Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author J.A. Schneider, author of the cops-&-doctors medical thriller series, EMBRYO, and of the just-released standalone psychological thriller, FEAR DREAMS.
Mystery & Thrillers, Suspense, Romance
J.A. Schneider… Medical Thrillers & Suspense
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Amazon Author Profile
J.A. (Joyce Anne) Schneider is a former staffer at Newsweek. Words and story ideas are always teeming in her head - "a colorful place!" she says. She's a wife, mom, and loves thrillers. Once a Liberal Arts major (French and Spanish Literature), she has become increasingly fascinated with medicine and forensic science. Decades of being married to a physician who loves explaining medical concepts and reliving his experiences means that there'll be medical angles even in "regular" thrillers that she writes
SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author
Congratulations on your book: FEAR DREAMS. What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?
I’m working on the next cop procedural/psychological thriller. Another lightening fast, high-tension one but sorry, no hints! :)
You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Do you see a carry over to your writing success?
I enjoy Twitter, take breaks on it at the end of the day, usually. My daughter also tweets a lot on my account, & what’s interesting is that people just…follow. So over four years the number has grown exponentially; i.e., the bigger it gets, the bigger it gets. I’ve met wonderful authors and fellow reading addicts on Twitter…so yes, there is considerable carryover. Mainly, I’m guessing, because I support other authors too.
Do you do any book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?
I’ve done none of that, mainly because my first books - the six EMBRYO books - were and are still digital only. FEAR DREAMS has a paperback version, though. Still, it takes a lot to get me out of my writing bat cave.
You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?
Hands on, totally, just me deciding except for the very first cover of EMBRYO. Since then, I love hunting through Shutterstock images, looking for something that connects emotionally with what I feel the book is. Then I show the image to Matt Maguire at Candescent Press (Matt also does my formatting). I pretty much describe what i want done to the original image, including font, font colors, etc. This makes it easier for both of us. There’s never “No, I don’t like that or that,” which must drive cover designers crazy. Matt is terrific, btw. He’s funny and really patient.
What writer support groups do you belong to? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?
For the writing, no support groups. Noooo! If Faulker and Hemingway were to “help” each other, there would be nothing left on the page. As for marketing, I haven’t yet gone the big blog tour route yet, but do periodically run free or discount promotions, preferably - natch - on BookBub; if not on ENT and Robin Reads. Nothing gets a book before new readers as well as those three, even if the second pair just result in a briefer spike. Every new reader counts.
Between your book writing, newsletter, marketing, family and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do you sort of play it by ear?
I’ve a set schedule, about five hours a day, maybe more, usually spanning afternoons. I’m pretty good at screening out life's white noise, plus my kids are grown, which gives me time I never had when they were young - although I know many people who write despite having young children and full time jobs. If what you’re doing is a COMPULSION, those words will get written.
What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?
Ah, the power of free! There’s’ no beating it, and again, Bookbub (when they’ll have me; otherwise ENT and Robin Reads. In my experience they’re terrific on a much smaller scale, of course. Mainly I wanted to reach new readers, and such free promotions do. Much better than promotions at 99 cents, btw.
How do you start your book launch process for a new book? Give a brief outline of the steps you go through to get your book to market. What methods were the most successful?
For those first six EMBRYO books I did nothing - just finished them and popped them up onto Amazon. To launch FEAR DREAMS, for the first time I did a Pre-order - just three weeks, but several friends including online author friends and blogger friends agreed to advance-read ARCs and post their reviews on release day. MUCH better, having reviews there from day one.
Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?
Yes, I’ve a reader list, from the first days of the Embryo books. Mainly I’ve met people on Goodreads; also Twitter and Facebook. To a lesser extend Kboards - you get into conversations there, and writers connect.
What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?
Nothing beats Goodreads to find readers super generous about reviewing. I still find new friends there; approached several most recently describing FEAR DREAMS and the response was amazing. Also, the back matter of my book is linked back to FEAR DREAMS on Amazon with a bleating plea to review…please? Italics, smile. Really.
Author's Book List
A woman frantic she's seeing a ghost... Liddy Barron, an artist, was injured in a hit-and-run accident that left her with recurring nightmares, gaps in her memory, and an increasing obsession in the disappearance of a coed named Sasha Perry. Insecure and nervous, Liddy's turmoil grows as she begins seeing ghostly images. Her husband Paul tries to help but suspects it's just her imagination...while intuitive Detective Kerri Blasco, also obsessed with young Sasha's disappearance, senses that Liddy may have a key to solving the case, and tries to unravel the shocking truth of what really haunts her.
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- EMBRYO: A Raney & Levine Thriller Book 6
A Jack the Ripper type killer is murdering male prostitutes, with the exception of one young woman. Why? Police ask doctors Jill Raney and David Levine to help investigate.
FROM HELL the psychopath scrawls, taunting the NYPD with the original Jack the Ripper's 1888 letter to the police. They ask "one small favor" of Jill and David, police friends and - until now, detectives on their own. "No warrant? No problem!" had been their mantra...until their relationship with the cops got crazy; led to exhaustion and conflict and not enough time with their adored little son, Jesse.
