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 . ($10), any Niagara region ice wine($$$), and Bully Hill Blush from New York ($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 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!