Author Interviews

Interviews appear in Amber's (A.R. Grosjean) newsletter on the 15th when available, and will begin appearing here as well. If you would like to be interviewed please fill out the questionnaire here. Thank you! These are Indie Authors.
me - Jamie Samland.jpg

J.M. Samland

Jamie mostly writes in dark fantasy, but he does have a book of short stories that dabble in contemporary fiction, mystery, and steampunk.

How did you decide to become a writer? I wrote a lot through high school, then stopped for almost 20 years. I started back training taekwondo, something I also quit in high school, and when I was close to black belt, I thought "what else have I stopped?" And blam, 5 books in 2 years.

What inspires you, and motivates you to write? I pull inspiration from myself, hoping to get a fan someday. Other than my mom. She's my #1 fan.

Do you get writer's block? What do you do to get out of your writing funk? Not really. If I'm stuck on one project, I go to another, which lead to my book of short stories.

Share an inspirational story you encountered on your writing journey.  Since I've published, several friends have said they want to write a book too. Only one is. She's told me what an inspiration and model I am to her. It's very touching.

The most recent release or the next book you're about to release......Share blurb and 5 reasons why someone should read that book. Include a link if already released. If there are any reviews for this book, please include them as well. Hey, those do help lol. Ooo Shiny! Volume 1 will be released on August 8th. It's a collection of short stories marketed for reading on the toilet.

https://amzn.to/3AOFXxE

5 reasons to read it?
- quick read
- not immersive, very accessible
- fun and funny
- variety of genres
- my mom says the story about the pawn shop is the best thing ever

------

The dark lord's call pulls the exalted king from his eternal slumber, but he's trapped behind a stone wall. A centipede pleads for help, but what if it's a hyper-advanced AI from the future? An assassin uses everyday objects in his craft and grooves to 1990s top 40 hits. Cannibal ghosts drive campers into an eating frenzy. What if Ivan the Terrible's Golden Library were hidden under the Red Square Krispy Kreme? What if a competing dungeon offered dental?

Ooo Shiny! is a collection of 19 absurd stories from a mind that can't focus, each taking only 5 to 15 minutes to read during your morning constitutional. Sometimes rambling nonsense that aims to make you smirk or your eyes roll, even the most black-hearted, humorless souls will find at least one chuckle in this collection. Grab a stick of unicorn jerky, put down your time-traveling phone, and respawn into the dungeon next to the D.E.D. sorority mixer! As one advance reader called it, "Fun... In a disturbing way..."

Who is your ideal audience? "new adult" and up. I don't go overboard with violence or language, but some of the imagery might be a bit much for younger.

What sets you apart from other writers? Probably not really anything. I don't take myself too seriously and have fun with the process.

Is there another author your books are similar to?  James Clemens (aka James Rollins) was a strong influence in my early work.

If you have multiple books available, which one is your favorite? And why? I'll have 5 out by the end of September. I'm proud of them all for different reasons.
- Realms of Terswood was my first
- I drafted Trials of Throk'tar very quickly, like it was writing itself
- I drafted Necromancer of Urbus for NaNoWriMo and didn't plan on writing it until the week before I started.
- Ooo Shiny! was just fun to be ridiculous and silly
- Seeds of Farsil is a farewell to a trilogy with a scope far greater than my previous novels.

What does your writing process entail? Planner, pantser? Research required? Editing methods? etc I'm mostly a pantsers. I'm trying to plot more so that I'm more efficient and have to toss out less after draft 1. I've started using a plot wheel so I can see the gaps in the pacing and clearly see how events foreshadow later things, etc. After draft 1, I try my best to set the work down for a while, but I'm insanely impatient, so that rarely works.

Behind the scenes......Music or no? Any other tactics used in the aid of writing? Streaming Lofi girl all the time! I can't write in silence, but also can't have lyrics or anything with too strong of beats. It's so hard to not tab over to Chrome... I haven't come up with a way to avoid that yet.

What would you tell a new writer to help them get started? Just write, have fun with it. Don't edit too hard or be hard on yourself reading it back. Just get words down.

Do you have a newsletter? Share a subscribe link if you have one. Include what to expect with your issues (if you'd like to share this information) https://jamiemsamland.com/free...

