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Interview with Jamie Schultz, author of the Arcane Underworld Novels


Please welcome Jamie Schultz to The Qwillery. Sacrifices, the 3rd Arcane Underworld Novel, is published on July 19th by Intermix. Please join The Qwillery is wishing Jamie a Happy Publication Day!



Interview with Jamie Schultz, author of the Arcane Underworld Novels




TQWelcome back to The Qwillery. Your new novel, Sacrifices (Arcane Underworld 3), is published on July 19th. Has your writing process changed (or not) from when you wrote Premonitions (Arcane Underworld 1) to Sacrifices?

Jamie:  Thanks for having me!

I wouldn’t say my writing process has changed much. I still write an outline, then start the book, then learn some things that cause me to go wildly off script before I finish up. I did, however, start working as far in advance as I could, in an attempt to minimize continuity problems and to help me avoid making decisions I’d have a hard time living with later. For example, I had a draft of Sacrifices (Book Three) already done while I was working on edits to Splintered (Book Two). Of course that draft changed a bunch before completion, but it really helped give me some lines to color inside while cleaning up Book Two. Working that far ahead definitely took some getting used to.



TQWhat do you wish that you knew about book publishing when Premonitions came out that you know now?

Jamie:  It’s… very… slow. Also, there are a lot of things out of your control, which can be a little maddening. The best thing for me was to focus on the work and simply accept those things which I couldn’t control. Which, actually, turns out to be a good practice for keeping one’s blood pressure in a reasonable range in general.



TQTell us something about Sacrifices that is not found in the book description.

Jamie:  An interesting dynamic in the book is that, at the end of Splintered, Genevieve ends up sort of dragooned into helping Sobell. That ends up pitting her against Anna in the race for the relic in this book and testing both her loyalty and her friendship.



TQWhich character in the Arcane Underworld series surprised you the most? Who has been the hardest character to write and why?

Jamie:  Nail surprised me the most, largely by turning out to be a lot more likable than I’d originally expected. I enjoy writing him a lot.

The hardest to write is Karyn, no doubt. Her visions of the future are messy, often metaphorical, and slopped right on top of her perception of the real world, which makes anything from her point of view particularly challenging to write in a way that it’s clear to the reader what is really going on. In addition, her motivations change considerably throughout Book Three—in a good way, I think, but one that added a fair amount of complexity to what had previously been simple survival.



TQSacrifices is the final novel in the Arcane Underworld series. How does it feel to wrap up the series?

Jamie:  It’s a bummer. I got pretty attached to the setting and the characters, and overall it fits my vibe pretty well. On the other hand, working on something new is always exciting, so it’ll be good to focus on that for a while.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in the Arcane Underworld series?

Jamie:  I don’t know that I’ve tackled social issues in a head-on sort of way in these books, but there’s definitely a constant undercurrent. The Arcane Underworld series is about criminals, for the most part, and even in a highly dramatized setting, it’s just not possible to write about crime without acknowledging the sort of poverty and desperation that often gives rise to it. Particularly for Sacrifices I did a lot of research on street gangs, and all the cultural and economic factors that play a role in generating and sustaining street gangs are, shall we say, sobering. I hope some of that comes through in the book.


TQWhich question about your Sacrifices of the Arcane Underworld series do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Jamie:  What’s your favorite scene from the book?

There’s a bit where Anna is talking about a bad episode from when she was growing up that I’m really proud of. I feel like it gives a lot of insight into her character as well as into one of the other characters in the book, and it’s kind of a touching scene, inasmuch as anything I write qualifies. When I think of this book, that’s the first scene that pops into my head. It’s not a climactic scene and not, perhaps, even critical to the plot, but it’s just right.



TQPlease give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Sacrifices.

Jamie:

“Get rid of it. All of it. Next thing you know, I’ll be huddled around that [stuff] calling it ‘my precious.’”

Or how about:

“My nephew’s getting worse,” Clarence continued. “He made a dog appear out of thin air two days ago.”

“A . . . dog?”

