Tuesday, July 25, 2006

An Interview With Freya's Bower Author Samantha Byrne

Lucky Samantha! Since her interview is today and I also leave for RWA today and likely won't get a chance while at the conference to update this blog, her interview will be front and center for almost a week!

Anyway, on to what I know you're all here for today...the next installment of my weekly Tuesday interviews with Freya's Bower authors. Up today is Samantha Byrne, author of SPIRIT OF DAWN.

Amanda: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Samantha: I am 40 years old and have been married for almost 17 years to my high school sweetheart. We have three children together, ages 13, 10 and 5. I grew up in Philadelphia and now reside in suburban New Jersey. We have a Golden Retriever, Penny, a lizard, guinea pig and hamster. I have the typical stay-at-home mom’s lifestyle, which I adore. Now that our kids are growing up, I am very happy to have found a creative outlet to allow myself to grow as well.

Amanda: When and how did you start writing?

Samantha: I began writing this year when I got a laptop for my birthday. It enables me to sit quietly in a locked room with no family disruptions and finally get down all the thoughts that have been running around my head for years. Now that our kids are older, I have more time to think and write, which has helped the process immensely.

I’m an avid reader of many genres and have thought over the years that I’d love to write. Romance and mystery are my favorites.

The Internet provides many tools and resources for writers. My favorite websites are RomanceDivas.com and my Yahoo group, Muse It Up. Both have provided invaluable support, advice and a writing community. I’m still figuring out how to write. I have a full-length contemporary novel that is in the WIP stage and I have a contract for another novel-length contemporary that is also in the WIP stage.

Amanda: What was the first story you ever wrote?

Samantha: My first story is my novel-length contemporary, Surrender to Love. It is still a WIP. I had to set it aside for several reasons, one being that I’m struggling with a sagging middle, and the other being that I received a contract for Freya’s Bower to write 2 Bites for them. I then submitted another proposal to my editor at FB for a different novel-length contemporary, and it was accepted. Surrender to Love is on the backburner for the time being, but I will return to it when I have the time!

Amanda: Where do you get your inspiration?

Samantha: My inspiration comes from observing my friends and family’s relationships and my own personal history. I wouldn’t be able to write the stories that are in my head now when I was in my twenties. The older I get, the more I understand about they gray areas in relationships, which makes for a richer story.

Amanda: Tell us a little bit about SPIRIT OF DAWN.

Samantha: SPIRIT OF DAWN contains two stories set in the American West. The hero in the first story is a Navajo Indian; the hero in the second owns a ranch. They both meet up with a mystical woman while out on the trail who helps to heal their past pains and sends them on to continue their lives with a renewed spirit.

Amanda: Congrats on being an FB bestseller. That's a great accomplishment. What would you like people to know about working with a small press like FB?

Samantha: Thank you! I am thrilled to be an FB bestseller. I love the personal touch that FB offers. My editor has been wonderful to work with. She is supportive and offers suggestions without losing the intent behind my stories. Her accessibility and openness to working with my ideas have definitely helped me grow as a writer.

After my Bites were published, I had another idea floating around in my head for a novel-length story loosely based on a flash fiction piece I had published in an online magazine, The Muse Marquee (http://themusemarquee.tripod.com/id145.html). She and I chatted about the idea, with her asking questions that made me delve deeper into the story and the characters. She eventually accepted my proposal, so I am currently working on that story.

Amanda: If you had to get rid of all the books on your shelf except for just three, which ones would you keep?

Samantha: Wow, tough question! I’d definitely keep PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. I would choose Stephanie Lauren’s DEVIL’S BRIDE from her Cynster series. She’s my favorite historic romance writer. Lastly, my sentimental favorite is A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith. This is the first book I remember truly falling in love with and read it every few years. It’s a glorious coming-of-age novel set in turn-of-the-century Brooklyn.

Amanda: What are you reading right now?

Samantha: I am re-reading LOVER ETERNAL by J.R. Ward. She’s an exceptional writer. I particularly like the way she winds different storylines in with the main one. Her books are the kind that you never want to see end.

Amanda: What projects are you working on?

Samantha: I am currently working on my novel-length contemporary, ACCEPTANCE, for FB. It is set in Sea View, a small seaside town in New Jersey. Matt is the town’s Chief of Police and Rebecca is a corporate lawyer who gives up her job in a large firm in Philadelphia when she becomes pregnant with Matt’s child and moves with him to Ocean View City. They marry to give the child a stable home life, yet come to realize that they don’t know one another well and that their marriage is lacking the closeness they need to share a happy life together. They have to decide whether they should stay together or if it would be better for them to go back to their separate lives and sharing parenting responsibilities. I’m fond of this story because of the emotional development both characters go through as they seek fulfillment in their personal lives while doing the best for their child as well.


Thanks Samantha for a great interview!

OK, kids, that's all for me until next week. I'll see many of you in Atlanta, but to the ones I won't see, I'll talk to you when I get back and will post all the gory details!

Oh yeah, and before I go, remember to enter my contest to win a free copy of SHE'S GOT LEGS before 3:30 EST today (Tuesday, July 25). All you have to do is post right here or on yesterday's post. Good luck!

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 5:16 AM :: 9 comments

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