I give a link to download some free stories with a signup. I email very infrequently with updates about my writing. I'm working to come up with more content for greater value.

Is there anything you would like to add? Any tips or anecdotes you'd like to share? I wrote REALMS during the COVID lockdown, like I'm sure 4 million other people did. I had a bunch of terrible fan fiction from high school and scraped all that when I was preparing to test for my black belt. I published the book a week before I tested for my third degree.

 
PAT BOOK BIO PHOTO - Pat Spencer.jpg

Pat Spencer

How did you decide to become a writer? Include age when you began to write. 

I first decided to become a writer in First Grade when my teacher made a big fuss over my report on George Washington. But in my later years, when my career guidance counselor told me how little the average writer earns (think starving artist syndrome), I decided to go into education and write as a sideline. During that time, I wrote for a newspaper, a tabletop magazine, and a trade journal and published a textbook. Only after retiring did I write fiction.

What inspires you, and motivates you to write?

I enjoy the writing process so that motivates me. I also like the camaraderie of participating in writers' critique groups. I also think writing is good for the brain.

What genres do you write? Or plan to write in the future?

My published book, Story of a Stolen Girl, is an international thriller. My two works in progress are historical and literary fiction. I also published several short stories.

Do you get writer's block? What do you do to get out of your writing funk?

So far, knock on wood, I have not had writer's block

The most recent release or the next book you're about to release......Share blurb and 5 reasons why someone should read that book. Include a link if already released. If there are any reviews for this book, please include them as well. Hey, those do help 

I am currently querying publishers for two books: Golden Boxty in the Frypan which is inspired by my mother's experiences as an orphan in the 1930s. The second novel is Sticks in a Bundle: The Early Years. This novel, the first of a trilogy, is about a woman, born in South Africa in 1961, who grows up in a Soweto shanty under the rule of apartheid. She dedicates herself to fighting racial injustice with her written words.

Who is your ideal audience?

My ideal audience is made up of readers who like to learn while being entertained and are ages 13 to 100+.

What sets you apart from other writers?

I think I am more compulsive than most writers about editing prior to letting anyone read my work.

Is there another author your books are similar to? Share all that applies to each book.

Others have compared my writing to Barbara Kingsolver's work. I am humbled when someone says this. I only wish that were true.

If you have multiple books available, which one is your favorite? And why?

Story of a Stolen Girl is the only book I have published at this moment unless you count my textbook. The novel is definitely my favorite so far. I also several published short stories.

What does your writing process entail? Planner, pantser? Research required? Editing methods? etc

I do an enormous amount of research before and during the writing process. I try to be a planner, but as I write, I have bouts of being a pantser.

Behind the scenes......Music or no? Any other tactics used in the aid of writing?

I don't listen to music while writing, but I do while editing. I get tense and irritated when finding some of my dumb mistakes or reading something that I thought was wonderful, but now makes no sense at all, so I listen to soothing music during editing.

What would you tell a new writer to help them get started?

Read online articles about the craft, and specifically read lots within your desired genre. And join a supportive, yet honest, critique group.

Is there anything you would like to add? Any tips or anecdotes you'd like to share?

It is important to me that my writing takes the reader to a place, era, or circumstance they know little about and leads them to learn more about the subject.

 
40th anniversary - Ann Williams.jpg

Ann Payton

How did you decide to become a writer? Include age when you began to write.

I've always loved to read, and when I was around 12, I noticed that teachers reacted enthusiastically to my writing. That stayed in the back of my mind through young adulthood. I remember sitting in a pediatric waiting room with my little ones and reading an article a mother had written about daycare options on cruise ships. I was blown away to think she'd gotten PAID to do that. So, when our kids got older, and I felt I needed a goal to work toward when I wasn't working my day job in a science lab, I decided to become a freelance travel writer.

What inspires you, and motivates you to write?

Working toward an exciting goal makes life so much more exciting for me, I can't imagine going back to mundane, going nowhere ruts. I also find that when the world is insane, or bad things are happening to loved ones, I can take refuge in the world I'm creating in a book.

What genres do you write? Or plan to write in the future?