“I don’t know what it was, okay? It . . . kinda looked like a dog. Same size, four legs, too many teeth. So I’m gonna call it a dog. That a problem?”



TQWhat's next?

Jamie:  I’ve got a pile of projects! I’m most excited about a novel I wrote with a friend of mine. I believe it to be the world’s most bizarre vampire novel, and I expect it will appeal to folks who enjoyed the Arcane Underworld series. I’ve also got a handful of other things I’m kicking around. Too much to write, not enough time!



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Jamie:  Thanks again for having me!





Sacrifices
An Arcane Underworld Novel 3
InterMix, July 19, 2016
eBook, 352 pages

Interview with Jamie Schultz, author of the Arcane Underworld Novels
Things get a little demonic in the latest Arcane Underwold novel from the author of Splintered.

Thanks to their recent involvement with a magus crimelord and his demonic partner in mayhem, occult thieves Anna Ruiz and Karyn Ames are both stuck sharing head space with a demon. But while Karyn’s possession has had the unexpected benefit of focusing her visions of the future, Anna’s demon is spurring on her darkest urges, and it’s only a matter of time before she acts on them—and hurts someone in the process.

To save their skins, the two need to find a mysterious relic. But with their search taking them into some of the darkest places in the arcane underworld, Anna and Karyn will have to ally themselves with a group no self-respecting thief would be caught dead with—the Federal Bureau of Investigation...





Previously

Premonitions
An Arcane Underworld Novel 1
Roc, July 1, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

Interview with Jamie Schultz, author of the Arcane Underworld Novels
TWO MILLION DOLLARS...

It’s the kind of score Karyn Ames has always dreamed of—enough to set her crew up pretty well and, more important, enough to keep her safely stocked on a very rare, very expensive black market drug. Without it, Karyn hallucinates slices of the future until they totally overwhelm her, leaving her unable to distinguish the present from the mess of certainties and possibilities yet to come.

The client behind the heist is Enoch Sobell, a notorious crime lord with a reputation for being ruthless and exacting—and a purported practitioner of dark magic. Sobell is almost certainly condemned to Hell for a magically extended lifetime full of shady dealings. Once you’re in business with him, there’s no backing out.

Karyn and her associates are used to the supernatural and the occult, but their target is more than just the usual family heirloom or cursed necklace. It’s a piece of something larger. Something sinister.

Karyn’s crew and even Sobell himself are about to find out just how powerful it is… and how powerful it may yet become.




Splintered
An Arcane Underworld Novel 2
Roc, July 7, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Interview with Jamie Schultz, author of the Arcane Underworld Novels
“Like a cross between the TV show Leverage and Jim Butcher’s ‘Dresden Files’ books.”—Library Journal
 The author of Premonitions continues his Arcane Underworld saga…

Anna Ruiz is on a mission: Help her friend and partner-in-crime Karyn Ames break free of the tangle of hallucinations and premonitions that have cut her off from reality. With the aid of her crew—ex-soldier Nail and sorcerer Genevieve—she’ll do whatever it takes to get Karyn help, even if it means tracking down every lowlife informant and back alley magic practitioner in the occult underworld of Los Angeles.

But since a magical heist went to hell, the crew has been working for crimelord and doomed magus Enoch Sobell. Between fighting Sobell’s battles with some seriously scary demonic forces and tangling with a group of violent fanatics who want to manipulate Karyn’s abilities for their own gains, Anna, Nail, and Genevieve are beginning to realize they’re in way over their heads.

And now that Karyn’s secret about seeing the future is out, even more unpleasant parties—human and otherwise—are about to come knocking…





About Jamie

Interview with Jamie Schultz, author of the Arcane Underworld Novels
Jamie Schultz is the author of the Arcane Underworld novels, including Premonitions and Splintered. He has worked as a rocket engine test engineer, an environmental consultant, a technical writer, and a construction worker, among other things. He lives in Dallas, Texas.








