Hello Readers and Writers!
What can we say about this next author to grace us with answers to writers life questions? They are a mystery and mystery is their game. The idea of being unknown is their idea of a good time, but also, they love to kill characters, kill convention, and kill boring cliches. Offering readers free developing material, as well as complete and polished material is in an arsenal of techniques that keep this author relevant and fresh!
Introducing Sam .!
RL: When did you start writing as a career?
S: From what I can remember, I have been writing all my life. For me, it has never been a career but, it has been a lifestyle.
I started writing in the 4th grade. I remember writing this really silly story about me and my class going to the moon. I wrote this all by hand on dot matrix printer paper (you know, that green and white alternating paper with the holes in it?). It had to be about 3 or 4 pages.
My teacher was curious as to what I was doing so she took it, looked at it suspiciously, and thought “Hey! This isn’t half bad!” So, she asked me to read it to the class and wow was I embarrassed!
So, if we count that moment, I have been writing for over 20 years (on and off, of course).
RL: What's your current work in progress?
S: Currently, I am working on Undying Love. It is a story I have been very passionate about and is very dear to my heart. It is a story about a detective that’s in an affair with his former partner whose jealousy knows no bounds.
RL: You write romance with a twist! What lead you to write stories about relationships?
S: Artists make their best pieces when they are in pain or when they are in love. Undying Love was conceived at the lowest point in my life. I wrote the original story back in 2014 when my fiancé of 4 years left me. What’s worse is that it was my fault and I never forgave myself for it.
I used Undying Love to heal myself and really dig deep into the inner workings of my soul. I felt that if I could paint out what my soul was like with words at the time, Undying Love could capture that torment and confusion and turn it into something beautiful.
I choose to theme Undying Love around relationships because relationships are the glue that holds us all together. We are nothing without them. Our mothers, fathers, girlfriends, boyfriends even countries! They are related to us and without them, we are just alone.
RL: How do your books rebel against the status quo in your genre?
S: Lots of ways!
When I was younger, I was a voracious reader going through about 10 - 20 books a week and I made note of how they wrote and why they did it the way they did it. For years I convinced myself that was the way you were supposed to write. So, I struggled to find my writing voice so that I wouldn’t sound like someone else.
My books rebel against the status quo because structure is thrown out the window, traditional conventions are ignored and genre knows no boundaries.
I don’t use blurbs. I write poems telling about the story on the back of my books.
I also don’t waste time with long lengthy backstories. When you read one of my books, I want you to be an observer. I limit what you see and hear just like you would if you were to see someone on the streets while people watching. They don’t tell you their backstory, but if they do, it’s because they want to; And if they want to they only tell you want they want you to know.
Speaking of seeing and hearing, I like to also play with the reader’s senses by using colors, shapes of letters and words, anything I can to tell a story. I also use emojis but not in the sense of “Hey! I’m texting!” But more of a symbol driven idea machine.
I kill my characters no matter how much I may like them. I only do it for the story.
My books are willing to step where others refuse to because there are no rules. Rules restrict art.
RL: What is your goal with using WattPad before releasing your book for sale?
S: I tried to sell Roxanne on Amazon and yes, it got a few sales and some reviews. I was on twitter promoting it like crazy because I was hungry for more readers.
I thought I had the price too high so I lowered it because I’m an unproven nobody. Who is going to buy my books for that price?
That failed too.
So next, I put it up for free with a promo and over 20 people downloaded it and that’s when I realized,
“The paywall is hindering my growth.”
So, when it came down to Undying Love, although it would have been great to sell it first, I just decided to put it out there to get my name out. It was a demo of sorts like you see bands do when they are looking to get signed.
You got to eat it. You got to eat the first book or two before it really starts to go anywhere.
It may not be far but for once, I feel like I’m getting somewhere and more people than I ever imagined are reading what I created.
That feeling alone is better than any amount of money.
RL: Does your life ever influence your writing?
S: Yes, positively, and negatively.
Negatively, my life has hindered my writing. I got into big tech when I thought there was no future for me as an artist. So, I did like everyone does when they are told to grow up: I gave up. I tried as hard as I could to suppress my creative spark because I figured if I snuffed it out, I could be more logical and be a better engineer.
Positively, when I decided to embrace it again, I was welcomed with open arms. Writing was my outlet to heal me in times that hurt the most. It helped me to cope and it helped me to figure out how to go on.
I guess you can say writing actually influenced my life.
RL: You do bend genres in a marvelous way, but do you have any plans to write outside of the romance genre?
S: Why thank you! I am happy you like the bends!
I set no boundary on what genres I write or will write in the future. Truthfully, I have a really hard time categorizing my books because they bend and turn so much!
I have a lot planned including some science fiction, drama and maybe even a thriller.
Mainly, I write what I am feeling at the time, and feelings are fluid which is why I like to bend and twist from the sweet and heartwarming to the macabre.
This is only the beginning.
RL: I understand that Undying Love is a WIP but which is your favorite: Undying Love or Roxanne?
S: Damn! You’re making me pick?
Well, with Roxanne, that story was a spark of inspiration. I wrote that one in 3 weeks. Nightly, I would sit at my coffee table until 3 - 4 in the morning and off to work at 8! For those 3 weeks, I lived off espresso shots and ramen. Roxanne was my artistic reinvention and will always feel like my starting point.
