Today I would like to welcome the author of Stitch, Samantha Durante. She has written an amazing story steeped in...well, everything. You get a little romance, a little mystery, a haunting, some conspiracy, and a big slap-you-in-the-face twist. Who can possibly say no to that?
Name: Samantha Durante
Book: Stitch (Stitch Trilogy, Book 1)
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance/Dystopian Sci-Fi
1. Tell us about yourself. Where are you from and what do you do (besides writing)?
Thanks so much for having me today, Brandi! My name is Samantha Durante and I’m a brand new author – Stitch is my very first book! I live in New York City with my husband and my cat, but we’re moving soon to a home we purchased in Westchester County right outside the city. We were just married in September (right in the middle of the Stitch Blog Tour!) and are in the middle of fixing up our new home before we move in, so that’s what’s been keeping me busy most recently!
2. Tell us about your book. What is it about?
Stitch is a young adult science fiction novel where nothing is as it seems. The main character, Alessa, is a college freshman who’s having trouble adjusting to some recent big changes in her life, and the fact that she keeps seeing a ghost around her sorority house is not making anything easier on her. She can’t seem to get the ghost out of her head, and on top of that, she’s having recurring nightmares about being in some kind of prison, so with all of that going on, she’s really struggling just to get her work done and have a social life. And then as she delves more into the ghost’s history, she uncovers a secret that turns her life upside down and she realizes that nothing about her life is what she once thought… I can’t say too much more without giving all the good stuff away :-) but I’ll tell you that Stitch starts out presenting itself as a paranormal romance, but there’s a big sci-fi twist that morphs the book into more of a dystopian, so it’s very different than a lot of stuff that’s come before!
3. Where did the inspiration come from? (e.g. fact/fiction, reading, personal interest/passion, a story someone told you, personal experience).
Stitch was inspired by a combination of books, movies, TV shows and personal interests, so there’s a little bit of a lot of things in there! I love long, immersive sci-fi/fantasy series, so I knew off the bat that I wanted it to be a trilogy, and I decided to just take elements that I loved from other stories and see if I could combine them all into one and see if I could find a way to make it all make sense. So there’s the paranormal romance element – with a ghost (instead of a vampire/werewolf) since I’ve always been fascinated by ghosts – plus a dystopian society (I just can’t get enough dystopian!), a little spacetime physics, a lot of suspense, a crazy twist, an intricate conspiracy, strong female leads, you name it! Stitch is a mash-up of a lot of great stuff which I think came together nicely to create something a little different. :-)
4. Is there a little of yourself in any of your characters? If so, who?
Absolutely. For most of my characters, and particularly Alessa, I just tried to put myself in their shoes and think about how I would react to their situation. (Since Stitch was my first book, I figured that’d be easier than trying to figure out how someone else would react!) I wanted my characters to be realistic and normal and relatable, not the crazy extremes you see so often in a lot of fictional characters.
5. What do you do to relax?
Read! What else? Haha.
6. What do you think is the greatest challenge about being an independent author?
The greatest challenge is just going it alone. I’m a brand new author, and I’ll be the first to admit that I have no idea what I’m doing. Luckily, I have a supportive network of family and friends (and new blogger friends!) who have been INCREDIBLY helpful every step of the way, from helping me edit and proofread to critiquing cover designs to getting the word out about Stitch. I’ve made abundant use of resources on the internet for independent authors (and even started compiling some of my own on my website, since I’m so grateful to the people who took the time to do this before me!) and just have tried not to be shy about asking people for their help with promoting the book. So far it’s been quite an adventure!
7. What advice would you give to aspiring indie authors?
Don’t give up! It’s easy to lose confidence after a couple rejections or less-than-stellar reviews when you don’t have a team of trusted professionals (agent, editor, publisher, etc.) behind you reminding you that you’ve done something great. But just remember that if you’ve written something you love, other people are sure to love it too, so just be persistent in getting it in front of as many readers as possible. And don’t be afraid to ask for help! There are TONS of amazing people out there who want to see you succeed, so you just need to seek them out and ask for their assistance. This blog tour has really reaffirmed the overall goodness of people for me – everyone has been so incredibly supportive and helpful, and I feel very lucky to have made the contacts I have. And I just found all these great blogs from searching online and reaching out to them! So you can do it, too.
8. What do you enjoy most/least about writing?
What I love most about writing is having the freedom to create any world I want and share that world with readers. It’s so exciting to see other people getting into this place and these characters that I made up – it’s just so much fun!
As for what I like least, I’d have to say it’s the flipside of what I love most. Sharing your work with the world is opening yourself up to criticism and (especially on the internet) ridicule, and it’s impossible for everyone who reads your book to like it (just look at the reviews on any of the classics!). So those negative comments are going to come whether you like it or not, and you just have to be prepared to learn what you can from them and not let them overshadow all the positive.
9. Do other authors inspire your writing? If so, how?
Oh, yes! I absolutely love to read, and getting so much enjoyment from the work of so many other authors is what inspired me to write in the first place. Other authors continually impress me with their creativity and their way with words and their dedication to helping other authors succeed, so I am constantly getting inspired every time I read!
10. What is your favorite book? Why?
I don’t think I can pick one favorite! But I’ve read Pride and Prejudice more times than any other book, and I love it more every time I pick it up, so I have to go with that one. Jane Austen just really knows how to charm me!
11. Anything specific you want the readers to know about you and/or your book?
I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone who has read Stitch and recommended it to their friends and left a review online – you can’t even know how much those things mean to me, and how incredibly important they are to helping Stitch succeed! So thank you for all your support! And I’m absolutely reading all your feedback and incorporating it into my plans for Book 2, so keep the ideas coming!
Just for fun:
a. Plotter or pantser? Plotter. I’m definitely not a “by the seat of my pants” kind of gal – I have a plan for everything!
b. Summer or winter? Summer! I love to be outside in the sun and swim and hike.
c. Beach or mountains? Can’t I have both?
d. Morning person or night owl? Morning. I feel so productive when I get things done early!
e. Chocolate or vanilla? Vanilla ice cream with chocolate magic shell, yummm.
f. Favorite food? Cheese. I never met a cheese I didn’t like!
g. Favorite TV show? The Vampire Diaries. I can’t get enough.
Please include whatever links you want:
Website & Blog: www.samanthadurante.com
Smashwords (multiple e-book formats $2.99)
Also available in the iTunes store ($2.99 e-book)
Also available in the iTunes store ($2.99 e-book)