So, without further ado, allow me to introduce you to Samantha Wood. Her novel Bay of Shadows is available now and, spoiler alert, we share an editor…
Ok, so we can get to know each other a little better, do you have a specific genre that you write in?
Ooh, tricky one. My first book was a travel memoir, but this one is ‘gothic noir’, which sounds decidedly mysterious. My readers have called it a psychological thriller – I quite like the sound of that!
Do you have a day job? If so, how do you manage or schedule your writing around it?
I do have a day job, but I’ve been on long service leave for three months now so it feels like a lifetime ago. I work remotely for a company called Access Innovation Media – they provide captioning for television and live events so that the Deaf and hard of hearing can have access to content. I come from a Deaf family so it’s really special to be involved in the bigger picture, so to speak. (And I get to work from home in my trackies.) It’s a struggle to schedule my writing around full-time work but somehow I manage, even if it’s only a few words here and there.
Where do you write? Office, coffee shop, all of the above?
Well, I moved my office lock, stock and barrel into the garage – which also doubles as my pottery studio – but whenever I’m in Melbourne I love to haunt the State Library of Victoria. I think it’s the smell of all those old books – it is like catnip for us authors! There is so much inspiration in that beautiful place. I write most of my notes in coffee shops or outdoors – anywhere or anytime ideas strike.
What about notes? Are you old school – eg journals or manual notes – or new, ie digital?
I’m old school when it comes to notes. I also have a slight obsession with notebooks so have about six on the go at any one time. They all have different purposes: blog notes, marketing schedules, story ideas; they’re also a good way of posting my progress – or lack thereof – on Instagram for whatever project I may be working on at the time.
What made you decide to go indie?
I got sick of waiting! I’d finished the manuscript for THE BAY OF SHADOWS back in April 2016, did a big mail-out to publishers and agents alike, then waited. And waited…and waited. I got a few responses from different publishing houses saying they loved the story and would get back to me in due course. By November of that year I still hadn’t heard back from anyone so, on a suggestion from my wonderful editor, I went down the indie road, and never looked back.
What has been your biggest learning so far?
Absolutely everything! When I published late last year I had no idea about author platforms or marketing strategies – I didn’t even know what SEO stood for. The past six months have been a monumental learning curve and while it has been exhausting at times, it has been a wild ride.
Any regrets? Things you wish that you’d known or would have done differently?
Probably that I waited so long to do this, although having said that, nothing happens until the timing is right. I had the mind-set that being traditionally published was the only way to go, but going down the indie route has given me so much freedom to do things my way – from the cover design of THE BAY OF SHADOWS to the design of my website and my social media platforms; I don’t think I would have found my voice as an author if I’d secured a publishing deal from the outset. As someone mentioned to me years ago, “That’s my name on the shingle above the door,” and they were right. As an author I’m a brand so I know how best to represent myself. (And maybe I’m a secret control freak after all!)
What about your team? Do you use the same team each time?
I use the same team every time for one very important reason: they are AMAZING! Nicola O’Shea has been my editor for many years and apart from being one of the best editors anywhere, she is also a beautiful human being. Keith Stevenson does the formatting for all my books, and is also exceptional. They can both be found at ebookedit. Xou Creative did my wonderful cover design and I have all my proofreading done by Pauline at In The Garret Writing Services. My friend Mark Flores at Falcon Creative does all my video production.
Plotter or pantser?
Pantser, definitely a pantser. I wish I was a plotter – they seem to have it far more together than I do.
Your desk – messy or neat? Care to share a photo?
Ah, somewhere in between. See the insulation at the back is a lovely touch.
Coffee or tea…or something else?
Coffee – as my Instagram page will attest – so so much coffee.
Music? Or do you prefer to work in silence?
I love music but I’m so easily distracted that it has to be silence. I’d even started putting in my earplugs but that was the kind of silence that was so absolute that you start to wonder if you’re still alive! The garage is down the bottom of the garden so it’s really quiet down there.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on the rewrite of my next novel UNDER TEN THOUSAND STARS which is going back to my editor in August. I’ve had a couple of weeks away from it so I can’t wait to get stuck back in. Wish me luck!
Good luck…and thank you!
If you want to know more about Samantha and her books, you can find her here:
If you want to know more about Samantha’s team:
Pauline @ In the Garret Writing and Editorial Services – firstname.lastname@example.org