Undying Love, however, is the story I could never get out of my head no matter how many times I wrote it, it just didn’t seem complete. That’s why I left it largely unfinished in 2014.
When Roxanne came to be, it showed me how to finish Undying Love and helped me to get back into writing, today.
They’re both important. I can’t pick.
RL: Many authors use pseudonyms and value their privacy, but you have a strong stance on staying anonymous. Why is that?
S: I was having this conversation a few days ago with one of my beta readers who is also one of my good friends.
There are a few reasons I went anonymous:
First, I want my art to be appreciated for what it is and not for who I am. I don’t want attributes of my identity or personality to influence or hinder the success of my work. When people read my books, I want them to see just the book and enjoy it because they enjoyed it and not because they know me or know about me.
Second, if it does happen to go further than this, I can still enjoy a private life with my family. This does not mean I will ignore my fans, I will always be there for them and I’ll figure out some sneaky way to do book signings.
Third, I am having TOO much fun with the secrecy. I have been approached many times on Twitter asking, “Why no picture?” Or “Maybe you should have an avatar?” To those I say, I’ll put something up when I figure out how to take a picture like a ghost or think of a cool avatar idea that reflects this anonymous lifestyle.
Last, sometimes I go really far. I enjoy pushing the envelope with my works because I want my work to make you feel something, even if it’s uncomfortable. Some people won’t like that, and that is okay, that just simply means my book was not intended for them. However, I do not want them showing up on my front lawn with pitchforks and torches looking to drag me out into the streets to tar and feather me. It sounds crazy, but I’m sure someone’s artwork has caused a similar fuss somewhere in history. Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction.
I use my anonymity as a platform to push unbiased works of art to those looking for something new and fresh. I want my ideas to speak to you and I can’t speak to you if I am a stranger. We were taught not to speak to strangers as children.
But just like you don’t know who is on the other side of that website when you order something from Amazon, you give your most intimate secrets up. Your address, phone number, credit cards even family photos on Facebook. You don’t know them and you’re willing to open up to them. There is comfort in the dark, warm corners of anonymity. People unconsciously like this.
There is a mystique in the unknown. I want people to spend a lot of time trying to solve for “X”.
RL: Talk to me about the path you choose in publishing.
S: It was very hard. Harder than I thought it would be.
You hear about people putting out books all the time like JK and Stephen King and it looks like all you do is just write it and people are just in love with it! But it’s not that simple.
I learned my first hard lesson on this when I tried back in ‘12 when I finally committed to finishing my first book. Up until that point, all of my work comprised of either poems or half-finished stories.
I had a story idea in my head and I was determined to finish it because I never finished any of my stories. I was getting to the point where I thought, “Is this the way I will write for the rest of my life?” I didn’t want to accept that, so, I found whatever time I could write which resulted in me writing 90% of the story in the notes section of my phone!
When I finally completed it, I saved it and I started looking for ways to get it out there and... realized how difficult and expensive it was to do.
I was in college and I couldn’t afford to promote nor did I have the time to do so. So, I shelved it.
A few more years went on, I got an actual job and largely forgot about writing.
Fast forward to now, I overcame my obstacles to start writing again. I decided to go the self-publishing route because I have heard the horror stories about traditional publishers taking the ideas of the original author and turning them into tools to make money, stripping them of all the soul and love that was used to create them. I believed a time ago I needed to be traditionally published and was hurt when I was turned down but, I now see it as a blessing in disguise. I can be better connected with my fanbase and I can give them what they ask for each time, not just what is trending or is popular in the mainstream.
RL: Where do you see your writing career going in the future?
S: To the moon!
No, really. I’m going to make a space opera... Kidding.
The responses I have gotten so far has shown me that there is potential for this to take off. I see myself writing 5 - 10 years from now. I have many more ideas and stories left to write and I want to tell it all in every way possible. With some luck, I hope to have a bigger fan base who share the same admiration and passion for my work as I do.
Maybe it might become a movie or something one day. If so, I’d love to help direct as I do love film, too.
RL: What are your hobbies?
S: I love film! It kinda influenced my style of writing. That, along with music. I have been listening to a lot of experimental EDM, Vaporwave and it’s sub-genres.
I also am into cars and motorcycles. It’s strange for someone like me to be into cars and motorcycles, but I love going fast! I have a ‘12 Mustang GT and a ‘15 Yamaha R3. I also do track days at my local race track.
I am a huge tech nerd. I code and create apps and I know several programming languages. Raspberry Pi’s are my life!
Lastly, I love to cook. I make things all the time and I love following cooking tutorials on YouTube.
RL: What are you reading now?
S: This interview.
Seriously though. When I’m working on a book, I try not to read anything else, heavily, because it starts to slip into my own writing.
I’ll tell you about the last thing I read. Have you heard of The Dark Tower series? Marvel made it into a graphic novel series and I brought them all and devoured them. They were amazing.
RL: What can readers expect from you in the future?
S: Well, the completion of “Undying Love”, first.
Second, I have another book I will start work on right after “Undying Love’s” completion called “The Demon of 96th Street”.
After that, I have a few more books in line, but let’s just say we can expect more work.
I am also toying with the idea of a podcast with some readings of my work and also a blog. I know my fans would like to connect more so for now, to fill the void, you can find me on Twitter, Wattpad, and Neutral Spaces.