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.
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.
At home, Rachel Rhodes is a mother and wife. At work, she is a manager. At night, she is the infamous serial killer known only as Jill. Her secret will eventually affect everyone in her life, from her family members to the detectives investigating the case.
Luck starts off on her side as she befriends heartbroken detective Cole Dale, who’s an important link to the investigation. However, that luck seems to fade when Rachel meets Cole’s partner, an unorthodox and mentally unstable detective, Perry Charleton, driven by personal reasons to stop Jill using any means necessary.
The novel is told in an omniscient narrative style, allowing the story to have a hauntingly neutral perspective which disguises everything as it progresses and leaves no room for predictability, entangling the reader in a web of evil. Layered with symbolism and motifs, leaving the story to come together like a puzzle through the characters’ actions and interactions; its themes deal with such issues as dysfunction, impressionability and influence, sexism, racism and even humiliation.
As with any C. W. Schultz novel, Jill is a study in candor. The author himself calls Jill “a serial killer soap opera” as Rachel seeks the romantic, fairy tale ending that only a deranged woman would believe possible after the things she has done.
Chapter 1 Teaser
WARNING: The following contains strong language, sexuality and violence that may be offensive to some…
Though this is nothing compared to the rest of the book. >;]
THE CLUB WAS BUSY FOR A WEDNESDAY EVENING.
Jacob Hansen observed this when he was halfway through his second martini and realized Colin Owen had not said more than “Dirty martini, Jake?” and “Another?”
Colin had been the bartender at Club Blue since new ownership took over a year ago. For the past three-and-a-half months Jacob had been coming in a couple times a week, usually on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. It was easier to pick up a woman when there wasn’t a crowd.
The typical woman at Club Blue was in her early twenties, slender built, usually tall, and always wild. Jake, however, was happy even with a woman slightly below par.
Tonight was unusually wild. Plenty of guys for the hotties to choose from which only reduced Jake’s chances.
“Hey, buddy,” Colin said as the bar began to die down.
“Colin,” Jake replied. “Busy night. What gives?”
Colin shrugged. “Business is business.”
“It looks like it’s slowing down a bit.”
“Shh. Don’t jinx it.”
“I thought business was business.”
“I won’t complain when it’s busy,” Colin began while wiping the counter. “That doesn’t mean I don’t prefer the down time.”
“Not so fast,” Jake said, then guzzled the rest of his martini and placed the glass where Colin had just wiped.
“What? You don’t want my company?” Colin teased, smiling as he swooped the glass closer to him. “For a guy who doesn’t want company, you sure look unhappy sitting here by yourself.”
A woman of 43—twice the age of most of the girls at Club Blue, but twice as beautiful—took a seat at the bar a couple of stools away from Jake.
He observed the few faint freckles on her face.
Cute, he thought.
He noticed a few more freckles on her neck, and even a few on her cleavage which she was obviously flaunting.
Look at those things! DDs, maybe even E-cups. Definitely at least Ds. I know who I’ll be thinking about if I go home alone tonight.
Jake was about to turn to Colin and say something like, “I’m not sitting by myself anymore, smartass,” but noticed that Colin had been pulled away by other customers.
Colin took their order, slid Jake his martini, and then prepared to make a couple of drinks for the people who just paid.
“Dark in here,” Jake observed.
Colin just shrugged.
“It’s getting busy again,” Jake pointed out, taking a sip of his third Martini.
“Looks like you jinxed me,” Colin replied as he mixed a margarita.
“May I have a dirty martini when you get the chance, please?” the woman asked.
“And put it on my tab,” added Jake.
Colin looked up from mixing the margarita and glanced briefly at the woman.
After Colin delivered the customers their drinks, he started on her martini.
“Thank you,” she said to Jake. “I’m Rachel.”
After the excitement of Rachel not rejecting Jake’s offer, he felt himself begin to blush. To avoid revealing how nervous he was, he said the first thing on his mind. “Aren’t you a little old for this club?”
You moron, Jake thought at the same time Colin raised his eyebrows.
Surprisingly, Rachel just laughed.
Is she laughing at me? “What I mean is… I felt like the only mature person in here. Then you came along and now I don’t feel so alone.”
“How old do you think I am?” she chuckled playfully.
“Old enough for me not to feel like a creep for buying you a drink.”
Rachel laughed again and then thanked Colin as he set the martini in front of her.
“What’s your name?” Rachel asked.
“I’m Jake. You from around here?”
“Actually, no.” She took a sip. “I’m actually from Portland on business.”
