Interview with Samantha Steele

Describe your desk
Desk? What desk? You mean that table in my room the printer sits on? Well. It's littered with brand new notebooks, blank papers, books on writing, and various colors of Sharpie. I don't actually use it - it's kind of like a junk drawer. Once every couple months I clean it up all pretty and organize all the clutter and think, yeah, I'm gonna use this as a great place to write and gather my thoughts.

But the thing about artists is, we can't think in organization. Clutter is creative.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. It's dark, it's cold, and it's empty. It made me a night person, which can be a problem because I like writing in coffee shops but they all close before my creativity hits. Alaska also has a lot of empty space untouched by human hands; I've used that to my advantage in a lot of my writing, making up towns and big cities in my home state. When I read other novels where towns are made up and there's some kind of location (like this made up town is between town A and town B) I find it harder to believe because there actually IS stuff between those two towns. But in Alaska there's so much empty space that it's actually possible - in fact, some day that town might really exist.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I'm actually not really sure, but I got the fire in my belly when I was thirteen. I spent hours upon hours endlessly searching for ways on how to publish - it was my biggest dream at the time. I figured out the best way for me to do it when I was sixteen and held onto it until I published my first book at 17, the summer before my senior year of high school. Ever since it's been a part of me, but the past two years weren't as successful as I'd hoped and it kind of let me down. But I had a recent reawakening of my motivation - I've been holding onto three books for over two years. It's time to get back in the ring! For me it's never been about money or success, despite the fact that I didn't see much discouraged me. I didn't publish to become a millionaire, I published because I wanted to. I had to remind myself of that.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Creating a world from scratch! I love the idea of being able to literally build a world from the ground up and do whatever you want with it. There are no rules and your only limit is your own imagination - it's cliche sounding but it's true and it's what makes me love writing.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I could come up with something philosophical or beautiful or inspiring, but I'm gonna go with the truth because that's what connects me to fans.

Food. Food inspires me to get out of bed each day. And occasionally the desperate need to pee. Most mornings I just lay there snuggled up with my eyes closed until my stomach begins to eat itself or I feel like I'm about to wet the bed. Graphic - but true.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
It varies depending on my mood. I kind of go through phases with what I do. In general it's either school or my day job, but in my free-free time I either read or watch TV shows (like the rest of the world, I am addicted to Netflix). I actually wish I read more; I used to read one or two books a week back in high school. Then I started college and got friends... sometimes I miss being lonely, haha. I had more time to read and write and develop my skills.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I'm a fan of Paranormal Book Club on Facebook and Goodreads - so I see their updates all the time, often for free ebooks on Amazon. I find a lot that way. I also browse a lot of their discussion threads looking for new authors to try. I know you're not supposed to, but I totally judge books by their titles and covers. When I go to bookstores I grab books with cool covers or titles and read the backs - if I'm not interested after the first couple sentences, I'll put it back. But I usually have a pretty good feeling about books I'll love. For example, I kept seeing "The Forest of Hands and Teeth" on the shelf for months - the summary on the back didn't sound interesting at all, but something kept calling me to it. Eventually I just ate it and bought it. My instincts were right; it ended up being one of the few series I put up there with Harry Potter.
What is your writing process?
I don't really have one - it changes each time I write. When I wrote "Teenagers," it was entirely by the seat of my pants, NaNoWriMo style. I had a very loose story chart when I wrote "Jailbirds." The short stories were written and edited in one sitting, entirely made up on the fly. But when I wrote "Kiss Me Deadly," I had a whole notebook with character charts, scene cards, and backstories that never even made it into the novel. But the book I'm currently working on - the working title is "Science and Witchcraft" - I'm just writing as I go. I have a strong idea, but I feel like writing it down will limit me too much. I'm not ready to put a due date on it yet.
What do you read for pleasure?
I like to read paranormal and fantasy books. I can't stand realistic fiction! When I pick up a book, it's to escape and be engulfed in things that couldn't ever really happen. It's one of the reasons I couldn't ever stand reading the YA authors who write about finding love in high school or family issues or anything like that; it reminded me of the life I was trying to escape from and kind of defeated the purpose of reading.
What are you working on next?
I have one more novel in the Alaska Teen Series to finish, and then I've got the first novel in the Cherie Parker series written and ready for the final edits. But the new thing I've freshly started is about a girl who can't afford to go to college so she makes a deal with a demon - her school gets paid for, but she has to be a bounty hunter for Hell the rest of her life. It's a great piece I started randomly working on last summer and am getting really excited about. There are comedy elements, paranormal creatures, a little horror, and just a teeny bit of romance!
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have an old Nook simple touch. I was so excited when the ereader craze blew up, but now I kind of hate them. The thing I loved about them so much was that they had so e-ink screens that looked just like a piece of paper. So unlike a computer, you could read it for hours on end without hurting your eyes or the screen feeling too bright. But I haven't seen one sold in a store in years! Everything's a tablet now - in my opinion, that defeats the purpose of an ereader. You might as well just go by a tablet computer and have on less electronic device!

But. I love my Nook for two great reasons; first, the e-ink screen. The second is that it takes micro SD cards, so I can essentially make the storage as big as I want. I have a 32 gig card in there. Do you know how many ebooks that is? I don't even know. I have over 1000 and I haven't even used half a gig yet...
Published 2014-06-20.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.