Author Interview: ‘Last Voyage a the Vengeferth’ by Greg S. Schindler

About the Book:

An adventure tale pitting man against nature. The Vengeferth pirates meet a great white shark, then they’re capsized by a rogue wave. Seven crewmen escape the overturned ship to spend months a’ sea in a smallboat. During that time they share stories from their lives. They encounter the Crazy Cousin, a foundering ship with a broken pump and a belly full of water. And she has more problems.This book is suitable for a mature ten year old, or an older reader of any age. It’s historically quite accurate to the time, and a vocabulary builder. Amid his half page introduction, Wil DeVoe, the narrator and first mate, explains why he’ll leave out the hardest language: Aye, ‘twas there, salty sprinkled through, as wherever seafaring men are found. But I swear the tale can be well told without it. (‘Tis humor, swearing not ta use the swearing words.) I must leave out the hardest language, or apologize ta the ladies an’ youngsters on its account.

The author’s poetry background is evident in passages like the moment the rogue wave, (a wall), is seen: Wallllll!!! A second’s prayer in my head begged I’d misheard ‘im shrilling squall. But all the raw fear’d ripped through his voice. Hair on necks prickled, as eightysome eyes flew ta the horizon. “Port bow” was gasped, an’ heads swiveled. This bleary gaze saw a silver sword blade stretched across the distance, sparkling with the sun. My white knuckles clasped the rail as my knees tried ta buckle.

“Four ta the oars!” Captain barked. “The rest below! Tighten ship, douse candles, an’ hug a bed leg! Batten down all but aft hatch! Doc, raise the weather flag ‘fore ya go down!” His words rang, sharp, quick, an’ clear, like sword clangs in a hot fray.

The reader now learns what a wall is: There’s a thousand ways the sea can reach out an’ tear the life from your gut. Great whites, straight up from the bowels hell, might enjoy ya as tasty snack. Squids, snakes, eels, gators, an’ such rarely take a liking ta ya–only once, given a chance. Some beasts roam such depths they go unnamed, but for swearword names on final breaths. Huge Ice chunks can sidle up an’ rend your hull, bow ta stern, appearing sparkly white an’ innocent. Spritely water spouts dance a’ times on waves, as coy as comely lasses, yet if one goes full grown, she’ll twirl ya on a short path up ta heaven, or screw ya down ta hades if ‘tis where you’re expected. Chances a surviving such scourges are precious slim, yet they exist.

Then there’s a wall, the ocean’s most seldom, yet certain, grim reaper. Sailors whisper ‘tis the hand a God sweeping all crumbs from the table ta the floor.

Tis a mammoth wall a water, wide an’ tall, charging madly ‘cross the sea like a raging bull. An’ I do mean wide an’ tall. Span may be vast beyond imagination. Height might go two ships. Measurements are guesswork, fathomed from results. A wall rushes fearsome fast at brains too far befuddled ta consider measure. Small time facing a wall’s meant for making peace with God, not finding measure sticks. Yet if a soul found time an’ means ta measure, who’d hear?

Crumbs on the ocean floor don’t talk.

This is an enjoyable tale for adventure lovers of any age.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon: UK / US

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I’m 72—older than I ever expected to be and older than I look. Born in a Detroit suburb, I got a BA and then went to San Francisco in the early 70s. Met and married my wife there, and we moved to New York City in mid-seventies. Moved back to Michigan in ’79. We had our kid soon thereafter. He has the PhD, my wife a MA and I’m low on the totem pole. My son’s a university professor in England.

I began writing poetry in a high school creative writing class. In college I majored in English and wrote for the school paper. I turned to songwriting in the seventies. My first book (Footprints) was three equal parts—poetry, songs and humor. My second was a children’s book (Great Speckled Banana’s Great Quest) and my third was about sex (Love is the Smile). My next two were children’s books. Then came a science fiction book (Shrugg, One Mile) and my new one is about pirates (Last Voyage a the Vengeferth). They’re all on Amazon.

