Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?
I think I came up with Amaranthine after I’d written it. I used to use the word Twilight in my titles, but after a certain other set of novels with that title became popular I had to figure out something else. Let the record be known, my first novel came out a year before hers. (smirks)
How did you come up with the title for your latest book?
The main characters in my book have pale violet eyes. The same shade as some sunsets, hence the twilight name. Well, since that was out I had to start from scratch. I was googling other names for purple and I came across Amaranthine. It can also be used to describe an undying mythical flower, with purple petals. It was perfect. I modified my novel a little, so my main character had something occur to change his eyes to this color and boom, the name of the book was born. Its an extra good fit, since the character is undead.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
My current stories are an escapism for my readers. I want people who are going through a rough time to be able to pick up my book and be so swept up in the world I've created that they are able to forget about their problems for a while. There’s no hidden message… well, none I’ll admit.
Is the book, characters, or any scenes based on a true life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?
Everything is fictional. I tried putting myself into a character once. But then I had to kill them. Or worse, have them do something horrible. And of course, if it’s a character that you like to see yourself in, you don’t want to do that. I learned my lesson and have since distanced myself from all characters. I can’t let my attachment to any of them dictate the plot.
Same applies if I name a character after someone. Suddenly I’m worried that the person it’s named after will judge me harshly if that character does something foul. There just aren’t that many “good” characters in my books.
What books are you currently reading?
A wide variety. I recently finished “Wuthering Heights” and “Animal Farm.” The same week I read a male erotica “Curious” and a vampire book “Deamhan.” If something is really popular, I’ll usually give a read, just to learn why it appealed to so many.
My favorite is watching the movie, then reading the book. I actually did the Twilight books side by side with the movies. My husband would walk into the room and I’d have the movie on pause and I’d be reading the book. He’d say, “You can’t do both!” I’d say, “Yes I can! I read a chapter, then watch ten minutes of the movie.”
What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?
I have two novels in the works, one might be out by the end of this year. Aurum: The Screams of Decompose...which has more dragons in it than my previous novels. I bet you can guess what color they are.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Well, the story of Dee and Harmony continues. Dee is still haunted by his past, mostly by the dragons. More unicorn species are introduced as well, which is a big deal. Until now, the only unicorns in my books have been Dee and his family. I think people will enjoy getting to meet more of them and learn their culture.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
My books are relatively dark. I worry sometimes that people will judge me for it and think I secretly want to be a mass murderer. But then I read some of the other works out there and think, whew, my books aren’t nearly as dark as I thought! So my biggest challenge is not worrying about what people will think or trying to please any one person.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I used to have one. But now I’m finding my taste is constantly changing. I’ll like a book an author writes, but then when I try to read another book they’ve written, I’ll hate it. My world has become a “one hit wonder” when it comes to books.
Do you have to travel much to do research for your books?
It would be handy if I could travel into space and find out what that’s like. (laughs) No, traveling doesn’t help me much. But I do research and do my best to make sure my stories as believable. My husband is very good at reigning me and telling me things like, “No your horse, even a unicorn, cannot jump over a forty foot wide river. Make the river smaller or make him fail.” And yes, that scene is in Amaranthine.
Who designed the cover of your latest book?
I’ve hired artists in the past, even had my cousin do one of the book covers. My last book, Amaranthine, I actually did myself. I solicited a lot of feedback from people as I made it.
I was that annoying person who would be out at dinner with friends and pull a sketch out of my purse saying, “Hey guys, can I get your thoughts on this…”
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t be afraid of feedback and getting advice from other authors. The best thing I ever did for myself was join an online writing group. I used to think other authors wouldn’t help me, cause we are all in competition with each other. But the writing world isn’t like that at all. I have yet to find a single unhelpful person.
Amaranthine: The Heart of Decompose
Nina R Schluntz
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, Romance
Publisher: Rainstorm Press
Date of Publication: 19 December 2014
Number of pages: 230 pages
Word Count: 80,580
Cover Artist: Nina Schluntz
Dragons, unicorns, fairies, zombies… and Santa.
At the center of it all stands Dee, a man immortalized in legend as Decompose. An ongoing war between unicorns and dragons has led to the creation of a plague… a deadly infection Dee is the host for. Not quite human, but not a unicorn either, Dee and the plague form a symbiotic relationship, resulting in immortality of the undead kind.
