C. W. Schultz was interviewed by Write Publish & Impact, a writing circle of authors and editors from Japan, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Here is an excerpt of the interview from September 12, 2021.
By delivering the most recent Mysterious Music episode over a week early, it allowed me extra time to achieve my next goal that I planned on sharing by 03/03/2021. But, for whatever reason, despite all the hours of work (and even about a half-hour’s worth of usable material), things just aren’t lining up right. The good news is, there are a lot of ideas I’m eager to bring to life for both my bibliography and YouTube channel; the bad news is, the projects keep hitting roadblocks. Admittedly, this isn’t the first time I’ve encountered this problem. Between 2013–2015, I had three false-starts with A Book About a Film. With the house-of-cards that storytelling can be, I just couldn’t get an entire level standing without collapsing. Luckily, I eventually cracked the story of A Book About a Film, so I have no doubt that I’ll do it again with the bind I’m in right now.
It’s difficult to give details about a project that hasn’t even been fully realized (and may never be), but what I can share is that I have ideas for content on Batman, Him, Indiana Jones, sleep paralysis, The Sopranos, the Tyrion Targaryen Theory, true crime; as well as more short-stories, Mysterious Music episodes (including Panchiko’s D>E>A>T>H>M>E>T>A>L) and Scream content. Some are ideas in my head, others have made it on paper, a couple even have videos in the editing process… but, unfortunately, nothing that I feel is worth someone’s time. You can praise my work or criticize it, but you can never accuse me of making something in which I didn’t take my audience’s time into consideration. Even to those who’ve given me a bad review, I appreciate them taking a chance on something I created. So, at the end of the day, I feel okay not delivering something because I know that when I do deliver it, it’ll be without regret—not rushed and not for the sole purpose of being relevant. I know that those who were looking forward to my March 3rd release understands and supports this. For that, I thank you.
Here’s something that happened, which excellently summarizes things: During the snowy Valentine’s Day of 2021, of all the dozens of cars parked on Holden Street in West Seattle, only one had a cock-and-balls drawn on it. Of course, my car. With my luck, it probably wasn’t a finger that drew it either. Anyway, I shall continue to write on, so please check back soon. Thanks for visiting.
Today marks the 1,209th day since A Book About a Film was released. 1,209 days represents the longest I’ve ever gone without releasing a novel. Since I feel like I owe you guys one for your continued patience, I decided to not only release a sample chapter of the forthcoming Whispering of the Autumn Leaves, but also make a video of it. Unfortunately, still no release date. Whispering of the Autumn Leaves is very long and complex, and deals with a lot of stories intertwining through multiple dimensions, so there’s a lot of planning needed to avoid knots and ensure the reading experience isn’t too much of a maze.
Thank you for maintaining your interest after such long gaps. Rest assured, I’m doing everything in my power to make it worth the wait. To be continued…
Chapter 3 – The Andles A
A public service article published in the 1231 issue, titled “The Psalterist and the Shawmist”
Monsters have always lurked in the Royal Forest, a vast wooded area crossing into the regions of Denland, Everdirk and Wist Vondorian. It was a story to teach children not to wander far, or help them visualize the unknown evils of the world. Now, however, it appears some of the monsters have emerged from the Royal Forest to kidnap the children.
Within the last few cycles, the amount of missing children has increased. Reports stretch from the Royal Forest’s nearby farmlands like Naidney, all the way into the northern side of Denregal, particularly the Roachill district. Some believe there are hexminors turning children into red-crested jays, the black bird with a flame-red crest. However, these birds aren’t seen nearly as frequently as the rate of disappearing children, thus debunking this theory.
Two men were spotted emerging out of the Royal Forest. One was described as fat and balding, while the other was said to be thin and covered in locks of blond hair. The former cradles the bulky harp instrument of a psaltery; while the other carries the slender flute instrument of a shawm. They’ve been dubbed the Psalterist and the Shawmist. Both tall in stature, their footsteps make for long strides, explaining why witnesses have had difficulty chasing them down when they see a child in their company.
The sound of music can be heard as the Shawmist leads the child back into the Royal Forest’s border of black pine trees, which are so tall, they reach into the clouds on a rainy day. The Psalterist waddles behind his partner-in-crime and their young captive, ensuring the child doesn’t escape the musical trance.
Days later, the child is found in the farmlands, identified only by the clothes he or she was last seen wearing. All that is left is a dry skeleton, as if the child had been dead for decades. Skin and all organs are completely gone, and the bone is as clean as polished ivory.
