Why did you start writing?
For release. I’ve always said writing is my therapy, and it’s so true. Writing is my release, my stress relief, my vacation, my happy place. It’s everything to me. I’ve written off and on for most of my life, either songs, poetry, fan-fic (before I knew it was a thing), but I never got serious about it until after my daughter was born and then even more so when I had my third child. That was the point when I decided that I was going to do this for publishing.
Who would you say are your biggest influences?
I wouldn’t be writing fantasy if it weren’t for Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. They are my author idols. My spouse is one of my biggest supporters and influences. The ideas that we get to talking about really help me break through my blocks and open up other creative pathways. I love that we can be a team on my dream. My children are influences in the sense that they help me see the world through different eyes, and not just how they perceive the world but how they understand it as well. I also have a few friends who have been there for me since practically the beginning. They are who I lean on the most and can go to any time of day or night to bounce ideas off of.
Believe it or not, both of them were incredibly difficult. Yes, I’m an indie author, but not because I can write whatever I want. Lots of authors, even traditionally published ones, write in several genres. And I think I’ve made a name for myself as a speculative fiction author more so than just fantasy or sci-fi. With that being said, both were equally difficult in their own ways. But I think writing a series is worse because there is so much you have to keep straight and pull through the entire series and answer questions that were posed in previous works and hope and pray that nothing was left out or forgotten about.
As far as which one is my favorite? That’s actually a lot like asking me which one of my kids is my favorite. I love them both. They are both my fave!
Any particular reason for going Indie rather than Traditional Publishing?
Besides that I’m a person that enjoys instant gratification? I like the idea of being able to be in control of everything I do. I’ve actually blogged about that. You can find it here.
Would you give us a little insight into your writing process? Pen and paper, laptop, stone tablet?
Each WIP is different. I’ve done the blog tour thing about that twice now. You can read about how each WIP is different here and here. Sometimes I do a very basic outline, other times I pants the hell out of a story only to go back and outline for plot holes. There are even times when that doesn’t happen.
As far as the medium I use to push out these works? I’ve done pen and paper and my trusty laptop. I even have a tablet that I can edit/write on if necessary but I don’t like the formatting it has so I try not to use it if I can help it.
No. I’m a pantser at heart. I only outline when I think the story will benefit from it. Usually that’s done after the first draft is out. I tend to write the skeleton first, then go back and fill in the holes and change what needs to be, etc. To help me see where I should do that, I outline. Most of my issue is I tend to get to know the characters better and more organically (so to speak) if I just pants the first part. If I do end up outlining before the first draft, it’s to get the basis of the story down, so it’s not as specific as most authors who do outline first can be.
On top of being a full time wife, mom and writer, you also beta read and edit, what made you decide to get into editing?
Some of the authors that I’ve beta’d for told me that I was good at it and should really get paid to do it. I was hesitant for the most part, but eventually, they talked me into it. Editing has helped me as a writer and also afford my own edits and things that I need such as covers, book trailers, formatting, etc.
How do you find time for it all?
I have a schedule and divide my time among each thing I have to do. I plan ahead, but sometimes changes happen, or mistakes are made, and I end up sacrificing family and writing time to complete edits. I typically read before bed, write before that, and do my editing before my other two get home from school and after homeschool is done for the day (my son also has afternoon specials at a public school). Otherwise, carefully. LOL :)
What is the biggest mistake you seen during the editing process?
The biggest mistake? Hmmm. That’s a good question. Probably trying to get edits too soon. Some of the most common mistakes I see are passive voice, tense slips, PoV slips, and aversion to contractions—particularly in dialogue.
Any particular things that make you want to pull your hair out while editing or beta reading?
Not really. I’m not a snarky person (sarcastic, maybe), so I don’t tend to get bent out of shape with edits. There are stories that I’ve edited/beta’d that didn’t really hold my interest as a reader, but nothing that pulled my hair out. If I get a MS (which I’ve had a few) that is so rough I can’t make heads or tails of the plot and feel like I’m practically rewriting the MS for the author, I’ll send back what I’ve done and tell them they need to clean it up more before I can continue.
Write. I know it’s been said and repeated as if we’re all drones operating on the same battery, but it’s true. Write. If you really want to write, you will. I’m not going to say that you will make time if you want it bad enough because I’ve been in places where it’s impossible to write and not for the lack of want or trying.
Don’t listen to naysayers. There are ALWAYS going to be those people who see that you are achieving a dream and it’s going to irk them or rub them wrong in some way. Ignore them. Keep your dream and goal in sight. You’re not writing for them and if they have a problem with you or your process it’s on them. You don’t have to own it.
Get critique partners and beta readers. You’re going to want to form relationships now so that when you need them, you’ll have them. Plus, it’s great practice to see different writing styles and voices so that you can know what works and what doesn’t.
Read. You can’t know if what you are writing actually works for readers if you don’t read in the first place. And particularly in the genres you are interested in. Read both indie and traditionally published authors. Get in deep. Volunteer on groups to do reviews in exchange for free copies.
Don’t take shortcuts. I’m talking editing on your own, doing your own covers, trying to go as cheaply as possible. Yes, these things can be expensive, but in the long run, it will make a difference. And believe me, readers WILL know and can (and often does) result in negative reviews which is damaging to future sales.
What’s next for Samantha?
I’ve got a few things up my sleeves …
Heart Song is going to have a facelift, edit, revision, and rerelease. Date is to be announced.
Forced to Remember, Nepherium Novella Series Part Three is going to be coming out next year (July 2015)
The Dark Ones, Paranormal fantasy, is due out October 2015. I’m shooting for Halloween because the date is important to the story.
Blood Awakening, Paranormal fantasy, is set to release sometime 2015 or 2016.
It’s been a busy year!
Thanks for hanging out and best of luck on your new novella!
Thank you so much for sitting down with me for this interview! I appreciate it! Good luck with your projects as well!