Thursday, 9 May 2013

Samantha Towle Interview and Giveaway: Signed paperback copy of "The Mighty Storm"

Competiton entry at the bottom of the page through rafflecopter (Open Internationally)
So last week, as well as going to work, reading a few books and updating my blog, I managed to get an interview with Samantha Towle. Yup.... I met Samantha Towle (squeee) and I was beyond excited. After all, she had created Jake Wethers, the fictional character I had fallen in love with like so many other women out there.  I was nervous, actually I was beyond nervous. I mean, meeting a successful author?!?! What was I thinking?  So sweaty palms in tow, I sat in a little coffee shop waiting for her arrival.
In my mind, I had an image of what she would look like and when I saw Samantha, I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Holy Moly, Samantha Towle was normal.... yes normal. Jeans, jumper and flats. And as soon as she spotted me, she came over and hugged me hello.  Well that was it, I knew from that point  this interview would be like chatting to a friend. 
As we sat and got comfortable, we talked about people’s perceptions of the lives successful authors lead. My image couldn’t have been further from the truth!
“I like nothing more than dropping the kids of at nursery and getting comfortable in my trackie bottoms and a t-shirt when writing. It’s all about comfort, especially when you have kids. People assume we live in the lap of luxury but actually, we’re just normal people doing normal things”.  Yes Samantha Towle is the girl next door, so down to earth and so very personable. 
So, knowing I couldn’t keep her held hostage in the coffee shop all afternoon until she spilled the beans on “Wethering The Storm”, I got down to the interview.

Surj: So Samantha, thank you so much for agreeing to meet with me. You are my first author interview and I have so much I want to ask (most of which you probably won’t be able to tell me because it has to do with “Wethering The Storm!!!” )lol

Samantha: It’s my pleasure. I’m really looking forward to answering your questions but hopefully not giving too much away.

Surj: OK so let’s get started.

Surj:  So your degree is in Business and Marketing, what made you get into writing? It so far from what you studied?

Samantha: I’ve always loved writing, even as a child, I wrote stories. But as I grew up, I discovered boys and music  and then life just took over. I went to college and then university and just after I finished studying, I met my husband. We bought a house together, got married and then decided to start a family. Writing was something I always wanted to do, it was in the back of my mind but kept getting pushed further and further back.  Then whilst on maternity leave with my son Reilly, I knew I didn’t want to go back to work and I kept moaning about the fact that I still hadn’t put pen to paper. In the end it was my husband who told me to follow my dream. He said “stop moaning about it. If writing’s what you want to do, then do it”. So that’s what I did. I didn’t go back to work. Instead I wrote my first book.
Surj: And has that been published?
Samantha: No, it was good but not great. Friends who have read it said it was brilliant but I just don’t think it is good enough to publish.
Surj: You started off writing paranormal romance but shifted to New Adult Contemporary Romances, why the change?

Samantha: I write what I like to read and when I first started writing, there was a huge surge in paranormal romance fiction with the Twilight Saga and also True Blood. I loved those books so they probably overly influenced me a little bit. So the first book I wrote that was published was “The Bringer”. Whilst writing that, I had two concepts for contemporary romances (one of which was “The Mighty Storm”). However, it just didn’t feel like the right time to start writing either of them so they got put on the back burner.
Then came the “Alexandra Jones” series which I put my heart and soul into, again both books were paranormal romances. It was whilst I was writing the third book in the series that Tru Bennett’s voice suddenly got really loud in my head. I know it sounds odd but she was there and she was getting louder and louder. In the end, Tru just took over and pushed everyone else out and I knew I had to start writing “The Mighty Storm”.

Surj: Wow, so it was Tru as opposed to Jake that made you write the story?

Samantha: Yes. Well I always write in first person so TMS was from Tru’s POV so it was always going to be Tru’s voice that I heard first.

Surj: We love you Tru Bennett for shouting and screaming and making sure you got heard because without you, we wouldn’t have got your story. (Samantha laughs)

Surj: What is the process you follow when writing a book?
Samantha: I don’t have a specific process I follow, in fact each book is written very differently to the next. Some will be written in sequence from the beginning to the end and with others, I have written the beginning and the ending and then gone back and filled in the blanks.
With “The Mighty Storm”, I wrote it in sequence up to chapter 22 and then I  got stuck so I wrote the ending and then went back.

Surj: When you say “you got stuck”, what do you mean?

Samantha: I just didn’t know how to move the story forward and so I worked on the ending which helped me to figure out the direction I needed to take.
Once the book was finished and it had been sent for editing, my beta reader Jenny suggested I do a chapter from Jake’s point of view.

Surj: Which we all absolutely loved!!!!

I’m so glad you did but it was so tiring writing it. I don’t think I could ever write a book from Jakes POV because I would be completely and utterly exhausted. His thought process is definitely not straight forward, he’s a little bit all over the place and he’s quick... too quick to write a whole book from his POV. 

Surj: From start to finish, how long does it take you to write a book?

Samantha: Anything from six weeks for TMS to five months (which was my first book). “Wethering The Storm” took longer than I initially thought it would, mainly because although I’ve written sequels before, I’d never written one in this capacity. So many people have been waiting for this book (the next chapter in Tru and Jakes lives) and I needed to make sure it was done right. There were many times, I just felt the book wasn’t going in the direction I wanted it to. It didn’t feel right, it didn’t feel like my writing and I got stressed. In the end it was my husband who put me in the car and took me for a long drive. I needed to talk my thoughts through and bounce ideas off someone and he was there. By the time we got home, I was ready to start writing again.

Surj: (Your husband just rocks. First he encourages you to follow your dream of being a writer, and then he takes you for a drive so that you can clear your head and bounce ideas off him... just so that we can all get more Jake and Tru!!!!! Mr Towle you are one cool guy).

Surj: So how long did WTS take to write?

Samantha: From start to finish about 4 months. As well as the reasons I’ve just given you, there was big part of me that wasn’t ready to say “goodbye” to Tru and Jake. I wasn’t ready to let go so I kept messing around with the ending... changing bits, changing the wording, adding bits etc. It was only when the publishers gave me a deadline that I knew the time had come to finish their story and give them an ending they truly deserved.

Surj: Well from the teaser you gave us a couple of weeks ago (yes the Jake sized teaser), WTS looks like it’s going to be a very hot read!!!! I might need to keep a bucket of iced water close by because I’m sure I’m going to need cooling down!!!!

Samantha: Well, that was one of the tamer ones!!!!

Surj: OMG, I may just read it standing in a cold shower!!!! Lol

Samantha: Let’s just say my husband read the first chapter  and his comment was "oh... that was interesting”. 

Surj: And that was his reaction after first chapter??? What will the rest of the book bring???? Lol
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