Saturday, October 13, 2012

Interview with Samantha Durante & Giveaway

Samantha Durante is the author of Stitch, her debut novel which is a Paranormal Romance/Dystopian. She is an avid, lifelong reader of fiction of all sorts.

In addition to penning novels, Samantha is also a freelance business writer and communications consultant at her company. She currently lives in New York with her husband, Sudeep, and her cat, Gio.

Hello, Samantha! Thanks so much for joining me today on A Dash of YA!
Thanks so much for inviting me!

First, could you tell us a bit about Stitch?
Absolutely. Stitch is about a student, Alessa, who's struggling through her first year of college. In addition to fighting through a deep depression over suddenly losing her parents, she's started seeing a ghost in her sorority house, and despite her best instincts towards self-preservation, she can't seem to stay away from the ghost or stop thinking about him. The ghost invokes all these inexplicable feelings in her, like an overwhelming sorrow plus this burning physical draw she feels for him, and it leaves her an emotional wreck.  And then on top of that she's having these horrible nightmares about being held captive in some kind of prison, and sure enough the ghost is featured in many of those dreams. So basically, Alessa is not in good shape to begin with, and the deeper she digs into this ghost thing, the more she realizes that something is amiss around her... Until her best friend drops a bombshell that explains everything and completely rocks her world. As it turns out Alessa, her friends, and the "ghost," are in a lot more danger than any of them could have ever suspected. And I'll leave it at that because I don't want to give too much away!

What was the inspiration behind Stitch?
I wanted to write something with a knock-your-socks-off twist, so I thought about how I could combine two genres I love - paranormal romance and dystopian sci-fi - in one book in a way that would actually make sense.

Your novel reads like a Paranormal Romance/Dystopian. Was it hard to balance the two genres?
Yes, absolutely. First, it was important to me that the story made sense, so I did a lot of planning about what had happened to these characters in the past and what was going on in the world they live in. There's so much history before we hit the point the characters are at in Stitch, so I needed to make sure that everything fit together once you finally learn the twist. Plus, I was hesitant to disappoint readers who came into the book hoping for a straight-up paranormal romance - if you're looking for a simple love story between a girl and a ghost, Stitch is not it! So it was difficult to tell if I was dropping enough hints in the first half of the book to remind the reader that there's a lot more going on here than it appears at the surface.

The cover of Stitch is one of my favourites of the year! Could you briefly tell us how you chose your cover designer and what the process of having a cover designed was like?
Wow, thanks so much! What a compliment! My cover designer was Damon from, who I found through a recommendation on another author's site. I didn't know exactly what I wanted on the cover but I had some vague ideas, so I sent him a long rambling email about different elements we could incorporate, and when he came back with the first draft, I knew he understood where I was trying to go with it - that first draft was 90% of the way there! We did a bunch more rounds of tweaks and edits, and ended up with something which I think is a very good fit for the book - a good mix of sci-fi, paranormal, and romance. I actually did a long guest post as part of the Stitch Blog Tour recently that steps through each round of revision so you can see how the cover progressed - check it out here.

Will there be a sequel to Stitch, and can you tell us anything about it?
Yes, there will be TWO sequels to Stitch - it's the opening installment of a trilogy! The next book will be more strictly dystopian and will focus on answering the questions we opened up in the first book (i.e., who are The Engineers and what exactly was their role in bringing about the world that Alessa lives in today? What happened to Janie and Joe and Nikhil? And what are Alessa and the rebels going to do about the oppression they're living under? Etc.). Now that readers understand what's going on in Alessa's life, they can expect more action, more romance, and of course, a few big twists!

Do you have any routines you follow during a typical writing day?
On a writing day, I mainly just try to get out of bed and go straight to writing. No email, no Facebook, not even any breakfast! I'm most productive in the morning (and it's quietest at my house), so I try to maximize that time to get as many words onto the paper as I can before life starts getting in the way. I always approach my writing with a plan - each chapter is mapped out before I sit down to write a word - so that makes it easy to just focus on the writing itself.

Is there any advice you have for aspiring writers?
My advice to aspiring writers is to just go for it. You don't need an amazing, ground-breaking, never-before-seen idea; you just need a story that you would like to read and are excited about. And I always recommend starting with a very detailed chapter-by-chapter outline. By breaking the book down into manageable pieces, it's no longer such an overwhelming undertaking. Just take it a chapter at a time, and do what you love to do.  :-)

Book or e-book?
Book! I really appreciate the convenience of my Kindle when I'm traveling (or my cat is sitting on me in such a way that I don't have a second hand to turn the page...), but I don't think there's any way I'll ever stop appreciating the smell of a fresh new book waiting to be read.

Bookshop or Amazon?
I love the coziness of traditional bookstores, but I've got to give props to Amazon for making it so easy for self-published authors like me to get their work to the masses. Plus, I'm a huge fan of Amazon Prime - free 2-day shipping on almost anything is dangerous!

Pen or keyboard?
If you'd seen my handwriting, you'd know that the answer to this question is OBVIOUSLY keyboard! I just don't have the patience to write neatly - it takes too long and makes my hand hurt - so I do everything on my computer.

Paranormal or dystopian?
You're making me pick just one?? I guess if I had to choose, I'd go with dystopian, because it's always intriguing to me how dystopian worlds come about. But that's definitely not to say that I don't enjoy a good para-rom whenever I can get my hands on one!

Fiction or non-fiction?
Fiction. There's enough real life to deal with - to me, a good book should be an escape to some amazing place that you just can't get to any other way.

Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule, Samantha! I wish you all the best and congratulations on your upcoming nuptials!
Thank you so much! We actually got married on Saturday, September 15th and it was just an incredible day with all of our loved ones there to support us - my husband (husband!! I need to get used to that!) and I couldn't be happier. In fact, we're on our honeymoon right now! But I'm looking forward to getting back and picking up the Stitch Blog Tour in October. :-) Be sure to join us for lots of fun guest posts, character/author interviews, and tons of giveaways all month long!

To find out more about Samantha, Stitch, and her upcoming novels follow the links below.


To participate in the giveaway, please log into the Rafflecopter below and complete as many activities as you can. The giveaway is open internationally and will close on October 20.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Im confused. Is it a copy of a Tammara Webber book or Stitch? I would love either one because I love to read. Thanks!

    1. Mimi, this is a different giveaway to win a copy of Stitch. The Tammara Webber giveaway is finished.

  2. Komel the raffle copter states "tell mewhy you want a Tammara webber book" I'm assuming its an error. With that said. I haven't heard of this author but the book sounds good!

    1. Thanks for pointing that out Brittany. Yes, it was an error--fixed it now! :)