YA Feature: Christian Schoon author of Zenn Scarlet!

Today we have author Christian School who releases his debut novel Zenn Scarlet in May though Strange Chemisty. Enjoy the interview and leave me a comment below of your thoughts on Zenn Scarlet!

The Author: Christian Schoon

I grew up all over the U.S., since my dad was an exec for General Motors and we moved every few years, finally ending up in Minnesota. Spent my senior year of high school as an exchange student in Sweden, came back and worked my way through college doing some acting in a travelling theatre group and playing/singing/writing lyrics in a succession of rock bands. First real writing job came after I moved to Los Angeles and was hired as an in-house marketing copywriter at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. After a few years there, I went freelance, wrote more ad copy for various film studios in L.A. and then scripts for live-action and animated TV programming. Moved back to the Midwest to be closer to family. Bought an old farmstead and got involved with a wide range of animal welfare issues, including rehabbing abused horses here on our farm, working with exotic critters like bears, cougars, coyotes, big snakes and other fascinating life forms, and volunteering with a couple local animal rescue groups. All of this animal-action inspired me to start work on my young adult sci fi series about a novice exo-veterinarian and the big, dangerous and frankly way-cool alien creatures housed at the clinic school where shes training. I then found a fabulous agent in Adam Schear at the DeFiore agency in New York. He worked with me to break my first looooong book into several books. He then sold the first novel in the series, Zenn Scarlett, to Angry Robots new YA imprint, Strange Chemistry Books in the U.K. Thanks to the efforts of S.C.s uber-capable editor, Amanda Rutter, Zenn Scarlett is on track to be released into the world on May 2, 2013 in the U.K. and on April 30 in the U.S.

Zenn Scarlett
The Book- Zenn Scarlett

As mentioned above, it was becoming involved in hands-on animal welfare issues that prompted my interest in a series about a young exovet and her experiences learning about and dealing with the exotic, alien animals that came into her care. Im also a science geek, and biology, medicine and space travel/colonization have always been irresistible to me. Plus, shortly after my wife and I moved from California to Iowa, we met and became friends with a local veterinarian and her herpetologist husband. Observing her dedication, skill and empathy for the animals she treated (and helping her husband do stuff like wrangle an 18-foot Burmese python…) was an additional inspiration for the Zenn Scarlett series.


Zenn Scarlett is a bright, determined, occasionally a-little-too-smart-for-her-own-good 17-year-old girl training hard to become an exoveterinarian. That means she’s specializing in the treatment of exotic alien life forms, mostly large and generally dangerous. Her novice year of training at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars will find her working with alien patients from whalehounds the size of a hay barn to a baby Kiran Sunkiller, a colossal floating creature that will grow up to carry a whole sky-city on its back.

But after a series of inexplicable animal escapes from the school and other near-disasters, the Cloister is in real danger of being shut down by a group of alien-hating officials. If that happens, Zenn knows only too well the grim fate awaiting the creatures she loves.

Now, she must unravel the baffling events plaguing her school, before someone is hurt or killed, before everything she cares about is ripped away from her and her family forever. To solve this mystery – and live to tell about it – Zenn will have to put her new exovet skills to work in ways she never imagined, and in the process learn just how powerful compassion and empathy can be

How does it feel to be releasing your debut novel in May?

How does it feel to be on the verge of publishing my first book? Meh…. Juuuust kidding. Its amazingly amazing with a seething cauldron of amazing-sauce on the side. I will add that it was a boat-load of work, too, but amazing nonetheless. I should also mention that it was a group effort, and the book never would have seen daylight without the conviction, skill and hard work of the above-noted agent, editor and publisher.

Can you describe your main protagonistZenn in less than 140 Characters?

17-year-old Zenn sees her novice year of exovet training thrown wildly off-course when shes ensnared in a web of interplanetary intrigue.


Why should we pick upZenn Scarlett when it releases on May 2 (UK) ? (May 7th in U.S.)

Mu Araen whalehounds long as a city block. Tanduan Swamp Sloos the size of a battleship. Floating Kiran Sunkillers so big they have entire cities built on their backs. Mighty Lithohippus Indra “Stonehorses” capable of tunneling through the fabric of space-time. These arent monsters. These are Zenns patients. Oh yes, and theres also Liam Tucker, a towner boy whos trouble but not to worry: Zenn has rules about boys. Wonder how thatll work out…?

Some bookie questions:

Favourite YA book and why?

Tie: Philip Pullmans His Dark Materials trilogy and T.H. Whites The Once and Future King

Favourite YA author and why?

Philip Pullman. His world-building just seems so effortless and convincing. Lyra is a heroine after my own heart. And who doesnt want more talking, armored polar bears in their life?

Debut author/ upcoming author we should check out?

Check out Laura Lams debut, the magical, fantastical-mystico-circus-centered novel Pantomime. (Disclaimer: shes also pubbed by Strange Chemistry; no bias here. None whatsoever.)

Favourite 2012 read and why?

Broken by A.E. Rought. A grandly grim re-telling of a very famous and dark tale brimming with re-animated life, deathless love and miscellaneous body parts. (ummmm… also Strange Chemistry. So sue me.)

A Book series you love and why?

Tolkiens Lord of the Rings. The world, the heroes, heroines and villains, even the languages and place names are all so astonishingly well thought out and credible. Plus, Balrogs just totally rock, in a demonic flame-y, whippish kinda way.

Pre-order Zeen Scarlett on Amazon now!

Christian Schoon: WWW | Twitter




  1. Zen Scarlett sounds better and better every time I read about her. :) I was so lucky to get approved for an egalley so I will be reading it soon - can't wait. :)
    Thanks Christian, for sharing a little bit about yourself. Philip Pullman is my favorite ya author too. :)

  2. First, a big thanks to Megan for letting me intro Zenn to her readers here at Reading Away the Days. Blogs like this are, of course, the ultimate resource for peeps hunting for their next must-read. And, very cool you'll be reading Zenn soon, Dragana. Hope ya like it! I notice I typo-d my editor's name in the post - it should be: AMANDA Rutter. (Amanda is very familiar w/ my typos, so she won't be surprised by this.)And, one more change: the US/Canada release date for Zenn is now May 7.
    Mark yer calendars! :)
    Thanks again for helping spread the word, Megan!