An Interview with Shana Schwarz

Welcome to The Five Question Interview series on Another Hartman Author! I decided it was time to pay it forward but didn’t know how. I don’t have any free books to give away. Nor do I have editing skills someone would covet. So The Five Question Interview was born! Its mission: to give back to the writing community one interview at a time. Without further adieu, let’s learn a little bit about:

Shana Schwarz

Website | Twitter

When did you first become involved in the publishing world?
Is there anything you would’ve done differently with writing if you knew then what you know now?

I have been a writer since high school (newspapers, magazines), but started writing my first novel in 2014. It took me a few years, but I completed that and another novel last year. I thought I just wanted to self-publish, but then I decided to give the traditional route a try.

After quite a few “close calls” with agents, I’m realizing that I should have held off on the querying process until I had just one book to sell. My first book really can’t stand on its own without the sequel and that’s a big gamble for an agent to sign on for, which I totally get. Thus, I’m going back to my original plan with these books and then I’ll start reaching out to agents again once the next book I’m working on is done.

Oddly, I wouldn’t change anything about what I’ve done, because I’ve learned SO much. I have connected with agents and other writers on Twitter and learned from my missteps, but that’s only made me a stronger writer. I have had several requests for the full manuscript of my books, so I know I’m decent at querying, but now it’s time to get the right story written for the right agent.

What IS Nerdy Girl Approved?
What’s its role in the publishing community?

Nerdy Girl Approved is my brand that I’m going to publish under, but it’s also the seal of approval I have given things over the years. I was a movie critic for about a decade and would jokingly say that X or Y movie was “nerdy girl approved.” I was quite the nerd growing up and still am to this day, but I wear it proudly.

I launched the site as a landing page for people to buy my books, but I’ll also post blogs about movies I see, books I read, products I try, places I visit, and other things that are Nerdy Girl Approved. I’m also seeking other Nerdy Girls to guest blog on the site whenever they feel like something fits that qualification.

As for its role in the publishing community, we’ll see. I’m going to publish my Flavors of the Month books (the series I mentioned above) under that brand and I’d love to pick up more authors down the road to help them through the publishing process. I envision a potential boutique publishing house down the road, but I need to experiment with my own books before asking anyone else to trust me.

Chocolate or vanilla?

Vanilla. I like little bits of chocolate, but there’s something so satisfying about a bowl of Vanilla Bean ice cream. Speaking of which, my books are about a woman who owns a chain of ice cream stores. Her favorite flavor (and mine) is mint chocolate chip.

Book recs, please!

Anything by Sophie Kinsella, from her Shopaholic series to her newest novel, I OWE YOU ONE. Other than JK Rowling, Sophie is my favorite novelist. I’m also a sucker for anything set in World War II, especially with stories about women during that era. ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE, THE NIGHTINGALE, THE LOST VINTAGE, and CITY OF THIEVES are some of my favorites.

What, would you say,
are your writing “quirks?”

I try to keep to a good schedule, but I tend to lose motivation from time to time. Last year, I was desperately trying to finish my first draft by a certain date, but I fell behind. To catch up, I booked an AirBNB near my house, locked myself in for about 40 hours and cranked out 40,000 words that weekend. I had food delivered and only walked outside to meet the Postmates drivers. It was amazing, and some of the best writing I’ve ever done. I’d love to do it once a quarter.

That weekend, and other times, I try to focus on all of the senses. I diffuse essential oils, wear soft clothing, get the lighting just right, and have my favorite snacks around. I buy facial masks and paint my nails ahead of time. It helps me to have my surroundings pleasant when I’m writing.

Do you have any final thoughts?

Got a book, movie, tv show, product, or vacation spot you think nerdy girls might like? Hit me up if you’d like to write a short review for Nerdy Girl Approved!

  1. Do what you need to do for your health and happiness. Hope you don’t give up writing and posting though.…

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