Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chatting Over Coffee With Samantha Hunter

It’s my pleasure to have romance author, Samantha Hunter, visiting Over Coffee. I enjoy reading Sam’s books and I haven’t read one yet that disappointed me. I admire her ability to tell an interesting story. But many can tell an interesting story. What I like is not only the realistic characters she creates but also her understanding of people and places. Where we come from plays a big part in how we view the world, how we act, and I like how she gets that.


Sam is an interesting person and a very creative, grows flowers and orchids as well as quilts. I had the chance to ask Sam some questions to satisfy my curiosity and share a bit more about who she is with you.



Sam, thank you for stopping by Over Coffee. It's always a pleasure to have you visit. You write wonderful love stories with some memorable characters.

Aw, thanks Sia – and thanks for having me by for coffee – we need it here in Syracuse right now, because we are being hammered with SO MUCH snow. If I am not here in the morning to respond, it’s because I am outside shoveling…

Tell me a bit about you?

And so, about me – I am a lifelong (God help me) Central New Yorker, and I love it here, except in winter. I am happily married to a wonderful man I met on the internet about 17 years ago, and he’s my real life hero, in fact, my first Blaze was inspired by how we met.

What a nice thing to hear you say about your husband! I know you’ve done quite a bit of work in non-fiction/technical and you’ve worked as an editor?

I have a Masters in English, and so I was teaching for 12 years before I started writing, and I have also done stints as a features editor and copy editor for a tech trade magazine. I have a degree in Geography as well, a subject I love and which infuses all of my writing, though I never have worked in the field.

I’ve definitely noticed the correlation between your knowledge of geography and character development. So here you are a success in your professional life and you decide to write fiction and sold the story inspired by how you met your husband?

I sold my first book almost by accident – I wrote Virtually Perfect with the encouragement of my good friend and fellow teacher (we worked in the same college dept) Cara Summers, and it sold. And that changed history for me – I decided to write full time, and now, well, here I am. :-)

Can you tell us a bit about your personal love story? How did you meet and what was it that made him unforgettable in your eyes and heart?

Well, we met at a place online called LambdaMOO, a scientific project in early social spaces on the internet (1993 – before there was any kind of dating sites, etc – we just met, and at the time, it was relatively unusual). I was actually seeing someone else at the time, but that was a fling. He was getting out of a bad relationship. We lived a few states away, and he was quitting his job. I had a 10 year old (who is now 26 and built like a linebacker--a great kid with a good heart).

But anyone looking at us would have thought it had all the markers of being a disaster. ;) Then I remember getting his picture in the mail and just being knocked over. I just knew. I still carry that photo in my wallet.

We met after three months of talking online; two months after that he moved in with me, and three years later we got married. I’m very, very fortunate that our careers, while different, have dovetailed in that he is an editor/writer for tech trade, and I am a writer, and he also teaches (as do I, part time). So we have a lot in common, and these days, we both work at home. So we spend a lot of time together, and we love it (which mystifies a lot of people), but it works for us.

I can understand that. My husband and I worked together for 13 years. :-)
What was the last thing your husband did for you that made you go awww?

So many little things. We’re not really into big gestures, but he’s very caring and affectionate, and little things when I don’t expect them, if he notices I have an achy shoulder and offers to rub it without me asking, or … well, a million little things like that. In the way of pretty amazing stuff, he always makes my birthday dinner, and this past year he made a complete home made Spaghetti dinner, sauce, meatballs, cake, all of it – home made. It was awesome. I am slowly luring him into taking over the cooking. :-) (Shhh… don’t tell).

When you’re not writing or working, what are things you like to do? I know you love growing flowers…?

I do love flowers and quilting, too. If you check my blog, you can see a project I am trying to finish now, but we’ll see. It’s coming along, but I am sewing in whatever bits of time I have. Christmas Project. I’ll post some new pictures of it today…

It's beautiful! I just don't have the patience to do that sort of work.

I also love my dogs and animals, and a lot of outdoor activities. Lately, my new passion is Yoga – I’m not great at it, but I love it! It’s making a huge difference for me physically and mentally.

