Friday, April 13, 2007

FAB Interview - Samantha Graves

As promised, I've got an "interview" with FABulous SIGHT UNSEEN author Samantha Graves. For more about Samantha and her FABulous book, check out her website. You'll be able to get info on SIGHT UNSEEN, her podcast with Lani Diane Rich entitled Will Write For Wine, news on her upcoming releases, and links to her alter-ego, CJ Barry.

Here, Samantha candidly shares info about her writing, why she switched genres, and much, much more. Enjoy!

The new book ~

dee: Tell us about the new book, Sight Unseen, in five sentences or less.

Sam: Sight Unseen is about Raven Callahan, a female art thief with a psychic touch who lives on the edge, and an ex-street cop named David "Dax" Maddox who is on a mission to catch a killer. When Raven's co-worker is kidnapped in exchange for a priceless painting, their paths collide. What follows is a race from the streets of New York City to the heat of Havana as they try to stop a deadly game of revenge. Along the way, Raven and Dax uncover the dark secrets that hide within everyone--Sight Unseen.

The new genre ~

dee: What made you decide to switch genres? Was it hard to make the switch?

Sam: I have wanted to try writing contemporary for some time now, and I figured after five futuristics, it was time. The switch was surprisingly easy. The biggest change was the kind of research I need to do for contemporaries versus futuristics. My futuristics were romantic suspense so that part was the easiest.

dee: How receptive was your agent to your genre switch?

Sam: I'm blessed with a great agent, Roberta Brown, who has enormous faith in me and is willing to listen to any ideas. She was really excited when I pitched Sight Unseen to her and told me to go for it. So I did. It's nice to have that kind of support.

dee: Is there a difference in the way that you write your stories in different genres? By that, I'm wondering if the process is different? Do you research different?

Sam: My process is pretty much the same. I have a slew of charts to fill out for every book. It gives me the foundation to build the story and characters on. That will probably never change.

Research is very different. Since many of my preferred locales are exotic, I do a tremendous amount of research to be sure to capture the essence of the locale correctly. With futuristics, if I need something like a place or a vehicle or weapon, I simply create it. With contemporaries, I have to go find what I want. The world-building changes dramatically.

Support and growth ~

dee: How has your writing changed over the years?

Sam: I think it's grown leaner and meaner. LOL Seriously, I seem to be writing tighter, and my pace has picked up.

dee: Why did you decide to write under a different name in the new genre? Didn't you want to build on your existing fanbase?

Sam: My futuristics never occurred on Earth, always on other planets. Because of that, I felt it was best to write under a different name. Although I think my futuristic fanbase would enjoy my contemporaries, I didn't want to cause any confusion. I wouldn't want someone to pick up a CJ Barry expecting science fiction and be disappointed when they realized it was a contemporary. That said, creating a new writing identity is no small feat! I think I'll stick with just the two.

dee: What writing organizations do you belong to, and how has that helped in your writing career?

Sam: Romance Writers of America was the first one I joined, followed by my local chapter which is the Central New York Romance Writers. Between the two, I learned about the business of writing, and it is a business, just like everything else. I would not have sold my books if it weren't for them. I also belong to the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal chapter and the Kiss of Death chapter. Both are great because they target the subgenres I write in.

Fun, faves and the future ~

dee: What's up with the podcast? Are you guys really as fun as you sound? And how did you end up liking slightly expensive red wines? And what is your favorite wine?

Sam: The podcast! I LOVE doing the podcast. Lani and I have an absolute blast with every episode. I never would have considered a radio show because I don't feel I have a good speaking voice. But Lani kept asking me and I finally gave in. I'm glad I did, because it's really fun. We look forward to it every week.

I have been trying new wines for about eight years now. I love going into a store and picking out a different winery or country. It's like a box of chocolates! I have a few favorites as you might guess, but I really love Duckhorn Merlot from Napa Valley ($45), Wild Horse Pinot Noir from CA ($20), Ruffino Chianti from Italy ($10), any Niagara region ice wine($$$), and Bully Hill Equinox Blush from New York Finger Lakes ($8).

dee: What is your very favorite book ever? Why? What's the most influential book you've ever read? Why? (Yes, they can be the same!)

