6/17/2011

Story Orgy Presents: Interviews with Sammy Jo Hunt


Story Orgy Presents: Interviews with SammyJo Hunt
Good morning Story orgy Readers!  Welcome our guest today, SammyJo Hunt, author of the upcoming Haunted Obsession and A Wicked Encounter.  SammyJo is going to share a bit about her work with us today.  Which, btw- is now available in paperback for all you fans of the old fashioned method of reading!  Congratulations on that, SammyJo!

What is your favorite quality about yourself?
My integrity. I believe that being reliable, responsible, and able to keep my word to someone, or follow through with promises and commitments I’ve made, speaks volumes about a person’s character. I live by that belief, and choose to associate myself with others who ascribe to that standard. It’s all part of being honest and trustworthy, that of having strong integrity. It’s something that’s not always easy to find in people.

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
I’d have to say that almost completing graduate school with my focus in clinical therapy is my greatest achievement. Once I’ve finished school and become licensed as a marriage and family therapist, it will give me the ability to truly help individuals on a one-on-one basis. It’s my intention to work with the LGBTQ communities, and especially children and teens. Helping others to solve their own problems and work through personal struggles is an innate part of who I am, that of helping others in a compassionate manner. That role and process warms my heart and gives me great personal satisfaction.
  
When and why did you begin writing?
I wrote my first short story in 3rd grade. That’s when I knew I had an imagination in overdrive. LOL! But, I began writing seriously in my teens, when I wrote my first romance novel at the age of 15. Professionally, I’ve been writing since I began my college education back in 1997 for social work. Now, I write a lot for graduate school and most of what I write is clinical and related to therapy and counseling. Some part of me needs an occasional break from that type of psychological intensity.

So, for personal enjoyment, I’ve been writing steadily for the past 2 years in the m/m romance genre, and I really love it. I didn’t start writing seriously in the romance genre until two years ago when I became inspired by some people I met in the gay community that made me crave writing fictional romance again. A absolutely adore a good story with a happily-ever-after ending, and it’s a great mental escape for me to indulge in and explore my creative literary side.


What inspires you to write and why?
I love romance, passion, angst, hot sex, and a great plot. When one throws all those components into the pot and stirs, it generally creates all sorts of fabulous inspiration for romantic stories. I tend to be all over the place with subject matter. My first book was a m/m historical erotic. My second book coming out in a couple months is a modern, contemporary ghost story and murder mystery. I enjoy the challenge of writing many styles and genres, with the common theme being romance at the heart of it.

Who or what influenced your writing over the years?
I grew up reading and adoring great romance authors such as Jude Deveraux, Janet Daily, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, and Sidney Sheldon. They were my favorites of the romance genre who captured my imagination and took me on romantic journeys to far-away places. I always wanted to write the way they did. They really inspired me.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
I think developing a strong plot with great, passionate energy and chemistry that flows effortlessly between the two main characters is essential. Sometimes it’s a challenge. But when those elements come together and work right, the result is magic and it’s what I always strive to create.

What is your greatest strength as a writer?
I study human behavior and have a great deal of insight into how the human mind, heart, and psyche work. That aspect gives me the ability to develop and write great depth of character in the characters in my books. In addition to that, I’ve had a lifetime of experience, some of which has been very emotional and difficult. It’s much more difficult to write about something, a feeling, an emotion, a sensation, an event, if you’ve never been through it yourself. Due to that, I’d have to say there’s not much I can’t write about that I don’t have my own personal experience with. It’s easier to write something you have strong personal feelings attached to, because it’s easier to relate to it. That makes my writing better and more genuine, filled with more real feeling and emotion, more poignant to the reader.

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Oh gads, yes! Hasn’t everyone? LOL! For me, it’s necessary to literally take a step back and walk away. I have to focus on other things when I get stuck on a story and some part isn’t coming together or flowing the way I want it to. When I just relax, focus on something else for a bit, maybe even talk to a good friend and discuss the issue that’s bothering me, ideas eventually begin to flow again. Brainstorming with one or many people is a great way to spur ideas and move through a difficult area of a story. But once that energy is back, it usually stays with me and infuses my ability to finish a book.


