Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Author Interview: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Listen to the interview here!

Tell me a little about yourself and your writing.
By day, I'm an English professor at a community college. I teach English Language Acquisition and I research pop culture and folklore. I've traveled extensively in Japan, and I took a Fulbright GPA to Russia in the summer of 2006 to study folklore.

As far as writing goes, I have two styles. One is poetic and mythic, the other is broad and humorous. People seemingly like both in Young Adult fiction, so that's where I've been finding most of my work right now. I have a novella coming out from the mystical Drollerie Press in 2008, Sister Night, Sister Moon and I have a YA novel coming out from Cats Curious in 2009, Hulk Hercules: Professional Wrestler, the first of the MYTHtery Kids books.

Tell me about the story that you've created a soundtrack/playlist for.
I'm currently circulating another YA novel to agents right now - The Substance of Shadows, which is a book I've been writing since 2005. The story is about two cousins. One is a cursed demon binder who must fight his demon/familiar for his soul at age 16. The other is the son of an alcoholic abuser who belongs to the part of the family that wants to control the demons for their own purposes. The story follows these two boys through a custody battle, two demon trials, and how they manage to work together to save their family while on opposite sides of it.

What is your playlist?
  1. "The Nile Source of Life" from the Mysteries of Egypt Soundtrack (ethnic arrangment)

  2. "Letters from Hogwarts" from the first Harry Potter Soundtrack (John Williams)

  3. "Starbuck Takes on All" from the first Battlestar Galactica Soundtrack (Bear McCreary)

  4. "Children Running" from the Little Princess Soundtrack (Patrick Doyle)

  5. "Exile" by Enya

  6. "Roslin and Adama" from the second Battlestar Galactica Soundtrack (Bear McCreary)

  7. "Kifa Uka" from the Vampire Princess Miyu TV Soundtrack (Composer Unknown)

  8. "King Tutankhamen's Burial" from the Mysteries of Egypt Soundtrack (ethnic arrangment)

  9. "Cursum Perficio" by Enya

  10. "Mysteries of Egypt" theme from the Mysteries of Egypt Soundtrack (ethnic arrangment)

  11. "Worthy of Survivial" from the second Battlestar Galactica Soundtrack (Bear McCreary)

hat does music mean to you? To your writing?
I come from a very musical family and in general enjoy singing and playing instruments, although I haven't studied how to play one formally since high school. Writing, when it works, is just like music. You can feel the flow and pitch of the scene. The right kind of music reminds you of scenes in your writing.

What kind of music do you like to write to?
That answer really depends on the project. For a project like Substance I prefer soundtracks or music with chanting. Other projects might demand music with lyrics. Often I don't write with music, but what will happen is I'll hear music that reminds me of what I'm working on.

If this story was made into a movie, who would you want to do the soundtrack?
I'd have a hard time deciding between Bear McCreary, who may be the most innovative young composer in the US, and Yoko Kanno, who may be the most versatile composer in Japan. McCreary has a savage style that drives, while Kanno has a different feel every time she writes a soundtrack, which would make her perfect, because you'd get something original.

Anything else you'd like to say about music and writing/creating?
Listen to the rhythm as you write; fall into it as though you dance, and you'll find that there is next to no difference in writing and playing music.

To learn more about Catherine, visit her website!

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