Today is publication day for Splintered, the second book in Jamie Schultz’ Arcane Underworld series. I reviewed the first book Premonitions last year and earlier in the year Jamie visited the blog with a fantastic guest post to discuss the similarities between Karyn’s precognition and chronic illness. I’m really looking forward to discover how Karyn and Anna’s adventures continue, but in the mean time I thought I’d highlight Splintered‘s book birthday with an interview with Jamie. Enjoy and keep an eye out for the review soon!
Let’s start with the basics. Who is Jamie Schultz?
Oh, sure, go right for the existential jugular… The short answer is that I’m an author of urban fantasy, dark fantasy, and horror for the most part, plus whatever else seizes my imagination. My first novel, Premonitions, came out last year, and the next, Splintered, comes out July 7th. I’m very excited!
How would you introduce people to Karyn, Anna, and their crew?
Karyn Ames has a strange affliction in which she sees the future in weird, cryptic glimpses. The problem is that these glimpses of future possibilities—near, far, literal, symbolic, and everything in between—can easily overwhelm her normal experience of the world, essentially incapacitating her. Her only known treatment is a concoction called blind, sold in a sort of occult underground of Los Angeles. It’s rare and hellishly expensive, so she has entered into a life of crime, generally stealing occult artifacts for various collectors and living desperately from one score to the next.
The crew she’s assembled around herself to do this work consists of Anna, her best friend for over a decade; Nail, a tech guy and general hardcase who’s got family debt to pay off; and Tommy, the resident expert in the arcane. They get in whole heaping gobs of trouble together.
Premonitions was a glorious heist novel. What drew you to writing that specific sort of adventure?
I read a lot of crime fiction as well as fantasy and horror, and in many ways they fit naturally together. In both crime fiction and a lot of urban fantasy, you have an underworld or otherworld hidden from typical society and populated by outcasts and people who just don’t fit in what we think of as the normal day-to-day experience. I thought it would be cool to play around with how those two genres fit together.
Plus I just really like heist stories.
In your world the supernatural is real, but you’ve mainly stayed away from the classic supernatural being such as vampires and werewolves. Was that a conscious choice?
Yeah, it was. That’s a pretty thoroughly tilled field, and I didn’t think I had anything in particular to add to it. I’m not saying I’ll avoid those types of supernatural beings forever—a lot depends on inspiration, after all, and God help me but I have an idea for a really bizarre vampire novel I might like to write one day—but I can say definitively that they will not show up in this series.
Hmm. I don’t want to give too much away, but I think it’s safe to say that there is still a strong focus on what I think of as “surrogate family” relationships, though that does expand beyond just Karyn and Anna.
How many books have you planned in the series? Can we expect many more adventures featuring Karyn and Anna?
I’m contracted for three books, and beyond that it will depend how well the series does. I have a draft of the third book done (and in dire need of revision), though, and I can say that the end of the third book closes enough threads to be a decent stopping point, yet leaves enough hooks to hang further books on if the series sells well.
I have a ridiculous number of ideas for further adventures, so I’ll be ecstatic about writing them, if I get the chance.
What’s next for you? Any appearances or conventions planned?
Not really. I like the idea of conventions, and I keep thinking I should try one to see what that’s all about, but at the same time it’s kind of intimidating. Nothing I write about is scarier to me than a gathering of large numbers of strangers with unfamiliar social rules!
Mostly I’ve got other books to write, and they multiply faster than I can possibly put them down on paper. Or, uh, electrons.
Is there something else you’re passionate about other than writing and books?
Yes! I play a lot of music in my spare time. My songwriting partner and I have just finished recording an album we plan to release later this year. I did the recording engineering and mixing, as well as playing all the guitar parts and co-writing the songs. I’m really proud of it. It’s a sort of R&B-inflected rock, and it was a ton of fun to write and record.
I’m also learning to play the drums. I am a horrible drummer, but it’s a lot of fun and it helps stretch my music brain in a different direction.
As a book reviewer, I’m all about the book enabling; I can’t help but want to make people read all the good books out there. But I can always use help. What are your top recommendations of books we should look out for in the coming months?
Two candidates jump immediately to mind. The Annihilation Score, the latest in Charles Stross’s Laundry Files, comes out the same day as Splintered. That’s a fun series that is rapidly escalating to complete insanity, so I’m really looking forward to the next installment.
The other book I’m really excited about is Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits, by David Wong. His other books have been such an unbelievably strange but effective mixture of humor and horror that I’ll pretty much read anything he writes at this point.
Finally, I have to stay true to my roots and ask a librarian question to finish off with: Do you shelve your books alphabetically, by genre or do you have an ingenious system?
Okay, I have to warn you that, as a librarian, you may find the following disturbing, grotesque, or worse.
I have no system at all. They go on the shelf wherever I happen to put them.
Thanks for having me!
Bio: Jamie Schultz has worked as a rocket test engineer, an environmental consultant, a technical writer, and a construction worker, among other things. He lives in Dallas, Texas. His first novel, Premonitions, received a starred review from Library Journal, who called it “a sterling urban fantasy debut with a great cast of characters.