Tell us your latest news?
Currently, I’m celebrating my first book release for A Wicked Encounter released through Silver Publishing. It’s a m/m erotic Regency-historical romance. You can find it on Silver’s website, Amazon.com, Goodreads.com, and other well-known romance eBook sites. This is the title that is now available in paperback at https://silverpublishing.info/product_book_info/paperbacks-c-83/a-wicked-encounter-print-p-356

In addition to that, I’m now under contract for two new books. The first is another novel with Rebel Ink Press. It’s due out on or before Sept. 1st this year, and is entitled Haunted by Obsession. It’s a contemporary, m/m paranormal erotic ghost story and murder mystery. I’ve always loved nostalgic old ghost stories, and just had to write one with a hot, m/m twist on it.

The other project I’m really honored and excited to be working on is an anthology entitled Chasing The Dream. This will be published through my first house, Silver Publishing, and is a joint project with four other amazing writers. You may have heard of Patricia Logan, Sue Brown, Lisa Worrall, and GA Hauser. The five of us have contracted with Silver to each write a m/m short story of some sort following the theme of the title.

I’ve already written mine, and have been privy to both Patricia’s and GA’s stories. They are fantastically hot. I can’t wait to see how readers like this new book. The scheduled release date for our full length novel of compiled stories will be Sept. 17th this fall. That book will be available in both eBook and print copy formats, and will actually be my first printed book. I’m so excited and pleased to be part of this project, and cannot wait to hold the finished product in my hands.

So, in regards to both new books, as well as two other writing projects currently in the works, I’ll keep you updated as things progress.

Can you share a little of your current work with us? (a blurb, or excerpt)
It’s entitled A Wicked Encounter, released by Silver Publishing on April 2nd 2011 in ebook format. It’s a Regency-style historical that is m/m erotic romance, and is set in the year 1792. The following is a short blurb. I’m super excited about the release and hope you’ll all check it out.

Christopher Allwyne, Duke of Bellwood, stood to inherit a vast fortune. Still reeling from the loss of his parents and most recently, his Aunt Polly, the Duchess of Bellwood, the young noble found himself traveling in the dark of night to oversee Her Grace's funeral proceedings and to attend the reading of his aunt's will. Along the way, his carriage suffers a devastating accident, and a dark stranger comes to his aid and rescue. The Marquis Evan de Lombard, rich French nobleman, takes an instant interest in the handsome Christopher. Sharing a wicked encounter shortly after meeting, things look promising as love blooms between them. That is, until the Marquis reveals his true identity and purpose.

Once Christopher knows the truth, will he ever be able to forgive Evan and love him, despite the man's indiscretions? Torn apart by dishonesty, can love win out over betrayal and rise to the occasion, reuniting them for a lifetime of happiness? The cost for true love could be a price neither one is willing to pay.”

If you’d like to purchase your own eBook copy, go here to buy:




How did you develop your plot and main characters?
I was given a plot suggestion by the marvelous Sue Brown, who is a published writer of at least ten m/m erotic novels and short stories. She’s a good friend of mine. We were having a discussion on plot suggestions during the summer of 2010 and she said to me, “How about coach sex in a storm?” It’s really quite amusing, because Sue is from the UK. Being in the USA, I interpreted her suggestion to mean exactly that, a sexual encounter between two hot men in a stage coach from the 1800s.

After talking further with her, she clarified to me that what she meant was an encounter on a bus or a traveling motor coach. It was just the difference in the two dialects native to our countries. But by then, the idea was already firmly in my mind and the plot was expanding like wildfire. I couldn’t get it out of my head.

I was already picturing a stormy night on a lone road in the middle of the English countryside in the dark of night, an accident, and a smaller, handsome aristocratic man being injured and then rescued by a larger, dark, handsome man of imposing stature. That’s how Christopher’s character was born. As I wrote the first scene, when Evan appeared after the accident, he was just very clearly there in my mind’s eye. He was tall, with long, raven-black hair, and piercing blue eyes. It all just fell into place after that, and their hot romance kick-started what turned out to be an epic tale of love and forgiveness. I loved writing this story and hope to one day write more Regency-style romances.