When my daughter was in her senior year, I dealt with my empty nest dread issues by writing a travel adventure novel about a mother who handles her empty nest by running off to Colorado and having crazy adventures there. I followed up with a mystery novel set in the college science lab I coordinated for 20 years. Making that mystery work involved so much time and frustration that I took a break from it and wrote my father's story which expanded into a family biography. I finally made the mystery work by cutting the end off, but there's so much good stuff in that amputated end that I need to expand it into a second book. After that, who knows. I hope to get back to giving lectures on cruise ships one day.

Do you get writer's block? What do you do to get out of your writing funk?

I generally don't have problems with writer's block. When I get stuck, it's because I don't know what's going to happen next and doing more research fixes that most of the time.

Share an inspirational story you encountered on your writing journey.  

Not long after becoming a science lab coordinator, I saw a notice offering small grants to boost preschool learning programs. I’d just left a preschool teaching job, and I’d been wishing that the little ones could play with some of the science toys in the lab, so I had a brainwave. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could check kits out to teachers, so every kid in class could have a set of bottles full of magical but harmless chemicals to explore? My new bosses who made suggestions for the proposal and then brought in a grant specialist. He liked the idea but said we should make videos to explain how the chemistry works.

All I knew about making videos was that homemade ones were usually lame, so what chance did I have of making good ones? But I soon realized that I had a superpower. The whole college seemed to be behind me, providing help with all the stuff I didn't know.

Later I took the kits to the University’s the annual Chemistry Day. The 3rd year I signed up, the director of that program told me that, of all the displays and demonstrations offered by various organizations, our Kids Chemistry Kits always booked up first. That’s what comes of having PEEPS.

After that, I knew I had wings and I’d be crazy not to fly!

The most recent release or the next book you're about to release......Share blurb and 5 reasons why someone should read that book. Include a link if already released. If there are any reviews for this book, please include them as well.

Coordinating a college science lab seems a terrific job for this fledgling graduate. The instructors are fun and appreciative. Maci loves helping with field trips and magic shows, and the intrigues of science are endlessly fascinating. Except, why all the secrets? The dean orders Maci to say nothing about finding a bleeding man in the parking lot. Reporting missing lab equipment is also taboo.
When Maci investigates fraudulent expenditures, the lab reagents she prepares fail. Toxic fumes from a broken bottle force an evacuation. Someone uploads a devastating virus into a state-wide system—from Maci’s computer. While she’s pushing to discover who’s behind the trouble, the instructors conclude that it’s Maci. Her one loyal ally acts a lot like a stalker. She’s on her own dodging booby traps, bloody threats, and termination.

Anne's 5 reasons
1) Enthused reviews on Amazon!
2) Details are 100% authentic
3) Fun characters
4) Beautiful Rocky Mountain settings
5) Heart-pounding lab chase scene

Mile High Lab Rat (A few of many reviews!)

 

Captivating

“Very creative writer. Captivating story. Lots

of detail. It's a book you just want to read without stopping. I look forward to the sequel."

Naomi Hamann

 

A Lab Rat Mystery that keeps you on the Edge!

“...there was never a dull moment! I felt like I was in Maci's shoes the whole time wondering just who I could trust and who was after me!”

Valerie Temple Author A Patch in the Wilderland

 

 

Lots of twists and turns

“This book is definitely for the current, former, or future "lab rat"! Lots of detailed and accurate descriptions of behind-the-scenes lab preps and life in the sciences, interspersed with a mystery of epic proportions. Lots of twists and turns, right up until the final big, explosive finale! A good, quick read!”

Nicole H. Markelz

 

Great blend of science, romance, and mystery!

“Great setting of a science lab to learn about a world I never knew about! Story is driven by romance and mystery and a head strong MC that you root for! Great read.”

Caitlin Howell

A great read I couldn’t put down

“A stunning, fast-paced story packed with surprising twists…laugh out-loud funny…written beautifully. I would follow Maci anywhere!”

Judith Fowler, forensic psychology writer

Who is your ideal audience?  

Adults who love nature, science, Colorado, mysteries, and/or learning new things. People who've spent time in science labs will love revisiting that ambiance. 

What sets you apart from other writers?

