Samatha “Sam” Harris lives near Baltimore, Maryland with her husband David and daughter Ava. Born in Florida, she migrated north which most people agree was a little backwards. She has been an artist all of her life, a Tattoo Artist for more than ten years, and a storyteller since she was a kid.
Sam has a slightly unhealthy love for Frank Sinatra, classic movies, and Jazz and Blues music, but her first love will always be reading. From Romance, to Thrillers, to Historical Fiction and everything in between, she loves to become a part of the story. As a writer she tells the stories that she would want to read.
1.What got you into writing / what made you sit down and actually start something? I’ve always been an avid reader and a story teller. I toyed with the idea of writing a novel, but I repeatedly dismissed the idea thinking it was just too farfetched an idea. I finally decided to go for it when I woke up from a dream with this idea that wouldn’t go away. I had to get it out of my head and write it down. After that the flood gates opened and before I knew it SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN was born.
2.What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured? Well I’m a mom with a day job. I always have a ton of kid activities going on and projects in the works, and then there is the full time gig, so finding time to write can sometimes be challenging. For me the best time to write is at night, after the kid has gone to sleep and the husband has disappeared into his man cave. It’s a system that has worked out well for me without having to sacrifice time with my family. I wish I could tell you I had a magical formula for structuring my writing time but I don’t. I try to complete at least one chapter per night, but it doesn’t always work that way. Really I just write until I run out inspiration or my eyes begin to close whichever comes first.
3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? Oh god yes! I have a habit or writing myself into a corner. I have my characters make a choice that stops the plot dead in its tracks. I just go back and retrace my steps in the story until I can tweak the storyline so that it can flow more naturally. That combined with a playlist of 90’s music, usually does the trick. No idea why, but it does.
4.Are you a plotter or panster when it comes to writing a story? I’m a complete panster. Even when I try to give myself an outline of where I want to story to go, it ends up veering off course. I like to start with the climax of the story and work backwards asking myself what has to happen to lead up to the climactic scene.
5.Are you traditionally or self-published? I am traditionally published with a small publisher, Limitless Publishing. I was offered a few contracts from other small publishing houses, but I ultimately decided to go with Limitless because of the incredible community of authors they have, and their gorgeous covers. It’s not a competitive environment. Everyone, authors and staff alike, looks out for each other. It really is like a family and one I’m proud to be a part of.
6. What was the publishing process like for you? Any advice to aspiring authors? Publishing for me felt like a lot of hurry up and wait. I finished my MS and then started querying which as we all know can take weeks if not months to hear back. On kind of a whim I entered a twitter pitch contest called #pit2pub and within a week of sending in my requests I had 5 contract offers. It was crazy, after months of no and waiting for responses that never came all of a sudden everything just came together. It has been a whirlwind since signing my contract and everything has happened very quickly even though to me it felt like it was taking forever. My advice to aspiring authors is simple, keep at it and never stop learning and improving your writing. It only takes one “Yes” to make your publishing dream come true. Like the early bird gets the worm, the tenacious and diligent author gets the contract.
7.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? Probably the moment I got to hold my book in my hand. It’s a crazy feeling to be able to see all of your hard work in paperback, with a gorgeous cover and your name on the spine. It gave me goose bumps and I couldn’t stop smiling. Greatest feeling ever!
8.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us, including genre and targeted audience? My debut novel SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN is a New Adult Contemporary Romance that tells the story of Alexandra and Drew, two rather unlikely friends that become inseparable despite Alex’s initial reluctance. The story is told in dual POV with Drew telling his story from the first time the meet, and Alex picking up 6 years later. You follow them as they become friends and develop feeling for one another, but the timing never seems right for them to act on their feelings. There is a fantastic supporting cast that bring Alex and Drew’s world to life. Some of whom may just make appearances in book 2, we shall see.
9.What tip would you give to new authors when trying to build a fan-base / get followers and market their books? (What to do and what not to do.) Don’t spam. You end up losing more readers than you will gain. Cross promote, don’t just post stuff about your book, but share your fellow authors books as well. They will return the favour. Marketing is about trial and error. Try different things and see what works for you.
10.How long on average does it take you to write a book? It depends on the book. SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN came very quickly. I finished the first draft within 45 days. Book 2 in the series took a bit longer as I had to set it aside to work on Somewhere, so it was a few months before the first draft was finished.
11.Tell us about the book cover/s, how the designing came about, whether you had much input etc. I was very lucky, Limitless publishing has some unbelievably talented cover designers that they work with. When I signed my contract, I provided some ideas I had for the overall feel of the cover. I am completely amazed with what they came up with. I love my cover! It captures the playfulness of Alex and Drew’s friendship which I absolutely love.
12.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time? Well I’m an artist and a tattoo artist, so I like to draw or paint, and of course reading. I am rarely without my kindle.