“Ah-ha. What do you do?”
“I started Flickerless Candle Co. Pretty much just a scented candle business. Small, but popular in Oregon and Northern California. Maybe Seattle might want some of my candles.”
“What do you do?”
“CEO of Sunrise Coffee.”
“You’ve heard of us?”
“I’m surprised, we only distribute in Washington.”
Rachel guzzled her Martini.
“Another?” offered Jake.
“I want a smoke.” Rachel pulled a pack of cigarettes from the little black purse that matched her hair and dress perfectly. The green color on the Marlboro Menthol 100’s pack matched her eyes that had already been matching the ring on her right-pinkie with an emerald-stone. Jake noticed this and thought black and green have never gone together better. “You smoke?”
“No,” Jake replied.
“Wait here while I smoke?”
“Or, you can keep me company outside.”
“Maybe I’ll bum one of those,” Jake said, feeling a bit useless just standing in the cold watching Rachel smoke.
Rachel opened her purse and handed him a smoke and lit it for him.
“I quit about four years ago,” Jake said, taking the first puff.
“Yeah? How does it taste?”
“Not good anymore.”
They shared a laugh.
Jake kneeled down and crushed the cherry gently. He stood up again and handed the dead cigarette back to Rachel. Aside from the blackened front and a faint yellowish inside the filter, the cigarette was in pretty good shape.
“Don’t mean to be rude,” he said bashfully.
“That’s okay. Don’t smoke it if you don’t want it. I’ll have it later.” She smiled and took it, digging into her purse again for the pack.
“I don’t mind standing out here with you,” Jake began. “But if you want, I can go back inside and order us another drink.”
“Wanna take this party somewhere else?” she suggested in a natural tone.
Jake was surprised at how perfect and easily things were falling into place. “Yeah,” he replied.
“You’ve had a little too much to drink. My motel room is about a block away. The Sunhill Motel. Room five.”
“Sure,” Jake replied, failing to disguise the happiness in his voice.
“Okay. I’ll head over now. Pay the tab and meet me there. You can pick up your car later tonight. Or tomorrow morning.”
Jake arrived at the Sunhill Motel almost twenty minutes later. He told Colin that he was going to leave his car in the lot until morning and to not have it towed. Jake slipped Colin $20, but Colin waved it off.
Jake insisted and added the $20 to his tab. Colin shrugged and said, “This one’s on the house.” He put a martini in front of Jake. He couldn’t resist.
Jake guzzled it. “Thanks. This will make me less nervous. I don’t know if I’ve ever been with a woman this beautiful.”
“Good for you, buddy,” replied Colin. “Wish I would’ve gotten a better look at her. It’s been damn busy. You jinxed me.”
Everything was going great. The last martini kicked in as he walked up the driveway to the one story motel.
There were 12 rooms, each with its own parking space in front of the door.
Jake found room five on the west side. No car was parked in front, but the lights were on.
Maybe I can give her a ride tomorrow. Keep this thing going.
Jake knocked on the door.
“Jake?” Rachel called.
“Come in. I’m just picking up a little. It’s unlocked.”
Jake turned the knob and entered.
He looked around the room. There was a TV to the left, the bed and nightstand to the right, and the bathroom adjacent to the door.
Typical motel room. He didn’t see Rachel anywhere. Where is she?
He saw movement out of the corner of his left eye.
He turned and saw Rachel approaching.
Jake awoke, staring at the stained yellowish-brown ceiling, the result of years of cigarette smoke.
It took him a while to realize what was going on, but it all sunk in when he noticed from the puffiness and strange mixture of numbness and soreness that his left brow was swollen. Pain became full-blown and he was then able to comprehend the extent of his injury—the shock had gone and the seriousness of what had just happened began to kick in.
He looked around the room and saw Rachel sitting on a chair next to the bed, smoking and watching TV.
“My eye,” Jake moaned, still in a bit of a daze, trying to communicate to Rachel that he was hurt.
When he moved to touch the wound, he realized that his arms and legs were tied to each of the bed posts with shoe string.
“Oh, you’re up,” Rachel said and turned off the TV.
Jake realized how calm Rachel was and hoped, Maybe this is just some kinky shit.
Rachel stood up and grabbed a syringe off the nightstand, shoving the needle into the side of Jake’s neck without hesitation.
Solid and heavy were the only two sensations Jake could convey. He felt like he was turning into stone.
