Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Christian Schoon: Christmas For Authors

Hi and a big holiday-themed, pine-scented thanks to the BookyRamblings crew for letting me hang around for the day and put my feet up on the furniture here at the blog (I took my shoes off first; I do have some semblance of manners).
I’m a recently minted science fiction writer. My young adult novel Zenn Scarlett tells the story of a young exoveterinarian working with immense, often dangerous but dependably fascinating alien life forms. While dealing with a range of unexpected events during her novice year of training at a science-based cloister near a struggling Earther colony on Mars, Zenn also has to put up with the attentions of  young towner boy Liam Tucker, who may or may not be hazardous to more than her emotional health.  Off-world intrigue ensues…
Lots of readers have asked where the novel’s overall concept materialized from. I get to honestly respond that it sprang from my own real-world experiences. Oh yeah? they say back, collective eyebrow raised. The backstory: I began my writing career at the Walt Disney studios in Burbank. After a couple of years writing film synopses, scripts and other stuff there at the Mouse House, I went freelance. Over the next decade I wrote assorted materials for most of the studios in Los Angeles, including a number of TV scripts for genre programming aimed at teens and tweens (Power Rangers, Warner Bros. animated Batman, a couple of Hanna-Barbera shows, etc.). This fit in nicely with my long-running fondness for… OK, my obsession with… all things sci fi-ish or fantasy-oriented or fringy science-y (I’d toyed with becoming an exobiologist in college, then a marine biologist, then… a journalism major).
Jump ahead a few years. After our house burned down to waist-high ash in a Malibu wildfire, my wife and I decided to move someplace where the threats were more manageable, so we opted for Iowa where all you need to worry about are tornadoes, lethal sub-zero temps and inebriated deer hunters. We bought a 170-year-old farm (I know. All you Brits are laughing, but hey, that’s OLD for this part of the globe.) The farm promptly filled up with animals (current herd of rescued horses in various pastures/paddocks stands at 19). I also started helping out and hanging around with various animal welfare groups in the area, which put me in close quarters with a number of awesome exotic animal veterinarians. You see where this is headed, right? These vets worked on more than the usual cats and dogs, i.e.: black bears, cougars, 17-foot Burmese pythons, cobras, copperheads, rattlesnakes, iguanas, blue-tongued skinks, skunks, ferrets, possums, raccoons, coyotes, llamas, emus, flying squirrels and… I could go on.
When I finally decided it was time to try my hand at writing books, my entrenched geeky-ness spilled all over my animal-fanboy-attitude and a novel about an intrepid, fearless, often disastrously over-confident exovet was the natural-born love-spawn.  I was then lucky enough to land a primo literary agent (who rescued my manuscript when he came across it while cleaning out his Kindle; long story…). He was then skilled enough to sell Zenn in a two-book deal to the awesome genre-factory known as Angry Robot Books and their YA imprint, Strange Chemistry.  Zenn’s adventures continue in the series’ next installment, Under Nameless Stars, due out in Spring of 2014.
And that’s my story and the story behind my story. Thanks again to the BookyRamblings gang for letting me drop by. Cheers!
Author contact: 
Author blog:
Literary agent contact: Adam Schear, DeFiore and Co., New York (212) 925-7744 x 109

Publisher contact: 

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