Thursday, January 10, 2013

Interview♥Giveaway: Stitch by Samantha Durante

Genre/Keywords: Paranormal Romance, Ghost, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult, New Adult
Length: 75,000 words (314 pages)
Release date: August 1st, 2012
Stitch Synopsis
Her heart races, her muscles coil, and every impulse in Alessa’s body screams at her to run… but yet she’s powerless to move.
Still struggling to find her footing after the sudden death of her parents, the last thing college freshman Alessa has the strength to deal with is the inexplicable visceral pull drawing her to a handsome ghostly presence. In between grappling with exams and sorority soirees – and disturbing recurring dreams of being captive in a futuristic prison hell – Alessa is determined to unravel the mystery of the apparition who leaves her breathless. But the terrifying secret she uncovers will find her groping desperately through her nightmares for answers.
Because what Alessa hasn’t figured out yet is that she’s not really a student, the object of her obsession is no ghost, and her sneaking suspicions that something sinister is lurking behind the walls of her university’s idyllic campus are only just scratching the surface…
The opening installment in a twist-laden trilogy, Stitch spans the genres of paranormal romance and dystopian sci-fi to explore the challenges of a society in transition, where morality, vision, and pragmatism collide leaving the average citizen to suffer the results.

Author Interview with Samantha Durante
1. How do you get started with writing a story (as in, how do you start developing the story, how do you get inspired for it)?

First off, thanks so much for hosting me, Ashley!  I’m very excited to visit FireStarBooks today!

When it comes to inspiration for my writing, it really comes from all over – and a lot of times completely out of nowhere!  I dream fairly often and have always had very vivid dreams, even sometimes with fully-formed plots and sub-plots (I’m weird! I know), so some of my most creative ideas have actually come to me in dreams.  And a lot of the time I also get ideas for stories as I’m settling down to sleep at night.  I find that if I don’t fall asleep right away, my mind tends to wander and if I happen to be struggling with a storyline or having trouble developing a character, a lot of times this is when the answer will come to me.  So I always keep my phone nearby so that I can jot down some quick notes before I fall asleep and forget!

In my experience, it’s really difficult to come up with an idea for a story that’s truly completely original – there are just SO many books and movies and shows out there, it’s almost guaranteed that whatever you come up with will have already been done in some form or another.  But I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, either.  You can absolutely create something unique by combining ideas you’ve seen other places in new and different ways.  That’s what I ended up doing with Stitch – I took my favorite genres of paranormal romance and dystopian sci-fi and figured out how I could merge them into one story.  It was certainly a challenge to do this in a way that made sense, but once I had figured it out, I realized it was totally unlike anything I’d seen before and that got me really excited!

2. What advice would you give to people who "run out of creativity" when writing?

Some of the best advice I ever received on this is to think about what’s the worst possible thing that can happen to your characters, then do it to them.  When I’ve really been blocked on where to go with my story next I’ve found this exercise really helpful because not only does it force you to think creatively about potential conflicts, but it also requires you to really look closely at your characters and think about them as individuals.  Even if I don’t actually end up implementing any of the ideas that I come up with, I find that I will walk away knowing my characters better and really understanding their motivations and insecurities and fears, and that will often spark something for me.  And when all else fails, sleep on it!  Give yourself some time before bed just to think about your story, and go to bed with all that floating around in your mind – you’d be surprised how often you wake up knowing just what to do.

3. When naming your characters, do you give any thought to the actual meaning?

My character names usually are part inspiration and part intention.  When I begin developing a character, I let the name (or a few potential names) come to me naturally, and then when I’m deciding which one to go with, I’ll look up the meanings to see if any really fit who this character is.  But sometimes I just feel that a character is supposed to have a particular name, even if the meaning has nothing to do with the story, and in that case I’ll go with my gut.

For example, with Stitch I randomly thought of the name Alessa for the main character, but I wasn’t totally sold on it until I looked up the meaning and learned that it meant “defender,” which is perfect for who she is.  But with her love interest, Isaac, the meaning of the name (“he will laugh”) didn’t really have anything to do with his character, but I just liked the name and thought it sounded right with Alessa, so I stuck with it.  And with another of the main characters, Janie, I didn’t even bother looking up the meaning because I just *knew* that was her name – it took me a while to come up with anything that really fit her personality, and when I finally did, I knew it was the one. 

I did spend more time looking at meanings when coming up with names for the bad guys, and I tried to make the names have something to do with who they are and what they stand for.  Though, in the Stitch Trilogy we won’t even learn the true names of some of the antagonists at all, since they’ve chosen to symbolically shed their real names in favor of aliases (e.g., the Developer or the General), which says something about their personalities and what lengths they’re willing to go to in order to achieve their goals.  So overall, I do take the meanings into account somewhat, but I always try to listen to the characters first and let them dictate when possible.

4. Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Teachers!  I had so many great teachers, particularly in high school, who took the time to support my writing.  My English teachers really pushed me to develop my writing by introducing me to different styles of writing and encouraging me to try all different forms of writing so that I could understand my strengths and weaknesses and improve my skills.  And it wasn’t just my English teachers, either – so many of my teachers took the time to comment on the quality of my writing, and it gave me great confidence in my abilities.  My calculus instructor even asked me to write college recommendation letters for other students on his behalf because he thought I would do a better job!  It really gives you a lot of confidence to know that people trust and respect you that much at such a young age – I’m so grateful to all of the wonderful teachers I’ve had over the years, I can’t even tell you.  I actually ended up taking a detour away from writing during college and in my first job, and I absolutely would never have had the confidence to change my path and come back and pursue writing professionally if not for their influence.

5. What are your current projects?

Right now I’m working on the sequel to Stitch, Shudder – part two of the Stitch Trilogy.  I was really nervous to get started on this one since I know that often the second books in trilogies have a tendency to drag a bit, but I’m super excited because that’s not proving to be the case here!  Stitch started out a bit slow since there was this massive secret that Alessa – and the readers – didn’t know about yet, but now that the characters (and readers!) know what’s really going on, there’s SO much happening in the story!  It’s awesome, I can’t wait to hear what people think of the new developments in the plot.

I’ll be keeping readers up-to-date on my progress, so if there are any Stitch fans out there, definitely check out the blog or Facebook pages to see how it’s coming along!  I’m targeting a release date of Summer 2013.  :-)

Stitch Purchase Links
Amazon (print $9.99, Kindle $2.99)
Also available to borrow for FREE from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (Amazon Prime members only).
NOTE: As of 12/1/12, Stitch is exclusive to Amazon for membership in the Kindle Select program, so the links below for Smashwords, B&N, iTunes, etc. are no longer valid.  However, reviews can still be posted at these sites.
Smashwords (multiple e-book formats $2.99)
Barnes & Noble (Nook $2.99)
Also available in the iTunes store ($2.99 e-book) and wherever e-books are sold

Samantha Durante lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband, Sudeep, and her cat, Gio. Formerly an engineer at Microsoft, Samantha left the world of software in 2010 to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams and a lifelong love of writing. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, Samantha is currently working full time for her company Medley Media Associates as a freelance business writer and communications consultant. Stitch is her first novel. Learn more about Samantha at

Social Media Links
Stitch | Author Samantha Durante
Stitch | Author Samantha Durante
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Stitch | Author Samantha Durante
Stitch |Author Samantha Durante

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