The Writing Life of: Samantha Tonge
This week on ‘The Writing Life of:’ I am thrilled to be interviewing author Samantha Tonge. Samantha will be sharing with us detail of her writing life, telling us all about her latest book ‘The New Beginnings Coffee Club’, which was released on 5th May 2017, and answering a few fun questions too.
So without further ado I’ll hand you over to Samantha
Samantha lives in Cheshire with her lovely family and a cat that thinks it’s a dog. Along with writing, her days are spent cycling, willing cakes to rise and avoiding housework. Formally trained as a linguist, Samantha now likes nothing more than holing herself up in the spare room, in front of the keyboard. Writing romantic comedy novels is her passion.
Samantha has sold over 80 short stories to mainstream women’s magazines. Her debut romantic comedy novel from HarperCollins (CarinaUK), bestselling “Doubting Abbey”, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction Best Romantic Ebook award, 2014. The bestselling summer novel, Game of Scones, won the Love Stories Awards 2015 Best Romantic Ebook category.
1) As a child what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be a teacher – I used to spend hours pretending to mark work!
2) Who were your favourite childhood authors?
I absolutely adored Enid Blyton and have read most of her books. I still have them in the loft, pages a bit brown and curled as I used to read them in the bath and dry them off near the amersion heater!
3) At what point in your life did you realise you wanted to be a writer?
It sounds corny, but I always knew that one day I would write. I made a half-hearted attempt in my 20s but didn’t settle down to it properly until my late 30s when youngest started school.
4) How did you go about following that dream?
I stared off writing novels. Learnt a lot but felt dejected as I got lots of rejections. Writing friends persuaded me to try my hand at short stories and I spent a couple of years selling them successfully to women’s magazines. Then I finally landed a novel publishing deal! It took eight years in all but I never gave up.
5) What is your writing day like? Do you aim for a certain amount of pages or words before you stop for the day?
No. Each day is very haphazard. I spent a lot of time on social media – probably half my working hours. I write from home and am usually at my desk by 7.30am. I go out during the day but if I’m doing well, a chapter has been written by the evening.
6) Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
No. I am thrilled to be a romance author and do not see any need to write under any other name – although I do understand why some authors choose to. Especially if they write erotica!
7) Do you have any strange habits before starting, or whilst in the midst of writing?
No. But I do have a very obsessive Facebook and Twitter habit, checking notifications in between writing paragraphs… I need to control that!
8) Do you write longhand, typewriter, or on a computer?
Computer – it is so easy to correct mistakes.
9) How many books have you written? Do you have any unpublished work?
7 novels, 1 novella and 1 short story collection published now. I do have a few manuscripts under the bed, from my early writing days, and very much intend for them to stay there!
10) Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A little bit of both – but I let the characters take me where they want to.
11) Do you read all the reviews left for your book(s)?
Yes, I do and I’m grateful for the time anyone takes to write one. If the review is personal or insulting, I ignore it – but if a less favourable review is constructive and really explains why the reader didn’t enjoy my work then I read that with interest and an open mind.
Concerning your latest book:
Publisher – HQ Digital
Pages – 384
Release Date – 5th May 2017
Format – ebook
Everyone deserves a second chance…don’t they?
Jenny Masters finds herself living the modern dream. Wife to a millionaire, living in a mansion and mother to Kardashian-obsessed ten-year-old April, there isn’t anything missing. Until, her whole world comes crashing down, forcing Jenny and April to leave behind their glittering life and start over with nothing.
With village gossip following her wherever she goes, she finds refuge and a job in the new coffee shop in town. As the days pass Jenny fears she doesn’t have what it takes to pick herself back up and give April the life she always wanted to. But with the help of enigmatic new boss Noah, and housemate Elle, Jenny realises it’s never too late to become the woman life really intended you to be!
12) How long did it take you to get from the idea’s stage to your date of publication?
Ooh. I can’t honestly remember, ideas are floating around in my mind the whole time… probably about nine months. Like a pregnancy!
13) How did you come up with the names for your characters?
I just get an instant gut reaction to names and go with that – the main character is called Jenny, and that, for me, is a name belonging to a loyal, warm-hearted friend. Her husband is called Zac and I feel that’s a powerful, sexy name.
14) Can you give us an insight into your main character(s) life?, What makes them tick?
Jenny has lived a life of luxury but then it all comes tumbling down around her and she must pick up the pieces. The story is one of self-discovery and self-doubt. Who is the real Jenny? Is, perhaps, this change of events for the better after all? Striving to find their true selves is what makes most of this book’s characters tick.
15) Which was your hardest scene to write?
Noah and Elle, who run the coffee shop, both have secrets and when I revealed them I needed to do that with sensitivity and great care. That was difficult.
16) How did you come up with the title of your book?
With my editor’s help! We wanted a title that suggested the theme of starting over – and that appealed to coffee lovers.
17) Did you get a family member/friend to read your work before sending to the publishers?
Sometimes eldest kindly does, she has a sharp eye.
18) What process did you go through to get your book published?
My agent reads it and gives me feedback. Then my editor – she will send over revisions to do, ie make some suggestions of ways in which she things the book could be made stronger. Then it is a matter on focusing on the title and cover.
19) What did you do once you had written the final word in your book?
Jump up and down for a short while and then get on with the next book!
20) What’s next for you, writing-wise?
I am currently writing my 2018 romance. It stars a very special hero but I don’t like to say more than that at the moment!
1) What’s your favourite food?
Coffee and cake. Always!
2) If you had a box of crayons and you could only choose one, which colour would you choose?
Green – my eyes are green and I think it is such a calm colour that represents nature.
3) What movie could you watch over and over again?
Love Actually – all the individual stories, and the way they tie together, is brilliant.
4) What would be the top song on your playlist?
Careless Whisper by George Michael. I loved Wham! as a teenager and saw them in concert. He was a super-gifted songwriter and I was very sad when he passed away at such a young age.
5) If you won millions on the lottery, what would be your first purchase?
I’d probably go out for coffee and cake to celebrate!
6) A talking duck walks into your room wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses, whats the first thing he says to you?
Nothing. I would have passed out 🙂
You can find out more about Samantha by visiting the website/social media sites below.
I would like to say a big thank you to Samantha for sharing with us details of her writing life, and for a wonderful interview.