What classes are you teaching this semester?

Two courses in technical writing. It’s been a wild time, as I am new to this community college, and it’s been about 8 years since I have taught. It took me a while to get back into it, but I was also finishing a book and working freelance, so you can say this fall has been a teeny bit crazy. :-)

LOL! You think? I would say more than a bit crazy. 

What was the biggest adjustment you had to make in writing?

Not being able to get out and go to work, to visit with co-workers, etc. I can talk with people online, but I do miss things like office Christmas parties, etc that kind of thing. I meet friends out for lunch, etc and teaching this term has been nice, because I met new people, other teachers, and got out of the house, which was great – I do get out of the house otherwise, LOL -- but you know what I mean.

Writing can be isolating, and you have to stay active, see people, get out, do stuff, to stay sane, IMO. That’s how I started quilting, too – one winter I had to get out of the house, have something else to do, see people, etc even though I didn’t own a sewing machine and I didn’t know anything (seriously, I knew NOTHING). But I got hooked. :-)

You write almost exclusively for Blaze? What is it about this line you enjoy?

I have published only with Blaze, though I have also been working on various single title attempts for a while. I keep working at it, and hope to one day expand my horizons a little (which I have also done with my Kindle books, a bit).

Mainly, I love the freedom I have at Blaze – we have a wide range of possible stories we can write – you can write something light and humorous, heavy and dramatic, or somewhere in between. I need that variety.

I also like the sexiness of it – to me, that’s real, in a world where sex often comes before love, and men and women are in charge of their own sexuality, careers, lives, etc but still hope for that special connection with someone. I like that we can have all kinds of heroes and heroines – we are not locked in to having one kind of character (not just alphas, etc), which is good for me, since I tend to like to write more nice guy, Gamma types, though they are not girly-men by any stretch. So, you know, I like a lot about Blaze, and I’m very lucky to be a Blaze author. I don’t imagine stopping anytime soon. :-)

In your latest book, your romance is centered on two people who have known each other since they were kids and are reconnecting. What is it about Reece you like—what made him fun to write?

One of my original title ideas was The Tease, because that’s how I saw Reece – he is the guy who teased this girl he liked mercilessly, but would defend her against anyone else who did – and now he’s teasing her in a whole new way. I like that they reconnect as adults and that spark has been there for so long, and it just bursts to life again. But he is a guy who has a good heart – he loves deeply, and cares for others. He can carry a conversation and still be a guy. He’s struggling a bit, and coming to terms with some difficult things, and I liked helping him along that learning curve. He sees himself in one way, but in the book, he gets to become more multi-faceted. He’s very sexy, and open to everything, and anything, that Abby desires. Yeah, I really like Reece. :-)

One thing I’ve always admired about your characters (especially the women)—they aren’t weak or whiny. They’re usually hard working professionals. What’s something you admire about Abby?

First and foremost, that she isn’t just going to give up what’s most important to her: her family business. She’ll fight for it and do whatever is necessary to make it work – but her strength is also her weakness – she forgets that she can’t do it all on her own, or that there might be more important things she needs to acknowledge. She takes her responsibilities almost too seriously. But work is very important, and so is family – those are at the core of her value system. She can’t stand to let anyone down, but she has to learn to put herself first a bit, too. (I love the talking to her parents give her in the book – just goes to show, you are never too old for mom and dad to set you straight! LOL).

Also, she is completely honest. She says what she thinks, she doesn’t play games (sex games aside – she loves those), and she’s forthright. I like people like that. No subterfuge. It doesn’t mean she’s always right, but that’s okay, too.

After looking at the cover, I have to tell you, I wouldn’t mind having a Reece with a naughty list under my tree, lol!

Yeah, he would look good in a red ribbon! ;)

Lolol! Yeah, he would, but truthfully he'd look good without...um, a ribbon or anything. Ahem. So, what’s coming up next for you?

My next release is a June 2011 Blaze, MINE UNTIL MORNING, and this is a very interesting book for me in a number of ways.