Who designed the cover?
The fabulous, award-winning Ms. Reese Dante’ designed my book cover. She did a marvelous job with my ideas and delivered exactly my vision of elegant, darkly sensual erotica with a touch of history to the design. I wanted rich burgundy reds with lace, and a stormy night depicted around an ancient English castle. That, combined with sexy hot men, Reese created a powerfully sensual visual depiction of my story and its characters. It was the perfect introduction to my book and the story contained within its pages.


            Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
            Perhaps more than anything else, no matter who you are or what your station in life, I want people to know that true love is out there and attainable for all people. Being a hopeful romantic at heart who is still looking for her own true love, I believe that love is real, that it exists, and that its possible for each one of us to have the love we desire in our lives.
            How much of the book is realistic?
            The basic premise of the story is entirely fictional. The historical facts and data surrounding the English, French, Russian, and Prussian wars is all correct. As clearly explained in the Foreward in the book, the story is a bit of harlequin-esque fancy, in that it’s written from the point of view that certain laws against homosexuality never existed during that period in time. The love story itself could easily happen today; however, generally speaking, the story itself is a romantic fantasy.


            What books have most influenced your life?
            There are two romance novels that profoundly changed me. I read them as a teenager, but have never been able to forget them. To this day, I still own copies of both. The most poignant was the story A Knight in Shining Armor, by Jude Deveraux, and Shanna by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. Both novels were powerful, sensual, and stirring. Both stories made my cry for different reasons and touched my heart with the strength of the characters created in the books. That, combined with brilliant story-telling ability will make those two books the ones I’ll always attribute as the best modern romances ever written.
            Are you reading any interesting books at the moment?
            Over the past few months, I’ve read most of Sue Brown’s published works. I love her ability to tell a hot, angsty romance. This past weekend, I just finished reading Patricia Logan’s first two novels. They were both excellent; and of the two, I loved Undercover Nights the best. Now, I’m onto working my way through the most recent of GA Hauser’s newest novels. I just bought and started reading My Best Friend’s Boyfriend and also Born To Please. So yes, if not perusing a textbook for school, I’ve usually got my nose buried in a novel of one kind or another when not writing myself.


      How do you deal with rejection letters?
            Perhaps I’m lucky, but I’ve only had one rejection so far. And honestly, it wasn’t that big of a deal to me. Yes, I felt it; any normal person would. But on the other hand, once the story was rejected, I was actually glad because I’d already decided that I don’t want to publish with the house that turned the story down. There are other houses I like working with better, and out of both loyalty and also having a great working relationship with them, I’ll stay where I’m currently at, which is Silver Publishing and also Rebel Ink Press.
            Do you have any advice for writers?
            Perhaps the one thing that I’d encourage other writers with is being diligent. If you have talent and you know it, then don’t give up on your dreams. Don’t cave to pressure or rejection when you know you have something of value to offer to readers and publishing houses alike. Stick to your guns about your work and its quality. Don’t sacrifice your work to that of editors’ demands if you can avoid it. Your story’s integrity can be compromised if you give up too much to get it published. I, personally, am not willing to change a story dramatically in order to get it accepted. If it can’t be accepted as I wrote it, without being significantly changed to please a publisher into taking it, then it’s no longer really my story. It becomes ‘their’ story. I don’t want that, because that’s just not acceptable to me. That’s when I think it becomes time to look elsewhere.
     

What do you do to unwind and relax?
I enjoy walking, shopping, weight lifting, and of course reading a good book. I also love music and watching great movies.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
For me, reading romance novels as a teenager inspired me to dream of one day being a published author. Some part of me never pursued it because I didn’t really think it would ever happen for me. So in that regard, it’s a dream come true, a long time in the making. It’s very satisfying to know that my writing truly is good enough to merit being published. Even though writing is a secondary career for me alongside helping people, it’s a great feeling and makes me very happy. I’m enjoying this new sense of accomplishment in my life in an artistic area where I can create and express myself differently than in my other forms of work.

