It’s time to meet another author, let’s get to know Samantha’s style… She answered all my questions, grab a drink!
Hello nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy?
My name is Samantha, I was born and raised in San Diego I have an associates degree in both Psychology and Liberal Arts with a focus on Social and Behavioral Sciences. My next step is to get my bachelors in film because other than writing, I love movies. I don’t really go out much so I find enjoyment either watching a movie or tv series at home in bed or in the movie theater. I also enjoy theater.
How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create?
I started writing when I was really young, I wanna say 12 years old maybe 13. My mom says I was 10. I grew up an only child and had a really active imagination so I was already talented in creating stories but at 12 was the first time I remember putting my imagination on paper. We were reading some short story in class and as our homework assignment we had to write a different ending to the story. So I did and it was great and I wanted to keep writing stuff so I bought a composition book and started putting my ideas down.
Who is your favourite author, is there anyone out there that inspires you?
I don’t really have a favorite author. I have books that I like and they’re by different authors and different genres. There is one particular one that I favor because every book of hers I’ve read of hers is so captivating and real. That author is Sista Souljah. Her books kinda gave me the idea that real life like drama isn’t just for TV and movies. That there is a market for it.
Kim- Agreed, I have read two of her works, The Coldest Winter which I just could not believe I read it so fast. Also Midnight, I have had on my Kindle for a good few years the second part to Midnight, it was such a great love story.
What genre do you enjoy reading?
Oddly, The genres I read, aside from sista souljah, is not what I write. I’m in love with historical fiction. Mostly based around English Monarch’s of old. I started with the Tudor era when I was 15. I read “Mary, Bloody Mary.” by Carolyn Meyer and I related to Mary’s struggle a little bit and was captivated and have been stuck ever since.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I don’t think it has changed my process. I’ve never really had a specific process. I get an idea, I write it down and maybe I can use it, build from it or maybe I can’t. I never know until I know.
So you’ve published a series, what is the series about?
Well I haven’t yet. Prodigal is the first book in a planned trilogy with potential for spin offs.
What was it like creating back to back stories that link?
It’s a little harder now that the first one is done and out there because I can’t go back. I have to build with what I already set up and get creative with the new information as it relates to events that already happened. It’s continuing the same story but making sure that the characters are growing and not the same people but still keep it interesting. It’s a lot of fun.
Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could what genre would you like to dabble in?
I don’t know. If I had to choose maybe horror. I have an idea for a murder mystery. A “guess the killer” type of thing with a twist ending.
Kim– ‘Guess the killer’ sounds like a who-dun-it to me, not bad!
What has been your most proud moment as an author?
Finally finishing the book and then actually publishing it. It’s something I’ve said I was gonna do for years but I was always too scared to put myself out there.
Was there ever a time you wanted to pick up your laptop, and then launch it out the window with frustration?
No. I have gotten a little aggressive with my journals though. I’ve ripped out pages and littered my floor with rejected storylines and dialogues and scenarios.
Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer?
Both really. I became more of a plotter when I started the process of rewriting this story. It’s going to be multiple books but it’s still one long story/journey that the protagonist and those surrounding her go through in their lives. So while I prefer to just fly by the seat of my pants, free write and see where it goes and go with it. I have to plot what needs to happen to the protagonist in order for her to make the decisions she needs to make and get where she needs to go in life no matter how difficult.
Am I the only one who gets hung up on commas? Do they make you go blah! when you’re writing?
I hate commas. I know throughout this book there are commas in places they shouldn’t be and missing in places where they should be. I think I was absent the day they taught commas in school. To me, in my mind it’s like I can’t hear commas when someone is speaking and I don’t speak with commas when I talk so why do I need to write them? It’s not important to the story. lol
Kim- Yeah, I hear that. I was taught to place them where you would naturally pause or breathe, but everyone talks at a different speed….so…..