Every ruling Empire has desired control of Decompose. Controlling the infection means control of the people. An intervention of an old rival, Santa, results in Dee going missing. When he resurfaces decades later, Dee has one goal: locate the mythical cure to his plague.
However, complications of the heart force Dee to decide whether he truly wants to find the cure and give up being Decompose.
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/93Yoo-LcPZo
Available at Amazon
Dee focused on the name, pulling strength from it. Jhon contained the cure. Dee had to live so he could find Jhon. The cure was his way to correct all the wrongs he had done.
Dee ripped at the flesh surrounding him and clawed his way to the surface. The guts of the creature spilled out onto the ground, and he fell with them. He coughed, spitting out bodily fluids of the creature that had eaten him.
Dee rolled onto his side and threw up. The acidic stomach bile had left him temporarily disabled. His hearing returned before his vision and he heard voices near him.
“That?” A boyish voice asked. “That’s what you call a great and powerful present?”
“Trust me.” Another male voice said. “Throw the net on him and all your wishes will come true.”
“What is he, a genie?”
“You can treat him like one. He will be able to grant your every wish.” The older voice sounded familiar. Air rushed into Dee’s lungs, and his heart gave a painful beat. “Throw it over him now, before his strength returns.”
“Santa,” Dee managed to say. He gritted his newly mended teeth and gave a low growl. What did that man want now?
Dee’s vision returned in time for him to see a large, light- weight fishnet fall over his head and shoulders, covering his entire body. There was something claustrophobic about it. The more he struggled, the more of a mess he made of himself and the net.
“Stop moving around like that,” the boy said. Every muscle in Dee’s body stiffened. “Straighten the net out and get to your feet.” Dee moved as quickly as his wounded body would allow. His skin continued to burn from the acidic digestive juices still covering his flesh. The child before him didn’t look nearly as young as he’d expected. He was a teenager. And a dorky looking one at that, dressed in dark green pajamas with a cowlick on the back of his head.
“Santa, what is this?” Dee asked.
“Show me a trick,” the boy said. Dee obediently raised his hand and created a tennis ball sized orb of fire. It hovered in mid- air a few inches from his hand.
“He can do whatever you want,” Santa told the boy. “He is yours. No one will miss him. They all think he is dead.”
Dee put the fire out and lowered his hand. Fear rose through his healing body as he realized Santa was right. Dee had just crawled his way out of a dragon’s belly. Everyone who knew him thought a giant winged lizard had digested him. Even if someone searched for his remains, they would likely find nothing awry with his missing body.
“What is this?” he asked again.
“You’re my Christmas present,” the boy said.
Santa leaned in close to Dee. “The boy is clever, Dee. He caught me in a trap. You wouldn’t want all the children in the universe to miss the joy that Santa brings, would you? Of course, you wouldn’t. Therefore, I bartered with him. I gave him you in exchange for my freedom. You understand, don’t you?”
“You gave me to him as a present? I’m not an object to be owned.”
“Well, let’s be honest here, Dee. Most of your life has been spent in exactly that manner. At least this time your owner only wants you for your power, not your plague. Consider it a blessing—besides you’ll still have my visit to look forward to every Christmas Eve.”
My plague. Dee tried not to cringe at the reminder.
“Can you teleport him directly to the shower? He’s disgusting. My mother will throw a fit if he brings all that goop into the house.”
“Then you’ll take him?” Santa asked, as though Dee were a puppy for sale at the pet store.
“Yeah, he’ll do. Thank you, Santa.”
“I should have thought of this years ago,” Santa said.
“Santa, please,” Dee said. “I have to find Jhon before Emperor Emanuel does. He’s the only one who can cure the plague.”
“I’m sure Jhon will be fine without you, Dee.”
About the Author:
Nina Schluntz is a native to rural Nebraska. In her youth, she often wrote short stories to entertain her friends. Those ideas evolved into the novels she creates today.
Her husband continues to ensure her stories maintain a touch of realism as she delves in the science fiction and fantasy realm. And their kitty, a rescued Abyssinian, is always willing to stay up late to provide inspiration.
Visit her blog; mizner13.wordpress.com for information regarding previous and upcoming publications. She also posts book and movie reviews for a wide variety of genres.