  • First, it’s part of a 24 Hours:Blackout Series with Tawny Weber and Heather McAllister, so that’s exciting in and of itself.
  • Second, it’s my first book with a blind hero. Completely blind. And he’s a bodyguard who owns a bodyguard agency with his brothers – and he lost his sight protecting the heroine. So. . .my blind hero and his heroine, in a blackout for 24 hours. There’s a story. :-)
It was so interesting writing a blind character, and there are so many things about this book that I love. Jonas is a little crankier than Reece, but just as sexy, I think, and just as good hearted. His heroine, Tessa, owns a soap and lotions shop in Philadelphia, and I really enjoyed their chemistry.

  • Third, this book is the jumping off point for three more I will be writing, a Berringer Bodyguards series for Blaze about the three heroes --Jonas’s brothers-- who work in the bodyguard business with him. We meet two of the brothers in MINE UNTIL MORNING, as well.
So, those should be coming out in 2012, I believe, and before that, I have one more book (untitled at the moment) with a heroine who is a US Marshal – she’s the sister of my Texas Ranger from HARD TO RESIST, and she has quite a protection detail ahead of her looking after an ex-Navy Seal, now returned to his cowboy life.

Wow, that’s a full plate. And I am trying to get some new Kindle books out, too, so we’ll see what happens!

Any special holiday plans you’d like to share with us?

We had a really amazing Thanksgiving, with all the family here, etc and it was wonderful but really busy and crazy (in the good way), so I am looking forward to a somewhat quiet Christmas. Some family visits, meals, friends, and lots of sleep, reading, and staring at Christmas tree lights and my honey. :-)

Happy Holidays to everyone!

% % %

Back of the Book


From the time they were kids and neighbors, Reece Winston tugged Abby Harper's pigtails and tormented her. But when Abby—now the sole owner of her parents' vineyard—sees Reece Winston again after years apart, she's unexpectedly struck by the need to play a much more adult kind of game….


Then a freak accident forces her to stay with Reece, and Abby decides that what she really wants for Christmas is Reece—perhaps wrapped with a red bow. But as Abby and Reece explore their naughty lists, they begin to realize that nothing is quite as easy as it seems! EXCERPT


Samantha Hunter lives in Syracuse NY where she has been writing for Harlequin Blaze as Samantha Hunter since 2004. Previously employed as a writing instructor at Syracuse University where she earned Master’s Degrees in English/Rhetoric, Public Administration and Geography, writing her own books appeared to be destined when she once crossed out the name of the authors on her LIFE Encyclopedia at the age of six and wrote “By Sam Hunter” on the title page.

As of 2010, she’ll have put her name on sixteen novels of her own, with more in progress. Sam was a RITA “Suspense/Adventure” nominee in 2008 for her Blaze Extreme Untouched, a sexy paranormal romance, and she’s an avid reader of romance and mystery/suspense, prefers television to movies, and loves spending time with her husband, pets and in her gardens.

You can chat with her on eHarlequin.com, Twitter, and Facebook.

30 comments:

Tonya Kappes said...

Samantha thank you for sharing so much information. I love Sia's questions! I also love that you met your DH on the internet when it wasn't considered the new dating cool thing to do!!

Samantha Hunter said...

Hi Tonya, thanks! I love Sia's questions, too -- they really make me think, but are also really fun to answer :)

I am out to shovel soon -- about 12" last night, and another 20 predicted before tomorrow morning... yikes. And of course, our snowblower is in the shop, but I'll be around all day, in and out...

I might have missed it, but just in case, I am giving away a copy of I'LL BE YOURS FOR CHRISTMAS here today -- I'll choose a winner tonight :)

sam

Chelle Sandell said...

Good morning, Sia & Sam!! I'm not sure I could live somewhere that gets as much snow as you do, Sam. =) I love snow as long as I don't have to drive in it. But I'll share a cup of coffee with ya!

And I agree with you, Sia...I love Sam's characters and settings. She has a gift for putting the reader in the scene.

Jo said...

