared his throat, then intoned, “For the finding of secrets long buried, and the confession of sins long hidden — that’s a truth spell, or I’ll eat the damned book.”
“Don’t do that,” Ilane said. “I’d have to treat you for poisoning. Was that the door?”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
It’s not so much challenging as it is frustrating, but sex scenes slow me down to a snail’s pace. I need to be sure that the scene reads just right, so I get very fussy about it.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t have just one. I do have writers that I go to when I’m too tired to read a new book. Anne Bishop, Jacqueline Carey, Robert Heinlein, Spider Robinson, Mercedes Lackey, Laura Antoniou, Cecilia Tan.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not yet, but I’ll be travelling this year.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Depends on the books. When I go through a publisher, they have an art team. The design on House of Sable Locks was done by Cecilia Tan. When I self-published the Tales from the Arena series, my covers were designed by Carey Abbott.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Focus. I’m also a homeschooling mom, so it’s quite the juggling act!
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I’m learning so much about asexuality that I never knew.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just keep writing. We’re all horrible when we start — I wrote five novels before I sold one, and those first five are horrible. I wouldn’t line the birdcage with them right now! At some point, I might go back and rework them, but not yet.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Oh, boy. I have to say it was a Narnia book. I love CS Lewis.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
There are several online friends who I only ever knew virtually, and who died before I could ever meet them in person. Given the chance, I’d love to have actually sat down for coffee with Effingham and with Philip the Foole.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I knit, and I make jewelry
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I’m a huge Henson fan, so I love going back and watching things like The Dark Crysal and Labyrinth and Fraggle Rock.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I like comfort food. But my idea of comfort food is Italian peasant food — risotto, polenta, pastina, that kind of thing. I love polenta with a fried egg on top.
My favorite color is purple and I listen to just about anything in music. My current playlist includes Van Canto and the soundtrack from Hamilton.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I’ve done a lot of things. I was a teacher. I was a jeweler, and I’m a mom. I’ve never stopped doing any of those.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My website is http://elizabethschechterwrites.com
Amazon Authors page http://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Schechter/e/B006J7KPHG