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Thursday, February 28, 2019

2019 and Beyond Interview with Craig Schaefer (Interviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Long Way Down 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The White Gold Score 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Redemption Song 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Living End 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of A Plain-Dealing Villain
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Killing Floor Blues
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Castle Doctrine
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Double Or Nothing
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Neon Boneyard
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Sworn To The Night
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Detonation Boulevard
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Winter's Reach 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Instruments Of Control 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Harmony Black
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Red Knight Falling
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Glass Predator
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Cold Spectrum
Read My Sworn To The Night Cover Reveal Q&A with Craig Schaefer

Yesterday we presented Part I of our interview and in part deux, Craig talks about the books that will be releasing in 2019 as he's set to release four different titles. Read on as he exclusively reveals the title of the new Harmony Black book, details about his new crime thriller series as well as what happens next in within the Daniel Faust and Harmony Black titles. 

Q] Welcome back to Fantasy Book Critic Craig, it’s a brand new year and I believe you have some brand new stories for us? What should readers be expecting from you in 2019?

CS: I do indeed. With the Wisdom’s Grave trilogy complete, this year is all about new things: new stories, new experiments, and trying to expand and improve my writing skills. Ghosts of Gotham, a stand-alone fantasy novel, is coming from 47North Publishing in April, and August will bring The Loot, the start of a new crime/thriller series from Thomas & Mercer.

Then we’ll round out the year with new installments in the Harmony Black and Daniel Faust series, both of which will see the protagonists picking up the pieces in the wake of Wisdom’s Grave and facing new challenges.

Q] Your first new book titled Ghosts Of Gotham, is coming out in April. Can you tell us more about the inception of this book and potential new series?

CS: I firmly believe that writers only get better by challenging themselves, by pushing their boundaries and stepping outside of their comfort zones. I needed to shift to something new, to slip out from under the weight of a dozen novels’ worth of elaborate continuity and start with a clean slate. The story unveiled itself to me over the course of a few long, dark nights in New York City, and the guidance of some very special friends.

A follow-up was written, but ultimately it didn’t live up to my standards, so I tossed out the entire 125k-word manuscript and started from scratch. I’m down in those trenches as we speak.

The objective for Ghosts and its hopeful successors is to mine the literary traditions of dark romanticism. Don’t expect slam-bang urban fantasy; it’s more about suspense tinged with gothic horror, buried historical secrets, and a city whose foundations are steeped in occult mysteries.

Q] Previously you had announced that there will be a new crime thriller series that will be making its debut in 2019. You mentioned “I grew up reading Elmore Leonard and Lawrence Block, so it’s been a heck of a thrill to finally work in their wheelhouse.” So with the crime thriller genre being your next destination, how would you stamp your unique signature on this genre?

CS: I can’t claim uniqueness; in anything I do, any genre I write, I’m walking in the footsteps of giants. I can definitely say the Charlie McCabe series is going to be a fast, fun and hard-edged caper romp, featuring people making terrible life choices, occasional explosive violence (literally), and protagonists who mean well but can’t seem to stop doing crimes. They do a lot of crimes. If you like the Daniel Faust novels, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy hanging out with Charlie and her crew.

Q] Will the Charlie McCabe series be more open-ended or is it planned to a specific conclusion?

CS: Open-ended. Big plot elements and important beats will carry through the series, but it’s not an elaborate tapestry like my fantasy novels and each book is a self-contained adventure. Thomas & Mercer has me under contract for two books, and if people buy them, I get to write more.

Q] Due to the publication of your books with Amazon next year, how will the release pattern for the next Daniel Faust (#9) and Harmony Black (#5) be affected? Can you give us any specific release months or timelines?

CS: The new Harmony has been done for a while, but it’s still in editing; because of the need to keep a certain time-window open around a new release (to avoid saturating the market and “competing with yourself,” as one of my publishers puts it), it likely won’t come out until the Fall. Right now I’m hoping Harmony will drop in October, and the next Faust novel just a couple of months after that.

Q] Last when we left Daniel and Harmony, they were both in the midst of their individual struggles with the Enemy & The Network. What can readers look forward to in the next individual books for both of them?

CS: The new Harmony Black novel titled, Right to the Kill, is a departure for the series. It’s been envisioned as a Casino Royale-style (very) soft reboot and a place for new readers to jump in. To be clear, nothing in the first four books is being retconned, but I’m taking this opportunity to re-focus the narrative, to drill down on theme and feel and the “voice” of the series, and make the most of a small time jump. When we left Harmony and Jessie in Cold Spectrum, they’d driven out a threat from within and taken control of the Vigilant Lock organization. Now it’s months later and they’re in the driver’s seat, with new responsibilities and challenges to face, and the resources of an illegally-funded covert-operations group backing them up.

When two agents go missing on a mission in Tampa, Harmony and Jessie find themselves on the trail of an occult bioweapon, tracking a madman from the Florida coast to a mist-shrouded New England fishing village. And that’s all I can say about that for now, except that there’s a particular watery connection that readers of Detonation Boulevard will find familiar…

The next Faust outing, The Locust Job, opens with a funeral (if you’ve read Bring the Fire, you know whose) and the sorcerous underground dealing with the fallout from the Wisdom’s Grave trilogy. Everything is in chaos, and while Daniel normally thrives on chaos, his enemies haven’t gotten any less dangerous – especially now that he has a long-lost brother to worry about and an extremely eager apprentice to train.

This would probably be the worst possible time for the Redemption Choir to come back, wouldn’t it? Yep. Definitely the worst possible time. And their old leader is still buried under a brothel’s parking lot, so who’s calling the shots?

Q] What titles (irrespective of genre) are you eagerly awaiting in 2019? Concurrently which authors (that you enjoyed previously) would you like to highlight for our readers?

CS: Nothing’s really on my 2019 radar right now, simply because my to-be-read pile is a massive mountain and I feel like I’m neglecting it by looking at new books when all these OTHER books are tugging at my sleeve, demanding attention.

I recently read a pair of Lovecraft-adjacent novellas – Victor LaValle’s Ballad of Black Tom and Kij Johnson’s The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe – and enjoyed them a lot. Right now I’m slowly making my way through Catherynne M. Valente’s The Refrigerator Monologues -- slowly, because it’s a really good but really downbeat anthology (as it needs to be), absolutely not light bedtime reading – and wolfing down Scott Pratt’s “Joe Dillard” series of legal thrillers, which are very entertaining. And in the middle of all that I’m trying to make room for a couple of Jane Austen re-reads, because sometimes you just need some Jane Austen in your life.

Q] Thank you for your time. I personally can’t wait to read all your new works. I’m sure our fans share the sentiment. What parting thoughts would you offer for your fans?

CS: What can I say, but “thank you”? Readers are an author’s lifeblood; we can’t do what we do without you, and your time and emotional investment means the world to me. I’m trying some new things in 2019, taking some risks and opening new doors, and I hope you enjoy the journey.

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