SAMANTHA YOUNG chats with Sara
[note color=”#cdd3fe”]Samantha Young, a native of Scotland, graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2009 and began self-publishing books in 2011. At age 26, she is now a full-time writer thanks to the massive success of her new adult novel, On Dublin Street, which is both a New York Times and USA Today bestselling book. [/note]
A big warm welcome to Smantha Young for “sitting down” with Sara of Gliterary Girl. Not only have you written several series that we love, but you accomplished it all at such a young age. On Dublin Street is your biggest hit to date and rightfully so, did you know when you finished that it would be such a huge success? We certainly did.
I had no idea On Dublin Street would achieve the success it did. It was my first attempt at Adult contemporary romance so I was actually really nervous about what readers’ reaction to it would be.
Through Jocelyn, you were able to grasp the essence of an American living abroad. Was that difficult to achieve and were you worried it wouldn’t be authentic?
I lived with Americans when I lived in Edinburgh so I had some secondhand experience through them, which made it easier to achieve. Hopefully it also made it that bit more authentic.
Did you spend any time in the States and what were some of your techniques for finding your US voice?
I’ve never been the States, but I grew up on American drama and comedy shows and have slowly soaked in as much American culture as a foreigner who has never been there possibly can. I spend a lot of time talking to American readers as well, and I have American friends so that was all helpful in finding my US voice. When writing from Joss’s point of view, I had an American accent in my head all the time. I never let go of that, and it made it easier.
Braden is such a strong character, mixing a perfect blend of attributes, while still retaining a realistic sensibility. He is the stuff of fantasy, yet he’s not unattainable. For this and many other reasons, I know many women around the world began looking up flights to Scotland after finishing this book. Is his character based off someone you know, or is he an archetype of your dream guy?
Braden’s actually created out of the fragments of Jocelyn’s issues. He’s her perfect counterpart, and I needed him to be persistent and intuitive and straightforward because Joss was such a difficult person to really get to know. A less determined man wouldn’t have broken through or seen past her defenses to who she really was. I’ll admit that Braden is blunt and cocky like many a Scotsman I know.
Yet another reason to travel across the pond. Your peripheral characters were as vivid as Jocelyn and Braden. How much back story did you compile on them while putting this story together. In addition, much prep work goes into your books?
I create histories for all my characters before I begin writing a book. I don’t feel comfortable sitting down to write until I know my characters as well as I can at the outset of a novel. I also write out summaries for every single chapter before I begin writing the novel. My notes are really pretty comprehensive.
I read on Dublin Street a number of months ago and it really resonated with me. It captured something genuine and deep as well as being sweet, yet sexy. Have you read any books recently that affected you similarly?
I’m reading Wait for You by J. Lynn (aka Jennifer L. Armentrout) at the moment and I’m loving how real the characters feel to me. There’s this amazing chemistry between them, but there’s also this authenticity and charm that I always look for in a really good book.
Perfect, especially since she stopped by GG last week. Definitely next on my list. You have written several novels, spanning different genres and there is a follow-up to On Dublin Street that trails different characters. Of all the genres you have dabbled in, which is your favorite?
I love fantasy and paranormal because I get to really stretch my imagination and create these fantastical worlds and larger-than-life characters. However, I absolutely love writing contemporary because I have more time and
scope within the plot to build on my characters and their personalities. That’s so much fun. Ahh, I don’t think I can choose a genre. I love both!
Now for some personal questions because as much as we love chatting about your books, we also want to know a little about you and your writing process. Is there any thing in particular that you use (movies, other books night out, family time) to drive your motivation when you hit a slump?
I definitely use all those things but mostly I use music. Music has inspired so much of what I put into my books. It can be the mood the music creates or it can be something in the lyrics that just sets off this scene my head as a starting place. When I get writer’s block, I move away from the laptop, plug in my earphones and take a walk outside and listen to what are really just a bunch of short stories put to music and it usually kicks the cement in the block loose.
Do you have any advice for new authors looking to get their work published? Any complications or warning blocks you could issue, as well as inspirational anecdotes.
Don’t publish the first thing you’ve ever written. Be patient and spend time developing your writing skills and then once you feel confident that you’re at a level that’s publishing-worthy, find yourself beta readers and an editor to help you craft your book into the best possible book it can be. Learning to accept advice and criticism is a huge part of being an author, and sometimes that can take a little bit of getting used to. It’s best to start hearing it from people who are only trying to make your book as polished as possible. Finally, keep writing. If you want to make writing a career, then it’s about quality and quantity. The more quality books you have out there, the greater chance of you reaching a bigger audience. I definitely believe that played a huge part in helping me get to a place where I could declare myself a full-time author.
I know asking for a favorite author is too broad a question and I would never expect anyone to choose just one, but is there any writer or writers that you admire and considered inspiring while writing?
There are too many to name but I’ll name the few that jump to mind right away—Patrick Ness, Laini Taylor, Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth, Tahereh Mafi, Tracey Garvis-Graves, Colleen Hoover… and the list goes on and on and on…
If you weren’t a writer, what career path would you have ventured?
I was stuck in administration jobs but I wanted to put my history degree to good use by working for the Scottish tourist industry, so if I wasn’t writer, I’d hope that that was where I’d eventually have ended up.
And finally, we want to know a little about you. Family, dogs, friends, favorite food…anything.
I have the coolest family. They’re all my best friends—mum, dad, my brother and his fiancé… and my parent’s dog, Milo, the cutest King Charles puppy who is more adorable than I can stand. I’m lucky to have three of the best girls ever to call my friends—one I’ve known since I was four and completely adore, the other since I was ten and we’re so alike it’s scary, and the other is my flatmate from university who I knew I’d probably be friends with for life within the first hour of meeting. She walked into my room at uni and took one look at my Ong Bak poster and said, “I love Ong Bak.” Our friendship was solidified in that moment. As to favorite foods—pretty much anything Mexican, falafel wrap, Phish Food, Walkers Tomato Ketchup crisps and Chinese chicken fried rice. Unfortunately if I got to eat my favorite food every day I’d be a roly poly pudding so my favorite foods are designated “treats.”
Thank you so much for stopping by Gliterary Girl and answering some of our hard-hitting questions ;-). It means a lot to have taken time out of your busy schedule. We loved having you and please don’t be a stranger. We look forward to Down London road and if you want to learn more about Samantha Young, or purchase her books, visit:
[fancy_link color=”black” link=”http://www.samanthayoungbooks.com/”]Samantha Young Website[/fancy_link]