Sam: I'd have to say Sweet Starfire by Jayne Ann Krentz on all points. It was the first romance I ever read, and it also happened to be a futuristic. That was the book that started me on the journey of reading and writing romance so it's pretty special. I bought a used copy at a bookstore, and it's on my shelf. I still drag it out and re-read it once in a while. :-)

dee: What's next on your horizon? Any current projects? Can you give us a sneak peek?

Sam: Right now, I'm working on Jillian's book Out of Time, which is the second book in this two-book series. Let's just say you can expect more exotic locales, steamy romance, and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing who the bad guy really is.

Thanks so much for having me on Dee and dee. Happy reading everyone!

And thank you, Samantha Graves, for an enchanting behind-the-scenes look into your life, your upcoming projects, and your wine cellar!

Be sure to get your entries in for the contest. I'm going to extend it until first thing Monday morning, just to give you guys a bit of extra time. We've got a few entries so far, but I happen to know there are more of you out there that would LOVE a signed copy of SIGHT UNSEEN. All you have to do is either copy the blurb and cover of SIGHT UNSEEN onto your blog and link here (and remember to tell us in the comments!) OR you can mention it on your favorite loop, group or forum (again, be sure to tell us in the comments here!). And just because that's the kind of person I am, I'm going to give you an extra way to get entered... drop into the comments and ask Sam a question. Yep, that's right - you'll get one entry for asking a question. Contest will be closed at 12:00pm EST Monday, 16 April. Don't miss this one!

Keep Turning Those Pages!



danetteb said...

Hi DeeandDee,
I blogged about the FAB,sorry about being so late,thanks for the extension.

Hi Samantha....Was your Friday the 13th a lucky one?

Hugs, Danette

Sam said...

Hi Danette,

I love your name, btw. :) Actually, Lani and I had a girl's night out and had dinner at local Japanese restaurent where the chef comes to your table and cooks everything in front of you. So much fun! So yes, I had a nice 13th, thank you. How about you?


danetteb said...

Hi Sam,

I had a nice quiet evening.My kids spent the night at grandma's house.I got to catch up on homework,read a book and have dinner with the DH without interruptions. It's a beautiful thing to be able to hear my own thoughts once in a while.*g*
Hugs, Danette

Sam said...

LOL I can totally understand that, Danette! Mine are teenagers now, so it's a little easier but the house is still pretty loud. :D


jackietoo said...


If it's not to late, I would like to ask Sam a question.

What kind of psychic ability does Raven have?


Sam said...

Hi Jackietoo,

Raven has the gift of psychometry, which means she can sense the emotions attached to an object either imprinted violently or during creation. In this book, she uses that ability to help her verify artwork. But she never views it as a gift, only a curse. I really wanted to explore what that kind of gift/curse would do to a person and how they would ultimately accept it.

Great question!

jackietoo said...

Thanks, Sam :D

Carol said...

Sight Unseen sounds very good. I love suspense and that's a great title. What are you working on now?

McB said...

Hi Sam! I'm currently reading Sight Unseen and loving it. Can't wait to see how Raven and Dax resolve things. And Jillian's getting a book too? Can't wait!

Sam said...

Hi Carol,

Thank you. I'm writing Jillian's book right now. That will be out next year. She also has a psychic ability but it is quite different from Raven's. Fairly unique, I believe.

Thanks for the question!

Sam said...


I'm so glad you are enjoying SIGHT UNSEEN! Yes, Jillian gets her own story. I'm having a lot of fun with it. She's such a different character than Raven, far more complex in many ways.

Thanks for checking out my book. I hope you like the rest of it.


McB said...

Well after listening to you talk about it in Boonsboro (I'm the one with the sister ... stop laugh Dee) I knew it was one I wanted to check out. At this point I'm suspecting almost everyone except Raven and Dax so good job!