I sympathise with the snow shovelling although we haven't actually had much snow here so far. It will come, no doubt. Of course, living in an apartment snow shovelling is a thing of the past.

VA said...

Woof! That's some excerpt, no holds barred with that lead in, Samantha.

First, my sympathies on the weather. Did it stop or are you on your fourth or fifth day of snow? I saw the torrent of Lake effect snow yesterday on the news and promptly stopped whining about my SoCal weather. Though truth be told, I wouldn't mind a little bit of white, fluffy magic. Little bit being the key part of that sentence.

You sound terribly productive. I think I need another cup of coffee just reading about your release schedule.

Thanks, Sia.

VA said...

See this is what happens when one doesn't refresh their screen. Forget the snow question, Samantha.

~Sia McKye~ said...

G'morning! I'm armed with a good cuppa and smiling again as I read over the interview.

Sam, I so enjoyed reading your thoughts. I laughed more than once. I love knowing how those who write romance met the romance of their life. Of course I was the kid who always wanted to hear how my mom and dad met over and over.

I don't envy you all that snow. When we lived in Wisconsin we dealt with by the ton. Beautiful but not fun to shovel. Fun to play on the snowmobile with though and hit all the trails or stop at one of the lake resorts for coffee and a bite.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Chelle, it's so good to see you! I've missed you. Hope all is well in your world?

Sam does write some fun stories and I like the variety she brings to all her stories.

VA said...

Okay, Sia's talking a foreign language. But, I have figured out that if I substitute sailboat for snowmobile it makes much more sense. :)

I've never been on a snowmobile, is it anything like a jetski? Besides the water is warmer.

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Sia...pass the coffee...it's cold down here today!

Yummmm, nice way to enjoy another fab post with a awesome author! I enjoyed this interview...I'll be popping over to see the Chrismas Project when I'm done here.

I love to quilt too. I've done three quilts all hand stitched, even the piping. ;-) Yap, I love the old fashioned way of doing things...that's what makes it a quilt for me.
And don't get me started on pets...you know me...animal lover all the way! ;-)

Hugs
Hawk

Helen Ginger said...

I love Samantha's attitude and excitement. You just know that comes through in her writing!

Kimberly Van Meter said...

Morning Sam! Great interview. I love the blind hero idea. What a concept! Sorry you're getting hammered by snow. You could send some wintry weather my way. We're ridiculously warm over here in Cali. In fact, I contemplated flip flops but ultimately decided against it because I haven't had a pedicure in awhile and my toes are, well, pretty scary!

Mason Canyon said...

Sam, loved learning about you and your writing. Your personal love story sounds wonderful, as does your current release. Wishing you much success.

Sia, again you've introduced me to another wonderful author I didn't know about. Thanks.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

~Sia McKye~ said...

Vivian, snowmobiling is very like being on a jetski, just a different surface, lol!

We don't get enough snow here to warrant a snowmobile. As much as I love to snow mobile, I have to say I'm very glad of that fact, lolol! BTW, I've always wanted to have ride or 10 or a sailboat type with skis attached. I think it would be fun.

Yes, I do like sailing on warm water too. :-) Actually, I'm rather partial to warm turquoise waters, white sand, and warm sunshine. Especially about right now. Just sayin'

Kat Sheridan said...

What a great sounding book, and I, too, loved the story of how you met your hubs! And seconding Hawk--it's freakin' COLD here in Florida, even if we don't have snow to shovel! And lovely Chrismas project Sam. I do envy crafty people. I'm all thumbs at that stuff!

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Hey Kat!

It's aweful isn't it? But I can't complain me hubby just came home with a beautiful Lamb skin (SOFT!)leather coat for me with Indian bone and beads on it! It's awesome! And this is just the weather to wear it in!

I'll have to put a picture up of it on me blog after X'mas!

Hugs and stay warm!
Hawk

Samantha Hunter said...

Chelle, thanks for coming by. Sorry I have been a little scarce -- 3 hours of shoveling this morning, and then I had to run a few errands. Dh is starting the back now, and we'll probably have to take another run at it tonight...