“The Norcuron works pretty quickly,” Rachel said as she slipped the syringe in a medical bag, also black, next to her purse under the chair. “You’ll be paralyzed but capable of feeling. This is the ultra-torture accessory. A must have for any serial killer.”
Jake suddenly realized what was happening and began to scream, but deep moans were all that came out and before long, the moans turned into quick periodic gasps.
“I don’t like men,” she explained as she slipped on a pair of black leather gloves. “My father would fuck any woman in sight, and I ended up marrying a man just like him. My brother and my son will not be like them. Unfortunately, my brother contracted HIV from a blood transfusion about 15 years ago. The tragedy bestowed on one of the only men I actually love fills me with an indescribable rage. Nice guys do finish last… until I get involved.” She enjoyed giving all her victims her life story. Allowing the victim to understand the root of her anger robbed them of any hope that they might survive—they would understand she had no intention of not following through. Her brevity and matter-of-factness made it clear to Jake that he was not the first man to hear this tale.
Rachel picked up a hammer. It had Jake’s blood on it.
“I can’t take my anger out on my father because he’s dead, and I can’t take it out on my husband not only because he’s the father of my children but also an obvious tie to me, so you’ll take their place. You’ll be their substitute. You’re the next best thing.”
Rachel waved the hammer over Jake’s fully clothed crotch, as if contemplating exactly what angle to use.
“Most man-haters would love to devour a cock and balls, but me, I have more original tastes,” she said, pulling the hammer away.
Jake wondered what a “man-hater” would choose over that.
Rachel picked up her purse, removed a knife from it and then casually set it on the nightstand alongside the medical bag.
“My first victim was actually a castration,” she said as she stared at the reflection of herself in the clean silver blade, gently brushing her bangs away from her eyes. “It was boring. He expected it.”
She climbed on top of Jake’s limp body, reaching over to the nightstand for the hammer and laying it down next to him.
She leaned in close enough to kiss him, and said, “I wanna see you without a…
Critical response has been mixed.
However, IndieReader gives Jill a rather negative review. Schultz’s approach of showing murder as an act of insecurity and moral-weakness by a shallow killer—drawing inspiration from real serial killers—did not sit well with IndieReader, who said: “Rachel kills simply because some men have hurt her, her brother was favored over her, and therefore she hates men. Some additional internal conflict or complexity might serve the purpose of making the murderer, and thus the murders, more interesting.” No lenience was given for the book’s intended soap-operatic direction, with some characters’ behavior being called “pretty inexplicable.” The book’s matter-of-factly and neutral narrative also seemed to bother the reviewer, who said: “The book can also be fairly heavy-handed in its moralizing, spelling out directly morals and judgments that would be more effective if readers were left to infer them.” Despite the panning ★½ (out of five) review, the IndieReader was not without compliments, calling Jill “lively”, “full of events” and “never dull”. They also called Perry Charleton (Schultz’s favorite character of his own creation) “surprisingly likeable, and his personality rather takes over the book whenever he’s in it.”
While Schultz has said he will never play favorites with his stories, he has not done the same with his characters, stating that Detective Perry Charleton is by far his favorite character that he has created.
C. W. Schultz’s fourth novel A Book About a Film is officially available for purchase today! It’s an academic study on the cult classic The Cornfield People that not only acts as a novelization of the movie but also as a thriller in its own right when the book begins to dig into the film’s hidden messages, reoccurring themes and haunting obscurity. The book analyzes a chilling movie which follows a secret society that knows the meaning of life and what comes after death… and the cult will stop at nothing to keep their treasured knowledge hidden from outsiders.
You can watch the teaser trailer here!
A Book About a Film has been receiving lots of praise. Nick Rossi of Reading Other People said “Schultz is destined for greatness” in his review; while Joanie Chevalier, author of Deadly Dating Games: Murder. Blackmail. Romance., gave A Book About a Film ★★★★★ (out of five) in her review. Ajoobacats Blog commended the book for being original and unusual, saying “this is one hell of a read for film enthusiasts” in the review. An overall rave review came from RedPillows, who said the book was ultimately intriguing and well-written. Schultz’s narrative choices was said to be “complex, gripping, and ultimately hard to put down” in a review from the Midwest Book Review. Of the copious analysis, disorienting narrative and unique layout, Kirkus’s response was that the subject’s “conceit is rather ingenious”.
I was provided with an ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review. Initially, I was not at all certain as to what to expect. The blurb got me searching the internet for as much information as I could about the premise of the story. When I realized that there was not much to go on and almost every search that turned up somehow pointed back to the upcoming book: A Book About a Film, I started reading it with much more interest.
