Saturday, 25 May 2013

Q & A with Samantha Durante

Title: Stitch

Series: Stitch Trilogy, book 1

Author: Samantha Durante

Page Count: 314

Published:  August 1, 2012

Read It & Reap Date: September 1, 2013

Book Description:  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.
 
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Q & A with Samantha Durante
Q:  Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
A:  At the beginning of the book, we meet Alessa in her first year of college, and she’s having a rough time. Her parents died a year ago in a tragic accident, and as much as she’s trying to throw herself into school and sorority life to help herself move on, Alessa just can’t seem to shake the feeling that something isn’t quite right in her life – that she just doesn’t belong there. And on top of that, she keeps seeing this ghost around her sorority house, a handsome guy about her age, and despite being terrified, she also finds herself drawn to him, and is quickly sucked into an obsession with finding out who he is. Alessa has one great friend at school, Janie, whose bubbly, sarcastic personality shines a little light on Alessa’s gloom, and Janie is doing what she can to help Alessa try to find some sense of normalcy while her life is upside-down. And then there’s the ghost, Isaac – I can’t say *too* much about him without spoiling the twist, but I’ll just point out that he’s NOT at all what Alessa thinks he is. In fact, there’s a stronger connection between Isaac and Alessa than either of them know, and the story is about how the two of them come to realize the truth and then find a way out of the dangerous situation they’ve unknowingly been living in.

Q:  What was your favorite scene to write?
A:  Definitely the scenes during the climax. The beginning of the book starts out with this sort of slow burn as you’re introduced to Alessa’s life and bumble along beside her as she’s trying to put all the pieces together, but once the big twist is revealed, it’s like BAM! The action just takes off, the characters kick into high gear, and you’re thrust into this entire new world as the truth comes to light and Alessa and Isaac make their escape. And then the next book in the series picks up right where we left off, so I really enjoyed writing pretty much that whole book – it was super fun to have all the background out of the way so I could spend more time exploring the setting and bringing in the romance and action and deepening the plot.

Q:  How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
A:  I always try to write about things I know, since I feel like I can do a better job putting the reader inside the book/character if I can recall things from my own experience. So the college campus in Stitch is a lot like my alma mater, only bigger (after reading the first few chapters, one of my good friends from college was like, “So, I guess Alessa goes to Penn?”) and there are some scenes where Alessa is walking outside after an unexpected snowfall or passing notes to her friend in class and these are all things I took directly from my own experience. In addition, personality-wise I think Alessa is a lot like me – she’s had a much rougher ride than I ever did, but when I’m thinking about her reactions and how she thinks about things, I just drop myself into her shoes and ask, “What would I do?”

Q:  What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
A:  I work full-time as a freelance business writer during the week, so my fiction writing is all done on the weekends, whenever I can squeeze it in. Things get busy for me in the spring/summer/fall, so must of my writing thus far (for Stitch and its sequel, Shudder) has been done during the dead of winter, from January-early April. I’m definitely most productive in the mornings, though I’ll write the whole day through if I can, and I basically try to do 3-4 chapters a weekend (though I had a couple marathon weekends with Shudder where I did 5-10!) – that generally allows me to finish the first draft in 3-4 months.

Q:  If you could be any character from your book, who would you be and why?
A:  Haha, the characters in my books are NOT having a fun time! I honestly wouldn’t want to be in *any* of their situations! But if there was someone I could be more like, it would be Janie – she’s just always so upbeat and positive, lighthearted, genuine, and absolutely there for the people she cares about. Janie is who I try to be when I’m in a crowd, but the people who know me best know that I’m really more serious and more of a loner than that, even though I’m very loyal and very determined – more like Alessa. :-)

Q:  Do you have any hidden talents?
A:  I actually always joke that if I was going to be in a talent show, I have no idea what I’d do. I haven’t played an instrument (the baritone horn) since middle school, my singing is mediocre at best (I have the same range as a boy band, so I can do that well but not much else!), I’ve played a lot of sports (basketball, rugby, lacrosse, field hockey, roller derby) but I’m not exactly a star in any of them, I can’t juggle or do magic tricks or anything. I’m book smart, but that’s boring, and my biggest talents are my organization/time-management skills – which are legendary – and my writing – which many of my friends actually considered a “hidden” talent since I went to school for business/engineering did nothing relating to writing – but how can you show those off at a talent show?? I’m hopeless in the hidden talent department, lol.

Q:  If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A:  I would stay *right* where I am. :-) I’ve done a lot of traveling (and living) all over the place, and I’ve realized that there’s nowhere I want to be more than my home, in New York. It took a long time to get back where I belong, but I’m finally settled in an adorable little dream house, with my cat on my lap, my husband by my side, and the rest of my family just around the corner. I really have no desire to leave ever again – I don’t even want to go on vacation, I’m not kidding. My life is better than any vacation I can imagine. I’m very lucky to be able to say that.

Q:  What book are you reading now?
A:  I’m in the middle of re-reading the Game of Thrones series, currently on Book 3 – I’m trying to follow along with it as the TV show progresses this season, which I find is helping me digest the story a lot better. The first time I read the series, I plowed through all of them so quickly (like in two weeks!) that I forgot all the details, and then when I watched the show I was like, “Wait, what happened again??” So now I’m trying to take it more slowly and really enjoy it and think about the story. And since I just finished the first draft of Shudder, I’m in a short break while my beta readers read it and plan to devour a bunch more books before I go back to revise, so I’ll have a lot more to add to that list soon!



About the Author:
Samantha Durante lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband, Sudeep, and her cat, Gio. Formerly an engineer at Microsoft, Samantha left the world of software in 2010 to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams and a lifelong love of writing. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania's Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, Samantha is currently working full time for her company Medley Media Associates as a freelance business writer and communications consultant. The Stitch Trilogy is her debut series. Learn more about Samantha at www.samanthadurante.com.





 

2 comments:

  1. The Q and A made for interesting read. It is great to discover new authors through your blog and Good Reads forum. The concept of a woman falling in love with a ghost is new for me; if a tad unbelievable.

    I would love to read the book and see how the series shapes up. What I would suggest, if I may, is that Samantha brings in a strong villain – counter force – who is against the surreal hero of the story. Or a task that ghost needs to accomplish and can be done only with the help/sacrifice on part of the heroine. That will make it even more engaging. Best of luck with the series and hope it does well.

    Vickram E Diwan

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  2. I find it sort of interesting that you wouldn't want to be any of your characters. I mean, sure - the situation isn't perfect - but I assume in the end that there is some relief? I can't help but write myself into my favorite characters...a little of me in several, sometimes...

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