Joseph S. Samaniego
Hello Readers and Writers!
Today we would like to introduce you to a great friend of the writers community! Our editor has known him for quite a while and they have since consulted on numerous projects. He is a cartographer and Fantasy author who has a special talent for creating female characters readers can connect with! He is highly recommended as an author to read if you are getting into Fantasy for the first time. His books are full of meaningful maps and images that add to the story and are seriously appealing to the eyes.
Introducing Joseph S. Samaniego!
RL: Hey, Joseph! When did you start writing as a career?
JSS: While I’ve been writing for years, I’ve only begun to make it a career path in the last 6 years. I had reached out to publish some short stories but never had any luck. That was when I partnered with an artist friend to do some sketches for a story, The Holland Company, and I decided to try and market it as a novel instead of in parts. I started with Smashwords and then Draft 2 Digital. Both never got off the ground so I switched to Amazon after about 2 years.
RL: What's your current WIP (work in progress)?
JSS: Currently I’m working on a short story collection that takes place during the Carolyngian Age and incorporates a few of the more legendary but less known heroes and heroines of the age. It will be something of a departure since it will be shorter and more focused on an event as opposed to my usually character building. However, I can see a future with several of the characters for full length novels.
RL: Your genre is Fantasy. What led you to write in that area?
JSS: I fell in love with the genre during my youth. Back in the 1980s the campy fantasy films were masterpieces and the book covers were amazing works of art. It all drew me in and once I began to explore the different fantasy worlds I quickly found my own stories. It’s a world that doesn’t always have to conform to society’s norms and that felt like freedom to me.
RL: How do your books rebel against the status quo in that genre?
JSS: I’m not 100% sure they do and that bothers me. I want them to be rebellious but part of me knows that I hold back. I definitely want people to read my books and think “Wow this guy is writing some really deep stuff!” I think that my newest book will be more along those lines.
I think that what I have going for me is a turn towards much stronger female characters and leads than what tradition has shown. In my youth we had Red Sonja or Catt-brie from Forgotten Realms and a few others but for me a strong and independent woman was part of what made the worlds work. I’d like to incorporate strong female characters and leads into each of my stories and hopefully this will come across to the readers. If this is what sets me apart then that’s awesome but either way I’ll still keep to my current style.
RL: Which one of your books is your favorite?
JSS: Probably The Queen of War. It was more of an introduction into a historian/story teller style of writing for me but it also helped to introduce some of the most popular characters I’ve had. You can also find the foundations of the world building in that book which I continue in later stories.
RL: Talk to me about the path you choose in publishing.
JSS: As I mentioned previously, I had submitted some of my work for short stories but didn’t get much traction. That’s pretty much the standard thing for most writers. I also reached out to some agents and got the same, again par for the course. I decided to try my hand at self-publishing, definitely not for the faint of heart. But over time it’s begun to show promise. Self-publishing is a business for the long game and you have to stay 100% focused and committed. I’d do it again because I like to have more control over my property but there is much more work than I had first thought. Still, it’s all been worth it. I’ve learned more in the last 6 years than I thought I would and that’s part of the process.
I have coffee directly pumped into my veins and I don’t sleep. Just kidding, sort of.
I have to sacrifice a lot to be able to write even a few pages. Most of the time that does mean late nights with only a couple hours of sleep, sometimes I’ll take my laptop with me to events where I know I’ll be able to have a table and time. Spare time that comes up, whatever time I can find I use. You have to carve out time in the day and that means not doing something else. My one rule is that family is first. So that means that usually I’m writing from 10pm until I just can’t physically stay awake any longer. This isn’t simply writing, however, this also goes for my maps that I make.
I’m not perfect with it but I do what I can when I can. Lots of coffee too.
RL: Where do you see your writing career going from here?
JSS: Hopefully somewhere warm and sunny. I’d love to be able to commit myself to writing full time. I would be happy to be able to be able to help others in their writing goals too. Breaking into the publishing gig would be something of a dream come true as well. Anything that I can do to build and continue my brand. I’d love to become a more familiar name within the fantasy genre.
RL: What can readers expect from you in the future?
JSS: More maps! Also, many more fantasy stories. I plan to finish these shorts to publish and then get back to working on more of the Carolyngian Age novels. Hoping to one day work on a graphic novel. I’ll find some time to complete book 2 of the Holland Company series. Other than that just more of the fantasy writing, maps and some YouTube videos!