Jo, we don't usually have to shovel this much, but our blower is broken -- fine timing, that. ;) Oh well, I can eat whatever without guilt today. Not that I ever have much guilt anyway. *G*

VA, thanks!! And I am dreaming of SoCal! LOL A little bit of white is pretty -- this much is really tough. Usually we'll get a dump of LES after a storm, but this time, it's been all LE, nonstop since Sunday. We have had a few breaks today, and I'm hoping tonight won't be as bad as they are saying -- though they're predicting a coastal system this weekend.

Thanks for the book comments, as well and I'm glad you liked the excerpt :)

Sia, thanks so much for having me here. I have to admit, I am not a lover of snow. I don't find much fun in it, even though I try from time to time. I am more of a beach girl, LOL.

VA, snowmobiles are somewhat like jetskis, in that family, etc. I don't ride them, and kind of resent them around here when they take to our walking trails -- can be dangerous to have a snowmobiler whoosh past you at 30mph only a few feet away. Which means we usually have to find an alternate walking trail with our dogs in the winter -- normally ungroomed, so harder walking.

Hi Hawk -- thanks for coming by :) I have done one handsewn quilt, but I love my Babylock. :) I do like piecing more than quilting itself, and love the result. I have a quilt on our bed that is 1800 3" triangles, various colors, and it's amazing, and incredibly warm.

I hope to get some sewing done today, and will post an update on the Xmas tree skirt.

Aw, Helen, thanks!

Kim, that's just mean, mentioning flip-flops. *G* but thanks for coming by! I will take too hot over too cold any day. I guess that's why I'm a Blaze author, LOL.

Mason, thanks so much!!

Kat, I heard it was cold in FL -- was last year, too, I know. I guess I have to have my eye on AZ or somewhere in there to move to one of these days *G*

Hawk, I have to admit, I do like cold weather b/c I can wear my wool, flannel, and use my quilts -- those are nice. It's really just the snow I despise. *G*

This is fun, and writing these responses has warmed up my fingers!

I'll be back around :) Thanks to everyone for such a great coffee chat!

Sam

Samantha Hunter said...

Oops, tried to post, told me it was too large -- have chop it up. Here's the first part:

Chelle, thanks for coming by. Sorry I have been a little scarce -- 3 hours of shoveling this morning, and then I had to run a few errands. Dh is starting the back now, and we'll probably have to take another run at it tonight...

Jo, we don't usually have to shovel this much, but our blower is broken -- fine timing, that. ;) Oh well, I can eat whatever without guilt today. Not that I ever have much guilt anyway. *G*

VA, thanks!! And I am dreaming of SoCal! LOL A little bit of white is pretty -- this much is really tough. Usually we'll get a dump of LES after a storm, but this time, it's been all LE, nonstop since Sunday. We have had a few breaks today, and I'm hoping tonight won't be as bad as they are saying -- though they're predicting a coastal system this weekend.

Thanks for the book comments, as well and I'm glad you liked the excerpt :)

Sia, thanks so much for having me here. I have to admit, I am not a lover of snow. I don't find much fun in it, even though I try from time to time. I am more of a beach girl, LOL.

VA, snowmobiles are somewhat like jetskis, in that family, etc. I don't ride them, and kind of resent them around here when they take to our walking trails -- can be dangerous to have a snowmobiler whoosh past you at 30mph only a few feet away. Which means we usually have to find an alternate walking trail with our dogs in the winter -- normally ungroomed, so harder walking.

Samantha Hunter said...

And a little more...

Hi Hawk -- thanks for coming by :) I have done one handsewn quilt, but I love my Babylock. :) I do like piecing more than quilting itself, and love the result. I have a quilt on our bed that is 1800 3" triangles, various colors, and it's amazing, and incredibly warm.

I hope to get some sewing done today, and will post an update on the Xmas tree skirt.

Aw, Helen, thanks!

Kim, that's just mean, mentioning flip-flops. *G* but thanks for coming by! I will take too hot over too cold any day. I guess that's why I'm a Blaze author, LOL.