That's a tough one. Several people have told me that I'm odd. I was surprised. I didn't see anything odd about what I'd said, but I took it as a compliment. The editor who worked my final draft of "Mile High Lab Rat" said that it was fantastic, and she'd never read anything like it. I can't say why, but maybe you'll read it and tell me.

Is there another author your books are similar to? Share all that applies to each book.

"Mile High Lab Rat" has commonalities with Nevada Barr's national parks novels.

"No Market For 'Em" is similar to Rick Bragg's "All Over But the Shoutin" and Tony Hillerman's "A Life," but each life inevitably takes its own course.

My best comparison for "Rocky Mountain Walkabout" is Winton Groom's "Forrest Gump."

If you have multiple books available, which one is your favorite? And why?

"Mile High Lab Rat" is my opus. My writing skills have grown considerably, and I also took the time and got the feedback required to make this work top-of-the-line.

What does your writing process entail? Planner, pantser? Research required? Editing methods? etc

I can't just sit down and write. I have to know what's happening next or I tend to tap dance with words. Yes, research is huge!

Behind the scenes......Music or no? Any other tactics used in the aid of writing?

No music. Maybe I should try it, but I haven't.

What would you tell a new writer to help them get started?

Forget the clock/calendar. Give your writing all the time it needs to be all it can be.

Do you have a newsletter? Share a subscribe link if you have one. Include what to expect with your issues (if you'd like to share this information)

No newsletter yet, just my blog at breathtakebyways.com.

Is there anything you would like to add? Any tips or anecdotes you'd like to share?

Having a writing group is a major boon for me. If you get a chance, join up and enjoy!

 
SGB - Team SG.jpeg

S.G. Blaise

 

How did you decide to become a writer? Include age when you began to write. 

My writing journey began when I dreamed of becoming a professional writer around the age of ten. I wrote my first story after waking up from a nightmare. However, I only started calling myself a writer when I began working on my first book, The Last Lumenian, in 2014.

I spent over six years developing and writing the story until it was ready for publication. My main inspiration came from a dream. I was on a cross-country road trip across Europe with my family. I woke up in the middle of the night, jetlagged, with an idea and wrote it down with the only illumination coming from my phone. It was the first draft of my story. Although a lot changed from that version to the one I published, the world, characters, and storyline all started there.

What inspires you, and motivates you to write? 

I'm inspired to write knowing that I'm creating a unique experience for my readers. I hope to create stories that gets readers thinking about the characters even after the book is finished. Although these stories take place in an intergalactic setting, the characters go through experiences similar to what we experience, and the reader sees it from a different perspective.

What genres do you write? Or plan to write in the future? 

While The Last Lumenian series is a fantasy action story, it also weaves together elements of romance, magic and mythology with science fiction, creating an original and complex setting for the main hero. The readers experience multiple storylines that allow them to be truly immersed inside the story and get to know Lilla and her world as if they are experiencing it themselves.

Do you get writer's block? What do you do to get out of your writing funk? 

Through my writing journey, I have discovered a method that works for me that eliminates writer's block. I tend to generate as many notes as possible and produce a rough outline of each scene. So when I sit down to write, I let the words flow like water. While this may not work for everyone, I also find it vital to have other creative outlets that allow my mind time to take a step back and think before going back to writing again. I've recently taken up improv and found it remarkable to assist my writing and incorporate more improvisation when needed.

 

Share an inspirational story you encountered on your writing journey. 

It is surreal to look back at the very beginning. There were so many emotions--excitement, joy, and even fear. At first, I felt embarrassed to call myself a writer. Hiding the fact that I began to write a book. It was the most vulnerable I’ve ever felt--writing is like opening up your soul. Letting your readers gain a glimpse of who you are. It was exhilarating and so scary at the same time! When I sat down and began to write, it was like the floodgates opening up.. Every second I had, I spent it on writing. Every fiber of my being demanded I keep writing, no matter what.

