I’m so excited to have the opportunity to showcase two authors – Niamh and Rebecca Schmid and welcome them on the blog today! Recently, I have had the privilege of asking the author duo 5 questions – ones that I’m curious about and I think other readers and authors would also love to read about. If you don’t already know them, here’s a little introduction!
Meet The Authors
Born in Clifton Park, New York, Niamh is (unfortunately) a human being. She would much rather be off in some pretend world battling an ogre or taming a rabid pegasus, but instead is currently engaging in completing a bachelor’s in Piano Performance. In her spare time she cares for her two mini ponies (or monsters), Freddie and Taffie, as well as her Dorkie (dachshund/yorkie mix) Tobie. She also loves to compose, collect stamps, and dabble in being a very mediocre artist.
Though many seem to miss the fact, Rebecca is actually not Niamh. She is a separate human being, who just so happens to also be from upstate New York, also be a pianist, also love animals and literature and art, also have the last name Schmid… Oh well. Perhaps she’s a lot like Niamh. Rebecca lives with her husband and horde of dogs, and spends her time practicing piano, maintaining too many hobbies, and drinking way too much coffee.
- Tell us a little about your partnership! How did you meet and decide to work together to write books?
We actually met at horse-riding lessons and got talking while mucking out some pastures. Niamh was already in the habit of telling stories aloud, which Rebecca thought was really cool. Naturally, she made Niamh tell her tons of them. When Niamh got tired of talking for hours, she made Rebecca tell some in return. After doing this for a few months back and forth, we realized we couldn’t remember it all and that we should probably start writing them down. Hopefully our writing has improved since we were twelve…
- What does your writing/editing routine involve?
Together: When we are working on a book together, we try to allot a daily time to sit down together (usually an hour or so). One of us is generally running the scene by writing the thoughts/reactions/actions of the character whose view it is in. This gets passed off to the other writer whenever the action/dialogue is coming from a different character.
When editing, we both tend to read through the draft, talk it out, and after settling on things that need to be changed, divvy up responsibility of who changes/fixes what and where. Oftentimes there are sections we edit together (in regards to rewrites). Line editing we both just read through and fix on our own time.
Niamh: Usually for me it’s pretty erratic. I tend to go weeks without really writing anything, and then I’ll have inspiration and write like mad for a month. For editing, I usually complete drafts before I edit. Then I’ll reread for anything needing a rewrite. I’ll take notes of anything else I need to change(or our editor said needs to change) and then each time I read through and edit I focus on certain things.
Rebecca: I try to write every day. Being a full-time student with a job and a house to run makes that hard. I tend to find that I do best in the evenings when I can sit down and not think about the rest of my to-do list. If I’m in the middle of a WIP, I try just to write and get through 1k words. But I’m admittedly a little neurotic and tend to edit the scene as I go. While this slows down my writing speed, it does help me keep my scene a little more coherent.
If I’m editing a WIP, I first try to do a complete read through and take general notes. Then I go in a chapter at a time, fixing the noted areas, and maybe digging up some new things I want to rework. The final edit is just line editing: sentence/paragraph structure, grammar, etc.
- What are some things you learned throughout the writing process?
Together: That we both actually really prefer being able to write together. It’s really nice being able to have another writer to help brainstorm, get through writer’s block, and being able to talk it out in general (especially when a scene doesn’t seem to work).
Niamh: That I really hate editing, haha. Definitely prefer writing the drafts. But more seriously, I’ve learned to let characters lead the direction of the story, In a way, instead of trying to fit them to the situation. If a situation or scene is going to require the character to do something that really doesn’t fit there character, I’ve learned to stop, evaluate, and try different angles
Rebecca: I’ve learned how intuitive the majority of readers really are. You can tell them so much about how a character feels or thinks or processes without ever telling them explicitly. If you instead show the reader by describing body language or altering the cadence of dialogue or so on, your reader will pick up on it. Simple example: “John was discouraged” vs. “John’s shoulders drooped and he let out a deep breath.”
- What were some difficulties you came across while drafting your book?
Together: I think for a while it was just mostly finding time to write together. Google docs helped by allowing us to write ‘together’ virtually.
Niamh: Making sure I stuck to task and didn’t get distracted by other random stories that would pop into my head. I have at least twelve unfinished projects, and so it is easy for that to get in the way of actually finishing any project.
Rebecca: Self-criticism. It can be difficult for me to keep a positive mindset about my work and to remember that it is worth keeping up. I have to remember that while I always want to improve my writing, excellence is not the same as perfection–the latter has no place in art
- What advice do you have for other authors that are just starting off?
Niamh: Don’t lose sight of why you write. It’s so hard not to get bogged down with the need for it to be liked, read, etc. But you’re going to struggle. You are probably going to have really slow sales, and it’s not going to be easy. But never lose sight of why you write. If you can manage not to lose sight of why you started, it means even if only three people read your story, then you can call it a success. For me, I write because I love to create and I just love to write. So even if no one reads our books, then I still succeeded, because I created, and I loved what I created.
Rebecca: Ironically, my advice is to be careful of advice. There is so much material out there on ‘improving your writing’. And while some of it is definitely helpful, I think it can be limiting to a person’s particular voice. So if a piece of advice is helpful or exciting to you, by all means, use it. But if it doesn’t sit well or it doesn’t work in your writing, throw it away. I’ve found that, for myself, the best feedback I can get is from people responding directly to my writing. Based on their reactions, I can better see what worked and what didn’t. Similarly, when I read another’s writing, I try to notice what did or didn’t work so that I can apply it to myself.
Niamh and Rebecca Schmid are authors of Of Shade And Shadow: The Exiled, the first book in the A Daughter’s Ransom book series.
The Great War is won… so everyone tells her. But even with her brother now king, Astra Verzaer knows the fight is far from over. When her sudden exile finds her alone in the dreary country of Merimeethia with only the aloof Prince Louko for company, she digs deeper in vain attempts to find proof of her suspicions. Yet Astra is not the only one with secrets, and she soon finds herself swallowed up in a sudden uproar over Merimeethia’s throne–an uproar which she believes to be caused by the very person she set out to find. But will anybody believe her? Even if they do, will it be too late?
Series Blurb: The TetraWorlds live in ignorance of each other’s existence. One fallen behind in a Medieval time of fantastic and dangerous creatures, another fallen asleep in the comfort of their Victorian age, and the last torn apart by its own Modern innovation. When a dark threat rises up against them–one so quiet that none know to stop it, a Guard from each world must be called to protect their planet’s source. But what will happen when these worlds entwine?
Check out the links below if you’re interested!
A big thank you again to Niamh and Rebecca Schmid for joining me on the blog today and sharing your thoughts! It was truly a pleasure having you.