Monday, 13 May 2013

The Complete "Samantha Towle" Interview with signed copy of TMS Giveaway (open internationally)

Thank you to everyone who has been following the interview I did with Samantha Towle a couple of weeks ago. Attached is the complete interview (part three starts with the first question highlighted in red) with little snippets of information about her new book "Trouble".

There is also a signed copy of "The Mighty Storm" being given away to one lucky winner. This competition is open internationally so get and enter at the bottom of this post.

I hope you've all enjoyed it and good luck with the competition xxx

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 (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 Jake's 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 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 Jake's 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 last week (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

Surj: So what’s the most difficult part of a book to write?

Samantha: The ending is always difficult. You want to make sure you giving the book justice so it has to be right. I will write, re-write, change the wording, add bits, take bits out just to make sure it’s perfect. Sometimes, I spend forever just re-wording the ending even though the outcome is the same.

Surj: Is this the case with all your books or just TMS and WTS?

Samantha: Probably more so with these books because I was so attached to Tru and Jake. Jake just stole my heart a little bit .

Surj: I think Jake stole everyone’s heart. If Jake was real, there would be a queue forming.

Samantha: Even my mom’s secretly hoping he’s real!!! (Samantha laughs). When I talk about him, I talk about him like he exists.

Surj: I think we all do. I think that’s mainly because of how you wrote about him and how you described him. I think everyone who read TMS and fell in love with Jake has a very clear picture of what he looks like in their mind (and he is soooo hot!!!) And the pictures you put up just aid our imaginations.

Samantha: I put those pictures up because the fans really enjoy seeing them and also, they like to see how I picture Jake in my mind.... but honestly, I have never truly found him and I don’t think I ever will.

Surj: Well Samantha the image of him in my mind is near damn perfect and if he knocked on my door looking to borrow some sugar, I definitely wouldn’t turn him away!!!! lol

Surj: So has Mr Towle read your books?

Samantha: He’s read all of them except WTS. I think that one’s going to shock him!!! (ahem). I think he reads them because firstly I wrote them but also because he wants to see what all the fuss is about  on Facebook. He’s a guy though and they’re not really his kind of books. He prefers autobiographies on footballers (Samantha laughs). He does comment though and does say things like he can really see how my writing has improved over the years which is really good to hear.

Surj: Where do you get your inspiration from for your characters?

Samantha: Music is my main inspiration, a song, a line in a song, even a music video. “Bringer” was inspired by Guns and Roses “Don’t Cry”. I was listening to that song for the millionth time and the story just came into my head and I knew I just had to get it down on paper.
With my new book “Trouble”, I was editing WTS and listening MTV in the background when I heard Taylor Swifts song "I knew you were trouble" playing. I stopped everything I was doing and had to go and watch the video. Then I watched it again... and again and that was when Jordan's character popped into my head. It wasn’t necessarily just the lyrics but more from the actual video. It was the guy "Reeve Carney" who inspired Jordan's character.

Surj: Wow I need to go and watch the music video.

Surj: How do you come up with the names for your characters?

Samantha: I don’t really. As weird as it sounds, the characters tell me their names. I already had “Jake” in my head. As for his surname, When “Wethers” came to mind, it was from the link with “Storm” as in “The Mighty Storm” but I didn’t want it spelt in the typical way “Weathers.” So I dropped the “a”.

Surj: I couldn’t imagine the Jake Wethers I have in my mind being called anything else!!!! Lol

Surj: Do you ever get angry or frustrated with your characters?

Samantha: All the times, especially when they won’t so what I want them to. When I want them to go in one direction, and they’re pulling me in another. Unfortunately you have to follow the lead of your characters and the conversations that are flowing. I find the characters do have a habit of taking over even though I’m the one doing the writing.

Surj: Who’s your favourite character?

Samantha: Jake Wethers of course although you will fall in love with Tom as you read WTS.

Surj: OK so you’re killing me now. I can’t wait until August!!!!! Argghhhhhh

Samantha laughs

Surj: Your readers have become very attached to Jake and Tru. Do you have any characters you feel attached to?

Samantha: Definitely Jake

Surj: And Tru?

Samantha: Well Tru’s character is very balanced. She’s had a good home life, parents that love her etc. Jake has never had that. He’s broken and you do see more of this side in WTS because you get to hear Jake’s voice in his chapters. It will make you love him even more.

