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Joyce Schneider’s top-selling medical thriller Embryo prompted my review titled “Shades of Brave New World.” Her Kindle book takes readers on a story fraught with the implications of taking science too far.  So let’s settle into this tête-à-tête and see what she has to say about her writing and inspirations. 


Giveaway: Three randomly drawn commenters on this post will receive a free copy of her medical thriller.


1. Please provide a brief synopsis of your book. 

EMBRYO, by J.A. Schneider, (medical thriller, thriller, woman as sleuth) Terror & tragedy in the Obstetrics Department of a major hospital. An intern determines to investigate.


Cover image of Embryo by Joyce Schneider


2. Tell us a little bit about what motivates or inspires your writing.

I love stories! Reading is my passion. My mind is always imagining amazing stories, so it’s natural to just want to put them into writing. Books can be our best friends and stress relievers too. With a book you can just…go away to a whole different world; feel involved with the characters; love, fear, and thrill with them. “Armchair adventures:” Cheap! No bugs! Enter any century or event. Learn new things. A good writer gives readers the best adventure of all, and that takes place between the ears.


3. It’s hard to pick just one, but what do you consider your favorite novel and why? 

Sorry, it’s 3 books: Ira Levin’s ROSEMARY’S BABY, THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL and THE STEPFORD WIVES. They all achieve the double brilliance of fast pacing with deep, keen observation of human nature.


I am fascinated by writers who in one or few words can say it all. For example, news comes that’s sad or devastating, and a character just says, “Oh?” In one word that character has revealed indifference, shallowness. Scenes that have influenced me hugely are, for example, the scene in Levin’s The Boys From Brazil, where the female former warden in a concentration camp is about to be brought from her German prison cell for Lieberman, the Nazi hunter, to question. Lieberman is just dying of nerves, apprehension, feelings boiling with emotion wondering how he’ll react when he sees her. Finally, her lawyer brings her. The door opens. Lieberman’s heart is in his mouth…and out comes a drab old woman with “a disappointed mouth.”


Cover image of The Boys from Brazil by Ira Levin


“A disappointed mouth!” This person’s entire life summed up in four words! And we see her, much better than if Levin had gone on and on about her pallor, sunken features, shuffling gait, depressing German prison uniform. He could have done that, but he didn’t. With those four words we see that woman more clearly than we would have with more verbiage.


4. What is the name of your blog (include the URL) and what can readers expect to find there?

Haven’t started a blog yet. Went right from finishing EMBRYO to writing its sequel.


Photo of author Joyce Schneider


5. Are you traditionally published or self-published?

I’ve been traditionally published twice before. EMBRYO’s my first ebook. I love the independence. I work on Word and have the formatting and cover done professionally by Matt Maguire at Candescent Press.


6. Can you offer one or two helpful tips for fellow writers when it comes to marketing and publicity?

There’s a good 3-step approach: 1) Upload your book and patiently try to get some good, sincere reviews. 2) Then pay for ads on Kindle Nation Daily, the Frugal eReader, and eReader Today. (These are called “sponsored ads.”) In my experience Kindle Nation Daily is the best. The ads will hopefully pay for themselves and get your book in front of thousands of readers. I think I spent around $400. 3) Once your book has been advertised online and hundreds, thousands of potential readers have seen it, let good old-fashioned Word of Mouth take hold. Friends will tell friends, whether online or over the fence. There’s no way around it. Word of mouth just won’t happen in good numbers without investing in step #2. But it’s worth it.


Image of Kindle National Daily site header.


7. Describe your writing background.

I worked at Newsweek for several years. That was a terrific experience. I worked with writers who went on to leave Newsweek and write their own successful novels. I’m not sure if workshops etc. help…everyone yakking at once with their own ideas. If Faulkner and Hemingway were to edit each other, there’d be nothing left on the page.


8. What does your drafting and/or editing process entail?

I mull an idea for many months. Form it in my head, maybe take a few notes but no more. For me the best writing comes instinctively, letting my heart and my characters lead. I’ve tried working from outlines, but the characters always run away with the story and surprise me. Then I self-edit, try to boil the text down. Fewer words, faster pace without losing depth. My husband (besides being a physician  and my daughter Danielle were both English majors, so they’re my endlessly patient critique partners and typo-finders.


9. What future projects can we look forward?

A sequel to EMBRYO, aiming for an early 2013 release.


10. Is there anything else you want your potential readers to know?

I’m a goofball who loves being silly. Silly is good. You know, playfulness and laughter and making others laugh. I also love gardening; will spend hours struggling out a small boulder if it’s where I want to plant a shrub, and I have the world’s ugliest hands. Husband Bob says not so, but they’re all ropey and scarred because we also grow rambler roses that reach the second floor of our house. Pretty in June, but I spend a lot of time on a ladder. How does all that connect with writing thrillers? Well, it does if transforming a briar patch into a rose garden is thrilling to you. You’re creating something. But I really prefer winter to summer because it’s better for writing.


You can connect with Joyce on Twitter.


Is there anything else you’d like to know about Joyce Schneider?


Please share responsibly. Jeri Walker, 2013.

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