Samantha Connolly is my Guest Author today: she just got married on a Ski Slope and Taught English in China
Please welcome my guest author Samantha Connolly who is going to tell us about her writing journey.
She has just published her first book so I thought it would be interesting to chat to someone at the beginning of their career.
Let’s find out about her – here is Samantha in her own words:
I’m born and raised in England, travel part of the year to the US, and I love to write. Since as far back as I can recall, I was talking away to myself, telling myself random stories or whatever. I suppose I was a weird child!
I read a lot, got into writing poetry, and prose followed later. I’ve always loved writing. I find, too, that as an adult I really need to write. When I’m happy, sad, stressed, overwhelmed, I write.
I write fiction and struggle to journal because I always re-read what I’ve written and think that it’s just too personal. I almost hate to see it on the page – something I wish I’d hurry up and get over to be honest!
Whilst I filter some of myself into my writing in one way or another, there are times when I like to jump right outside of this world and myself altogether.
Fantasy comes in very handy for this – and I love fantasy, so it makes sense.
I have eclectic tastes in my own and others’ writing, and I also blog, as you’ll see from my website.
I’ve been working in offices off and on my whole adult life, taught English as a Foreign Language in China for all of a heartbeat – a heartbeat that I’ve never forgotten and am still so grateful for – and I work as a Writer and Editor.
Samantha, forgive the interruption:
We spent a lot of time (hubby and I) in Taiwan and Singapore working with Chinese artists.We picked up a few words in Cantonese and Mandarin, but they were so keen to speak English it was hard to get anywhere with it. I can, however, sing a whole album we recorded in Mandarin and apparently I sound very convincing. Just saying…
I got married to my long-term partner last year on the slopes; he had a ski and I rode the gondola up to meet him and marry him! It was amazing.
Other than that what can I say… lots of interests…currently trying to be a better baker than I have been in times past … I do love the process of baking. It’s therapeutic, and I’m (slowly) getting better at it! And as an overall? Screwy teen becomes real adult person should cover it – and here I am!
Sounds quite sane to me and fun. I love the marriage on a ski slope idea. But knowing me I’d break something.
What kinds of things have you written to date?
Tons of things!
My earlier work is all nicely hidden away in notebooks and computer files. But a lot of my stuff’s on my website.
Like me then, so glad I am not alone in hoarding material.
I write in all kinds of genres. I’m really interested in issues surrounding mental health and I like things that are a little off the wall, quirky.
I like deep and meaningful. And fantasy… and whilst I’ve not gone the route of having my own kids, I love childhood stories!
I recently published my first novel, The Sister Worlds, a young-adult fantasy, and this is available on ibooks
Good luck with The Sister Worlds, how exciting. I have never heard of anyone publishing on iTunes before.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently researching for and starting work on a new novel, whilst working on poetry and short stories. I’m also focusing on some lovely ideas that my close friend, Artist & Yogi Expert, Tracy Long, and I have been coming up with.
It’s so much fun! Let’s just say it’s a little magical! And it brings out all the best feelings in us Jane.
It sounds wonderful, I am sure you will have lots of interest.
In addition, an exciting development is my new role as Prose Sub-Editor for the magazine, Under The Fable, who previously published one of my short stories, and I’m just embarking on freelance copywriting.
Good luck with that also, I am sure you’ll find clients after being on here. Fingers crossed.
Is your novel writing focus on fantasy only?
No, I love to write fantasy, love all things mystical and magical, but I also want to produce works that focus on the human condition, so a more literary fiction, and historical fiction also.
What/who is your inspiration?
Philip K Dick, Virginia Woolf, Margaret Atwood. All very different!
Philip K Dick’s famous ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’ inspired Ridley Scott’s film ‘Blade-runner’ and I loved the book and the film was great. In that story, Dick focuses on what it means to be human and for me it reminds us what is good about humanity and all we take for granted, whilst being a truly impressive work of science fiction.
I hadn’t heard of Woolf until I was at uni – quite strange to think of that really now, as she’s an ingrained habit to re-read at this point of my life. Her first published short story ‘The Mark on the Wall’ was also the first of her works I ever read, and that was it, I was hooked. Woolf enjoyed exploring literary themes and her experimentation with the narrative mode stream of consciousness reeled me in.
Margaret Atwood is a wonderful Canadian author who focuses on society in so many varying ways and very much deals with issues of human relationships. One of her early works, ‘The Edible Woman’ remains my favourite with ‘Lady Oracle’ a close second.
