Saturday, July 12, 2014

Interview with Jamie Schultz, author of Premonitions, and Giveaway - July 12, 2014

Please welcome Jamie Schultz to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Premonitions was published on July 1, 2014 by Roc.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Jamie:  Thanks for having me!
       I’ve written for most of my life, whether just to put a little vignette down, work out some creative frustrations, get a bad dream out of my head, or get a good dream out where I could see it. I started writing novels seriously about seven years ago. It started as a means of batting around some themes I’d been obsessing over and got wildly out of control once I realized how much I liked working at novel length.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Jamie:  Plotter. There is an outline open on my computer’s desktop at all times when I’m writing—I can’t write without one. Or rather, I can, but it tends to end up as meandering mush. That being said, all my outlines blow up spectacularly over the course of writing any given novel, usually at the one-third mark when the characters have developed enough to not quite fit my preconceived notions of them and again at the two-thirds mark when all the details I glossed over in the outline and developed in the first part of the book emerge in concert to screw up the ending. In both cases, I tinker with the outline until I get it squared away again, and then I continue writing.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Jamie:  Endings. I tend to write with a fair number of important characters and plot threads, and getting that all to tie together and wrap up in a satisfactory manner is tough. That’s one of the reasons I need an outline—without one, I feel like I will never, ever get an ending right.

TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Jamie:  Literary influences are a funny thing in that, if not carefully managed, they can become completely corrupting. When I was getting started, my main influence was Joseph Heller, the author of Catch-22. I thought his work was thematically fascinating, unique in its style, and hilarious, so I thought, “I want to do that!” The result was horrible, largely because Joseph Heller had already done that, and one hell of a lot better than I could.
       These days I’ve taken a less, um, overly focused approach and tried to nurture my own voice. That being said, there’s a lot of fuel that has gone on that particular fire. Favorite authors include:
       - Charlie Huston, who writes great crime novels and some more fantastical fare. The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death is my favorite work of his.
       - Caitlín Kiernan. The Red Tree is perfect, atmospheric horror, with one hell of a psychological impact. The Drowning Girl is nearly as good.
       - Don Winslow. Impeccably researched, excellent writing. Savages is a great story, and I love the wordplay.
       - Tom Piccirilli. More crime fiction, sometimes with dark fantastical elements mixed in. The Last Kind Words and What Makes You Die are both excellent.
       I should probably stop there, or this list could go on for a very long time…

TQ:  Describe Premonitions in 140 characters or less.

Jamie:  A woman and her crew of thieves take on a dangerous heist so she can afford the drug that keeps her visions of the future under control.

TQ:  Tell us something about Premonitions that is not in the book description.

Jamie:  A big part of the story centers around Anna Ruiz, Karyn’s best friend and longtime partner in crime. She’s nervous about the job, but Karyn needs the money, so she decides to go along with it. The situation becomes even more tense when Sobell insists that his occult expert, Genevieve, join the crew for planning and executing the heist. Anna, against her better judgment and Karyn’s express wishes, gets romantically involved with Genevieve, and loyalties are pulled in all directions.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Premonitions? Why did you choose to write a genre blending Urban Fantasy / Thriller? Do you want to write in any other genres or sub-genres?

Jamie:  I’d like to say that I had some grand plan or design for the genre-blending here, but that would be giving myself too much credit. I knew I wanted to write something focused on a small group of essential characters, and one day I had an idea of a woman driving hell-bent for leather, fleeing a dangerous group of people with something dreadful she didn’t dare look at in the passenger seat of her car. That scene didn’t make the final cut of the book, or even the complete first draft, but that’s what the whole thing coalesced around. The crime/thriller/heist elements weren’t put in with any particular genre mashup in mind. I’d just been reading lots of crime fiction, and those elements felt natural for me at the time.

       As for other genres, most of what I write tends to fall under a general dark fantasy umbrella. It wiggles around in there some, sometimes creeping closer to contemporary fantasy and sometimes scuttling over next to horror, but that’s where I’ve been most comfortable.

       I actually started out writing science fiction and floundered around with that for awhile, but once I started in on the darker-themed stuff, it kind of felt like I was home, perversely enough.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Premonitions?

Jamie:  I tend to do a lot of research for my novels. I’m not necessarily sure how much of it is right research, but in any case there’s a lot of it. I clean out bookstores on an entire topic, get my hands on documentaries, scour the internet, even grab up any relevant music I can find. For Premonitions, I pretty much followed the same path. Like I said, I’d been steeped in crime fiction prior to writing it, so I’d absorbed some of the structure and themes from that, but I kept digging through more. One of the characters is an ex-Marine, so I read half a dozen books on the U.S. Marines, particularly Recon and missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. I don’t think a shred of that made it into the book, but one day it might come in handy. I also read a bunch of non-fiction on organized crime and burglars, since that’s pretty central to the action. One of the most interesting of those was a sociological/criminological treatise compiling and analyzing interviews with a hundred or so working house burglars. That was pretty eye-opening. Crime fiction in particular tends to have a romanticized notion of burglars, but the top reasons given by burglars for robbing somebody’s house were: 1) I needed some money right then, usually “to keep the party going,” and 2) It was convenient.

TQ:  In Premonitions: Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why? Who is your favorite character?

Jamie:  The easiest character was Enoch Sobell, the crime lord and sorcerer that hires the group. He’s a somewhat outlandish character, has a very specific style of speech that’s entertaining to write, and is generally a nefarious, sneaky bastard in a way that’s kind of charming until you realize the core underneath is pretty ugly. He was a lot of fun to write, for a bad guy.
       The hardest character to write was Karyn, the leader of the crew of thieves. In part, this is because she and Anna have such a strained relationship through the book, and that actually made me tense to write. Another reason writing her was so tough is because of her visions. Her affliction is that she sees the future, but the visions are integrated in with her normal experience of the world and often take the form of metaphors or symbols. Navigating that world consistently is tough.
       Anna’s my favorite, and I guess it probably shows. She’s got her flaws, but she’s the heart of the group.

TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite lines from Premonitions.

JamieHere’s a bit several of my first readers liked. It comes from the scene where the crew is talking about whether or not to take on the job of stealing a supposedly magical object for an outlandish sum:
       “What’s it do?” Karyn asked.
       Tommy bit his lip and squinched up his face. […] “I don’t have a clue, actually. Not a clue.”
       “It makes two million dollars appear,” Nail said. “I say we do it.”

And then there’s Enoch Sobell’s stated goal to get into politics:
       “I assure you, even being a notorious crime lord wears thin after a while. I have other ambitions. Can I count on your support in November?”

TQ:  What's next?

JamiePremonitions is the first book in a series, three of which are under contract with Roc. I’m currently finishing a draft of the third book, and when I get that done, I’ll be ready to go back and work edits on the second book, currently titled Splintered.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Jamie:  Thanks again for having me!

Roc, July 1, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages


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.

About Jamie

Jamie Schultz 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


The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Premonitions by Jamie Schultz from The Qwillery.

How:  Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59PM US Eastern Time on July 19, 2014. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change without any notice.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. A great interview thank you. I know that if I wrote I would have to be a plotter. PREMONITIONS sounds fantastic.

  2. Thank you for such a great interview and congrats to Jamie on the new release! It sounds fantastic :)

  3. The cover is so striking, it certainly caught my interest when I first saw it. I'm very much looking forward to reading Premonitions.

  4. Congrats to Jamie on the new release. PREMONITIONS lok interesting, i am looking forward to read it :)

  5. This looks really interesting, grats on the new book! Hopefully I'll pick it up soon!

  6. Live the interview! Adding book to my TBR pile! Thanks for a chance!