Website  ~  Twitter @JamieDSchultz

Goodreads


Review: Unhinged by A. G. Howard


Unhinged
Author:  A. G. Howard
Series:  Splintered 2
Publisher:  Amulet Paperbacks, January 6, 2015
Format:  Trade Paperback, 416 pages
      Hardcover and eBook, January 7, 2014
List Price:  $8.95 (Trade Paperback and eBook)
ISBN:   9781419713736 (print); 9781613125342 (eBook)
Review Copy:  Reviewer's Own

Review: Unhinged by A. G. Howard
Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole. She was crowned Queen of the Red Court and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the boy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly appealing Morpheus. Now all she has to do is graduate high school.

That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn't show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.

Could she leave Jeb and her parents behind again, for the sake of a man she knows has manipulated her before? Will her mother and Jeb trust her to do what's right? Readers will swoon over the satisfying return to Howard's bold, sensual reimagining of Carroll's classic.



Trinitytwo's Point of View

In Splintered, (review here) book 1 of the Splintered series, author A.G. Howard demonstrates to her readers that Wonderland is real, but its reality is much more garish, vicious and deranged than Lewis Carroll dared to reveal. Book 2, Unhinged, takes place a year after Alyssa Gardner's return. Alyssa is a descendant of the original Alice and her harrowing adventures in Wonderland have left an indelible mark on her and her family. As her senior year comes to a close, she is looking forward to her immediate future; attending prom, studying art at an English college, and being close to her boyfriend Jeb. However, Alyssa's art has begun mimicking her nightmares and she finds herself creating disturbing and violent images of Queen Red rampaging and destroying Wonderland and its occupants. She soon discovers that her netherling companion, Morpheus, has crossed into her world in human form with hopes of trying to persuade her to return to Wonderland and set things right. But Morpheus isn't the only inhabitant from Wonderland that has crossed into the human world. To protect those she loves, Alyssa must finally embrace her heritage and the dark magical madness that gives her power.

I am seriously enthralled with this YA series. Howard's reinvention of Wonderland is absorbing and fascinating. I'm continually impressed that Howard finds the perfect balance of making the weirdly bizarre positively believable. Alyssa is a great hero. The nature of her dual citizenship gives her a Jekyll and Hyde persona and I have to admit celebrating when she goes full Hyde. She longs for a normal human life and is willing to fight for that, but also recognizes her obligations to Wonderland and her internal struggle for balance feels very realistic.

Love triangles can be tricky but I'm enjoying the bickering, misunderstandings and misconceptions between Alyssa, Jeb and Morpheus. They provide a humorous foil to some stressful situations. Having a daughter of my own, I thought the mother/daughter tensions were realistic and are depicted perfectly.

I have to hand it to A.G. Howard, Unhinged is a real page-turner. I read it in just a few days, excitedly devouring each page well into the wee hours of the morning. Unhinged can stand alone as Howard seamlessly intersperses the pertinent details from Splintered into its pages, but I advise starting on this adventure from its inception. I recommend this book to lovers of Lewis Carroll, admirers of strong female protagonists, and readers who crave adrenaline-packed adventures. It would also appeal to people who love the off-beat. The creepiness of the creatures from Wonderland are the stuff of nightmares and readers will revel in their sinister deliciousness. Let Unhinged draw you deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole.




Previously

Splintered
Splintered 1
Amulet Paperbacks, February 18, 2014
Trade Paperback, 400 pages
      Hardcover and eBook, January 1, 2013

Review: Unhinged by A. G. Howard
This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.




Upcoming in Paperback

Ensnared
Splintered 3
Amulet Paperbacks, December 15, 2015
Trade Paperback, 416 pages
      Hardcover and eBook, January 6, 2015

Review: Unhinged by A. G. Howard
After surviving a disastrous battle at prom, Alyssa has embraced her madness and gained perspective. She’s determined to rescue her two worlds and the people and netherlings she loves. Even if it means challenging Queen Red to a final battle of wills and wiles . . . and even if the only way to Wonderland, now that the rabbit hole is closed, is through the looking-glass world—a parallel dimension filled with mutated and violent netherling outcasts.