I realized that I had a serious need to learn the writing craft that would allow me to tell the best story. So I searched for a place where I could take workshops focusing on writing and found a local writing community. This wonderful community offered many useful resources and workshops. I immediately signed up for one. That first critique session, I sat on needles and was sweating bullets, waiting for my turn to bear the comments and critiques. I had no idea how it would feel! How would I react if someone would be too critical of my writing? I knew that I did not want to be defensive or to take it too much to heart, it would destroy my ability to keep writing. I decided then and there that I would keep an open mind. Anything they said might help make my writing better. My goal was to elevate my writing and become a better writer. The fact that I was shaking like a leaf, and could barely take notes was beside the point. Yes, there was frustration hearing certain comments that seemed to miss the point, prompting a reflexive and protective stance that wanted to bubble to the surface, but I smashed that urge to speak up and took the comments smiling, deciding to examine them later. Not only did I survive that twenty minutes where eight people took turns commenting on my baby, (I mean writing!), but I left that meeting feeling inspired and with a slightly better understanding of storytelling. I chalked it up as a win! This experience taught me that when we push ourselves out of our comfort zone, there are endless possibilities to where it might lead us.

 

The most recent release or the next book you're about to release......Share blurb and 5 reasons why someone should read that book. Include a link if already released. If there are any reviews for this book, please include them as well. Hey, those do help lol. 

My most recently released book is True Teryn, the second book in the Last Lumenian series. However, the third book in the series, Proud Pada, is set to be released on December 6th, 2022.

Lilla is on her next mission as a Sybil, when she must travel to the Pada world following the trail of a ruthless murderer. Navigating deadly politics turns increasingly difficult, when the Teryn emperor goes missing. Now the Teryn empire is heading towards civil war, and Lilla must uncover who is behind the conspiracy before it's too late. Unfortunately her success depends on the Proud Pada.

5 Reasons Why Someone Should Read Proud Pada
1. Come along for an epic Sci-Fi Fantasy Thriller that will keep you on your toes.
2. Escape reality with Proud Pada and get absorbed into an intergalactic world.
3. Lilla is a beacon for female empowerment and continues to fight for others and the ones she loves.
4. Find out the future of Lilla and Callum as they encounter their next adventure.
5. Get absorbed into an intergalactic world embroider international rebellion and large scale divine war

https://www.amazon.com/Proud-P...

 

Who is your ideal audience?  

Sci-Fi Fantasy lovers any age from 15+

 

What sets you apart from other writers? 

I differ from other authors because I want to make the world a better place, one fantasy at a time. Not only do my stories offer a much-needed escape from reality, but they also contain underlying themes to help readers process experiences in their life in a way they might not have thought of before. Furthermore, I aim to help other aspiring writers fulfill their dreams of being an author by offering tips and tools to assist in their writing journey.

 

Is there another author your books are similar to? 

The Last Lumenian Series has sci-fi elements similar to Brandon Sanderson’s Skyward and fantasy elements like Wheel of Time from Robert Jordan.

 

If you have multiple books available, which one is your favorite? And why? 

Although each book in the series holds a special place in my heart, my favorite book in The Last Lumenian Series is the first in the series, The Last Lumenian. The Last Lumenian lays the groundwork for the series as a whole. It introduces the main character Lilla and gives background into her upbringing to provide the reader with a better understanding of the character.

 

What does your writing process entail? Planner, pantser? Research required? Editing methods? etc 

My writing process entails spending a couple of months researching, developing notes, and outlining the story. Once writing starts, I spend anywhere from 4-8 hours on writing, as long as it takes to finish the scenes I started on. After, my work is sent to the editor for any needed adjustments. I have found that this process works best for me.

 

Behind the scenes......Music or no? Any other tactics used in the aid of writing? 

Depending on the scene I am working on, I will put on some music or eat something that might provide further inspiration for the writing process.

 

What would you tell a new writer to help them get started?

If you want to write a story, sit down and start writing now! When inspiration sparks, fan the fire and write for as long as you can. Sometimes the hardest part about a writing journey is the beginning, but it will be worth it in the end.

 

Do you have a newsletter? Share a subscribe link if you have one. Include what to expect with your issues.

Yes, I do have a newsletter. Those who sign up for my newsletter will get access to preview an exclusive first look at all content relating to The Last Lumenian Series and any of my upcoming projects and events. Click the link below and sign up!

sgblaisenews.com

 

The Next Author is S.A. Crow
Look for her in December