Exclusive Interview with
R. A. Schwartz
When did you start writing?
I've been writing on and off since I was a teenager to cope with my mental illness struggles. I began writing this novel in 2016.
What makes writing your passion?
Writing is the way I express myself and my ideals to others best. It's also how I implement my activism and show my support for things like LGBTQ issues and gender equality.
How long have you been writing?
Since I was maybe 13 or 14. I started off writing poetry and short stories for school projects and as a hobby.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
I didn't believe it had actually happened! Sometimes I still can't believe it's real and I created this amazing work for the world to see!
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
Harry Potter fanfics. That's what this novel originally was and it ended up taking on a life of its own. I've enjoyed the process immensely!
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
The no responses. Whether it was pitching this book or pitching articles. It's not as easy to break into freelancing as everyone says. It's also hard to find paid work.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I step away from it and focus on something to occupy my mind. My favorite thing is playing Wizard101!
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
The possibility that I might be that person who changes the world somehow. Start small. Build a following. Be prepared to financially invest in editing, marketing, paid reviews, cover art, etc. It's a lot so don't do it if you're not dedicated to putting the money wnd effort into it.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Being an odd duck is okay. It's the people who are out of step from everyone else who truly leave amazing marks on this world.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
No because I have self esteem issues. I tend to avoid reading reviews that are flat out bad. I even avoid mixed reviews to a point as well. Everyone is a critic because it's easy to be. They don't even stop and realize just how personal some people's work truly is. Also, how I write isn't up to them. It's up to me. If they feel they can do better they're welcome to write their own books.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
Like I've actually done well and the message I was trying to get across sunk in. It's an awesome feeling!
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Absolutely. My work is incredibly personal and reflective of my personal life and my politics.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
Rory Blue is based on me. Hence why my first name in my pen name is Rory. Rory didn't start off in this novel. I was writing a semi biographical book about myself at the same time as this one. Eventually I decided to scrap the story she was in and add her to this one. The rest is history!
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
The cover art gives the reader a clue about the book's plot so it's definitely important!
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I have yet to because my following is still very small. I'm open to it! I'm not much of an orator but I won't let that scare me off from the idea.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
Grateful, happy, and proud. I want to make a difference in this world and the more people that see that the better!
Who is your favorite author? Why?
Shakespeare. He made me fall in love with the written word.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
To impact change in societal attitudes towards LGBTQ people, be financially successful, and be moderately well known. Charlie Chaplin, but that's probably a pipe dream!
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
I did rewrite this one so many times! I'm a bit of a perfectionist. I'm currently making a major plot change in the novel I'm working on right now.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
Jane Austen. I'd love to see what eighteenth century England was like!
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
Thanks for the free publicity and allowing me live rent free in your head. You're very sad and you need to find something better to do!
What would you say to your readers?
Thank you. Whether you like my work or not, thanks for giving it a shot! I'm humbled and grateful.
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I'm single with a cat named Pumpkin. I'm from South Carolina.
What is your day job if you have one?
Trying to find a job from home because of this virus. We are living in scary times!
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
Video games, blogging, trying new things for review blogs, reading, cooking, and creating recipes. I recently started writing Harry Potter fanfics on Archive of Our Own. I'm Snapeaholic394.
Did you have a happy childhood?
No it was difficult. I had a Weasley sized family of Dursleys. Potterheads will understand the reference. To put it another way for everyone else a large family that was as cold they came. They were as cold towards each other as they were me. But, that which doesn't kill us makes us stronger.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
Miscarrying twins and my marriage deteriorating shortly after. I was suicidal and writing saved me.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
This novel is the first part in a trilogy. I'm currently working on the second and third books.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
We don't teach to accommodate multiple ways of learning and we also don't teach with what children are developmentally able to do in mind. We need to do better in this regard.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
Worldwide LGBTQ equality.
Worldwide universal healthcare.
Worldwide jobs with living wages.
What is your favorite music?
Classic Rock and Country. I love Classical when writing and working.
Share a secret with us 🙂
The first time I took the Pottermore quiz, I was Sorted into Hufflepuff. I deleted my profile. No offense to Hufflepuffs, but I'm definitely not a Hufflepuff. I'm as Slytherin as they come! Minus the evil, obsessed with world domination thing.