Mason, thanks so much!!

Kat, I heard it was cold in FL -- was last year, too, I know. I guess I have to have my eye on AZ or somewhere in there to move to one of these days *G*

Hawk, I have to admit, I do like cold weather b/c I can wear my wool, flannel, and use my quilts -- those are nice. It's really just the snow I despise. *G*

This is fun, and writing these responses has warmed up my fingers!

I'll be back around :)

Sam

Samantha Hunter said...

Sorry for the repeat -- first it told me it wouldn't post, and then it posted all of it. LOL. Always the way...

Sam

Samantha Hunter said...

Oh, and thank you for bringing up the geographic influence in my books. That's huge for me, since I love Geography, and I do try to create my characters in close association with where they live, and to know the place as well as I can (normally I like to only write about places I have been, but sometimes you have to rely on research).

I'LL BE YOURS FOR CHRISTMAS is also the first Blaze I have set in Central New York, which was kind of cool. :)

Sam

Chrissy said...

What a great interview. Such great questions to know about the author and what a great story on how you met your husband! I met my husband in a unique way too and it's lovely to share!
I also love mystery/suspense romance books. In fact the last one I read was a book called Carnal Weapon by Peter Hoffmann. It's worth the read if you are ever looking for your next book!
Take care and look forward to checking this book out it sounds great!

~Sia McKye~ said...

So, Sam, when do you get your blower back? Last year we had a couple of good sized storm come zooming in and drop several feet of snow. Took us several hours to just get the driveway drivable--damn those long driveways anyway. Then we had to make path to the Great Dane Pens, the garage so we could get out the feed and the cars. A lot of work but both times it was so absolutely beautiful. Bright blue skies and sunshine.

Hope the rest of the snow moves elsewhere before dumping, lol!

Kat Sheridan said...

Hawk, the jacket sounds wonderful! Unfortunately, I'm about to head north for the holidays where it's even colder! But hey, it's perfect weather for cookies!

Samantha Hunter said...

Sia, we're hoping for Friday -- fingers crossed...

Kat, any weather is perfect for cookies. ;)

Sam

~Sia McKye~ said...

Especially the delectable Molasses cookies Kat makes. I brought some home with me this past spring and made them last forever. She told me they weren't her best batch. Huh? All I can say, if those weren't her best I can see where wars would fought for the best ones. Sheesh.

I love homemade cookies! This time of the year I love peanutbutter, gingersnaps, molasses, Oatmeal raisins... damn, I'm going to have to do some baking.

Hey Sam. You're off until January, aren't you? Wasn't yesterday the last day of classes?

Samantha Hunter said...

Technically, tomorrow is the last day, though I am just holding office hours, and I am off until next Sept -- only teaching the fall term, I have too many books to write in the next ten months or so. ;)

I did get a little sewing done, and posted an update on the tree skirt, if anyone is interested: http://samanthahunter.wordpress.com/

And the winner of a book! Chose a random number and counted down the posts, and found....


Chrissy! Yay! Chrissy, if you email me your mailing addy at samhunter@samanthahunter.com, I will send out a copy of I'LL BE YOURS FOR CHRISTMAS. :)

Have a wonderful holiday everyone!!!

Sam

~Sia McKye~ said...

Yaayyy Chrissy! Enjoy the book.

Sam, enjoy the time off. I'm going to go look at the skirt now.

Did I mention how great it was to have you visiting Sam? And we'll have to have you back again. Soon.

Chelle Sandell said...

Woohoo, Chrissy!! Congrats!!

LOVE the skirt, Sam. You're so talented at the sewing gig, too. =)

Hiya, Sia!! I've missed you! Things are chaotic here as usual but I had to jump by and say hi. Hopefully things will calm down after the holidays!

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Hey Samantha - I always enjoy the interviews and reviews here...Sia's such a great friend and always has wonderful coffee chat's going on over here...I can't pass it up.

Kat...I can tell you where he bought it the lady offers such good deals on her leather...I'm going back to buy a few more things!

hugs to all - especially my girl Sia
Hawk