People believe a witch lives in the Royal Forest, and they named her Ryla Bao. The name comes from the Mirean language the villagers in Naidney use, which is directly translated to Evil-Eyed Lady; “ryl-” meaning “eye”, “-a” meaning feminine, and “bao” meaning “evil”. They say she’s centuries old, and uses black magic to allow the children’s skin and organs to prolong her youth. The younger the child is, the longer it takes her to age again. The Psalterist and the Shawmist are her warlocks, commanded to retrieve her sacrifices.
Many expeditions have been organized in an attempt to save children seen leaving with the warlocks. However, these same expeditions are usually soon abandoned, with the child’s skeleton always turning up days later. While in the Royal Forest, people who have survived the expedition claim to experience spirits speaking to them, as well as strange disorientations that causes nausea and euphoria at the same time. These disorientations greatly affect the sense of direction, resulting in parties traveling in complete circles; as well as a sense of time being paralyzed, with nights seeming to last as quickly as a few minutes or as long as several days. Beasts in the Royal Forest also show signs of ravenousness, with bears, unisaurs and wolves oft attacking and killing members of the search party. The probability of being attacked by an exceptionally aggressive beast has led many to conclude that entry to the Royal Forest is equal to certain death. When King Three of Johnamas Hollied introduced the punishment of Banishment to the Royal Forest back in 978, he had heard the stories of these aggressive animals. Now, with a witch and two warlocks emerging from the haunted woods, the probability of survival lessens and the punishment of Banishment to the Royal Forest is ever crueler.
Because the child’s body usually turns up in the farmlands while the expedition is still in place, horrific bewilderment arises by how the body is discarded without the Psalterist and the Shawmist’s reemergence being noticed. Theories have included an invisibility spell, teleportation or that the children are being led into the Royal Forest and exited through a different path as a diversion. If the entrance to the Royal Forest is just an elaborate distraction, there are plenty of barns and small castles between Naidney and Denregal that the children can be easily taken to. In other words, the Psalterist and the Shawmist might not be just warlocks, they could your neighbor.
I was looking over some of the previous posts and noticed there was only one update in 2016 and 2017 each. In these posts, I even mention the rarity of an update; but after actually looking at some of the dates, it makes me realize how much time has gone between delivering news. Hopefully there will be more posts in 2018; however, it’s important to me to never cry wolf. The idea of posting just for the sake of it is a real turn off for me. It actually takes the fun out of sharing news on my writing. So, please know that, even though I don’t post very often, I’m always working; and make special note that when I do post something, it’s for good reason, and not done just for the sake of it.
The big news right now is, after coming to terms with it for several months, the release of The Fall of Peacetime will be postponed from Fall 2018 to Fall 2019. The next several months will be dedicated to revisions, but it’s gone from 150,000 to 170,000 words. This is almost the length of my last two releases (Jill and A Book About a Film) combined, so my premiere estimation was a bit off, since Fall of Peacetime is bigger than anything I’ve written to date. They say, “Good things come to those who wait”, and I’ve noticed the story getting better and better the more I work on it; so the longer it takes, the more confidence I have with this book’s quality.
To hold you over, I really recommend you read some Jack Ketchum. If my writing has interested you enough to visit CWSchultz.com, I can’t imagine how taken you’ll be with Ketchum’s work. Sadly, Ketchum died this week. It’s always hard to lose someone who has played a role in your craft, but it’s salt-in-the-wound when they pass away on your birthday, as Ketchum did. While I may not have known his bibliography backwards, my second novel The Pack and many of my short stories would not have existed without such influences as Peaceable Kingdom and The Girl Next Door. To me, there’s no bigger thanks to a writer than to recommend his/her work to someone else. I hope when my time comes, someone else out there will think highly enough of my books to do the same.
It’s been over 10 months since a website update. I think that’s the longest www.cwschultz.com has gone since its launch back in October 2011. Oh, that’s another thing, Happy 5 Years to the website! If all continues to go well, I look forward to another five years with updates on a more frequent basis.
While the updates have been scarce lately, this shouldn’t imply that I haven’t been hard at work. Sure, there’s been a few distractions. Mainly, Snowpuff, the Wife and I have gone from renting an overpriced 650 square foot apartment in the University District to practically stealing (though we legally bought it) the perfect home in West Seattle. And yes, this is great news, but those of you who’ve spent a lot of time in both the University District and West Seattle will understand that it is necessary to just take some time and acclimate.