But they share the horror that grips the country and agree to help, thus plunging into a terrifying maze of psycho-sexual obsession and madness.
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- EMBRYO: A Raney & Levine Thriller Book 5
A beautiful young TV star, Jody Merrill, dies mysteriously and police are stumped. They are even more at a loss when the grisly remains of yet another actress, Jody's co-star, are found.
Detectives request the help of doctors Jill Raney and David Levine, police friends and detectives on their own. For Jill and David this is personal; they are heartbroken since both murdered young women were their friends. Furiously they resolve to find the killer: to skirt the law as they always do in cases of sex crimes, child abuse and murder; helping where cops' hands are tied ("No warrant? No problem!"), or in ways that police forensics never imagined.
The killer, capable of unspeakable savagery, must commit more murders in order to hide...possibly behind the glitzy cover of Show Biz Hell. As Jody Merrill called it, "That gorgeous, sparkly bubble that closes you in, bloats your ego in some weird, alternate universe where you lose all bearings, lose yourself. Fame is unhealthy."
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- EMBRYO: A Raney & Levine Thriller, Book 4
A terrifying serial killer who just targets couples, and leaves taunting notes for the NYPD signed CATCH ME... At a loss, police request the help of doctors Jill Raney and David Levine, police friends and detectives on their own. Both have helped when cops' hands are tied, or in ways that even police forensics never imagined.
But this killer, a sharp shooter, is always a step ahead. He wears gloves and disguises, shoots victim pairs at random with an unregistered gun, and leaves no physical evidence or eyewitnesses. His only weakness: jealousy to hear that David is also a crack shot, and a creepy interest in the couple's adopted little son, Jesse, almost one year old, dubbed by the media "the miracle baby," and already showing signs that he is as intuitive as his mother...
The killer draws closer, gripping New York City and the entire nation in horror, pulling Jill and David into the worst terror they have yet encountered.
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RANEY & LEVINE
- EMBRYO: A Raney & Levine Thriller, Book 3
Another doctors-&-cops adrenalin-packed thriller: First, tension enters Jill's & David's relationship over what to do about newborn Jesse. They both love him, but David feels that he'd be safer adopted anonymously. Suddenly their stress turns to horror when they discover that a murderous religious zealot is after both Jesse - whom he calls "devil spawn" - and Jill & David's hospital which he calls "the devil's workshop which must be destroyed!" This time, the whole hospital is threatened... Jill and David join forces with the police in a terrifying race to track down a killer, and to prevent an unthinkable catastrophe.
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- EMBRYO: A Raney & Levine Thriller, Book 2
But the heart-stopping ending of Embryo has created a new crisis...
They thought the nightmare was over. Intern Jill Raney and the man she loves, obstetrical resident David Levine, barely escaped death at the hands of a madman on the steep roof of an old part of the hospital. The awful scene, captured by overhead news choppers, became a media obsession, run horrifyingly over and over. Jill and David are now reluctant "celebrities" - and the targets of every wacko who wants to share in the attention.
Including a killer. Someone who begins venting his fury at their "fame" by his hideous assaults on women - assaults which Jill and David discover are also death threats to them, and to a 6-month-old baby who has yet to be born. Their predator is clever. Haughty. Leaves cryptic "clues" to taunt them and the police, who are at a loss. He knows how to leave no physical evidence behind. No prints, no fibers, no eyewitnesses.
Jill and David must still return to their exhausting hospital duties, knowing that any psycho can just walk into a hospital. Friends beg David, who is a crack shot, to carry a gun, but he doesn't. "What's the use?" he asks. "A doctor's back is always turned."
Instead, Jill and David join forces to become detectives on their own, helping the police in ways that even forensics experts never imagined; working frantically to uncover an unspeakable secret that dooms their fate and that of a sweet-faced, unborn child...unless they can put an end to an obsessed killer's twisted quest.
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- EMBRYO: A Raney & Levine Thriller, Book 1
"Maria Moran's first inkling of trouble was the coppery taste in her mouth. It came suddenly, a rushing whoosh of something that made her gag, and when she reached to wipe her mouth, her hand came away smeared with blood."
So begins this first EMBRYO medical thriller about a young intern, Jill Raney, determined to investigate tragedies and terror at a famous fertility and genetic engineering hospital. When two pregnant women die and a fetus is delivered with severe chromosomal abnormalities, Jill's superiors - including handsome, smitten-with-her resident David Levine - insist there's no common link.
But her suspicions deepen with the grotesque murder near the hospital of another pregnant woman - her belly drained of amniotic fluid. And when a woman miscarries in the hospital and then disappears, Jill frantically searches for her - following a terrifying path that seems to link all the victims: Is someone playing with life...and the structures of human life itself?
An unforgettable tale of suspense with a shocking denouement, Embryo takes you deep into the mind of malignant genius.
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