All but my latest are on my website: <g-a-schindlerauthorpage.com> I feel that when a writer gets a good idea he/she should write it in the form it best fits, and a good writer should be capable of doing that.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

I often get ideas at night in bed, or as I’m waking up, particularly while I’m working on something. For me it’s imperative to get out of bed and go to the computer. Sleep erases ideas.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

If I knew that, I’d be more prolific. Actually ideas abound, it’s sorting out the worthwhile ones that’s the challenge. I do think attending writing groups stimulates ideas. I got the idea for my Last Voyage a the Vengeferth at one such meeting.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

With prose I start out with some big ideas on where I’m going, then as soon as possible I write the ending. Then it’s just a matter of filling in the little ideas in middle. Sounds easy. If it were so, again I’d be much more prolific.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

I feel that when you get a good idea you should write it in the form it best fits, and if you’re a good writer, you’re capable of doing that. I might write a sequel to my sci-fi book, if I can just think up an ending nearly as good as the great one I put in the first book.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

The narrator/first mate would be Hugh Lorie, Doc would be Mark Rylance, the captain would be Tom Hughes, and Eddie Redmane would be Reed. It would be an awesome movie. Thinking about it gives me goosebumps.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.

I used to read much more. Now when I read, I feel like I should be spending the time writing. I also find it difficult to get caught up in a book. I spend too much time being critical of the writer. I do go to the movies, though there are few good ones these days.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

None. I’ve been too busy writing, editing, making the cover, publishing and now trying to publicizing my Last Voyage a the Vengeferth. I do have a book partially written that I may go back to soon. And it’s nearly spring, time to spend time in the garden on my other hobby—hybridizing daylilies.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

Would three do? “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”, and “To Kill a Mockingbird”. It’s hard to say why. I just hope to write something nearly as good someday.  

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Stop thinking and start writing. So many people are out there saying that they’re someday going to write a book. Find a writing group to join. Don’t quit your day job.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

My full bio is on my Amazon site. My website: www.g-a-schindlerauthorpage.com has all but my latest book on it. I can’t get on there to edit it.

About the Author:

G. A. Schindler was born Gregory Allen Schindler in 1946 in Center Line, a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. There he grew up with three brothers and a sister. His father, Walter, was a factory worker who sang in the Detroit Rackham Choir and was an avid gardener. Walter made extra money for the family selling plants and cut flowers at the Royal Oak Farmers Market. He often soloed in church and sometimes at weddings. His mother Anna, (94 and doing fine thank you–sharp as a tack and still walking about three miles per week), was active in civic affairs.

In 1970 he received a degree in education with an English major from Eastern Michigan University. Some time spent teaching English, journalism and creative writing in a Detroit area high school convinced Greg that teaching wasn’t his calling, so he traveled to San Francisco. During three years in the bay area, he met and married his wife, Susanna. They celebrated their forty first anniversary in March of 2015. In the mid-seventies, the couple moved to New York City, nearer her family, and three years later they traveled to Michigan to settle down in Sterling Heights, near Detroit where they live today.

Mr. Schindler was a cab driver, apartment building manager, and locksmith in California and New York, then a social services worker seventeen years in Detroit. He went on to start a cab company from which he retired in 2012. He’s quite proud to describe himself as “low man on the totem pole” in his family, where he has a “lowly” B. A., and his wife an M. A.. Their only child, Seth, has a Ph.D. and is a university professor in England.

Hybridizing daylilies and writing have been Greg’s main hobbies. He inherited a love of gardening from his father, “but dad was far more diverse. I keep it simple and specialize. Each year I plant several hundred daylily seeds and once-in-a-while find a flower worth introducing.”

He describes himself as “always a poet since high school, but not particularly prolific”. He studied journalism in college and wrote articles and a column in the EMU school paper. He turned to songwriting in the eighties. Though satisfied that he authored some fine lyrics, he found no avenue for publication.

Since he retired, he’s joined some writing groups and found more time and energy to spend on writing. He still writes poetry  occasionally, but has turned more to prose. He feels that the quality of his prose has begun to catch up to that of his poetry.

Summer in the garden, winter at the computer and occasional travel, make him wonder how he ever found time for work.

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