Diane Samson shares about Gems of Fire and her writing journey

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Welcome Diane E. Samson, author of Gems of Fire. It is a delight to have you with us to talk about the writing life and your debut novel. Let’s start off with you telling my readers a little about your writing journey. There are areas that  parallel mine and many authors I’ve interviewed in the past few years. So exciting to see that.

I loved reading as a young child, but the beginning of my writing journey began with reading C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia in third grade. Although I might not have understood the underlying parallels until I was older, I remember clearly thinking to myself that I wanted to make other people feel the same magic, wonder and adventure that I felt from reading those books.

I was the editor of my high school newspaper, which for high school, was a rigorous program. My teacher encouraged me to major in journalism in college, so I earned a degree in magazine journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and began a career in that field. Though I worked in journalism, I still held close the dream that someday I’d write fiction, but at the time I’d use up all my words at work. So, I didn’t begin my fiction journey in earnest until I stayed home with my children and also worked as a freelance writer.

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I wrote Gems of Fire (working title was Finding Anna) during my children’s nap time and sometimes late at night. I finished the first draft more than ten years ago. I pursued agents and publishers at writing conferences and was even asked to submit some sample chapters to a famous editor, but in the end, no contracts came. Life got busy. We moved twice. While living in Connecticut I became friends with an incredible woman who worked for a literary agency. She was kind enough to read and edit a few chapters of my manuscript as well as coach me on my writing, including recommending several books to read and apply to my work. I spent the next year re-working my manuscript. I submitted to #Pitchwars and then to #PitMad, which led to a contract with Clean Reads. I am overjoyed to be a published author as of November 2018. A writer’s journey can be lonely, but I had a lot of help along the way.

Your story reminds us it truly takes years to get your first book out there. Thanks for encouraging us all to press on.

Now tell us about Gems of Fire.

My debut young adult fantasy is Gems of Fire, released Nov. 6, 2018. It’s about a princess overcoming fear and figuring out how she fits in her world.

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Palace of Sunderland. Paradise to the peasants. Prison to sixteen-year-old Anna, daughter of the king. She can never escape the castle’s cold walls and scorning disapproval of her father and his brute royal counsel, Seamus. She’ll always live in the shadow of her late mother the queen. Will they ever see her for who she really is?

A riding accident lands Anna in the hands of traders who sell her as a slave in distant Kasdod to none-other than her father’s enemy, Lord Anwar. After overhearing a dangerous plot to conquer Sunderland and kill the royal family, Anna must escape and warn her father, even if it means facing her greatest enemy.

With the doom looming over her, Anna is approached by a dangerous-looking man in the dark. He claims to want to help her, but can she trust him with her secrets? The perils of the journey ahead will push Anna to the limit and answer the one question that has always plagued her. Will she ever be enough?

Anna’s adventures continue in the next book in the series, Valley of Bones, which I’m still writing. I’ve especially enjoyed plotting all three books and am excited to see where Anna’s journey has taken me.

 

Sounds exciting. Your cover is stunning.

 How did you research for your fanatasy world?

Part of Gems of Fire’s fantasy world is loosely based on a medieval European culture, but Morocco serves as the loose setting for the desert scenes. I also researched weapons, sword fighting, armor, moon phases, approximate distance one could travel in a day on horseback and other details. Though it’s set in a fantasy world, I wanted to the details to feel authentic.

I love when fantasy authors research real time things and add them to their stories.

What inspired you to write your book?

The inspiration to write has always percolated in the back of my mind. I was often plotting stories in my head. Specifically for Gems of Fire, when I transitioned from a working woman to stay-at-home mom, I sometimes felt like I was locked in Anna’s room with her. Though I loved being at home with my children, writing was a much-needed creative escape for me.

I can never answer this question without referencing not only Narnia, the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, but others such as Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, the City of Ember, Graceling series, Throne of Glass series, and the incredible, wonderful Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima, which begins with The Demon King.

Writers write what they know as well as what they love. Clearly you love fantasy. As an avid reader of the genre you can craft a compelling story. Love it.

Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

It’s hard to just have one favorite verse. Proverbs 3:5-6 is always a comfort, while Romans 8 continues to be one of my favorite chapters. A passage that resonated with me while revising Gems of Fire and now writing the next two in the series is Psalm 18:30-36.

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

I would invest in a mentor early on. I had learned what I could about writing, but until someone sat down with me and showed me how to apply writing principles specifically to my own work, I got stuck at a certain level.

Who is your best support system to keep you focused on your writing?

Writers need to be self-starters, but we also need community. Right now, my community is mostly online, but I have been part of a writers’ group in the past.

What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

I almost always read young adult fantasy with romance subplots. Can’t get enough!

I am not surprised. 😊

 Where is your favorite place to write?

I enjoy writing in a quiet place, in view of nature. Our home backs to a small lake, so it’s a perfect setting. I’m not a coffee-shop writer because I get too distracted.

What a wonderful setting. Thanks so much for being with us today. Readers, continue scrolling to learn more about Diana and a chance to win a copy of Gems of Fire.

 

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Don’t you just want to open this cover and read. Check out the order links below.

