Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Caity Schmidt, author of HUNTERS and ALLIES, the first two books in the fantasy series, The Wanderers’ War. See below for information on the books, buy links, my exclusive interview with the author, and links to add them to your Goodreads TBR.
About Book 1
Series: The Wanderers’ War Series #1
Author: Caity Schmidt
Publisher: Cypress Canyon Publishing
Release Date: October 15, 2019
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
All Jac Torres wants is to get back to Braora — to the world where she had magic in her hands and purpose in her heart. She wants to be back in a world that was just and good.She wants to go home.Despite what she wants, Jac has accepted that she invented it all during a psychotic break as a pre-teen.
Miserable for the last decade, she welcomes the meds that keep her from thinking about Braora and allows her to ignore the tingle of remembered magic in her veins. She checks off boxes and counts down to the day she can escape from the reminders of the mental illness that has plagued her.
Now, if only her new therapist would stop demanding she talk about what never happened, she could stop fantasizing about breaking probation……And his nose.When Jac finally faces a choice between certain misery on Earth and a possible happiness searching for a home that may not exist, hope has to be enough.
About Book 2 – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Series: The Wanderers’ War Series #2
Author: Caity Schmidt
Publisher: Cypress Canyon Publishing
Release Date: September 30, 2020
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR
No one can accuse Finn of being a coward, only an idiot.
He wakes to the comfort of a Peregrine healer at his bedside, but that relief is short-lived. His exile stands, the Order holds him responsible for the threat of the Hunters, and he’s all alone. In fact, his last ally stabbed him. For some reason, Finn is still fool enough to want to help her…If he can find her.
But Jac has no intention of being found.Still searching for the only place that feels like home, Jac continues to jump through Gates and chase the dream of returning to Braora. Until she finds it, she refuses to think about what happened or what she did. She refuses to let anyone get close, because wanting someone to be good doesn’t make it so.
That might change when Jac stumbles into a new traveling companion: an ally who could prove her theory wrong. Did she find someone she can trust, someone who could give her purpose and someone who could help her find her home?
Hope is tenacious, and Braora is within reach, assuming she can survive the growing conflict between the Peregrines and the Hunters, and if Finn doesn’t find her first.
1) The Wanders’ War sounds like exactly my type of book. Book 1, HUNTERS, launches the reader into this world. Does ALLIES pick up where HUNTERS left off, or can the books be read out of order?
Allies picks up almost immediately after the close of Hunters, which is for the best considering how Hunters ends. I’m sure someone will read them out of order, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
2) What is something about this fantastical world you created you want readers to know, but isn’t in either book’s blurb?
Well, since I write from a limited pov, and no one on the Map actually knows this, I’ll never manage to include it anywhere else. The ability to travel between worlds is a genetic mutation that can be picked up if a pregnant person gets close to, or passes through a gate during a certain period of the pregnancy. So a lot of worlds believe that it’s passed down by a mother, and the data gets close to that, but it isn’t quite right. Jac’s mother, for instance, can’t leave Earth, but while she was pregnant with Jac, she went for a walk and passed by a gate. There’s also a bit of randomization involved. Not everyone that lives in the Gate region of a Core World is a wanderer after all, but it’s much, much more likely.
3) Give us a one-sentence description of your main characters beyond what’s in the books’ blurbs.
Jac Torres lost everything and will crawl through glass to get a scrap of it back.
Finn Kersaht lost everything and won’t admit it’s gone.
4) It looks like HUNTERS is our debut novel. How long did this story marinate in your imagination before you got it all down on paper?
I’ve joked before that Jac strolled up, fully formed, in the back of my head. She was the shadowy stranger in the corner of a tavern, and glared until I started writing down the story she told me. I wish it all came that easily, but it took about two and a half years before I understood the universe, the magic, and the characters well enough to send it into the world. Thankfully, my kid brother helped me out by poking holes in the logic of everything so I could create something that held water.
5) If the series was being turned into a TV show, who would you want to play your lead characters?
Jade Hassouné has been my face claim for Finn for years now, mostly because he has the smirk, but Riz Ahmed would also be fantastic. For Jac, I changed my answer recently! I’m watching Lovecraft Country, and near the climax of the first episode, I realized that Journee Smollet would be perfect for Jac; her energy and her intensity are amazing. I’m a big fan of casting roles to keep my mental image consistent, so Javica Leslie and Chris Evans are also on the pin board, for Fasavi and Kalrah.
