Monday, October 1, 2012

Interview: Samantha Durante

Interview: Samantha Durante

Today I'm super happy to have a interview with Samantha Durante the author of Stitch her exciting new series. Check out my review (here).

Mandy - Where do you get your inspiration?
Samantha - From reading!  I’ve been an avid reader my whole life and I love love love immersive sci-fi/fantasy series with a big dollop of romance, so I always knew that when I decided to write my own book, it would be up that alley.  And when it came time to come up with the idea Stitch, I just thought, “What story would I like to read which I haven’t been able to find?”

Mandy - Where did you get the idea for Stitch?
Samantha - I really wanted to do something different for Stitch, but I was having trouble coming up with anything that was totally fresh and new.  So as I thought about how to make Stitch unique, it occurred to me that I’d read very few books which really stretched across genres.  All the dystopian I’d read was firmly dystopian, and all the paranormal romance books I’d read were firmly paranormal, but I really love to read both genres, so I set out to try to combine the two in one book!  And I love a good twist, so I ended up using the dystopian elements to explain how the “paranormal” stuff was working, which I thought was a neat and different approach and something I hadn’t seen before.  I wasn’t sure if other readers would be receptive, but so far people seem to be appreciating it!

Mandy - What kind of atmosphere do you prefer when you write?
Samantha - I’m pretty good at tuning out what’s going on around me (just ask my family – it’s their biggest pet peeve!) so I can write wherever, if I need to.  But I’m definitely most productive and most comfortable writing somewhere quiet, and preferably somewhere soft and cushy (like my couch or bed), with my laptop on my lap and as few distractions as possible.  When I’ve got that environment, I’m able to get in the zone and really let the words flow.

Mandy - What kind of books do you enjoy reading? Which ones are your favorites?
Samantha - I really love anything with a little romance and a lot of imagination.  I’m definitely partial to sci-fi/fantasy books, and particularly long, epic series where I can just lose myself for days/weeks at a time (think Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Twilight, Eragon, etc.).  Historical fiction often achieves the same effect for me (Pride & Prejudice takes the cake there!), as does a good mystery (especially if it involves ghosts of some sort or other eerie elements).  But I also love a good contemporary novel (YA or adult), as long as it has a dash of romance.  I’m not too picky of a reader, but I do always find myself coming back to science fiction and fantasy, and I’m so thrilled that there are so many great new YA SFF series out there right now (Divergent, Delirium, Maze Runner, Linger, etc.) – I’m just in heaven!

Mandy -Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
Samantha - Nope!  I actually spent most of my life thinking I wanted to be an engineer and business person.  I always loved writing for fun, but I didn’t think I could make a career out of it (or at least not a lucrative one – I always had that “struggling artist” image in my head, which the practical side of me did not find romantic in the least!).  But after getting my engineering and business degrees and working in software for a few years, I just realized something was missing for me, and that was writing.  So I took a chance on starting my own business as a freelance business writer (working with small businesses on marketing materials, websites, blogs, etc.), and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could indeed make a living doing writing.  Which then enabled me to go after my true passion, which is fiction writing.  Stitch is my first (public) attempt at that, and so far it’s going great!

Mandy - Who is your favorite Muppet?
Samantha - Oh wow, this is a tough one – I watched SO many episodes of Muppet Babies and The Muppet Show on Nickelodeon as a kid!  I think I have to go with the Swedish Chef.  His sketches are just so absurd; they always manage to get a laugh out of me.

Mandy - Favorite beverage? Do you drink it daily?
Samantha - Diet Coke!  And yes, I generally drink it daily, but I’ve cut back to one a day, since I’m worried we’re going to realize one day that soda gives you cancer…

Mandy - Biggest pet peeve?
Samantha - Smoking, no doubt.  It’s been illegal to smoke in restaurants and most public places in NY for most of my life, so I just cannot take it when I go somewhere else and can’t get away from cigarette smoke.  I get a headache almost immediately and can’t breathe, and just feel like I am slowly dying.  It’s horrible – I will never understand why anyone would do that to themselves, or at the very least not realize why it’s completely inconsiderate to object the people around you to it!  Ugh, smoking is the worst!

Mandy - What is your guilty pleasure?
Samantha - The Bachelorette!  I really don’t watch almost any other reality TV, but for some reason, I always find myself really looking forward to this on Monday nights.  And it’s two full hours!  Amazing.  It’s so embarrassing, but I just can’t get enough.

Mandy - What are 5 items you never leave home without.
Samantha - The first few things are boring – cell phone, wallet, keys (the usual).  I also now always carry Benadryl, since I’ve recently developed some kind of erratic food allergy (to most beans, possibly all legumes, but it’s not consistent) which I am constantly forgetting about, since I love beans and always eat them without thinking!  I also never leave home without my Palmer’s Cocoa Butter stick, which is the absolute best chapstick I’ve found – it leaves just a hint of yummy cocoa flavor on your lips, but it doesn’t taste like anything if you actually eat it, so there’s no incentive to continually lick it off your lips and reapply like with most lip balms.  The only problem is that it looks like a glue stick, so I get a lot of weird looks on the subway, haha.

Mandy - What scares you?
Samantha - Ooohh good one…  First, the obvious things: any of my loved ones getting hurt/sick (especially my cat), the possibility of dying young, and of course, snakes.  But there are definitely new ones I’ve discovered recently… For example, reviews!  Each time I read a new review, I find myself getting really apprehensive just for a moment.  In general the reviews of Stitch have been very positive, but I think I’m much more harsh on my book than anyone else has been yet, and I just keep waiting for someone to really rip it apart.  But hopefully by the time the scathing reviews (which are inevitable on the internet) make an appearance, I’ll have enough good ones amassed to outweigh them!

Mandy - Anything you want to say to your readers?
Samantha - THANK YOU for reading!  I really can’t say it enough.  I’m SO excited to share this story (and hopefully many more to come) with readers, and every time I hear that someone enjoyed Stitch, it just totally makes my day.  If you liked Stitch, please do let me know in a review (or an email!) and tell your friends!  And thanks so much to Mandy for hosting the Stitch Blog Tour today!

Thank you so much Samantha it's been a absolute pleasure.

Stalking Samantha
(Her website)

Don't forget to enter for a chance to win a E-copy of Stich


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