I am so thrilled to have another member of the wonderful Ladyscribes come visit here today! Please welcome Samantha Grace, author of “Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel and Lady Amelia’s Mess and a Half.” She’s here today to talk about her newest release, “Miss Lavigne’s Little White Lie,” and her future planned releases.
Nancy: I’m so happy to have you here today, Samantha!
What was your first memory of wanting to be a writer?
Samantha: I was in third grade when I read my first Trixie Belden book and got completely lost in another world. I loved the characters so much and daydreamed about them. It wasn’t long before I wanted to write my own mysteries. I was in the fourth grade at that point. I think I only wrote three chapters, but that’s when my love for writing began.
Nancy: What drew you to writing Romances and especially Regency romances?
Samantha: I’m always drawn to the love relationships in any book or movie. It seemed like a natural fit for me to write romance, although I thought I would write romantic suspense. I enjoy a good mystery and being a little scared. Still, the first romances I read as an adult were Regency – Kathleen Woodiwiss, Johanna Lindsey – and I loved being swept away to a different time. I stopped reading romance for several years after I met my husband and we had our son. I was more of an Oprah Winfrey Book Club gal. (I call it my blue phase.) But about five years ago I stumbled upon a Johanna Lindsey novel in the library. I picked it up for nostalgic reasons and rediscovered a passion for Regency romance.
Nancy: Do you think your background in psychology helps you in your writing, such as developing characters and conflicts?
Samantha: I think it helps. Real life people have many facets to them. I can’t help but to consider several different layers when I’m creating characters. Problems are also complex and have varying levels to them. One potential issue I run into when writing stories is making things too complex. Sometimes having problems and solutions fit neatly into a box makes for a more satisfying read. I’ve learned I need to simplify at times.
I also think my work in counseling helps with dialog. Speech patterns are ingrained in my brain now.
Nancy: I have read all your books, with your first, Miss Hilary Schools a Scoundrel, being my favorite. But please, tell us about your newest release, “Miss Lavigne’s Little White Lie”.
Aw, thanks. Lord Andrew, Miss Hillary’s scoundrel, is the only hero I’ve ever dreamed about when I was writing. But I adore Daniel Hillary, which is odd since I didn’t really like him when he appeared in his brother’s book. Here’s the back cover summary for Miss Lavigne’s Little White Lie:
A SCOUNDREL DRIVES A HARD BARGAIN…
Spirited and determined to protect her young brother at any cost, Lisette Lavigne is desperate to flee New Orleans. There’s only one ship sailing to England, though, and the rakish Captain Daniel Hillary will only allow Lisette’s family aboard for a steep price…
BUT A LADY ALWAYS GETS THE UPPER HAND…
Daniel prides himself on running a tight ship, and he knows a lady will be nothing but trouble on a long voyage. Yet he can’t help but break his own ironclad rules when Lisette persuades him that being gentlemanly just this once is his wisest course of action…
But it’s really a story about family loyalty, betrayal, forgiveness, and learning to love.
What is up next for you?
Lady Vivian Defies a Duke is the last book in my Beau Monde Bachelor series, and it will be released in May. Vivi is probably one of my favorite heroines to date. Here’s a little summary:
THE NAKED TRUTH
Lady Vivian Worth knows perfectly well how to behave like a lady. But observing proper manners when no one is around to impress is just silly. Why shouldn’t she strip down to her chemise for a swim? When her betrothed arrives to finally meet her, Vivi will act every inch the lady—demure, polite, compliant. Everything her brother has promised the man. But until then, she’s going to enjoy her freedom…
A REVEALING DISCOVERY
Luke Forest, the newly named Duke of Foxhaven, wants nothing to do with his inheritance—or the bride who comes with it. He wants adventure and excitement, like the enchanting water nymph he’s just stumbled across. When he discovers the skinny-dipping minx is his intended, he reconsiders his plan to find Lady Vivian another husband. Because the idea of this vivacious woman in the arms of another man might be enough to drive him insane—or to the altar.
Nancy: Did you intend to write a series when you started out, or did it just evolve?
Samantha: I set out to write one book. When I thought about my bucket list and what I would regret if I never tried it, it was writing a whole book. I had lots of little starter stories, but I had never finished anything. I guess it was just the right time in my life, because one book has led to several. Characters pop up in my stories and it becomes clear that they need a good old-fashioned romance of their own. So, I didn’t set out to write a series, but by the third book, I knew who the future heroes were going to be.
Nancy: What advice do you have for new and aspiring authors who want to break into the romance industry?
Samantha: Probably most important is to never give up. If you want to become traditionally published, don’t let rejections stop you from pursuing your dream. Sometimes it takes a while to find the right agent who loves your voice.
Study your craft and keep writing. It’s the only thing we have complete control over in this industry. Plus, you’ll be ahead once you get that offer for publication, because you’ll have several books already written. Just know they may need revisions.
Build friendships with other authors. They often have inside information on who’s looking for what. This is how I broke into the industry. One of my good friends knew about an online pitch contest Sourcebooks editor Deb Werksman was holding. Then after I received an offer, my friend helped me to connect with my agent.
Become familiar with all the options available to authors, such as epublishers, small publishers, and indie publishing. It’s empowering to know there are many paths to success.
Nancy: What is, in your opinion, the hardest thing about being a writer?
Samantha: I think the hardest part of being an author is putting your work out there, knowing some people are going to rip it to shreds. A book is a labor of love, and I think only another author truly understands what it takes to write one and get it published. Before I was published, the rejections from agents weren’t always easy to swallow either.
Nancy: Which do you like to write better, rogue or nice guy?
Samantha: I like to write rouges best, but I also enjoy pushing myself. I think rogues dominate the historical romance market, so creating a loveable and hot nice guy is a challenge I like to take on from time to time. I mean, we must love these nice guys, because these are the men many of us marry.
Nancy: Just a few fun facts that people won’t know about you-
Samantha: This is always a hard question, because I’m kind of an open book. I’m not sure there are that many fun facts about me left to share, but I’ll give it a go. I’m the kind of mom that doesn’t mind looking foolish to have fun with my kids. I’m the first mom—usually the only—to slide down the fire pole on the field trip. I’ll put on roller skates or climb through the tubes at play places. And I don’t understand why anyone would miss the opportunity to dress in 80s clothes for the elementary school dance! You only live once. Why not make it fun?
Nancy: What 3 things can you not live without (excepting your husband and children!)
Samantha: Number one is sleep. Seriously, I turn into a clumsy, babbling idiot when I don’t get enough sleep. If anyone ever meets me at a conference and it’s toward the end, please forgive me. I’m smarter than I look and sound.
Number two, allergy meds. I have to take them year round, which stinks.
Number three is music. I love all kinds, and I never go a day without it.
What is your favorite snack food when you are writing?
I don’t really snack when I write, because it interrupts the flow for me. But I love a cup of hot tea. Lately, I’ve been drinking lots of green tea with mint or blueberry.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m a hybrid. More plotter than pantser. Before I start, I know my characters’ backgrounds, the turning points, and the ending, but these can change in the process of writing. When I sit down to write a scene, I may have a basic idea of what needs to happen, but I don’t know how it will play out. I love being surprised by my characters.
Don’t let regency romance author Samantha Grace’s sweet smile fool you. She has a wicked sense of humor, and she’s not above embarrassing her characters for a good laugh. Part-time hospice social worker, moonlighting author, and pilates nut, she enjoys a happy and hectic life with her real life hero and two kids in the Midwest.
Hearing from readers is one of my favorite things, so if you would like to connect with me, you can find me at the following places:
Thank you so much Samantha for coming by. It’s been such a pleasure to have you