Interview with Schneider

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?

Well…if you go way back, it would have to be Dr. Seuss. I could really relate to the little boy when the Cat In The Hat took a bath and left that pink icing ring in the tub– big trouble brewing there.

But as far as an author that greatly impacted my writing and showed me there were no boundaries, it would have to be Kurt Vonnegut. His books opened up a whole new dimension for me. I even wrote a tribute short story called ‘Finding Winslow Rambus’ that plays off of his book ‘Breakfast of Champions.’ I think of it as a companion piece.

What do you read for pleasure?

It is not what I read for pleasure, it’s that I do read for pleasure. What I mean is, I always have at least two books going at a time and often three if I toss in a non-fiction. When I end a book, I go through a form of withdrawal and have to search immediately for the next book (read fix) or I start to get all clammy and shaky.

Why did you write a book about the Roswell incident and UFOs?

I actually didn’t plan to go that direction at all with this book. Originally it was a coming-of-age story about Frankie and Beanie. When I got to the scene where the mother steps out of the car and they ogle her, it just seemed too perverted (as was pointed out in the story). I decided to have a girl the age of the boys get out of the other side. Once Mel (the girl) came into the story, she just took over. It was just amazing how everything grew out of her.

I had always been infatuated by UFOs, aliens, and such. Because the story takes place back in the mid-60s I suddenly thought what if Mel’s parents had been down Roswell’s way back in 1947 when the spaceship crashed. Things just took off from there.

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?

I grew up in Lake Oswego, Oregon where this story takes place. I was close to the same age as the kids at about the same time, so I have those memories on which to fall back. Many of the locations in the story are based on actual places. The easement on Summit Dr. is really there, as are the Hunt Club, railroad tracks, and the ballpark I use in the book. I’m afraid Wiser’s grocery store is gone. A bit of nostalgia, my grandmother once drove her car through a plate-glass window. Mr. Wiser was very good about it all. And they recently tore down the A&W I used in the story. But I have a picture of it and will post it along with others in a future article.

It seems that you did quite a bit of research for the book.

Yes. Many years ago I really got into the whole UFO thing. That is why I include the books the kids check out under the bridge. But I was infatuated by the UFO crash near Roswell and the possibilities that there were alien bodies. UFO Crash at Roswell by Kevin Randle and Donald Schmitt was my go-to book. Charles Berlitz and William Moore also did extensive writing on the subject. Their book The Roswell Incident was also a great writing aid. I also read Col. Phillip Corso’s book The Day after Roswell. In his book he describes some of the material that came from the crash and helped advance our technology. That is where I got the idea for incorporating such material into the story and making its recovery the primary story line, which then opened up the angle of international espionage. It was through these books that I pulled pieces to fit my puzzle, such as the archeology team from Texas Tech, and the man searching for arrowheads.

Will there be a sequel?

I guess that depends on whether this book takes off. I have a number of novels in development, but if there are enough readers that enjoyed this work, then I will go ahead with the sequel. I already have the concept in mind. It takes place when Mel is just about to graduate from Texas Tech (yes, she went to her dad’s school). She is again catapulted into the quest set forth years before by the first novel, when the missing device finally comes into her possession. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read the first book, and then plead with me to write the second. Okay, not plead, but at least let me know you want it (

What about another book with the kids at their current age?

Anything is a possibility. I really like these characters, but I need to know there is a good sized reading audience out there for them, in order to continue with additional books.

What are you working on now?

First, I am doing everything I can to get this book in front of the reader. You think writing a book is hard? Marketing it is just as hard, if not harder. I write because I enjoy it. Marketing is more like work.

Other than that, I am adapting a short story to a novel. It is called ‘River of Dreams’ and historical fiction taking place in Idaho and Oregon back in the early 1950s. It will have a touch of magical mysticism to it, and an out-of-body experience or two.

When not writing what do you do?
I have a regular ‘day’ job, so that tends to put a drain on me. But, we all need to pay the bills, right. I am lucky to have a cabin at the Oregon coast on a nice river that has some pretty good fishing. I like to go as often as I can. I enjoy hanging out with friends, but the place has always provided good inspiration for my writing. I plan to retire to the cabin some day if all things work out.