Who is/are your influence? Why?
Life is my influence, not a person or people. Life is complex, straight forward, bizarre, mundane, and downright extraordinary. If I don’t write I will go mad making up stories in my head and mumbling them on the tube!!
What do you read mostly?
I read a lot of novels and short stories, and occasionally poetry. My tastes are in many genres.
I like to read the kinds of things I like to write although I absolutely love to be gripped by a good crime thriller. When I try to write those, however, I just wind up getting caught up in the detail of the lesser characters, and they become my focus.
I’m more about the weirdness or profoundness you find in the backdrop. Poetry is always my go to when I need to re-connect with my writing and have slightly lost my way…at those times I find it hard to consume longer works.
I tend to read several books at once, moving between them depending on my concentration span and mood. For example, I recently finished Atwood’s collection of short stories, The Stone Mattress, and am currently reading her latest novel, The Heart Goes Last, whilst also reading
The Strange Death of Liberal England by George Dangerfield, Sane New World by Ruby Wax, A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gayle, and two collections of poetry; Six Poets: Hardy to Larkin by Alan Bennett, and I’ll Dress One Night As You by Chrissie Gittins.
Who is your favourite author? Why?
Margaret Atwood. Because she gets it.
Well, I am sure there will be plenty of readers out there who will ‘get’ Samantha’s work too, and soon.
Samantha, thanks so much for being my guest today. I wish you all the best for your future writing success.
Here is the ‘official’ biography for Samantha:
Samantha holds a degree in English Literature with Film Studies from Kingston University, London, which she gained age 30.
Since then she has been writing seriously, having undertaken a fiction writing module via Open University and completed her first young adult fantasy novel, The Sister Worlds:
The story of two sisters, torn apart at just seven years old, who remain clueless of each other’s true fates – not to mention their real origins – until the world is facing chaos and they are re-united. As war breaks out around them, the girls steel themselves for what they need to do; getting re-aquainted while saving a world or two is enough to test anybody, after all.
Samantha began telling stories from a young age, hiding herself away for an hour or so here and there while she spun her tales, living by her imagination (as much as possible within the bounds of reality!) whilst growing up.
She began writing the odd poem during her teens, but it wasn’t until her late twenties whilst at university that she understood her true love for writing.
Her tastes are eclectic, not only in her own writing, but in the form and genre of the writing of others.
She is inspired by Virginia Woolf and Christina Rossetti, amongst many others, including the work of Margaret Atwood, Jane Austen, Philip K. Dick, Ellen Miller, and Zeruya Shalev.
She has most recently been drawn to the work of Abraham Verghese and Patrick Gayle.
Her love for the magical and fantastical in fiction is a constant; she has particularly enjoyed the work of Veronica Roth in this respect, and once studied Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep in relation to Ridley Scott’s film Blade Runner.
Samantha also has a strong interest in human relationships and mental health, and a love for the innocence of young children and the life and hope they instill in tired-out grown-ups.
With experience as an editor, proofreader and researcher, Samantha is well accomplished and finds this useful when writing and, of course, editing her own work.
Her previous proofreading and editing experience comprises a website research and editing project for the charity Re-Cycle, the proofreading and editing of a website story – also for Re-Cycle – together with the editing of their August and September newsletters; also a novel, short story, and flash fiction piece for author Elizabeth Los, a novel excerpt for author & translator Jasmine Heydari, and the website area and biographies for global broadcast production company Clean Cut Media Ltd.
She has also read and edited various documentation including minutes, website material, presentations and more, as part of her administrative background.
Samantha has had three articles published to date and some short fiction. She previously ran a creative writing group on a voluntary basis for Mungos charity.
She is currently writing her second novel and working on a number of exciting new projects, whilst working as Sub-Editor for UnderTheFable magazine and embarking on freelance copywriting.
She regularly writes fiction pieces both for her own website, and to be entered into various competition.
Well, I am sure there will be plenty of readers out there who will ‘get’ Samantha’s work too and soon.
Samantha, thanks so much for being my guest today, it’s been a blast!
I wish you all the best for your future writing success.
To connect with Samantha and find out more about her and to find her book
The Sister Worlds
Click on the links.
The photos on this page are locations which feature in Samantha’s writing:
China and Canada and any others are all (c) Samantha Connolly 2016
All Rights Reserved