Please welcome indie author J.A. Schneider

Author Bio:

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, mother of two adult children, and loves thrillers, medical thrillers, and mysteries. 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.

EMBRYO is her first ebook. Its sequel, EMBRYO 2: CROSSHAIRS, was released in early April 2013. She and her husband live in southern Connecticut.


Brief Synopsis:

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.

What do you do to relax when you are not writing?

Read, watch Dexter, Poirot, and DVD movies with my family; also garden like a maniac when weather permits - which accounts for my really ugly hands. If I want to plant a shrub where a huge stone is, I’ll spend the whole day with shovels and a crowbar getting the dang stone out.  

What, or who, inspired you to become a writer?

Don’t know. Just started writing silly stuff when I was in very young. Then after college came Newsweek, a big influence, although more toward non-fiction than fiction, which I preferred. But I was surrounded by writers writing, and talking about it, and the novels they were working on when away from their day jobs. I never imagined doing anything else.

Current work

Writing Embryo 3!

What or who inspired you to write your current novel?

It was a logical, scary outcome of the first Embryo’s ending.

In Crosshairs, I realized that that new crisis was "fame." Embryo's final scene has turned Jill Raney and David Levine into reluctant "celebrities" - and the targets of every nut job who wants to share in the attention - including a killer. Horrible, especially since any psycho can just walk into a hospital...

So the Big Question was: once you've become an obsessive topic of the media, are you ever again really safe? Can you ever again walk the streets without feeling eyes on you, without peering nervously over your shoulder? Do stalkers ever give up? These are the questions that kept the story of Jill, David, and a sweet-faced,  unborn baby preying on my mind, demanding a sequel.

Tell us three interesting facts about your book which are not covered in the synopsis.
1) In this post CSI-age, bad guys know how to leave no physical evidence behind. No prints, no fibers, no eyewitnesses. Jill and David become detectives on their own, helping the police in ways that even forensics experts never imagined. They become like new age Holmes and Watson…
2) David Levine is a crack shot. Friends beg him to carry a gun, but he doesn't. "What's the use?" he asks.
"A doctor's back is always turned."
3) One of my favorite quotes from the book: "Take the gun! Even cops can't depend on cops!"
What research did you need to do for this book?

My husband Bob was and is always near to ask questions as they arise. He loves explaining and reliving his experiences. Every conversation gives rise to another idea or exciting plot point (Google Pseudomonas aeruginosa), which he explains and I interweave. So the research part was easy and a joy. I’ve always been like that, asking questions and fascinated.  I’m also very familiar with hospitals and the life, having accompanied Bob on his rounds, and volunteered.

Are any elements/characters of your book based on real life experiences or people you’ve met/known?

David Levine is largely based on Bob, who was a captain in the U.S. Strategic Air Command. He so cares about people, and is both strong and sensitive. The other characters in the story, Tricia Donovan especially, are composites of some wonderful doctors who have been my friends.

Tell us a little about your current work-in-progress

It’s a secret!!

Writing/publication process
What process did you adopt from inception through to the finished book?

Wrote the first draft without an outline. I never outline, that spoils the surprise twists that surprise even me. Subsequent drafts (who can count since Word?) got a cleaner, faster plot line and boiled down the verbiage. (Two words are never better than one.) My daughter checked for typos, and she’s fabulous at suggesting where to develop further, dig deeper. After the final go-through, off to a professional formatter who also designed the cover. Well, we worked together on the cover.

What do you need (or not need) around you whilst writing?

Peace and quiet.  

What prompted you to self-publish your current book?

I decided to self-publish and will never go back. I’ve trad pubbed two previous books, “Flora Tristan” and “Darkness Falls,” and do not miss slowpoke editors and pub houses taking a whole year to get your book out. Plus – this economy – so many editors have been laid off that the delays are even worse. I totally love the freedom and, ahem, the royalties of Kindle. These days trad publishers don’t even promote anyway. There’s no longer any incentive to go the old dead tree route.

What were the three biggest challenges you faced when writing your book?
1) With Embryo 1 and 2 I loved the writing. Contrary to previous struggles with the above-mentioned books, I’d been mulling the Embryo ideas for a long time; they’d been gestating, because it all pretty much flowed.