Surj: I don’t think we could love him anymore than we already do!!! Lol

*Surj: When did you start realising that “The Mighty Storm” was going to be a huge success?

Samantha: It was already doing quite well in America, climbing the book charts and sitting at around #20. Even then it didn’t hit me.
I was in bed one night looking through my emails when one popped up from Kimberly Whalen from Trident Media. Kimberly was asking if she could represent me as an author. Kimberly Whalen represents the likes of Sylvia Day and Maya Banks!!!!

Surj: OMG!!!! (Squeeeee!!!)

Samantha: That was the moment I knew “The Mighty Storm” was bigger than I ever thought. I don’t boast about much but occasionally I do boast about that.

Surj: And rightfully so. So what did you do to celebrate?

Samantha: We got a takeaway and a bottle of wine

Surj:  I love it. So normal!!!!

Surj: So, you’ve probably guessed, we love TMS whole heartedly and we loved that Jake and Tru got a “Happily ever after,” bearing this in mind, what made you write WTS:

Samantha: I just wasn’t ready to let them go and there was so much more of their story I wanted to share.

Surj: Are you ready to let them go now?

Samantha: No. I cried when I wrote the ending to WTS. Each time I read it, I just kept crying. It was like the end of an era. I knew their story had to come to an end but it was hard to let go. Now, I think they just need to be left to enjoy their lives and t be happy.

Surj: Well I think you’ve just answered my next question: So what’s in store for Jake and Tru? Will they get their “Happily Ever After” or do you think you may write a third book?

Samantha: I’m a “HEA” kind of girl and I couldn’t give them anything but. If the end of WTS had been anything different, I’d have probably have had to go into hiding. I don’t think the readers would have thanked me for it!!!

Surj: So why did Tom get his own story?

Samantha: Because I love him?

Surj: He must play quite a big part in WTS to get his own book?

Samantha: All the guys in the band have bigger parts in WTS and even Jake gets a few of his own chapters. But it was something that Tom says in WTS that just broke me and in that moment, I just knew he would without a shadow of a doubt be getting his own book.

Surj: Will we know which bit that is?                      

Samantha: Definitely

Surj: So moving on to what the future holds for Samantha Towle. You’re currently in the throws of writing “Trouble”. The synopsis sounds amazing. Can you tell us a little bit about the book?

Samantha: The book centres around a character by the name of Mia Monroe. Mia hasn’t had the best life although on the surface it it, it seems its has been perfect. At fifteen, the love of her life Tyler is killed and when her father dies a few years later, Mia sees it as an opportunity to start afresh, be herself, be free. When she applies to art college and gets in, she meets Jordan. Jordan is the spitting image of Tyler but he’s a bad boy.

Surj: OMG we get another bad ass!!!!

Samantha: yes you do: lol

Surj: Will we love him as much as Jake? Do you love him as much as Jake?

Samantha: You’ll love him. I really do love him but only a little less than Jake... Jake holds a special place in my heart I don’t think anyone will replace.

Surj: So will this be a stand alone or will there be a sequel?

Samantha: I’m not sure at the moment. I feel like there’s possibly too much of a story to tell for just one book but I have so many books I need to write including Tom’s story that I couldn’t really say at the moment.

Surj: The cover is absolutely amazing. 

Samantha: I loved it as soon as I saw it .

Surj: So is there a release date as yet?

Samantha: Not as yet but I am aiming for June/July 2013. If I leave it any longer than that, it will be after the release of WTS.

Surj: So that’s it. You've answered all of my questions. Thank you so much for being so open and honest.  It has been an absolute pleasure meeting you, I know you have to go and pick up your daughter from preschool so I will let you get off.

Yes, as much as she loves to write, Samantha is also a wife and a mother to two absolutely adorable kids. As she showed me a photo of them both (blond hair, blue eyes), I could just tell that they meant everything to her and she was just the proudest mother.  

So as Samantha left, I booted up the IPAD and pure ordered WTS... I just want it there ready the minute the clock turns to 12am on the 20th August 2013 because guess what I will be doing on that day? I will have my head in WTS!!!! Yay

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  1. Love the interview! =)
    Happy Tuesday!

  2. Great interview - Loved this book and I completely agree about Jake he is my new book boyfriend ;)

  3. Thank you both for your comments. I love Jake too and can't wait until the 20th August!!!!