Thursday, April 23, 2009

Star Light, Star Bright Interstellar Interview with Samantha Kane



Samantha Kane lives in North Carolina with her Prince Charming husband of ten years and three children. She parlayed her Master's Degree in American history from the University of Knsas into a seven year career before she became a full time writer and mom.

For fun Samantha loves to read, knit, chase her children, head to teh beach as ofter as possible and shop in antique stores and via catalogs (although she insists she is only a recreational shopper).

In the writing world she has snagged her share of awards in contests including The Passionate Plume by Passionate Ink, where this year she is a double finalist with RETREAT FROM LOVE and A LADY IN WAITING.

When I met Samantha at an impromptu meeting of writers over coffee, I pictured her penning inspirational romances. My face said it all when I found out she actually wrote erotica for Ellora's Cave. Back then she'd just sold her first book after submitting like crazy and had wiggled her way into a new niche in the market. At subsequent meetings she reported fans loved her books and EC wanted more. We were ecstatic!! Samantha is a wonderful woman who looks like an angel, she always seems to have a mischevious gleam in her eye. Which I believe helps her write books that make everyones tongue wag.

At a booksigning a few years ago (blushing from being told she may not be able to read an excerpt because kids were in the store) Samantha mentioned she'd been contracted to try her hand at a sci-fi novella for EC. I was so happy for her because it meant a change from her normal historical genre and she could spread her wings. Since then, she's had a little trouble with release dates and the like, but now she can finally show off her first sci-fis! TOMORROW hit the web on the 22nd and ESPIRIT DE CORPS will soon follow from another publisher. All I can say, is "Hip hip hooray!"





When did your urge to write materialize and how did you make your dream a reality?

I've been writing since grade school, when they wisely put me in my first creative writing class. I won a citywide writing contest in 4th or 5th grade with a poem about a man that kills his wife. Seriously. I've since purged the dark side. I spent the next twenty years writing for various newspapers, and pursuing a graduate degree in history, which required a LOT of writing, lol. But not enough, apparently, because the day I started grad school I started my first novel. It took about five years to finish (I finished grad school first). It wasn't until I had my first baby, and finally finished that book, that I decided I wanted to write fiction for a living. I joined RWA, learned about the romance publishing industry, and targeted a genre and publisher. Then I sat down and wrote THE COURAGE TO LOVE. So from decision to pursue a writing career to actually selling? About three years.




As a prolific author, how do you balance your work load with your everyday commitments as a wife and mother?


I'm prolific?! It sure doesn't feel like it, lol. Honestly, I don't know how I do it. I have to write every opportunity I get, but I cheat all the time. Sometimes I just need to kick back and relax after a hectic day with the kids. I usually sit there silently berating myself, "I should be writing," but I have to keep my sanity, too. And the characters don't have much to say to me when I'm tapped out after a long day, anyway.

The only way I can finish a book these days is to give myself a daily word count and make sure I hit it. It's usually around 1,000 words, which I can do easily. Most days I'll surpass that goal, which makes up for the days I don't do anything. And I set personal deadlines. One of the reasons I love working with Ellora's Cave is that I set my own deadlines, I don't have any written in stone, which would just freak me out. But I do set my own, and generally meet them. I'm very realistic when I set my writing goals for the year. I don't want to set myself up for failure or disappointment. So overall I'm a pretty easy-going, prolific author.



Would you care to share with us the top 3 highlights of your career to date?

Contracting my first book, THE COURAGE TO LOVE, with Ellora's Cave. Getting my first royalty check. ("Honey, I'm a working writer! People actually paid money for my book!") My first fan letter (yep, I still have the email) ties with the first time a reader screamed and nearly cried she was so happy to meet me.



How did you make the leap from Erotic Historicals to Sci-fi with Ellora’s Cave?

I've always loved science fiction, but my favorites were generally t.v. and movies, not books. So I never really thought about writing it until Ellora's Cave sent out the call for submissions for a new continuity series they were working on, Hunters For Hire. I like to try new things as a writer, so I contacted Heather Holland, the coordinating author and creator of the series. Heather is amazing! I can't believe the world she created. But she needed some help with the bible for the series. So I thought, if I'm going to write a book for it I should get in on that. I'm really glad I did. It gave me the chance to learn about the world from the ground up, and even create part of it. Author TJ Michaels and I created the Super Soldiers (genetically enhanced, laboratory-bred soldiers), and I created several star systems. The bible for the series is going to be released soon as a FREE READ (yep, you read that right) from Ellora's Cave, called HUNTERS FOR HIRE: THE UNIVERSE. Each book contains a glossary, but if you really want the big picture I highly recommend the bible. Several authors including Heather Holland, myself, TJ Michaels, LA Day, and Vicky Burkholder worked very hard on that puppy. And the publisher at EC, Raelene Gorlinsky, has been very supportive of the whole project.