2) -
3) -

Every author seems to suffer with writer’s block at some point. How do you overcome it?
I didn’t have much writer’s block with these two books because I so loved the subject. I do suffer from laziness, and just hate getting out of bed in the morning, getting to work. But sooner or later, no matter how big and warm and soft your bed is, you have to get out of it, right? Key, maybe, is my busy subconscious. Stephen King calls his subconscious “the guys down in the steam room.” My mind never stops thinking about it the story, even dreaming about it. Sometimes, after many pages, something will spring onto the page and I think, “Oh right, THAT’S what I meant.”

What single piece of advice would you give to any aspiring writer?

Believe in yourself. Often, THAT is the hardest part, especially if you’re just starting out. Plus LIFE and all its obligations intervene, often obstruct. When my children were younger, naturally it was harder, and those earlier, harder books showed my lack of confidence. But here’s a tip: when conversations and busyness get too mundane, boring, I’ve developed a second track of my mind that just…goes away, back to the book. Oh, I seem to be there, nodding and smiling sweetly, but the wheels inside are churning away. The guys down in the steam room are always at it. Even while you sleep.


What genre does you book fall into?

Thriller, medical thriller, woman sleuth

How did you get interested in this specific genre?

I just love thrillers, good ones. In movies too. “What Lies Beneath,” “The Fugitive,” “Rosemary’s Baby”…
You as a reader

Which three authors have inspired you the most, and why?
1) Ira Levin (“Boys From Brazil,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” and “Stepford Wives.”) I am fascinated by writers who
in few words can say it all. News comes that’s sad or terrible, and a character just says…“Oh?” In one word that character has revealed indifference, shallowness. Writers who excel at this are Agatha at her best, and the ultimate master, Ira Levin. I am fascinated by Levin’s ingenious brevity. Scenes that have influenced me hugely are, for example, the scene in Levin’s “The Boys From Brazil,” where the female former warden in a concentration camp is about to be brought from her German prison cell for Lieberman, the Nazi hunter, to question. Lieberman is just dying of apprehension, feelings boiling with emotion, wondering how he’ll react to her. Finally, her lawyer brings her. The door opens. Lieberman’s heart is bursting…and out simply comes a drab old woman with “a disappointed mouth.”

“A disappointed mouth!” This person’s entire life summed up in four words! And we see her…much better than if Levin had gone on and on about her pallor, sunken features, and depressing prison uniform. He could have done that, but he didn’t. With those four words we see that woman more clearly than if he’d used more description.
2) Agatha Christie: her “Death on the Nile,” for its brevity, fast pace, and ingenious plot
3) Alfred Hitchcock. Can I call him an author?

What was your favourite book as a child?

“The Secret Garden,” by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It’s a masterpiece: beautiful, touches your heart, but also really quite spooky and atmospheric.

What is the best book you’ve read in the last 12 months?

Re-read “Death on the Nile” for the umpteenth time. It makes for great bedtime reading.

What was the last book you recommended to a friend, and why did you think it was worthy of recommendation?

The short story “Silver Blaze,” by Arthur Conan Doyle. Brilliant for the kind of ingenious thinking that didn’t (still often doesn’t) come to the police.

Kindle (or other e-reader) or paperback, and why?

Kindle & my favorite, dog-eared old paperbacks. The latter because they’re…loved. Kindle because it’s so convenient.

Hollywood is calling

You’ve had the call from Hollywood and they want your opinion on who should play the leading roles in the film based upon your book. Who would you choose, and why?

I don’t know. Somebody smart, warm, protective and sexy for David.

The film of your book is now going to need a soundtrack. Which musician(s) would you want to write and play it?

Don’t know. John Williams? Phillip Glass? Beethoven? Sound tracks usually have a varied mix.
Drink – Coffee
Meal – Tuna Nicoise
Holiday destination – Home
TV programme – Dexter
Film – “Kelly’s Heroes,” with Clint Eastwood,

Don Rickles, Telly Savalas et al.
Method of travel – Plane, train, car, depends

on destination
Sport – swimming, running
How can people connect with you?

Where can readers find your book?

Amazon - Just hit the book links opposite

Barnes & Noble


Author always appreciate feedback and comments. Please leave your comments by using the following link:

Author Feedback/Comments - Many thanks