Q + A
Where do you get your ideas from?
The characters. A Sam Smith mystery starts with Sam and where she’s at in her life, and with the person who walks through her office door to hire her. Once those two elements have been established, the story unfolds from there.
How would you describe a Sam Smith novel?
The stories are a blend of detective mystery, psychology and romance. Detective mysteries are my favourite reading; before becoming a writer I was a counsellor and I put that experience to good use; and I’m a romantic, hence the romantic element.
Your books are published by Goylake Publishing, a small independent publisher; why is that? Were they rejected by the larger publishers?
The Sam Smith books were not offered to a large publishing house for a variety of reasons. I do not write for riches or fame, I write for the love of the story. In the past I have submitted manuscripts to large publishing houses and while they liked the stories I found there was too much creative interference; it was like writing by committee with everything from the cover, to the title to the content of the story decided on by other people. In the end, I failed to recognise the manuscript as my own and withdrew it from publication. I did not want that to happen with the Sam Smith mysteries, so I approached Goylake. Goylake allow me to have creative control and that is more important to me than a higher royalty rate or the prospect of ‘fame’.
Through your website and book club you have established a loyal readership; that must thrill you?
It does. It thrills me because these readers like Sam and want to travel with her on her life’s journey. As an author, you can’t ask for more.
What next for Sam?
That depends on her. You know a story is working when the characters dictate what should happen next, not you, the author. Sam’s character determines what will happen next. In some respects, I feel as though she is sitting next to me, dictating; I just type up her words. It is an amazing feeling, the best I’ve had as a writer.