Well, that's a really long answer, isn't it? lol Ask a simple question....I guess the short answer is that the idea of a continuity series intrigued me and I wanted to see what it was all about. Then the world just grabbed hold of my imagination, and the rest is soon to be a new book release. ;-)



What has the switch in sub-genre meant to your process as well as the way you conceptualize your novels?

I found for TOMORROW that I needed a much more involved plot than I generally create for my historicals. My historical series, BROTHERS IN ARMS, is very character driven, each book written around one or two characters loosely connected to characters in previous books. But I wanted the science fiction to be a trilogy (so look for the next two books next year), and I needed a plot that could carry over into two more books. I think TOMORROW is more of a plot driven book with very strong characters. At least that was the way I wrote it. The characters for the next two books have already been introduced, and while the romance in TOMORROW ends with a HEA, the main plot is not resolved. In many ways writing TOMORROW and the series bible helped me to tighten my plotting in my historicals, as well.





If you could go back in time and change something in your career, what would it be?

Whew. I have no idea. Nothing, I guess. No, one thing. I think I'd learn more about the business side of writing before I jumped in feet first. I've been very lucky so far, and I know it. I was naive and ignorant of publishing contracts, promotion, marketing strategies, the printing process, agents, publishers, really everything. I joined RWA and local chapter HCRW as soon as I knew I wanted to write to sell, and I learned quite a bit, but I sold my second book, the first having been written years before simply because I wanted to write it and never tried to sell it. (One of these days I'll dust it off.) So I wasn't a member long enough to learn all I should have before contracting my first book. Thank God the contract I signed with EC was very fair and equitable or I could have been in real trouble. Truthfully, I've learned almost as much about the business from my editor at EC as I have from RWA. Like I said, I was very lucky.



And of course, since you write award winning hot men, which would you say is your favorite hero?


Oh, no! THE QUESTION lol I have a hard time choosing! The hero I had the most fun writing would have to be Derek Knightly from AT LOVE'S COMMAND. He's sarcastic, witty, a bully, brilliant, and guards his heart ruthlessly. But I also loved Rene Dubois, the Frenchman in my WWII m/m romance, ISLANDS. He was so straightforward and loyal. And so French. He lays his cards on the table, and you know he's going to do whatever it takes, including lying, cheating, and manipulating you, to get what he wants. But he does it for the right reasons. I wish that book had been longer, lol. I was constrained to keep it a novella for an anthology, but Rene's character was so intriguing. When I have the time I plan on writing some more WWII Navy Seabee books, and you can be sure that Rene will make an appearance in them. And I love, love, love both Tie, the bounty hunter, and Regan, the space pirate, in TOMORROW. I wasn't bound by rules of historical accuracy in TOMORROW. So those characters speak and act outside of the box. And they really balance one another. Tie is emotional, loyal, persistent, and philosophical, while Regan is taciturn (with an explosive temper), pessimistic, possessive, impatient, and insecure. And Regan is bald. That gives him the edge on my scoresheet. ;-)

If you'd like to learn more about Samantha, check her out at http://www.samanthakane.us/!






5 comments:

Beth Caudill said...

Great post Samantha. Can't wait to read it. And of course, I'm still anxious for the next Brother at Arms book. :)

Skylar Masey said...

I know I for one love the Espirit de Corps cover. *drool* Which is one more reason I should get/download the book!!

Lynda K. Scott said...

Yes, that Esprit de Corps cover is very, very nice :-D

Thanks Samantha for being here! I enjoyed your interview with Skylar.

Meljprincess said...

I was going to say the "Esprit de Corps cover made me wet where I sit down. Oh, that's because when I saw it I spewed cola all over the place. lol!

Samantha Kane said...

Thanks for having me ladies. I enjoyed doing the interview a lot. Actually, Esprit de Corps is not science fiction. It's a m/m anthology with a military theme. My story, Islands, is a WWII romance, and is available right now as an ebook from Ellora's Cave.

Beth ~ I hope you enjoy my science fiction as much as my Brothers In Arms! Thanks.