Every writer has a word(s) that they always slip up on when they write, then slap their forehead when they notice their typo. For me it’s further and farther exit or exists- but hey I’m over it now. Do you have a word (s) that make you go blah! Go away not another damn typo.
I always mess up with loose and lose. I think that typo even made it into the published book. I don’t know how to explain it in too much detail without confusing even myself, but the spelling of “lose” like “You’re gonna lose” feels like it should have the double “O” as well but it doesn’t and it drives me NUTS!
Kim- LMFAO… okay I-ma break it down, lose= you need lose the O. Loose, you need two O. I have messed up with this word too. That’s how I try to remember.
What three tips would you give any aspiring writer?
1)Keep every draft of everything you write. Even if you can’t fit certain ideas into the story you’re currently working on you may find room for it in another book down the road.
2)Don’t let anyone rush you. Storytelling is an art and you can’t rush your art. It’s done when it’s done no matter how long or how short. It’s your story, take your time flush out everything until you’re happy with what you have.
3)Stay true to your vision. Everyone may not understand your vision but you do, others out there will too. Assert yourself and don’t allow other’s vision or “expert” opinions eclipse your own. From your style of writing, the content you’re writing,to the book cover. You know what you want to say, speak. Don’t apologize for it. Don’t compromise your vision.
Kim- I back points two and three wholeheartedly!
What are you working on now? What will you release next?
I am working on two stories right now. The first one is the Follow up to Prodigal, titled Lyrical Chaos. Lyrical Chaos is the continuation of Lyric’s journey in the public eye and the mental and emotional toll trying to defend who she is in life and how she’s trying to grow as an individual against what people see on TV or read on the internet.
The second one is titled Sister to Sister.It’s too soon to tell if Sister to Sister is going to be a stand alone or a series and this one is about the psychosocial effects colorism has on the relationship between two biological sisters, one dark skinned, one light skinned.
I don’t know which one I’m releasing next to be honest. I have so many versions of Lyrical Chaos written and I just started working on Sister to Sister, it’s a toss up.
So…. where can we get your books?
My books are for sale on Amazon.
What does “success” look like to you? When would you say “damn, I’ve made it baby!”
My first success was publishing the book in the first place. I was able to say I wrote a book and show it to people. That was success to me. The ULTIMATE dream of success and making it is when I can quit my regular 9-5 job and live comfortably off of my book sales. I’ll be over the moon when I have nothing to do but sit with my family in front of a TV and watch a Netflix or Amazon Original Adaptation of one of my books. Then I’ll have left a permanent mark on the world. That’s the Final “I did it”
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I don’t research too much before the book. I usually research while writing the book. For example, My lead character in prodigal is pregnant and I myself have never been pregnant. I happened to be studying life cycles that semester so I got the stages of development from my lectures and textbooks, I asked some family members and friends who had been pregnant certain things and the rest from google.
With book 2 Lyrical Chaos, a couple of the characters struggle with drug addiction. Something I again have never been through in life, so with that I research by asking people that have struggled with addiction any questions I might have about drugs and I also refer back to my textbooks for some stuff as well. Same with Sister to Sister, I’m asking people about their experiences so that, combined with my own, I can make my characters and their struggles as real and authentic as possible.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
As Of now, I’ve not had my book formally reviewed by anyone. I’ve had friends and family tell me what they think, and it’s usually all really good. My cousin told me it made him think of his wife and wonder if she’s ever felt the way the character feels and asks himself if he’s doing enough and if not, what can he do better to support her emotionally? That made me feel really good because I hadn’t expected that kind of response. I also had another cousin criticize my lead character and I took as a personal attack because I modeled her so closely to myself that it felt like a criticism of me. I had to remind myself that it’s fiction first and foremost and that he, like everyone else, is entitled to their own perceptions. I’m bracing myself for more negative opinions as I move forward. I hope there’s more positive than negative but I’m preparing myself
Do you Google yourself?
