Today I’m interviewing Chawna Schroeder, whose debut novel – Beast – was published this July!
Chawna Schroeder loves stretching both imagination and faith through her novels. Living in Minnesota, she dreams of far-off places, daring swordfights, magic spells, and princes in disguise, just like her favorite Disney princess Belle. When she isn’t committing her dreams to paper, you can find her studying the biblical languages, working with fiber, or teaching about the importance of discernment.
What was your original inspiration for Beast?
This story sprang out of an emotionally down time, when I was feeling especially unlovable. I knew God loved me and loved me unconditionally, but I couldn’t understand why or how He could.
So God gave me the image of Him standing with His arm outstretched, ready to catch me. But for Him to catch me, I had to let go. I had to let go of my need to understand or explain. I had to let go of my view of myself to see me as He did. I had to accept His love simply was.
Then as I mulled further the difference between how I saw myself versus how God saw me I developed the first line and the last lines of the story. And from those things Beast grew.
How long does it usually take you to write a novel?
That’s hard to say. Every novel I’ve written has been a bit different. Amount of time also depends on what you mean “write.” From the day I decide to write a novel to the day I consider it presentable, not counting periods of major interruptions, I currently guesstimate that I average around eighteen months.
What are five words you would use to describe your novel.
Whimsical. Emotional. Personal. Intense. Satisfying.
What is your Favorite fairytale?
Film: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
Written: Either Photogen & Nycteris by George MacDonald or The Wild Swans/The Six Swans (Anderson version/Brothers Grimm version)
Beauty and the beast is my favorite too! 😀
What about favorite hobbies?
Fiberarts (weaving, spinning, crochet, etc.), playing piano, translating Greek & Hebrew, and hiking/camping.
Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?
Tea, hot chocolate or mulled cider, depending on the season and mood.
What is you biggest challenge when writing?
The challenge changes with every book I write. With Beast, getting Sarah’s voice right and striking the right balance between symbolism and story proved my biggest challenges. In the current story I’m working on, the world building and description have given me the greatest headaches thus far.
Have you ever cried over your own characters?
Upon occasion, though I’m more likely to get mad at them.
What scene was the hardest to write?
I’m not sure which one was the hardest, but one of the hardest was the short exchange between Tabby and Gwen in Chapter Twenty-Three. While not the most emotionally intense, the scene required a very delicate balance of emotions. It took several rewrites to get these few, short paragraphs of dialogue right.
Are you an outliner or a seat-of-your- pants author?
I’m mixed. I like a broad outline when I start—the beginning, the climax, and a few major turning points between—but then I want to fly by the seat of my pants for he rest of the story. I like the security of the big-picture structure and great flexibility in how I get from Point A to Point B.
What are you working on now?
Another adult mixed-genre fantasy set in a world mirroring the WWII time period. It’s about a young girl who gets herself intentionally arrested in order to escape from a prison camp reputed as inescapable.
What do you want readers to take away from you book?
We don’t have to earn, explain or understand God’s unconditional love. Only accept that it is.
The truest thing about us is what God says about us.
Thank you, Chawna, for taking the time to do this interview with me!
I am Beast. I serve the Master.
For as long as Beast can remember, she has lived among her master’s dogs. With them she sleeps. With them she eats. With them she fights and struggles to survive. But through hunger and cold, she dreams of one day becoming her master’s favorite, earning bones with meat and a place beside the fire.
When her pack scatters after a surprise raid, Beast must defend herself against slavers,
hunting down the loners. They are so strong, and she is only a beast. . . isn’t she?
For anyone who has found a monster within, Beast is a tale of truth and transformation.