Inteviewer: Today we’re speaking with author T. R. Schumer, thank you for joining us.
Schumer It’s a pleasure, thank you for having me.
Inteviewer:Great, let’s get started. You are an independent author of three books, your debut novel Death Catch was released in March of 2016, and so far, it's been met with mixed reviews, but despite that, Death Catch still managed to hit the Amazon best seller’s list in your genre, what was your reaction to that?
Schumer My reaction? Welcome to publishing! (laughs) Um… yes, Death Catch did briefly touch the Amazon top ten for Sea Adventures, and of course I was thrilled, I was shocked and thrilled actually. It’s a small achievement in the scheme of things but it is an achievement. As for the mixed reviews, that part doesn't bother me, to be honest, I sort of expected it.
Inteviewer:You did? How so?
Schumer Yeah, well, it’s a pretty unusual story right? When it came out, I mean, when I was actually writing the book, and the whole thing was just exploding in front of me, I was surprised, because… well, it definitely was not what I was thinking my first book would be about, not by a long shot, but here we are.
Inteviewer:What did you think your first book would be about?
Schumer (laughs) Certainly not a deadly horde of zombie sharks! But honestly? I loved writing this story, I really loved it. From the very beginning it just took over my life and I couldn't stop until it was finished. I love my characters, and now that I look back on it, I wouldn't change a thing about the story, I’m really proud of it.
Inteviewer: Every author gets a percentage of one and two star reviews, but your first book, as it stands on Amazon right now, is almost split down the middle, how do you respond? Do you respond to your reviewers?
Schumer I don’t necessarily see it as a bad thing, I mean, the book hit a chord, and people have a reaction to it, and that’s what books are supposed to do right? As for responding? I don’t respond to my reviews, it’s just a personal choice. I do read every one of them though, and this, I think, is really important.
Inteviewer:Even the one-stars?
Schumer Oh, yes, even the one and two star reviews, I read all of them, and I take what people say about the book very seriously because, well, my feeling is that someone took the time to read my book, and then they took the time to write and post a review, so good bad or indifferent, I feel I have an obligation to read what they said out of respect for that effort.
Inteviewer:Most authors skip the low star reviews, is it painful reading yours?
Schumer It’s a reality check for sure, but it is reality right? Every writer loves seeing the five-star reviews, of course I love reading those, its normal, and natural, and such a boost to get positive feedback— who doesn’t want that? But I have to admit that some of my all time favorite reviews so far have actually been low star reviews, so I guess I'm just kinda weird that way huh? Seriously though, writing is a process, so my feeling is that if someone doesn't like one of my books, I'm like, no worries, maybe they'll like the next one?
Inteviewer:Lets talk about the next one shall we?
Schumer Yes, please do! (laughs)
Inteviewer:Your series is called The Fearless Trilogy, because it centers around the adventures of the crew on board a scientific research vessel that’s named Fearless, and now you’re getting ready to publish the third book in the trilogy, can you tell us a little about it?
Schumer Yes, thank you, the title of the new book is SEAL Catch, and what makes this story stand out from Death Catch, and my second book, Drone Catch, is that SEAL Catch is actually a prequel, so this story takes place before the other two.
Inteviewer:So, will we be up against any sharks in SEAL Catch?
Schumer No, actually, the sharks don't show up in this book. This story mostly centers around the relationship between Alex Moss and Malcolm Rafferty. The fact that they are best friends, they’re both former Navy SEALs who served in two wars together, they don’t always see eye to eye, and now they work together on board Fearless, so it’s an interesting relationship. Book three actually takes place during the crew’s first year at sea aboard Fearless.
Inteviewer:Can you tell us anything about the plot without giving too much away?
Schumer Well, let’s just say they run into a bit of trouble crossing the Indian Ocean on their way to Cape Town, South Africa.
Inteviewer:Only a bit of trouble?
Schumer (laughs) Okay, a lot of trouble! There is a ton of action in this story, I broke into sweats crafting the action scenes, and it was such a blast, I loved it. I had this constant, visceral reaction to the experience, it was exhausting, because it’s like almost the entire story is this huge action sequence.
Inteviewer:A lot of writers find action scenes really difficult, they often dread writing them, but you seem to really enjoy writing action scenes, is that true?
Schumer I do love it, but action scenes are really tough, and there’s no getting around that fact, they’re hard to pull off. I spend a lot of time, a huge amount of time actually, crafting the action sequences in my stories. I also spend a lot of time on research before I even begin to craft a scene. Take Drone Catch for example, it’s the longest book in the trilogy, um...there are a lot of characters, there’s a large number of action scenes. One thing I’ve found is that it doesn't matter if the action is on a large scale, like when twenty biological shark drones are released to take down a Colombian drug lord that's hold up in his compound, or on a smaller scale, like the fight scene between Thomas Falcon’s Filipino traveling companion Bayani, and four members of the Tiny Rascals street gang, it takes the same amount of effort to craft those scenes.
Inteviewer:So what are your plans now that the Fearless Trilogy is complete?
Schumer I’ve already begun a new project. The genie is out of the bottle. I’m having way to much fun busting my ass at this. (laughs) I write first and foremost for myself, I write what makes me happy, and I’ve always loved big action stories. My number one goal is to write a better book than the last one. If I can make other people happy along the way, if I can write something entertaining, that the reader really enjoyed and felt that the story was time well spent, that right there is the my highest aspiration.
T. R. Schumer is the author of The Fearless Trilogy, which includes the titles Death Catch, Drone Catch, and the soon to be released SEAL Catch. All three books are available on Amazon, Kobo, and iTunes, as well as in print through Create Space. This interview took place on February 16th, 2017, in Switzerland, no part may be reproduced without permission.