Jessica Samuels is an author who writes young adult and new adult paranormal romance. When she isn’t writing about vampires, werewolves, witches and angels she is watching stream, reading and playing video games with friends to pass the time.
Hi Jessica! Thank you for this interview, would you like to tell us about yourself?
Hi, my name is Jessica and I have been writing since the fifth grade. I fell in love with reading at an early age, and it was a matter of time since I wanted to actually write them. I wrote my first fanfic of me in “The Mummy Returns”, and it was the first story I ever wrote. Now, I am a published author of paranormal romance, short stories, poems, and even satire. I have 10 books to my name and many more to come.
Great, so, let’s start with the first question. What motivated you to start writing and become an author?
Writing is something I have a passion for, and I have loved story-telling ever since I was little. After reading, when I was at an early age, I began to think about writing my own books since it was something I love doing. After I discovered there were people who wrote books, I began to read in the genres I wanted to write and published my first book in 2011. And the more I wrote and published, the more I liked to write as a job instead of just a hobby. My characters came to life, begging to tell their stories, and I love mixing the ordinary with the extra-ordinary.
You have written ten books and the number will increase as you told us. Do you find writing something that exhausts you or energizes you?
A little of both. I love to write, and I feel better afterward, but sometimes like when I write a hard scene it can be exhausting. It does provide a form of therapy for me especially when I kill off a nasty character. I breathe better and move on once I get past a hard scene.
How long have you been writing?
I have been writing since elementary school and haven’t stopped since. When I am not at work I write.
When you decided you wanted to become a published author, what were the difficulties you faced during the writing process?
Some of them were me getting stuck and not knowing what to do next. To solve that I started outlining the book and then went from there. Finishing projects were hard too at times and it became easier once I started outlining more. Also, I get easily distracted and research can be a black hole. Before I know it, the time has passed and all I have managed to do is binge watch videos and that is it. Also, in the beginning, I didn’t have as many readers as I do now. And the more I finish books the more I have a backlist to build my reader base.
Are there any books or authors that inspired you to become an author?
I read Laurell K Hamilton, Yasmine Galenorn, L J smith, Kerrelyn Sparks as well and I read a lot of her books and I am rereading them to review on my YouTube channel. I love to write and create worlds. They inspired me to create more and one day I hope to be as successful as they are.
Have you ever had a writer’s block?
Yes, a lot.
How did you move past it?
What gets me out of it is stepping away to outline. Watching YouTube videos and even playing video games can help. Also taking a shower can help me since I get a lot of good ideas there. I watch movies and TV shows, and read writing craft books and even prompts. Just taking a deep breath and outlining can help.
Let’s talk a bit about your characters, which I love. Do you base your characters on real people or you build them from scratch?
A little of both. I do take the qualities I see and some of the characteristics of people I have met in the past. Some are made from scratch. The main characters do have some of my personalities in them though. Some of the main guys are based on my ideal perfect dude, not actual people. I base characters off everything real, ideal and even qualities I see a lot in people.
How do you select their names?
I look up cool names, baby names, books, and websites. I even look up character names through mythology sites, especially for angel research.
Have your experiences in real life helped you in your writing career?
Definitely, since I have been through a lot of breakups, shitty people, and experiences. I write about it all the good, bad, and some of the stupid mistakes. A lot of people have been stuck in abusive relationships or been fooled in online romance scams. Some people have shitty friends and horrible people who use them or blame them for things. Some people are horrible bullies or drama starters. There are good friends who will be there for you no matter what, and ones who want to see you fail.
Well, that is true and thankfully we can put the past behind us and move on. Do you have any unpublished or half-finished books?
A lot of them like 8 at this point. A lot of them are being pushed to the side. And I put the Scarlet series to the side to focus on releasing the “AngelWitch” series first. Some will have to be redone and some will be pushed to the side. I have plans on publishing more books and I am writing through everything.
Do you have any writing rituals you’d like to share?