6) Switching gears a bit, 2020 has been tough on everyone, but living in So. Cal. has had its own challenges. How are you coping with the fires up there?
LA’s air quality has been much better than it is up north, and I’m grateful for that, since I already have a cough from this. Where I am is safe right now, but I did refill my gas tank, and bought extra gallons of water, just in case. I’ve lived in a couple places that had a fire season, and it makes it really hard to brush aside climate change. You see the proof of it constantly, and you know that turning off the faucet when you brush your teeth isn’t enough to get ahead of the problem. This year is particularly bad, and to be frank, it’s making me a bit of a radical.
7) Scrolling through your Twitter feed, I see you’re just as devastated as I am by the loss of Notorious RBG. She meant everything to me, beyond just what she means to a semi-balanced court. I’ve read her book MY OWN WORDS and it forever changed my views of her, for the better, if that was even possible. Can you give us a few words that capture how you feel about losing this American icon?
RBG did so much for women’s rights in this country that it’s hard for me to grasp that it’s one person’s legacy. She seems impossible. She quite literally changed the lives of every American. She did so much, and she did it so well, that I didn’t know until a few years ago that it had happened in the last few decades. As I’ve fought for respect and a place at the table, I was working on a foundation she made; one that was so sturdy it didn’t occur to me how recently it was poured. I know there’s work to be done still, especially in intersectional feminism, but when I saw the news, my reaction, overwhelmingly, was that honoring her legacy meant fighting every bit as hard as she did, to preserve and expand on what she gave us.
8) I also see you’re an artist. Please tell us more! What medium do you like to work with most? Where can we see some of your art?
I got my degree in theatrical design and scene painting; when I can, my medium is latex paint by the gallon. I’ve been a designer in themed entertainment for the last few years though (museums, vip lounges, etc), which means I now live and die in digital modelling and rendering. I’ve got some of my art on Instagram, including world art for the books, some designs from other people’s books, but for the most part seeing my art means going to one of the venues, and those are all across the country.
9) Back to the Wanders’ War. Will there be more books in the series? If so, when can we expect to get our hands on Book 3?
Assuming the kaiju don’t arrive in December to round out this hellacious year, Book three will be out in late 2021. The whole series has been outlined since last year, to hopefully avoid the car crash so many series seem to hit in their finales. Book three has a couple of moments I’m downright giddy about writing, but four – which will be the last of the series – will let me pull together all the threads I’ve laid down, and that’s my favorite part of writing.
10) What’s next from Caity Schmidt beyond this series?
I have a standalone book within the universe of The Wanderers’ War that’s simmering, and an urban fantasy story which I’ve only seen in flashes. Outside of writing, my industry took it on the jaw from Covid, so my future is pretty much wide open. Ideally, I’d find something in political advocacy or awareness, but I don’t know where I’m going.
About the Author
As a kid, Caity Schmidt told people she was going to be an artist and was immediately asked what her ‘real job’ would be. It had to be true, that being an artist wasn’t a real job, because adults said it. She then started writing, which prompted the exact same question. To spite those people, she decided to do both.
Caity went to school for theater and took classes in drawing and painting and writing. She then graduated, looked at the economy and immediately decided to take more classes. She followed her education with a career in themed entertainment design, which has turned her casual enjoyment of storytelling into a passion. In particular, she’s fascinated by — and susceptible to — the human need to reach out and pluck a chord that will resonate with others.
When Caity writes, she pulls inspiration from classic novels, niche stories, transformative works, Greek dramas, stage plays, history, and most especially from the surreal millennial experience of coping with a world that has broken every promise. Rather than re-examining the problems of the world in reality, she looks for their brighter reflections in fantasy and fiction, where swords and magic make them more palatable. Dissatisfied with stories that ignore or gloss over mental illness and trauma, Caity explores the realities and pain they cause, paying special attention to the messy road recovery follows. Her themes of home and a sense of place are influenced by the journey she’s taken in her own life, and what she’s lost.
Caity currently lives in Los Angeles at her 18th address, in her eighth state, despite not being a military brat — just unlucky. There she can be found complaining about the lack of weather, sleeping late, baking, futilely attempting to grow something beyond petunias, and drinking what her friends tell her is an unnecessary volume of coffee. She strongly disagrees.