If you could leave your readers with one bit of wisdom, what would you want it to be?
If you can imagine it, you can create it in your life. No matter how small or big your dreams are, if you can visualize it, you can make it a reality. There is no such thing as “I can’t.” There is only the choice to “do, or not do.” And though that may sound a bit like Yoda talking, it happens to be a universal truth. A person can accomplish whatever he or she desires, based upon motivation, dedication, commitment, and the amount of effort put forth. For all those out there that said “I can’t do it,” remember there was someone else who said “Yes I can,”. . . and did.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

EXTRAS:

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 1 of my book A Wicked Encounter (560 words):

"Christopher, Your Grace? I'm pleased to make your acquaintance," the Marquis de Lombard said with a question in his voice. "Perhaps we can talk more later, and you can tell me all about yourself then. But for now, 'tis probably best if we find some shelter for the night. Are you from this area?" His eyes flickered over the general locale.

"My aunt's castle is somewhere near here, but since I don't know exactly where 'here' is, I'm not sure how far away we actually are," Chris replied. It drew raised eyebrows from the other man, but the Marquis only nodded in response.

"I believe we passed a small inn several miles back. If you don't mind, perhaps we might find lodging there, Your Grace," de Lombard said, indicating the way they'd come. "We need to tend to that cut on your forehead. It looks deep."

Chris nodded and began to climb down from the coach. Mid-step, a wave of dizziness afflicted him and he stumbled. His rescuer caught him by the arm to keep him from falling to the ground, his blue eyes wide with worry.

"Here, let me." De Lombard climbed down behind Chris and supported his body's weight securely. The man's lean frame, pressed firmly against Chris's backside, was warm and solid, and he smelled like leather and warm male spice. The sensation was pleasant, perhaps more than pleasant, the contact stirring unfamiliar yearnings inside Chris. Strong arms supported him as the Marquis eased them both down gently, until they stood on solid, albeit wet and muddy, ground.

"Thank you. You're most kind," whispered Chris, shaken from more than just his near fall. He watched as the tall man hoisted himself back up to grab his leather carryall, then gracefully land on his feet as he jumped back down beside Chris. The man took hold of his elbow and urged him toward a grand carriage that stood off to the side of the road.

A richly cloaked driver hurried to open the door for his master. Chris climbed inside. A small lantern hanging from the center of the ceiling cast a low but cheerful glow on rich velvet upholstery and heavily carved woodwork. The inside smelled just like the man himself, sweet and spicy, of fine wood and heavy, tanned leather. The scent was pungent and filled Chris's nostrils like a drug. He sank into the soft cushioned bench and curled in on himself, closing his eyes for a moment. The Marquis joined him, after speaking quickly in French to his driver and giving explicit instructions on where he was to take them. The man nodded his compliance. "Oui, Monsieur. Absolutement," he answered, then folded up the coach stairs and shut the door.

A moment later, the coach lurched forward, the four black stallions glistening in the steady downpour as their powerful muscles contracted and began the task of pulling the carriage back down the road the way they'd come. The nobleman focused his eyes intently on Chris, a small smile playing at the corners of his mouth.

"You should rest. Close your eyes, Christopher. We'll be to the inn in a matter of minutes," he said reassuringly. Chris didn't argue. He was already too tired to complain or contradict and his head was beginning to throb horribly. He leaned back and drew his damp coat tighter about himself, closing his eyes. The sound of steady horses' hooves lulled him swiftly away, and he slept.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You can find SammyJo Hunt at the following websites:

Personal Website and Blog address-  http://sammyjohunt.livejournal.com






4 comments:

  1. Thanks for having me here today Lee!

    Hugs!
    SammyJo

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fabulous interview Sammy- sounds like you have another great novel here- good luck
    Dawne P
    P.S. Ever need/want a review- *wink*

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dawne:

    I'll take you up on that offer of a review when the next book comes out. Thanks love! :) And glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for always showing great support.

    Hugs & love,
    SammyJo xoxo
    ------------------------------------------------

    Sara:

    Thanks so much for stopping by! I'm so pleased you enjoyed the excerpt. I hope you'll enjoy the book just as much.

    Hugs & take care,
    SammyJo
    xoxo

    ReplyDelete

Be Yourself

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. ~e.e. cummings, 1955