Interview with Samantha Towle, winner of the Anniversary Poll at Night Publishing

I am re-posting this interview as Samantha has just been featured on the Speak Without Interruption site.

I am delighted to welcome Samantha Towle to my blog. It is a special occasion because Sam has just won the Anniversary Poll at Night Publishing with her new novel, ‘A Single Bite’, while her previous novel, ‘The Bringer’ is due out in a few weeks.

Welcome Sam, I’m very glad to see you here.

Can you tell us more about The Bringer?

Bringers are ethereal beings devoid of any emotion, visible only to the dead. Their ‘job’ is to guide human souls to Heaven, but Heaven isn’t a place they are permitted to enter themselves. Lucyna, the protagonist, is a Bringer.

Whilst retrieving the human soul, Maxwell Harrison, Lucyna encounters his son James. The moment Lucyna sees James she is struck by a veil of shimmering light, the likes of nothing she has ever seen before. Unsure what it is, she finds herself intrigued by James and goes to visit him at his home. Not long after her arrival the veil strikes her again, but this time it doesn’t leave, instead settling itself within her. Lucyna is instantly drawn to the conclusion that the veil is actually feeling’s. Feeling’s which are seemingly linked to James.

Then when the unthinkable happens and James is in a car accident, Lucyna finds herself as the one summoned to take him to Heaven. With only minutes left before James is meant to die, Lucyna unwittingly takes on human form and pulls him from the burning car, saving his life.

Lucyna and James soon after become romantically involved, but it’s not without its problems. The main one being that someone is determined to keep them apart at all cost.

You have described a very complicated and well imagined universe. What inspired you?

I have always loved Fantasy novels, and pretty much devour any I can get my hands on. But it was actually the song ‘Don’t Cry’ by Guns N’ Roses that prompted the initial idea.

It was November 2009, I was four months pregnant with my daughter, my son was napping so I was having a bit of me time, and was reading one of the True Blood novels. I came to a part in the book which reminded me of a book I had read at school, and around that time all that was playing on the radio was ‘Don’t Cry’. I then had the urge to want to listen to it, but I didn’t have a copy, so I Google’d it and ended up watching the video.

Whilst watching my mind started drifting, as it often does, and I started thinking about love and the overwhelming feelings it can create, both good and bad in us. Then I thought ‘what it would be like if people didn’t feel love at all?’ which then somehow morphed into, ‘what would be like to have no feelings, period’ and bam! Lucyna popped into my head. An ethereal being with no feelings, who without warning, suddenly develops them. And so the story began!

The Bringer has a dream like quality, did this story just flow out or did you make a detailed plan?

After the initial idea, I parked it for a few months because I was working full time, was pregnant, and had an eighteen month old son to take care of. You could say I had my hands full! But I did continue jotting down notes of how I wanted the story to go, as and when the ideas came to me.

When I finally did sit down to start writing, the first chapter just flowed out of me. When I look back now, I actually have no idea how I came up with the beginning of the story.

There was one very significant turning point in the book, which happened when I was about halfway through writing The Bringer. I’d gone up to get ready for bed and was waiting for my husband to get out of the bathroom, so I could get in to brush my teeth (is that too much info!?) Anyway whilst I was sat waiting, I was thinking about the chapter I was writing and out of nowhere one of the supporting, but also very important characters decided to do a 360 on me.

That one thought alone changed the whole direction of the story. For the better in my opinion, so thanks hubby for taking so long in the bathroom!

How long did it take you from the first idea to the published book?

I came up with the idea of The Bringer in November 2009, but I didn’t start writing it properly until after my daughter was a few months old. So, it was June 2010 that I officially started, then I had a break of a month whilst we moved house, and it was finished by Dec 2010.

What genre would you describe it as?

I think The Bringer falls into a few genres – Fantasy, Romance, Chick-lit. But if I had to pick just one, then I would say Fantasy.

Do you think the idea of books fitting into strict genres is going out of fashion?

I suppose in way, yes. As I said before, The Bringer has a few genres in its mix, so I have though on many occasions what label will it sit under once published. I do understand the need for those labels, but there are many books written that do cross over into different genres, so for me in that respect, it makes the idea of labels pretty pointless.

How do you feel about publicising yourself? It can be daunting, how have you handled it?

I’m really not the type of person who would normally say, ‘Buy my book! Read it! It’s fabulous!’ But I know to some degree, I have to if I want The Bringer to be taken notice of by readers.

I have spent some time observing how all my lovely Night Reading friends go about promoting their books, and I have picked up some great tips from them. So, thanks guys!

I’ve climbed up onto the publicity wagon and at times it feels really uncomfortable, but I believe Lucyna and James have a great story to tell, and it’s my job to make sure that people hear about it.

Can you tell us about your other novels, in progress or completed?

I’m currently writing ‘A Single Bite’. It’s another fantasy novel, which incidentally just won the ‘February 2011 Chapter of The Month Poll’ on Night Reading. It will be published by Night Publishing in the latter part of this year.

I have a YA fantasy novel, sitting in my documents called ‘Fallacy’. It’s the first complete novel I ever wrote. It needs a really good edit and it’s my intention to revisit it when I get a chance, and give it a good cleanse.

And I also have a handful of other ideas sat waiting for me to get around to. Some are actually chick-lit, which is a different genre from the one I’m used to writing. But it is my intention to one day step away from fantasy and write about the real world for a change!

Where and when can we buy The Bringer?

‘The Bringer’ is due out late March/early April 2011, published by Night Publishing. It will be available to purchase in eBook and paperback, from Amazon and Smashwords.

Buy it here at Amazon: http://amzn.to/1P18v7Y

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