 

More about Diane:

Diane E. Samson is the author of Gems of Fire. She was lucky enough to grow up on acreage just north of Kansas City, Missouri, with horses and dogs in the backyard. When she wasn’t dreaming of Narnia, she was outside riding her horse, training her dog or spending time swimming at the lake. Her love of words led her to earn a degree in magazine journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She subsequently worked as a reporter, editor and in public relations. After moving around the country, she has returned to the Kansas City area where she lives with her husband, children and dog. She will never be without a golden retriever.

Visit Diane on social media:

Website: http://www.dianesamsonauthor.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/diane_samson

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DianeESamson/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dianesamsonauthor/

Order Gems of Fire :

Amazon order link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JWB434F

Barnes and Noble order link: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gems-of-fire-diane-samson/1129907813

Giveaway!

Diane is giving away an e-book or signed paperback version of Gems of Fire to one lucky winner. Sign up for her newsletter following the link below for a chance to win. Winners outside the US will be sent an e-book copy only.  Drawing will be December 15th.

Diane’s newsletter gives you exclusive updates, new release info and author news https://mailchi.mp/737d6fa20356/authordianesamson

 

 

 

A Visit from Children’s Author Eve Culley

Eve Culley, author

Today I have as my guest another jubilee writer, children’s author Eve Culley. Her love of storytelling bloomed after her children were grown. I am encouraged you followed your passion, Eve. Please, share with my readers a little about your writing journey.

I started writing while I was in grade school. I continued writing through high school and then I allowed marriage children, college, and missionary work to slowly push my writing aside.  Instead I told stories to my children and grandchildren. There were sporadic times of writing but they were few and far between. The need to put words on paper surfaced when I retired. My joy as a writer and a storyteller bloomed again.

What is your latest published project?

My second book, Further Adventures in Barn Town, is due out the end of Aug. to the first of Sept. 2017. It is to be published by Clean Reads.  Adventures in Barn Town, was published Feb. 2016 by Clean Reads.

How do you research for your childrens book?

I research my stories in several ways. I pick peoples brains about the subject. I read, read, read either on the internet or in books about the subject and I “people” watch for the interaction and resolving of issues.  I say “people” watch when actually I am watching the animals I write about.

What inspired you to write your books?

I have all these story lines bouncing around in my head: main story lines, back stories of the characters. I write more fluidly, I think, than I speak and the stories push/demand to be let out. When the story is on paper, the characters are fleshed out, then there is room for the next story to push to be let out. But you asked what inspired me to write. Hmmm. It would have to be the interaction between my characters. I hear them speak in their own voices and they tell me their stories. I just write what they tell me.

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When did you realize your calling to create words on paper to share with the world?

I have always been told that I needed to be quiet, that I talked too much.  So I created worlds where I was in control, where I was safe. Writing, putting words on paper did that for me allowing that need to be fulfilled. I write for me, not so much the world. I am very thankful to the good Lord that people like to read my work, but truth be told, even if they didn’t I would still write.

Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

Carve out a time between schooling, marriage, kids and continue to write.  What you need, what you desire is just as important as the rest of things.

Who is your best support system to keep you focused on your writing?

My hubby is great about picking up my slack when I am writing, but I have to say that it is the work itself that keeps calling me back to finish, to start a new work, to continue to write.

What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

The “who-done-its”. Erle Stanley Gardner (Perry Mason), Dashiell Hammett (the thin man) and the like.

Where is your favorite place to write?

I have a T.V. tray set up in the living room with my laptop in front of my big recliner, that way I can be with my hubby as I write.  I pretty much tune everyone and everything out but at least I am there. (grin)

More about Eve Culley:

During the 1970’s and 80’s, my husband and I were missionaries working in the United States.  We worked in different church print shops where Bibles, New Testaments, and individual books of the Bible were printed in different languages and shipped around the world.  We traveled across the U.S.  to raise money for paper, ink and shipping cost for the Bibles.  A lot of travel was required to gather the necessary money needed. As we traveled I would tell stories to our two young sons of adventure, heroes, and villains.

Once our sons grew into adulthood the stories stopped.  When our grandchildren would visit, the stories were requested again until they too grew out of them. But the story telling refused to die and go away.  Instead a hunger grew in me to put my stories on paper and books grew out of them. I write adventures for children to read, believe in and take life lessons from.

Story-telling is as much a part of me as breathing. I have found that I have to tell stories and put them on paper. I need to make room for the other stories that are building in my mind and will need to be told soon.  So, enjoy the ride. Stripe, the Sheriff, and even Rooster Cogburn have a lot of fun they want to share with you.

Eve Culley –  blog https://barntown.wordpress.com/

You can order Adventures in Barn Town online at Amazon or Barnes and Nobel

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KLLEXRS/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Barnes and Nobel https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/adventures-in-barn-town-eve-culley/1125994126?ean=9781621355984

I hope Eve’s story inspires you to follow your writing dream. It’s never too late. I’ve been posting a lot of interviews lately because I believe hearing other writer’s stories keeps us all focused on the journey to publication. It reminds us to never give up. If you have any questions for Eve post them in the comment section.

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