Monday, 22 July 2013

Meet A Writer Monday Presents...

...Stan Schatt

1. Tell me about your book Egypt Rising and where you got your inspiration for it?

Egypt Rising is a YA coming of age novel that describes a 15-year old girl, daughter of a famous archaeologist, who is living in Cairo when the 2011 Egyptian revolution takes place. She learns a good deal about herself and even finds a boy friend while battling terrorists and discovering a secret buried under the Sphinx. The secret could destroy the balance of power, so every country wants to get its hands on it. It’s a contemporary adventure and romance but also has elements of science fiction including a new interpretation of the relationship between ancient Egypt and Atlantis.

2. Who has had the most influence in your life? What lessons did this person teach you?

My wife. I came from a very small family, and she came from a very large family, so I learned a lot about family life from her. Also, she’s much more outgoing and musical than I am, so she’s broadened my life in those ways as well.

3. How would you like to be remembered?

I suppose as a kind person but also as a kind of Renaissance man. I’ve had so many different careers and written about so many diverse subjects, that the Library of Congress actually called one day to find out if books by Stanley Schatt and Stan Schatt were written by the same person. I’ve written books on Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. and Michael Connelly, career changing, police writing, college textbooks on computers, telecommunications, and data communications. I’ve been everything from an autopsy assistant, Chairman of a Telecommunications Management department, and an assembly language software trainer to an English Professor and a Market Research executive.

4. If you could interview anyone from your life, living or dead, but not a celebrity, who would it be and why?

Interesting question. Michael Connelly doesn’t agree to interviews with writers, but I’d love to talk with him because I’d like to learn some of his secrets to make my detective novels more effective.

5. Ninjas or Pirates?

I’ve lived in Japan, so I’m a bit tired of ninjas. I’ll go with pirates.

6. Do you have a writing process? If so describe it.

I’ve tried writing a novel without planning, and it hasn’t worked out well. Lately, I’ve been using Larry Brooks’ Story Structure approach to planning a novel because it provides guidance on spacing our different plot points.

7. What is usually your first thought in the morning?

I dream almost every night, so I awake still remembering some pretty complicated dreams; sometimes they help my novels. If I go to sleep thinking about a particular novel I’m working on, I usually wake up with some new ideas for it.

8. You’re given one million pounds/dollars/euros, what would you spend it on?

I’m actually in a pretty good place since I’ve always lived below my means and saved my money. I honestly don’t think that much money would change my life. We have the same small house we bought thirty years ago. At this point, I’m not sure I’d want a bigger one. We’ve travelled all over the world, so that’s not a dream we haven’t realized. I suppose I’d use a chunk to make sure our grandchildren didn’t have to pay college tuition.

9. Are you mostly a clean or messy person?

Most people would say my desk is very messy. Actually, I’m very organized and know where everything is. One reason for the mess is that I generally work on several projects (and books) at the same time, so the piles are there for a reason.

10. If someone came up to you and wanted to tell you about an idea or a book they were writing, what would you do? Or what advice would you give?

I’ve had this happen. Almost everyone wants to write a book. Since I’ve written so many non-fiction books, people are always asking for advice. My novels are relatively new, so I haven’t been asked for advice in that area yet. My advice is to work backwards. Visualize the finished book, and then work backwards, particularly on a non-fiction book. I’ve written many books on tight deadlines while working full-time, so it’s important to plan out how much you can write a day/week/month, and stick to it.

11. Are the names of characters in your novels important?

They are in Egypt Rising. Olivia Hunter is a hunter of sorts. I had my 12-year old granddaughter provide me with names she liked as well as names of girls she would not like.

12. Have you ever killed someone in a novel and regretted it later?

If I killed them, they deserved it. I’ve struggled with how to get rid of some bad guys without physically having to kill them since I didn’t want a YA book to have too much violence.

13. Which do you find more embarrassing to write, violence or sex?

Probably sex. My detective novel is filled with S&M, and that was a challenge. My one has interspecie sex, and that is turning into a challenge.

14. Do you research your novels?

Yes. Egypt Rising was based not only on my visit to Cairo and my knowledge of research on Atlantis and Egypt, but also my use of maps and guidebooks to ensure that I captured not just the geography but also the contemporary Egyptian culture accurately.

15. Do you believe in love at first sight? Have you ever experienced it?

I certainly have experienced interest at first sight with my wife; I don’t believe in love at first sight since people are confusing physical attraction with love. Certainly I think lust at first sight is possible.

16. What’s your favourite book and why?

Dune has always been a favorite of mine because Herbert created an entirely new universe and history that made sense. That goes way beyond just creating some characters and back stories.

17. What is your favourite quote?

“They throw you into the game and never tell you the rules. When you break one, they kill you.” (Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms).

18. If you could ask your favourite author one question, who would it be and what would you ask?

That’s a really tough question. For a long time Vonnegut was my favorite writer, and I was lucky enough to interview him for the book I wrote on him. Michael Connelly wouldn’t talk with me. I’d love to ask him how he sets out to plot a typical Harry Bosch police procedure mystery. Knowing the answer might help me.

19. How did you come up with the title for your latest book?

Egypt Rising works at two levels. The country is rising up to overthrow President Mubarak, so that’s one level of meaning. Also, one of the secrets revealed is how ancient Egypt rose to a powerful civilization so quickly. So, in other words, how did ancient Egypt rise so quickly?

20. If you couldn’t be an author, what career would you chose?

I’ve tried so many. I really enjoyed being an industry analyst and later senior executive managing industry analysts; it’s the best job in the world besides writing because you get paid very well to learn new things every day and then write and speak about them.

21, Someday I want to...?

I’d like to have a book on Amazon’s top 100 list.


Imagine if the insecure teenaged daughter of a man very much like Indiana Jones had to battle Islamic terrorists in today's Cairo as well as confront ancient curses associated with treasures buried under the Sphinx. Olivia Hunter hates her life. She hates that she's fat and the favorite target for Taylor Thornton, the most popular girl in her high school class.  She wants to be a famous archeologist like her father, but now he's lost his job because of his drinking.  That means no more free tuition to Cairo's International High School. Her one friend is an Egyptian girl whose parents rarely let her out of her home.  The Arab Spring is in full bloom, so Olivia also is worried about terrorists who might want to harm her family.  When the Egyptian revolution begins, Olivia and Taylor are forced to work together to survive attacks from a secret cult as well as a new government anxious to learn the secret of a deadly weapon they discover, one buried for thousands of years.  Olivia will find romance in the most unexpected place when Paul Hargrove, the most popular boy in her class, becomes an unwilling partner when the girls find a secret passageway that leads to the legendary Hall of Records that lies buried under the Sphinx. She also will have to battle terrorists who kidnap the three teenagers' fathers

Coming from Eternal Press August 1st 2013

About Stan

Stan Schatt grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and now resides in Carlsbad, California. He has written thirty books including novels, textbooks, and children's books. He was awarded a Fulbright Professorship to Tokyo and Keio Universities. Schatt has earned best teaching citations from the University of Southern California and DeVry Institute of Technology.

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