About the Book:
Author C. W. Schultz’s fourth release A BOOK ABOUT A FILM is a matchless thriller focusing on a low-budget movie called THE CORNFIELD PEOPLE, which follows journalist Joe Fischer as he investigates the titular group. The Cornfield People are a secret society who know the meaning of life and what comes after death. It is essential to the Cornfield People that their knowledge remain hidden from outsiders, and they will stop at nothing to protect their secret. Schultz surveys censorship through the means of violence in this chilling and unforgettable book. This satire on film-criticism takes on a double-narrative, with one acting as a novelization of the movie, while the other examines the film’s hidden messages, motifs and haunting obscurity.
This is a narrative about the plot of the above said film which is said to be lost while some think of it as an urban legend. The plot of the film is explained in a manner that prompts the reader to visualize each scene. The author not only describes the setting, but also talks about the camera angle and each character’s current position in the scene. Added to this are annotations where the author has interspersed his research along with the thoughts and quotes from several well-known film-makers, writers, producers and others in the field of film-making.
The story is intriguing, dealing with a group of people who claim to know the truth about life and what comes after death. We do however, meet some characters who are portrayed as cold and calculating. The bottom-line of the plot comes down to protecting a secret for the greater good, to protect mankind and the extent to which people can go to accomplish this. There are many references to breaking the fourth wall and how the characters are seemingly aware of their audience. This has been described in detail and analyzed in several instances. The author has made sure to bring out these points quite clearly.
The principal character, a journalist by profession is shown as intelligent with a slight sense of humor reflected when he encounters different situations while he has been tasked with investigating the Cornfield People. There are instances when we see the analysis provided while trying to narrow down a time frame or period for when this film may have been taken. With little to no information, these first hand and second hand reports add some mystery to the book. The story does fall a little flat at times where a sense of mystery is created but the author doesn’t go deeper with the explanation. However, this does not take away from the beauty of the overall idea.
The reader, through this narrative is in for an interesting read whereby the author ensures that he/she will go away with enough knowledge about this film that they will start their own research into it. Judging by the story, this would indeed be a classic film to watch. A rather well-written book, this story about a film will spark the interest of the reader and create awareness about the film
But it didn’t stop there.
www.cwschultz.com decides a wonderful review of an exciting release warrants enough enthusiasm to finally reveal A Book About a Film’s release date as Tuesday, September 8th, 2015, as well as the front cover!
This should mark the beginning of updates on a project Schultz has been pretty secretive about. Stay tuned as the reveals continue to pile on!
It doesn’t get more meta or self-referential than this. C.W. Schultz’ original and effervescent work A Book About A Film is subversion at its best. It beckons the dream-like quality of Fellini’s masterpiece 8 1/2 with a touch of Grey Gardens. It’s like that great movie M. Night Shyamalan has yet to make.
I absolutely do not want to spoil the narrative for any prospective readers. I will say, however, that Schultz’ uncanny ability to write a work that has an inherent momentum which does not lose any steam is revelatory. I’ve read a lot of books that borrow elements from various genres that attempt to amalgamate them into a piece that will appeal to all demographics. A Book About a Film, however, is heads and shoulders above its subversive predecessors. It maintains the readers interest, utilizing imagery that is both evocative yet easily visualized.
It’s a thriller, a neo-noir and the Blair Witch Project all rolled into one cohesive narrative that held my interest in the palm of its words from start to finish. I was not only riveted by the plot mechanisms that managed to delve into the mentalities of secret society members, in this case, The Cornfield People, but I was also astonished by the authors effortless ability to weave varying styles into one masterpiece so successfully.
Maybe its because I’m a film graduate, or maybe its because I watch a lot of films, but I found A Book About A Film to be the equivalent of that rare director commentary on the DVD of your favorite semi-obscure movie. You’re in awe of the director’s ability to present subtle motifs without exploiting the intricacies of the characters and their flaws. Schultz is destined for greatness, and A Book About a Film is a book about life – the kind of life that is real, gritty, and dark.
A Book About A Film will be released in September 2015. I will write another post to remind you all to be sure to pick up a copy.
— Nick Rossi, Reading Other People
A Book About a Film is ready for copyediting. One step closer to being complete. Schultz’s fourth book had a few false starts beginning in April 2013, and a rough draft was not completed until July 2014, so this is some exciting news. How about hashtagging #ExtremelyFreakingExcited or #OneStepCloser or simply #ABookAboutAFilm?