Author Interview: Samantha Durante

Hey, everyone!  Stop by and check out my interview with Samantha Durante, author of Stitch.  To learn more about this awesome book, keep stopping by the blog this week for a review...and check out more book details below! 

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Her heart races, her muscles coil, and every impulse in Alessa’s body screams at her to run… but yet she’s powerless to move.

Still struggling to find her footing after the sudden death of her parents, the last thing college freshman Alessa has the strength to deal with is the inexplicable visceral pull drawing her to a handsome ghostly presence. In between grappling with exams and sorority soirees – and disturbing recurring dreams of being captive in a futuristic prison hell – Alessa is determined to unravel the mystery of the apparition who leaves her breathless. But the terrifying secret she uncovers will find her groping desperately through her nightmares for answers.

Because what Alessa hasn’t figured out yet is that she’s not really a student, the object of her obsession is no ghost, and her sneaking suspicions that something sinister is lurking behind the walls of her university’s idyllic campus are only just scratching the surface…

The opening installment in a twist-laden trilogy, Stitch spans the genres of paranormal romance and dystopian sci-fi to explore the challenges of a society in transition, where morality, vision, and pragmatism collide leaving the average citizen to suffer the results.

Author Interview with Samantha Durante

So, let’s start with a bit about you.  What was your favorite childhood read, and what is your favorite adult read?
Childhood read was absolutely The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  To this day, I’m OBSESSED with having a secret garden… sigh, one day, one day.  Ooh, adult read is a bit tougher.  Even though it’s young adult fiction, I’d still have to go with the Harry Potter series – after all, I was an “adult” by the time I’d read half of it.  There’s just nothing like going back to Hogwarts.  When I want to get lost for a few days, that’s where I go.  :-)

What scene from Stitch did you most enjoy writing?
Definitely the big reveal when Alessa finds out what’s really going on!  I was DYING to get to that scene the whole book, and when I finally did, it was just the best day ever.  I was actually vacationing in Florida and working on the beach with my laptop, and I just remember sitting there beaming and listening to the waves crash and inhaling that beachy scent in the air after I’d finished.  I couldn’t wait to share it with my beta readers!

Tell us a little bit about your process of publishing Stitch and why you decided to self-publish.
Sure!  I wasn’t sure at first what I was going to do with Stitch, so I did a lot of research into the different options for both traditional and self-publishing.  In the end, I decided to go the indie route for a few reasons: 1. I’m a control freak, and I hated the idea of letting anyone else make any decisions about my cover or synopsis or title or editing or anything really.  :-)  (I have issues, I know!)  2. I was really excited to share the book with readers, and I couldn’t fathom waiting the months (or likely years) it would have taken to find an agent and publisher and get the thing on shelves.  3. It just seemed like the economics worked better on the self-pubbed side – I could price my book WAY lower and still make the same amount per copy compared with traditional publishing, and since as a new author I’m pretty much expected to do all the marketing work myself even if I’d gone the traditional route, I figured why do all the work and share the profits?  So I decided to self-publish using the tools on Amazon and Smashwords, and so far I’ve been very happy with that decision.

Who is your favorite contemporary young adult author?  What about favorite young adult author of all time? 
I actually don’t read a ton of contemporary YA fiction (I’m really a sci-fi/fantasy nerd), but the one contemporary author I’ve really enjoyed is Komal Kant, another indie writer who I met during my blog tour.  She really knows how to write a steamy romance scene, let me tell you!  As for favorite of all time, that’s really hard to pick!  J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, Stephenie Meyer… it’s a long list.  Depends what I’m in the mood for!

If you could rewrite Stitch, is there anything you’d do differently?
Yes – I would work a little more action into the first part of the book.  The story kind of builds up with this slow tension until you hit the twist, but I think it would have been stronger if there was a little more excitement with the ghost and some additional external conflict to keep the first half of story moving along.  This has been duly noted for the second book in the series, lol.  That one is action packed right from the first chapter!

What can you tell us about Shudder?
I’m SO SO excited to share Shudder with Stitch fans!  It basically picks up right where the first book left off, so this one is more dystopian in nature, but I’m still blending in some paranormal elements and a little bit of contemporary and even a hint of horror.  This book is a lot of fun since we got all the background stuff out of the way in Stitch, and now the story can just take off!  Expect more romance, lots of revelations about the history of Alessa’s world, lots more Isaac, and of course some big twists that will get your heart pumping. :-)

Are there any other projects you're working on outside of this series? 
Nope!  Just my day job (business writing with my own freelancing company) and being a first-time wife and homeowner!  (We just got married and bought our first home this fall.)  And mom to my spoiled cat, of course.

The obligatory question . . . what is your best advice for aspiring authors?
Don’t get hung up on trying to find the PERFECT story.  It took me 26 years to finally sit down and follow my dream of writing a book, because I always felt like every idea I thought of had been done before and I thought I needed this amazing, innovative plot before it would be worthwhile to put the time into writing.  But that was totally dumb, because I love to write and I should have just done what I like to do because I enjoy it.  Any story will be unique just be virtue of it being *yours* so just pick an idea you’d like to read about, and write that story.  And if you’re not sure where to start, think of other stories you like and how to combine your favorite elements into something fresh.  Whatever you do, just write.

Alright, last one.  Who is your fictional crush?
I’ve gotta go to back to classics on this one – Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice.  He was the original Christian Grey, plus he had one hell of a sexy accent to boot.

X . X . X 

Excerpt from Stitch

After four rounds of flip cup – bringing Alessa’s tally for the night to somewhere around three beers – the room started to spin, in a pleasant way.  The excitement of the game had brought out a zeal in her that she hadn’t felt in very long time, and the adoring looks that Nikhil was sending in her direction didn’t hurt either.  Alessa felt deliriously happy for the first time in over a year.  Damn the ghost.  Tonight she was having fun.

There was a break in the action as the first keg tapped out and a couple of the guys volunteered to set up the second one.  Janie took the opportunity to suggest that the four of them go dance, which sounded like a fabulous idea to Alessa.  Alessa looked inquisitively at Nikhil and he consented with an affable shrug.  Janie didn’t even give Josh a choice.  She grabbed his wrist and dragged him behind her, and he acquiesced with an amused smile.  Alessa and Nikhil followed.

Finding a clearing in the living room, Alessa noticed that the pounding music no longer felt oppressive, but freeing.  She could feel the beat pulse through her body and she let it move her as it pleased.  She danced with abandon, completely unselfconsciously, and it felt good.  She felt sexy, alive.

Nikhil and Alessa were pressed together ever closer by the crowd, their bodies moving as one in time with the music.  Alessa could feel the hair sticking to the back of her neck as her skin started to glisten, but she didn’t care.  She threw her arms up and tossed her head with the beat, reveling in the moment.

Nikhil gently placed his hands around Alessa’s hips, seemingly mesmerized.  The crowd swelled and they were pressed together once more, his arms wrapped around her waist, her hands on his taut swimmer’s chest and shoulders.  He leaned over, nudging his face so close to hers that she could feel the heat rising off his skin.  Alessa parted her lips and looked up at Nikhil, preparing to surrender to her body’s impulses.

But instead of the dark brown eyes she expected, she saw only blue.  Unfathomable, sparkling blue, glittering with facets of ocean and sky, boring deep into her soul and clutching at her heart.  Once again, a single word rose in the back of her throat – Isaac – and she knew this night was over.

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