Douglas Schwartz

Author Interview Form
Tell us your name and where you’re from.:
I’m Douglas Schwartz, and I live in Austin, TX (Howdy!).
What led to your decision to become an author?:
I have been artistic as long as I can remember. Writing is
another form of artwork. Sometime in middle school, I knew I wanted
to write a book. A few decades later, I did it.
Tell us about what you’re currently working on, and
what you’ve written in the past.:
My first publication, “Checkered Scissors”, is a novel about
four people, stuck in different worlds wanting to find the Checkered
Scissors in order to make their way home. I am currently working on a
collection of short stories, some which were written while I developed
my writing voice and other, fresh stories. Each story has my absurd,
quirky fiction. Next, I plan on writing the sequel to Checkered
What are some of your strongest points as a writer,
and what if anything are you constantly working to improve upon?:
Dialog and abstract situations are two of my strongest
points. I strive to make improvements to characterization. I’d love
to write characters as well as JK Rowling, Stephen King, or Terry
Are you self published, traditionally published or
both? Why did you choose to go that route?:
I am self-published. Before releasing Checkered Scissors, I
investigated and weighed both options. Both paths seemed difficult,
required hard work, and patience. I think the main reason I chose
self publishing is more control.
What format are your books available in? Which of
these formats do you prefer and why?:
Checkered Scissors is available in various digital formats
and print-on-demand. I would like to work on the audio version
someday. I consume stories in all formats, which is why I like that
there is a variety of media formats, to appease any reader.
How do you go about marketing your books?:
This answer is tricky, because I have tried a variety of
marketing methods. Most of my efforts have been very grassroots
efforts. Word of mouth has produced a few sales. I’ve made bookmarks
to hand out and post on community bulletin boards. I’ve donated books
to libraries and book groups. Recently, I started a social experiment
called the “Migratory Book Project” in which I tag my books, hand them
to people who like to read, and ask them to pass it on when they are
done. Gotta start somewhere, right?
Have you ever had to deal with harsh criticism in a
review, and how do you handle it?:
Most people have enjoyed my stories, because they find them
to be incredibly imaginative and generally a fun read. Most of the
“harsher” reviews are because they don’t understand the absurdity of
my fiction. So, the way I look at this kind of feedback is that not
everyone likes Monty Python or They Might Be Giants. When criticism
comes back regarding how the book is written, I try to understand the
issue and use the criticism constructively.
What are your favorite genres to both read and
I write the kinds of stories that I enjoy reading. At the
end of the day, before going to sleep, I like to wind down with a
light, easy read. Most of the time, I like the YA books, because they
aren’t filled with flowery language and big words to trip over. A few
books with big, fancy words, I’ve set aside. As for a particular
genre, I prefer fantasy and sci-fi, but I’ll read most anything as
long as it’s light.
What authors have influenced or inspired you?:
As I said above, JK Rowling, Stephen King, and Terry
Pratchett can write characters that pop off the page. I love the
fantastical, artistic content of Neil Gaiman’s stories. Douglas Adams
has always been a favorite. His books may not be written well in the
“normal fashion”, but you can’t argue with their popularity.
What kinds of things do you enjoy doing when you’re
not writing?:
Besides writing, I have a hobby of designing tabletop games
under my hobby company, Pegamoose Games. As much as I enjoy creating
game, I love playing games, too. But, I’ll set everything aside for
spending time with my family.
What software do you use for your writing? Did you
try others before you settled on the one you’re currently using?:
I started writing with word processors, like MS Word or
Pages. I was introduced to Scrivener a few years ago and love how
well I can organize my stories with it. Plus, publishing with it was
a breeze.
What is it that you like about the software you’re
currently using that makes it the best solution for you?:
As I said, the organization. I can compartmentalize a
complex story structure, like a novel, by putting the different
elements into their own buckets: plot outlines, character
development, scene descriptions, the chapters, and so on.
What’s the best advice you could possibly give to
your fellow authors?:
Talking with many other authors, they all sound like Nike
ads… Just do it! That’s good advice. But, I’d have to say, no
matter what you want to do: write a novel, draw a comic, film a
movie… Don’t let others tell you you can’t. You can. And, even if
it never amounts to much, it matters to you. You put something new
and unique into the world, and that is very special. It’s like Neil
Gaiman says, “Make art.”
Where can people find out more about you and your