In the final installment of the wildly popular Splintered trilogy, Alyssa and her dad journey into the heart of magic and mayhem in search of her mom and to set right all that’s gone wrong. Together with Jeb and Morpheus, they must salvage Wonderland from the decay and destruction that has ensnared it. But if they succeed and come out alive, can everyone truly have their happily ever after?

Review: Splintered by A. G. Howard


Splintered
Author:  A. G. Howard
Series:  Splintered 1
Publisher:  Amulet Paperbacks, February 18, 2014
Format:  Trade Paperback, 400 pages
    Hardcover and eBook, January 1, 2013
List Price:  $8.95 (print - Trade Paperback)
ISBN:   9781419709708 (print)
Review Copy:  Reviewer's Own

Review: Splintered by A. G. Howard
This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.




Trinitytwo’s Point of View

Splintered is a dark and twisted take on Wonderland that centers on Alyssa, the original Alice’s great-great-great grand daughter. Alyssa, as with all women of her bloodline, is cursed with the ability to hear the constant whispering of flowers and bugs and her dreams are clouded with nightmares of Wonderland. Alison, her mother, couldn’t bear the strain of Wonderland’s influences and became so dangerous that she was committed to Soul’s Asylum where she will spend the rest of her days. Alyssa desperately wants to spend her senior year in a London exchange program near her best friend, Jeb Holt. Unfortunately, Alison’s mental illness has made Alyssa’s father overprotective of his only child. Banking on Jeb’s help, Alyssa is crushed when Jeb agrees with her dad that she should spend her senior year at home. After a harrowing incident at the asylum involving her mother, Alyssa’s dad makes the heart-wrenching decision to approve electroshock therapy on Alison. A familiar voice in Alyssa’s head tells her there is only way to stop this, and she nobly goes through the “Looking Glass” to try and save her mother. What she didn’t expect was Jeb being summoned by her last wish just before falling down the rabbit hole. In order to return to her world, Alyssa must undo the mistakes that Alice Liddell made all those years ago, and restore the balance in Wonderland. But Wonderland is a much more terrifying place than Lewis Carroll ever wrote about. The two humans trapped in this world of dark fantasy must gather all their bravery and wits to outsmart the denizens of this place who have plans and schemes of their own.

For whatever reason, I’m more interested in reading alternate histories of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland than in the original. While browsing through a local bookstore, my attention was captured by this book’s beautiful cover. I picked it up and although I don’t read a ton of YA, its promise of a more sinister Wonderland piqued my interest further and I thought I’d give it a try. Am I glad I did! Splintered is author A.G. Howard’s debut YA novel, published in January of 2013, so I am a bit behind the times, but this actually works out for me because now I don’t have to wait for more in the series to satisfy that endless question: what happens next? The Moth in the Mirror, an E-novella was published in October of 2013, book two, Unhinged, was published January of 2014 and book three, Ensnared, is on bookshelves in January of 2015. Howard’s version of Wonderland is similar to the source material in some ways and totally off the wall in others, which made for an adventure that was fresh but relatable. Her innovations include a moth-like fairy boy (familiar) who Alyssa has known from childhood who becomes part of a love triangle that had me rooting for both suitors. Alyssa has complicated feelings for both Jeb and Morpheus, the Netherling boy, who shared her childhood dreams. She struggles for independence from the men in her life who alternately try too hard to protect her or control her. She is fiercely brave as she learns to fight for herself and her loved ones while accepting the warped reality of Wonderland. Her relationships with Morpheus and Jeb ring true with just the right amount of angst, tenderness, and teen awkwardness. She is a great protagonist. This is a gorgeous gothic fairy tale with the right amounts of romance, adventure, and introspection. Immerse yourself in the lush madness that is Splintered and enjoy the wild ride!

Interview with Jamie Schultz, author of the Arcane Underworld NovelsReview: Unhinged by A. G. HowardReview: Splintered by A. G. Howard

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