Interviews

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Kindle Author Interview: Samantha Shakespeare

Original Interview First Posted Here

Samantha Shakespeare, author of Discern, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Discern?

SAMANTHA SHAKESPEARE: Discern allows you to have fantasy without having to travel too far from reality. Everything in the book will make you consider--"Hey, that could have been the way history really happened." The realism lets you slip into being a part of the situation, a part of the world of Andrew Alexander and his family. As escapism is a great reason to read, I am pleased to share this vantage of the world for each new reader to escape.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

SAMANTHA SHAKESPEARE: Developing my characters was probably one of the hardest parts of writing this book. My heroine, Haley Helms, went through many changes, especially during the editing process. Her depth was very important to the story. I wanted the reader to be able to empathize and feel for her. She struggles with many issues that face us on a daily basis. She learns how to cope and that's what I want my reader to see. That no matter what life throws at you, you can survive and what feels like the end, may truly be the beginning of something wonderful.

After I perfected her characters, the others seem to take off themselves, without trying too hard.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

SAMANTHA SHAKESPEARE: My ideal reader would preferably be between 16 and 50+. I don't recommend this book to anyone younger than 16. There are no sexual scenes in this book, but there is violence and suggestive scenes that are better left to an older audience.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

SAMANTHA SHAKESPEARE: I have always had an imagination and it seems my son has taken after me with all his wild stories. Being the youngest of four children in a lower middle class family, we had to entertain ourselves, so I created stories in my head. Unfortunately, I never wrote any of those down and eventually lost my creativity until I was older and had my son. I was given the opportunity to return to school to further my education and it was then in my English 101 class, the love of creating my own stories returned.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

SAMANTHA SHAKESPEARE: To most, my writing process would seem chaotic, but for me it works. I usually just begin with a conversation and go from there. I build my story around something one of my characters says and go from there. It can be difficult to be consistent sometimes when I'm writing off their emotions, but it's how I prefer to write and I cannot imagine changing it.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

SAMANTHA SHAKESPEARE: Charlene Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels. Her books are raw and not sugar coated. Her writing is descriptive and to the point.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

SAMANTHA SHAKESPEARE: I would say Orwell's Animal Farm...I love a book with political undertones and Animal Farm is certainly something that I would have written myself but if I do it now, I believe it's considered plagiarism.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

SAMANTHA SHAKESPEARE: We have a website: www.discernsaga.com. We have used facebook, twitter, press releases, business cards, and obviously word of mouth is very important. There is nothing better than telling a friend about a wonderful book you read, them reading it and telling someone else.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

SAMANTHA SHAKESPEARE: Times are changing and so are the readers. They want instant access to books and Kindle does a wonderful job at giving the customer what they want.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

SAMANTHA SHAKESPEARE: I never queried an agent. When I tell people this, they think I'm lying and don't want to admit to failure, but 'not. I feared that if I did get the chance to be published by a major publishing company, how much of my book, the one I just put years into creating, would they change? I would lose control of the creativity of my project, which terrified me. I may not be an overnight success, such as Stephenie Myers, but I had the chance to put myself out there and I did.

From what I read, many authors query agents for years, waiting for someone to love their story as much as they do. I say don't wait for an agent, who is only looking for a quick profit to love your book, let the real critics decide--your readers.

It may take time to get the results, but just be patient and believe in your work.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.
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