Today's author interview is with the author of Fair to Hope, Sam Reed. I got to ask a few questions on what brought this book to life and her feelings along the way. Take a read
Fair to Hope
Hey! My name is Sam Reed, I’m 38 years old, I live in the Washington D.C. area but I’m a southern girl born and bred, and Fair to Hope is my debut young adult novel. It’s an urban fantasy about two groups waring for control of souls and Velma (my lead lady’s) need to decide if she’ll save everybody from damnation by killing her best friend.
Alyssa: I thought the book was going to be non-fiction when I signed up- I don’t know why. I was pleasantly surprised. Tell me what brought about such an amazing tale?
Sam: "Oh wow, non-fiction, you were in for a surprise, lol! Fair to Hope happened because my brain is always running with sci-fi, horror, other-worldly sort of scenarios, more than likely based on being weened on Stephen King and Dean Koontz, Octavia Butler and Christopher Pike growing up. For me, it was about sort of combining the most appealing parts of all those influences, but perhaps mostly the way King is masterful at putting ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, and how they deal with it…how they rise to the occasion or sometimes…fail and then rise, which I think can be more interesting. I wanted the world I created to be believable, that is, enough real world stuff with just a sprinkle of the extra that you’d be left really wondering, is this really happening, is this really possible? Like it wouldn’t be that far fetched if it was…"
2. Velma is a cool name. It was my Grandma’s name and it belonged to the smartest gal in the Scooby-Doo crew! How did you pic that name in particular?
Sam: "Thanks! I obviously love that name too, it was probably the easiest naming decision - that character is named after my mom. In fact, every character in the book is named after someone who has influenced my life in one way or another. It’s taken me a long time to feel brave enough to really give this writing thing a go, and it’s due in large part to the support of the amazing people in my life, so I thought it would be fitting to honor that support by ‘naming’ everyone in this first book after folks I love. I explain this also in the dedication at the end of Fair to Hope because it was important for me not only for readers to know, but my friends and family to know how much I appreciate them."
Alyssa: That's so cool, because I always ask if anyone you know is in your book or if the story was inspired by someone you know. Also, Velma was my grandmother's name!
Alyssa: Velma is weak, yet strong - good qualities to have in a female. What was her development like?
Sam: "Thank you for saying that, it’s something that in writing her I hoped would come across clearly. Her development was actually pretty organic for me. I felt like I knew her, like we were homies so it seemed natural to understand her motivations and why she would do what she did…or choose not to do certain things. Other characters were a little stickier to get out on the page, like Josh…cause he often made decisions I didn’t want him to make! Or Enoch, because even in my head he was a wild card, but that also made him exciting to write."
Alyssa: How long did it take for you to write Fair to Hope?
Sam: "I wrote the first draft of Fair to Hope during snipets of stolen time while I was working as an event coordinator at a restaurant, which were really long 14-16 hour days, so that first draft took about a year. Then I workshopped it, rewrote and rewrote it, hated it, walked away from it, came back to it, fell in love with it again, rewrote again, and then finally decided to self -publish - and that whole process took about another 3 years."
Alyssa: Do you see yourself as an official author? What’s next for you?
Sam: "Oh, the official author question…sometimes I do…other times I feel like I need to pay more dues in order to claim that title, to actually sell a decent amount of books or know that the story is resonating with folks before it seems fair to say that I’m an Author (with a capital A), for now I think of myself as a writer - that seems more comfortable, but I’m working on building up my Author cred, then I think I’ll be more comfortable claiming it for myself.
What’s next for me is that I’m still writing away. I’ve written an adult literary fiction novel called Gray Salt about a hot southern summer when love, abuse and loss become the catalyst of change for a 9 year old girl. I’m currently shopping that book for an agent. I’m also working on finishing 3 new YA books that are in varying stages of completion, and thinking about writing a prequel to Fair to Hope…though I’d always envisioned it be a stand alone book, (I love series but I’ve always had a thing for stand alones, I feel like it’s bold to say this one book is all I plan to say about this story and I’m hoping you (the reader) will be satisfied that it’s enough), but I’ve gotten feedback from readers that a prequel would be well received so I’m considering it."
Alyssa: What’s your best advice to others looking to publish a book?
Sam: "Be brave, and pep talk yourself the way you would somebody else. The thing about writers is that we tend to be introverts, writing is a mostly solitary enterprise, and because of that, especially if you’re self publishing, it can be hard to promote yourself, put your book out there, and cycle through the self doubt that comes every time you think you could have written a better book, and instead trust yourself, celebrate the fact that you actually wrote an entire book, and then put it out there fearlessly, because if you don’t, you’ll always wonder what would have happened if you did."
Alyssa: I always give author’s one off the wall questions: Can you make your tongue touch the tip of your nose? LOL I know you’re trying…
Sam: "Lol, I was trying, and crazy thing is I’ve tried it before, know that I can’t do it, and still tried again. Nope, I’m a tongue on the tip of my nose failure…lol"
Thanks again Sam for sharing your amazing book and good luck in the future!
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