Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Author Interview...with me!

I am planning to feature author interviews regularly on this blog and have some fabulous, interesting authors lined up to share a little bit about themselves with us but I thought I'd kick things off by answering the questions myself. Is it slightly egocentric to interview oneself? Probably...oh well...

What is your name and where do you live now?
Samantha Holt (obviously). I live in a small village in Warwickshire, England.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
No. I always enjoyed writing but it never occurred to me that I could write a whole story. I've wanted to be many things including an archaeologist, a lawyer, an accountant (!) and countless other things.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it what would you say?
My latest title (date to be announced very shortly) is The Angel's Assassin. It's a story of change and redemption. Essentially it's about how love can change you but it's set to a background of the baronial revolt of 1088.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Usually 2-3 months. I'm quite strict with myself and try and write for a good few hours a day. If I try and take a break, I get bored and usually end up writing anyway.

Do you have plans for a new book?
Yes! And many more.

What genre would you place your books into?
Historical romance

What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I've always adored romance. I don't think I could write anything else. I love the build up to romance, the little touches, the shared looks. There are some moments in romance stories that make my stomach flip and I love that feeling!

Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?
I love each of my books as I write them but I imagine 'The Crimson Castle' will always be my favourite as it was my first and I have quite the crush on Gabriel!

Do you have a favourite character from your books? Why are they your favourite?
See above! I love that he's complex but very genuine. I love his brutal honesty and how when he does finally fall in love, he falls so deeply.

Where do you get your book plot ideas from?What/Who is your inspiration?
I honestly don't know where they come from. It usually starts from one word or concept and goes from there. 

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I have to listen to music and I normally start with a coffee in hand.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
Title nearly always comes last. Very occasionally it might occur to me somewhere in the middle but it's normally the last thing to be done.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Research. I have to try and use names that would have been used in the period that I'm writing in but as the middle ages spans such a large amount of time it can be difficult. I have lists of medieval names and sources like the Domesday book are very handy. As for places, again I try and research the etymology of towns in the area that I'm writing about.

Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I don't name the traits in mind, per se, but I certainly have a clear idea of what they're like. Occasionally traits will pop out that I didn't expect. Tristan from 'A Summer Siege' is very laid back and affable but when I wrote the love scene between him and Madeline he became very passionate and almost commanding. That surprised me as it was never intended but I liked the fact that she brought out a hidden side to him.

Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"? 
I don't really suffer from the dreaded block but I have moments where my inspiration runs dry slightly. The best way I've found to conquer it is to open up a new window (like writing on a blank piece of paper) and write a scene that I enjoy. It doesn't always make it into my books and it might be completely disconnected from what I'm writing but it often inspires me to write something similar or to keep pushing forwards.

Is there a certain author that influenced you in writing?
The ones that I can name would be Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell but my writing style is far more influenced by all the unsung romantic authors out there. I've read romance since I was a teenager so I think it's very safe to say that they are my biggest influence.

What is your favourite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. Obviously I love it for the romance - the battle of wills between the two characters leading to the culmination of their love - but I think it's the backdrop of a gritty northern life and the many tragedies that make it really compelling and that much more of a rewarding happy ending.

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst  book to movie transfer?
I can't say I pay much attention to films. I do enjoy them, very much so, but I don't watch them avidly as some people do. Though it's a book to series transfer, North and South was done superbly. The BBC are incredibly good at doing literature based series. I think it probably depends on the quality of the book in the first place.

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it? (ebook, hardback or paperback)
I'm ashamed to say I'm not reading anything at the moment, which is rare for me. I've had a busy few weeks but hopefully I shall dip into some romance stories soon. I tend to read them all in ebook format.

Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
I hope not! I don't think so as I know too many people who like real books. Though the vast majority of what I read is in ebook format (I enjoy being able to instantly read something), if I love a book, I definitely want a printed version to treasure.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
I'm not sure I can give much advice apart from keep writing. And if you're struggling, just keep writing! I think you can say the same for marketing etc. There are many, many things you can do to get your books out there but I honestly think the best way is to just keep writing.


Samantha Holt resides in Warwickshire, England, with her twin girls, having followed her soldier husband around the UK for nearly 10 years. Growing up in Hampshire, she was inspired by the authors Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell, both of which lived and wrote only miles from her home town.

Samantha loves the romance genre and has been devouring romantic literature for as long as she can remember. History is another passion of hers and she loves to combine her love for history and romance into exciting and passionate tales.

1 comment:

  1. Great interview, Samantha! And I certainly wouldn't say it was egocentric to interview yourself. I love the idea!
    In fact I might just follow suit and interview myself on my own author blog ;)