1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
I first fell in love with prose in a creative writing elective class in the 7th grade. The teacher (wish I could remember her name so I could give a proper shout-out) really helped me develop my literary voice and confidence. I’ve been writing fiction ever since. Earlier on I tended more toward short stories. This novel is my first attempt at long-format.
2) What inspired you to write your book?
I’ve always been fascinated by the mythologies of early cultures and the way in which these cultures personified their beliefs and spirituality. Angels of Death of caught my imagination for a while. For this particular story, I actually began with the imagery of a specific scene of an angel of death observing the passing of a mortal, which became Chapter 2 of the book. From that point, the rest of the story developed out.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
I don’t have a specific message or theme I want readers to take away. It would mean more to me that they simply enjoyed the story. Sometimes that is enough, to just enjoy a book.
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
Everyone has their own unique inner creative voice. Mine just happens to gravitate toward the imaginary. This is the case both with my prose and my art. I’ve always been “in the clouds”. There’s already enough reality in my life. I’d much rather dream.
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
I really only have one main character in my story, Azrael. My other characters play more minor roles. I wouldn’t want to ask him anything so much as I would like to “see” or experience things from his perspective as an angel of death. Sometimes I feel that our physical frames are so limiting.
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I haven’t found much help from social media. This doesn’t mean that I do not use social media platforms. It just means that I have not seen a direct correlation between social media, and why people are buying my books. Most of my witnessable success in getting books into people’s hands has come from hitting the pavement, or, in other words, getting out into the community with book signings. I’ve been busy at comicons, farmer’s markets, bookstores, comic books stores, and breweries doing signings. I also spent weeks contacting a couple of thousand indie bookstores worldwide directly by email. Now I’m in 17 bookstores. One thing I’ve picked up on social media is that it is saturated, so I chose to get old school.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
Write for yourself first and foremost. You are the only person that needs to be satisfied by your story. That same perspective should, therefore, also guide you when working with an editor. Use a freelance work site such as Upwork or Fiverr to find an editor, graphic designer, and some to do your book layout. There are plenty of highly qualified people that can help you for a fraction of what the traditional companies will charge.
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
I am currently working on another fiction novel based on the ancient Greek mathematician and esoteric figure, Pythagoras. I’m still conceptually working out the plotline, so much too early to provide more, but what I can say is the premise will be connected with some of the mystery surrounding Pythagoras.
About the Author
Joseph A. Schiller is a high school social studies teacher in Houston, TX, where he lives with his wife and three sons. Upon the Arrival of Dawn is his debut novel.