But even with the change from U-District to Dub-Sea, I refused to allow the creativity to rust. Most of late-2015 and early-2016 was dedicated to promoting my fourth book, A Book About a Film, which received the most promotion out of all my publications, and I’m happy to say was met with very kind words from the folks patient enough to push through it.
Mid-2016, was the start of a fifth novel inspired by the Voynich manuscript, which failed after about four weeks of work and has since been scrapped. But that doesn’t mean it’ll never happen. Keep in mind, I’ve been known to salvage unrealized projects before. Let’s not forget that Yeval was originally a screenplay that was eventually scrapped mainly due to length (having added the internal monologue and elements of transgressive fiction afterwards, when I realized I’d get more attention and satisfaction out of the story being more of an ugly art piece rather than dark entertainment, though I secretly wanted it to be both); and Echo with Laughter was a script rejected by a director/friend/producer for being too “on the nose”, but I ended up turning it into a short-story and Sirens Call Publications published it as The Stairwell. And then, of course, there’s A Book About a Film, that got several false starts between 2010–2014. So, if this Voynich manuscript idea sounds appealing to you, never say never.
But even though that particular “fifth novel” didn’t work out doesn’t mean there’s not another fifth novel in the works. In fact, that’s my main motivation for posting this today. Two chapters and a prologue have been completed, and while this is not deep enough to the point of no return, I’ve written over 17,000 words of internal notes; so, I technically have half a novel’s worth down, so I do think it’s a bit far to turn back. Plus, this was the story I’ve been wanting to write for several years, but have forced myself to hold off. Maybe that’s why the Voynich manuscript idea didn’t work out; maybe I’m simply far more passionate about this current idea than the Voynich one.
So what’s this big passionate idea I have? Isn’t it better to keep you in suspense? No? Well, I respectfully disagree, but I’ll compromise and share some details wit-cha. I’m going back to the first-person narrative. I know, I know, there are a lot of limitations, but I think it’s best for the story. So far, I’ve written four books, my first two in the first-person (Yeval and The Pack) and my most recent two in the third person omniscient (Jill, very omniscient; and A Book About a Film); I’m digging back into the style of my early days of publication, already almost 10 years ago, of first person narration. But like with every new story I write, I want to do it differently. Instead of having one main character narrating the story (props to Randy Mulray and Siggy Farris), I’m going to have several different characters tell their story, which takes place during the buildup of a great war (with an obvious war-is-not-great moral, but I’ll try not to be cliché about it); a writing style that first got my attention when reading Chuck Palahniuk‘s Snuff.
As for when you’ll get to read this work all depends on how long it takes me to write it, which in turn depends on how long it is. I’ve been pretty accurate with my release date estimations but have a tendency to overestimate my word count during the writing process. Right now, it looks like I’m on track to meet my one-novel-every-three-years average (so late-2018), with a likely length of 125,000 words. Before finishing the first chapter, I thought all my ideas would result in a read far more dense, like 300,000 words; but, like with my other books, when I get the ideas on paper, I like to keep things tight. I don’t like a moment of boredom, or a single word to go to waste. An editor for Jill once told me I had so much going on so quickly—a statement I couldn’t deny, originally planning to divide the story into 2–4 separate books—but I refused the suggestion to fluff my material. Reading takes time and it’s very easy to get bored. A reader should be entertained from the first word to the last; and there should be things underneath the surface, between the lines, so the reader is motivated to come back and discover something that wasn’t there the first time. So, will this fifth novel that’s gone from 300,000 words down to 125,000 words perhaps go lower? I doubt it, because unlike Jill, which was a beginning, middle and an end that I thought could be so expansive that I’d have to divide it up; this fifth novel is a beginning, middle and end to the start of a great war. Will I want to write about the war itself and the aftermath of it? Maybe, but that would be two different books. And while I’ve said before that I generally find sequels unnecessary, a sequel(s) to novel #5 might be necessary.
But here’s a critical thing: I don’t want to be that writer who just publishes book after book, as if it’s the size of the bibliography that counts instead of the actual stories. While I don’t think of my work in terms of good or bad (that’s the reader’s job, not the writer’s), my books mean a lot to me and I intend that each of them continue to count for something. A day won’t come when I do this strictly for money or the size of my bibliography or to stay relevant, etc. I write because it makes me happy; sometimes it’s therapeutic, other times I simply just want to write. If the day comes when I stop loving it, I won’t force some piece of tripe into the world. Like I said, reading is hard. It takes time and patience. To present to the world a story so insincere is, to me, a writer’s greatest crime.