I did once. Nothing really came up except a link to my facebook page. This was years ago though. When Prodigal was still sitting in my drawer collecting dust.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
I hope it doesn’t take me as long to write the next books as it did this first one. The first draft which is nothing like what I published was started in 2010 and ended in 2011. I left it alone for two years. In 2013 I brought it back out and rewrote it from beginning to end that took about a year. Then I put it in my drawer for another 3 years pulled it out, made some changes and retyped it in a few months then started the publishing process.
I want to say a year average but I’ve been working on Lyrical Chaos since before I rewrote Prodigal into the published version it is now and I’m not close to finishing that yet.
What would you like readers to know?
I would like my readers to know that their actions have consequences directly and indirectly and be careful about whose life you chose to insert yourself in and who you allow to be inserted into your life. I heard a Pastor say one time “that friends are for a reason, sometimes for a season not always for a lifetime.” If your situation is seasonal with seasonal people, even if it ends badly or just fizzles out, as long as you have grown from it and learned from it then you have a lifetime of experiences that can be used for something good. That’s how this book came about for me.
What’s your favourite movie?
The Little Mermaid. I always saw Ariel as brave, she left her home, her family, the only life she knew and followed her heart. It’s been argued that she did it because of a guy but it was also because she wanted to have new experiences and adventures that she would never have experienced had she not left her world behind. The fact that a handsome prince was there to show her his world was a bonus as well as the motivating factor.
Gone With The Wind. Scarlett O’hara was the post civil war era version of a self made woman. She did what she had to do in order to ensure that she would never go hungry again who was too stubborn and headstrong for her own good sometimes and unfortunately it led to her losing someone who truly loved her for her and not who she pretends to be but there’s a lesson in that too.
The Rage Carrie 2:It’s my go to angry movie.
Where would you like to travel to and why?
I’d like to travel to the European countryside because it’s so different than what I’m used to everyday and I imagine that it would be beautiful and peaceful like in every childhood movie I’ve ever seen that takes place in the European countryside. I feel like I could think more clearly there.
Tell us about how you develop your characters?
My characters are rooted in people I know in real life. Some are a mash up of a couple of other people into one but mostly, based off real life. If they didn’t actually say it or do it then they could have. I used my studies in psychology to make up a plausible reason as to why they are who they are, what could have happened to develop this kind of attitude or behavior good or bad and then I can combine the real present with the fake backstory and figure out where they would go from here.How they grow IF they grow.
Which one of your characters is your favourite and why?
James. Because he’s based off of my own cousin and the relationship between James and Lyric is my favorite relationship. In real life and in the book. He always makes me smile.
If you could do it all again would you change anything?
I wish I could say yes. I really do. But no. If I hadn’t had the experiences that I’ve had in life, no matter how much it hurt. As of this moment, If I were to get in a time machine and go back 10/11 years with the opportunity to change it, I wouldn’t. Because If I hadn’t had the experiences I’ve had, I wouldn’t have the book I have now. Even the process of writing it and how long it took me, I wouldn’t change it because it’s made me a better writer. I’m still growing as a writer as well so in 10 years I’ll be a stronger storyteller than I am now. Everything is a learning experience.
Kim- That makes so much sense, I agree. I would not redo anything either. I’m actually glad to hear this!
Pick one a one time “Bestselling author” or an author with longevity what would you rather?
I’d pick being an author with longevity. I want to be one that sticks.
Kim- Amen to that! I agree.
Thank you for stopping by today! I wish you all the best with your future.
About the Book
Lyric is 21 years old and bored with the inhibited lifestyle of endless church activities she’s been forced to participate in since childhood. When she is offered the opportunity to be on a reality show, she jumps at the chance to move in with five strangers under the premise of pursuing further education. However, a surprise pregnancy causes her life to take an unexpected turn. Being overlooked and pushed to the side by her child’s father coupled with his lack of consideration cause her insecurities to deepen, while her pains and humiliation are documented for everyone to see. The show becomes a hit and she a star but now she has to find a way not to let the pain she feels destroy her heart and poison her soul.