Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon
Release Date: May 7 (US/CAN), May 2 (UK)
YABC recently got the chance to catch up with Christian Schoon, author of Zenn Scarlett. Check out his answers to our questions below, then enter the international giveaway to win one of three copies!
Thank you for joining us on YABC today, Christian! First off, can you tell us a little bit about your latest novel, ZENN SCARLETT?
Zenn's story follows the adventures of a 17-year-old girl studying to be an exoveterinarian specializing in the treatment large, dangerous but also deeply fascinating alien animals. Her school is the renowned Ciscan Cloister training clinic, a science-centered cloister on the outskirts of a Martian colony cut off from Earth and teetering on verge of social collapse. Extraordinary alien life forms, exotic medical procedures, xenophobic paranoia, ominous instances of cross-species ESP and unlikely romance ensue…
That is SOOO cool. As someone who wanted to be a veterinarian when I was younger, I find that concept fascinating. Were there any television shows, films, songs, or books that helped fuel your creativity and inspiration while working on ZENN SCARLETT?
Only all of the sci fi, fantasy or other genre books, TV, songs, comic books, radio shows and movies I absorbed growing up… I’m pretty sure there’s a little of “all of the above” in Zenn Scarlett. But I think it was the far future, off-world-with-creatures sort of entertainment that influenced me most.
Which books or authors have inspired your craft?
The classics from SF’s Golden Age are probably my bedrock – Burroughs, Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke. More recently, Pullman’s His Dark Materials, Wm. Gibson’s SF work, Mike Mullin’s Ashfall, E.C. Myers Fair Coin, Phoebe North (waiting eagerly for her Starglass).
Some amazing picks there! At what moment did you realize you wanted to be an author?
It was a vague alternate option all through my undergrad years of journalism schooling. Then, after moving to Los Angeles, I ended up writing ad copy for the entertainment industry, and then started writing and selling scripts for teen and kids’ TV shows. But when we moved to Iowa, the shiny-novel-object really caught my attention and I zeroed in on the Zenn storyline.
What book would we find on your bedside table right now?
Ashen Winter, Mike Mullin’s sequel to Ashfall. He’s a powerhouse YA author and his take on a could-totally-happen post-apocalypse world is seriously good stuff.
Yes, it is! What was the most recent film you saw?
Kevin Costner’s Hatfields & McCoys (Netflix). Great period piece, and even tho none of the main characters were anyone you could root for, it’s a great little mini-series. Plus, I’ll basically like anything with Kevin Costner in it.
I've been dying to see that miniseries. I didn't know it was on Netflix. Thanks for the heads up!
Which band/artist would you die to see in concert?
Jimi Hendrix. With maybe a walk-on by John Lennon. (Yeah, totally old school, what can I say?)
Now that's a show I'd love to see! If you were reincarnated as a literary hero/heroine, who would you be?
This is a toughie… Shakespeare, but with modern medicine. Also pretty much ye olde schoole.
Also with more modern dental care? :)
How much research did you have to do for ZENN SCARLETT? What was the craziest search term you typed while researching online?
Most of my research was for details on Martian environment, but now and then I needed to track down the names of medical devices or bits of anatomy or the layout of a medieval cloister compound. Craziest term? Maybe “cryptoplasmoid.”
That sounds like a great band name. What is your go-to writing snack/beverage?
I drink a LOT of strong English and Irish breakfast tea. With a splash of milk, thank you.
Where did your inspiration for ZENN SCARLETT come from?
The main source for Zenn’s deep empathy, high competence and utter fearlessness in treating her alien patients came from my association with several veterinarians in our area who work with exotic animals like bears, cougars, big snakes and similar creatures.
Who was your favorite or hardest character to write in ZENN SCARLETT?
Zenn was my fave, no surprise there. She just sort of constructed herself before my eyes, and turned out to be a person I would really, really like to hang out with.
If you could cast your characters for a movie, who would you choose?
Zenn Scarlett: Dakota Fanning (w/ Elle playing young Zenn)
Liam Tucker: Devon Gearhart
Otha Scarlett: Jeff Bridges
Warra Scarlett: Bradley Cooper
Mai Scarlett: Lucy Liu
Sister Hild: Cate Blanchett
Hamish (Voiced by): Jude Law
Graad Dokes: Javier Bardem
Vic LeClerc: Tilda Swinton
Great cast! If you could be in any scene in your novel, which would it be?
The prologue. I’d love to lay my eyes on a living Lithohippus indra. I mean, these huge, serpent-like “stonehorses” are 700-feet long, dwell in the total vacuum of space and have evolved the ability to tunnel through the space-time continuum and take an entire starship with them. Gotta be awesome.
What would be the theme song for this book?
A haunting Gregorian chant w/ the Star Wars cantina band playing backup.
Ha! THAT is awesome.
Where can our readers go to learn more about ZENN SCARLETT?
So, what's next for Christian Schoon?
Next up is the sequel for Zenn Scarlett, where we follow her off-world and into some totally mind-blowing new adventures. It’s well underway and will be published early next year by Strange Chemistry.
Last but not least, what has been your biggest SQUEE! moment since becoming a published author?
Temple Grandin, the author of Animals in Translation and other remarkable books, is a longtime heroine of mine. She was good enough to read Zenn Scarlett and give me a very kind endorsement. That was a rush. But I need to quickly add that I also got some equally rush-worthy endorsements from a number of other authors who (whom?) I also admire greatly. I think they’ll understand why I singled out Ms Grandin.
Yes, I'm sure they will! What a great endorsement, indeed! Thanks so much for chatting with us, Christian!
To get your hands on a copy of ZENN SCARLETT, enter by filling out the form below. 3 international readers will win!
All about ZENN SCARLETT:
When you're studying to be exoveterinarian specializing in exotic, alien life forms, school... is a different kind of animal.
Zenn Scarlett is a resourceful, determined 17-year-old girl working hard to make it through her novice year of exovet training. That means she's learning to care for alien creatures that are mostly large, generally dangerous and profoundly fascinating. Zenn’s all-important end-of-term tests at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars are coming up, and, she's feeling confident of acing the exams. But when a series of inexplicable animal escapes and other disturbing events hit the school, Zenn finds herself being blamed for the problems. As if this isn't enough to deal with, her absent father has abruptly stopped communicating with her; Liam Tucker, a local towner boy, is acting unusually, annoyingly friendly; and, strangest of all: Zenn is worried she's started sharing the thoughts of the creatures around her. Which is impossible, of course. Nonetheless, she can't deny what she's feeling.
Now, with the help of Liam and Hamish, an eight-foot sentient insectoid also training at the clinic, Zenn must learn what's happened to her father, solve the mystery of who, if anyone, is sabotaging the cloister, and determine if she's actually sensing the consciousness of her alien patients... or just losing her mind. All without failing her novice year....
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