I’m not saying I’ve published masterpieces. Again, it’s up to the reader to decide good or bad, not the writer. I fully admit that the grammar Nazis would have a field day with me. But only someone who has absolutely no creative backbone could think that something not printed through those huge publishing houses (most of which have at least a couple of errors of their own) could be free of any grammar issues. There’s a difference between presentable and quality. One is polished, the other may be something that’s tarnished; but many times, the latter has more heart. And despite any shortcomings I have as a writer (like shamelessly starting sentences with “and” and “but”), my work always comes from the heart. And while the criticizers say some pretty funny things, it’s those that enjoyed my books and write me about it who make this all worthwhile. Chef Ben Shewry once told himself after he received one of his first compliments, “[I]f there’s one table that likes it, there will be others.” I don’t see why the same doesn’t go for books.
So even though I write because I love it, it’s the kind words of those who took the time to send me compliments that keeps me going. And, with that said, I’ll get back to writing.
C. W. Schultz is proud to announce that the Lake Forest Park Third Place Books is carrying copies of A Book About a Film. What makes this so exciting for him is that this was the bookstore he would always go to as a child, so having his books in their inventory is a dream come true.
You can also order books online at Third Place Books, so take a moment to visit their website; and if you’re in the Lake Forest Park area, stop in for a visit.
Reviewed by Leigh Adamkiewicz
There is a delicious rush from finding something you’re not quite meant to see. And the Found Footage genre is testament to how much money we’ll spend to pretend we’ve found something risqué. But what if you found something truly forbidden? Dangerous? You’d get the word out, sure. But what would you do if the story started to grow and change as you were telling it? What if the illusion of danger wasn’t an illusion at all?
You’d probably come up with A Book About a Film, a magnificent, multi-faceted tale about the life-changing movie you’ll never see.
The book starts off with an excellent premise. What if people who had near death experiences learned something from their time on the other side? This was the plot of an excellent independent film called The Cornfield People. All the reports on the film indicated it had every chance of becoming a modest success, if not a cult classic. But there’s a problem. When the film was nearly done, it was shelved. Mysteriously.
The copies of the movie that exist are legendarily hard to find. But everyone who is anyone in film has an opinion about this one. The film has found its way into the hands of Spielberg (theoretically) and Tarantino (citation needed) and many more. So it seems only natural that our author writes a book about the film after being lucky enough to see it. And that’s when things start getting weird.
Much like Danielewski’s House of Leaves, this book relies on the footnotes to tell the story within the story. The story is not just the synopsis of the movie. It’s the things people have speculated. It’s the photos and articles that prove what happened. It’s even the typos in the document itself, which increasingly seem to be a code to another story entirely.
I actually got to the point when I wondered if the book was based on an actual movie. But aside from three posts on a movie blog, I couldn’t find any mention of it online. But this book’s level of detail makes it seem increasingly real. Didn’t you hear something about this in a trade journal? Wasn’t this person in a fluff piece in a local newspaper?
It’s the pictures, news clippings, and diary entries about those things that turn this into something more than just a good suspense thriller. If you just read the book the author thought they were writing, you’d think everything turned out. That it all wrapped up in a neat little package. But as you read on, you realize that the bigger questions are still out there.
About never enters abstract madness the way Leaves did. But it does get your heart racing as the pace accelerates, and the lines between fiction and reality gently blur. And I loved every bit of it.
Leigh is a fearless writer who never met a genre, subject, or format she didn’t like. She has written professionally for the past six years and enjoys biking, exploring odd corners of Northeast Ohio, and discovering those good books she hasn’t read yet.
Review copy was provided by C.W. Schultz.
Bookstores are one of the many things Oregon is known for, with Powell’s in Portland being somewhat of a tourist attraction for bookworms. However, if you’re passing through Hood River, OR, don’t miss Waucoma Bookstore which is currently carrying hardcover copies of A Book About a Film. Waucoma Bookstore stays true to its community of the Columbia Gorge, what with its name deriving from the word meaning “place of the cottonwood tree” in the native’s language; but it also stays true to the universal community of readers and writers, and is always taking the extra step to carry rare and unique titles to show its support for local and indie authors. There’s a reason why Waucoma Bookstore has been around for over 35-years and is still going strong.
Author Eden Baylee has a very cool blog which features lots of talented authors and excellent new releases. This week she features Schultz’s recently released A Book About a Film, which is the second time he has appeared on Baylee’s site—he was first interviewed by her shortly after Jill’s release. If you are a lit buff, check out her site and titles.