I have to have caffeine before I write. I write an outline and then work on the novel using google docs. I love the font Spectral. I use that while I begin writing and I even write by hand if I need to get it going. Sometimes, I start out by hand, and then I type out the rest.
Writing this many books may seem a bit time consuming or tiresome to some people and as a result get discouraged from starting their own series. How many hours per day do you spend writing?
That varies by day and sometimes I can spend 8 hours or less. Sometimes 2 or 3 at a time. It depends. I can get more writing done during the weekend, and now more due to the virus.
What are the hardest scenes to write, in your opinion?
The middle and ending can be hard to write if you don’t know where you are going. Sometimes death scenes are hard, and it is fun to write the ending action. Sometimes on rough days, it can be hard to write one scene.
If you had the chance, would you have done something differently to become a writer sooner?
I would have written more in college and produced more books since I had more time to write. Right now, with the virus, I do have more time, but I wished I had done it sooner. I want to be a prolific writer and writing has saved me more times than I can count. I would have developed more of a plan sooner and saved up for publishing.
Have you self-published or traditionally published your books? What was your experience?
Self-Published and published with a small press for a few years before they closed up. I love the experience since formatting is easier with Vellum now. Uploading to Kindle is easy too. I first published a book in 2011 and at the time I have good editors and an awesome cover artist. It is easy to publish books to kindle and I use kindle select since I already tried wide and I wasn’t seeing any results. It can be hard to finish sometimes without a strict deadline though. I enjoy the amount of control I have and the ability to publish things on the fly. It is really amazing to be publishing at this time and spreading your wings so to speak.
What do you think are the most common problems in self-publishing and traditionally publishing your books?
Marketing is the hardest since you need an audience for your books, and put yourself out there to get a reader’s attention. Also, it is hard to get noticed by book shops and you can’t get shelf space in Barnes and Noble unless you are successful. You need to build a backlist to gain any kind of traction.
What genres do you like to read and write about?
Young adult and new adult paranormal romance. Academy style young adult and new adult and even reverse harem and adult urban fantasy.
Awesome! Do you have a favorite and a least favorite writing trope?
My favorite trope is a badass heroine kicking ass and taking names. My least favorite is a dumbass heroine needing a dude to rescue them. Please make them sassy and kick ass. Make them have superpowers and not need a guy’s help especially not a controlling one.
What else you like to do, besides writing?
I read and I film YouTube videos about eating, writing/books and play video games. Film and video are fun for me. I love that as a hobby and playing video games with commentary and sometimes without. I also like to see friends and drink some on the weekends.
What is your advice to aspiring authors?
Write a lot since you don’t get better unless you do. Read in the books you want to write. Read a lot of writing craft books. Join author groups. Never give up on writing since it can be hard but rewarding. Do research on the path you want to pursue. Learn how to market your work after it is out and keep going. Keep writing books since it will help you grow your fanbase.
What are you working on now?
Marina book 5 of the AngelWitch series. This time it is showing the dragons and a girl who is reluctant to become a leader. Her angel mate is half-vampire and dragon, and the dragon part of her calls to him. And she is eventually contacted by Angeline since she is the final witch needed to call the ultimate dragon. This is my latest release:
Raven is an AngelWitch, and she turns to dating apps to ease her loneliness. No one ever warned her about fake profiles, and it leads her on a journey she will never forget. – Is Lucas real or is he a scammer? Is Aiden the one she is looking for all along? Will she find the love that she is looking for?
There is another book with an editor which is Mina’s Vampire Mate, and hopefully, after a few rounds, I can publish it too this year.
I wish you the best Jessica and thank you so much for your illuminating answers. I’m certain you’ve really helped many people today.
I hope you enjoyed some insight into my writing process and that you check out my books. I love writing since it is an escape and perfect in the times we have these days. Writing helps when the world is falling apart and it is something that will keep me afloat even when all is lost. There will be more on the way and my books will hopefully change the world and the way you think about things.
Thank you so much for this interview Jessica!