Author Interview: Sam Campbell - Part 17:00 PM
For today's installment, I've had the pleasure of interviewing author Sam Campbell! According to his website, he's a YA and a Multi-Genre author who specializes in "creepy and twisted."
Of course, I know we all want to know more than that! That's why I've sent him an in-depth questionnaire with 75 of the most intriguing questions I could come up with! And since Sam is an incredible interviewee, he took the time to answer almost all of them! So not only do we get one interview with Sam, but we actually get two!
Let's get started :)
About the Author:
- Where are you from? Amherst, Virginia
- Are you a full-time writer? If not, what else do you do? I do not write full-time (definitely the dream!!). I currently work as a talent recruitment manager for an international talent organization. Each year we hold a competition around the L.A. area for performers from all around the world (think of an international version of “America’s Got Talent”). It’s very exciting! I handle a lot of the paperwork and social media.
- If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be? Why? I would love to be an actor. I’ve always loved film, both in front of and behind the camera. However, if THAT didn’t pan out, my ideal career would probably be a veterinarian. What can I say…I love the animals!!
- What’s your favorite genre to read? Too tough to choose! Top two: YA horror and YA fantasy.
- What’s your favorite book? Besides the entire Harry Potter series, probably Coraline by Neil Gaiman. That book still inspires me to this day.
- Be honest, do you judge a book by its cover? Yes! I’m sorry. The saying is not true.
- Who has been your biggest inspiration so far? J.K. Rowling. Her personal story amazes me. I never get tired of hearing how she worked on Harry Potter during her darkest times in life, rose from the ashes of poverty, and connected with so many readers.
- If you could tell your younger writer self anything, what would it be? Don’t try to copy another writer’s story just because it’s appealed to the masses. It’s already been done. Be unique. Write the story that’s inside you. Write what you love. Chances are, someone else will love it too. They’ll see the passion in your words.
- When did you know that you wanted to be an author? I was 12. My aunt gave me an “illustrate-your-own-story” kit for Christmas that year because I was always the artsy kid. The kit contained about 10 pages. At the bottom of each page you wrote a few lines, and at the top you illustrated whatever was happening in the story below. Then you sent it off, the company bound it in a hardback, and shipped it back to you. I can still remember receiving the finished book in the mail…it was magical. The lightbulb went off that day. I realized I loved writing and creating stories!
- Were you ever discouraged about pursuing your passion? If so, how’d you push past it? Each rejection letter was hard, some more than others. Sometimes you wait for months to hear back from an agent who is reading your manuscript – just knowing they’re going to sign with you – and then you receive the rejection. It’s tough! But I’ve always had a strong will, and I think that’s helped me persevere through the whole publishing process.
- Does your family support your writing career? Definitely! They’re constantly praying over me and my writing. They know it’s my passion, and we all believe God has a perfect plan.
- Is writing your passion or your hobby? Passion. I treat writing like it’s my JOB. I put a lot of sweat and tears into it!
- What has been your best experience so far as an author? Apart from receiving my first hard copy in the mail (emotional day!), I would say the best experience has been receiving wonderful reviews and comments from people I’ve never met. They don’t owe me anything, so I know their praise for the book is genuine!
- What does author success look like to you? Have you achieved it yet? I think there are many levels of success. Of course the big dream would be to have Doll House connect with millions of readers and be turned into a film. However, I see my current success as simply being published and having my work out in the world. That’s a huge milestone that I’ve crossed, and I’m so thankful!
- What gave you the ideas for your most recent work? I wish I had a great answer here, like I had a magical dream one night and the story just came to me. Truth is, I don’t know! My family was without power for an entire week during the summer of 2012. It was 110 degrees outside, so you couldn’t go out. We were all cooped up in the house, and I was super bored. I just remember pulling out my laptop and starting to type this story about a girl who goes to this orphanage and uncovers a dark secret. A+ for boredom I guess!
- What inspired your novel’s cover? I always pictured Crummings’ Home for the Dispossessed (the orphanage) as this giant, gothic building. One day I drove past this old church and snapped a picture – it was exactly what I pictured the orphanage to look like! So of course that had to be on the cover. There’s just this dark, mysterious quality about it.
- What was the hardest part of finishing your novel? Editing. I could edit until the cows came home. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I was constantly changing things. Finally I had to just close the laptop and tell myself it was finished. No more editing. That was the hard part: Just knowing I couldn’t make any more changes and it was out there for the world to see.
- Is your book a part of a series? If so, can you give us a little preview of something that’s ahead? Right now, there are no plans for a series. However, I am working on a prequel to Doll House. I’m very excited about this project!!
- Which formats are available for your books? Paperback and ebook.
About Your Writing:
- What’s your favorite genre to write? MG/YA horror, fantasy, mystery (Can they all be lumped together??)
- What’s one genre that you secretly want to write? Dystopian. I’d love to create an awesome world, something that hasn’t been overdone.
- Where do you get your big ideas? My random thoughts.
- Did any of your books stem from dreams? No.
- How do you come up with the names for your characters? Some come naturally, others are just a mix of fun names I like. But they always have to compliment the character’s personality.
- Who’s your favorite character you’ve created so far? Why? Definitely Emma. I’ve spent 5 years with her now, and she feels like an old friend. Plus, I admire her courage and tender heart.
- If you could spend time with one of your characters, who would it be and why? Again, probably Emma. Both our sarcasms would make for a great conversation!
About the Process:
- What is your writing process like? It takes me forever to get that first draft down, mainly because I’m guilty of editing as I write. (The perfectionist inside me makes me. I try not to!) Once I get that first draft down, I try to divide the manuscript into chapters. Then I spend the rest of the time editing, editing, editing!
- Is there any part of the process you wish you could delegate to someone else? Editing. I stress myself out doing it!
- What’s your favorite part of the writing process? The first draft. I don’t outline, so it’s so much fun to just discover the story as I write. Sometimes I don’t know what’s next! It’s an adventure.
- Are you a planner or a pantser? Definitely a pantser.
- Writers block, how do you cope with it? Workout. Watch author interviews on YouTube. Go eat.
Sam Campbell began writing his first novel at the age of fourteen, which was (surprise surprise) total garbage. He hopes he has improved since then. When he's not writing, he likes to read, waste time on Twitter, and watch movies with his family. He also suffers from a terrible addiction to McDonald's frappes. Mocha, of course.
If you want to follow up with the author or purchase a copy of her book, please follow these links:
Have another question for the author? Ask it in the comments below!
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