What part of your first novel did you find hardest to write?
Moon Spell was really the first romance I’d written. It’s YA paranormal but it has an important romantic subplot and this was the first time I’d ever attempted to capture the tension and chemistry between two characters. There were a lot of edits between the published novel and the first draft and a lot of it had to do with Lucien and Caia. I wanted their romance to be perfect and it took me a while to get there but from the reaction of the positive reviews I think I accomplished what I set out to do.
What scares you most?
Spiders. I didn’t even have to think about that one.
Do you start writing when you have a plot mapped out or start plotting when you have started writing based off a spark of inspiration?
I have to have my plot mapped out and chapter summaries written up before I attempt writing the actual novel. If I try to just sit down and write, the book usually falls apart within the first six chapters.
Was there ever a moment when you wouldn’t trade what you do as an author for the world? What was that moment for you?
I’ve had emails from wonderful readers telling me how much my books have meant to them and how much they enjoyed them and I definitely had those moments then – I’m always overwhelmed by these emails and comments, it’s amazing. However, when I read a review on amazon from a volunteer in Africa saying how much she’d enjoyed all of my books and what an escape they were for her that’s when I had that moment. I was like ‘This is it. This is what it’s all about, and I wouldn’t give it up for anything.’
Aspiring writers often hear, "Read what you want to write," "Hone your writing craft." and, above all else, "Be patient." What other advice would you give them?
My advice to aspiring writers who want to succeed at self-publishing: keep writing so you can keep publishing new novels. The best advice I was given was that you are your own promotion. Instead of putting out lots of money on advertising that doesn’t get you anywhere put out the next book and the next and the next. For aspiring writers who want to take the traditional publishing route: grow a thick skin (actually that’s advice to all writers), come up with something truly original and make sure you’ve done your research.
Is there rhyme and reason to how you choose character traits?
I sit down and give my character a history before I start with character traits. Once I know what’s happened to them in the past, what their family life is like, their friendships, love lost and gained etc, then I can start building in logical character traits. However, all of my heroines do have a backbone made of steel (whether they are quiet and reserved or brash and mouthy) because as a YA writer I like creating teenage girls that my teen readers can look up to.
Thank you for joining us Samantha and to everyone reading!