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Kim Tomsic

Monday, June 18, 2018

Interview with Samantha M. Clark THE BOY, THE BOAT, and the BEAST (June 2018)

I recently had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of The Boy, The Boat, and the Beast (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster June, 2018) by author Samantha M. Clark. When I closed the final chapter, I couldn't stop thinking about the story, so with no more pages to read, I reached out to the author. Samantha was kind enough to grant this interview.

1.       Where did the idea for The Boy, The Boat, and the Beast come from?
When we lived in Houston, the main road of our neighborhood ended at a lake. I was walking our dog one day and wondered what it would be like if someone woke up there and didn't know who he was or where he was or how he got there. When we got home, my husband and I brainstormed the idea for an hour, but I didn't really know what the book was about until I got to the end of the first draft. I had this "ooohhh" moment, and the real story began in revisions.

2.     Your writing a beautiful mixture of literary prose with a touch of verse as well as fast page turns and a heart-felt mystery. What are the top three things you’ve done to hone your craft as a writer?
Thank you! I'm not sure what specifically points to this, except that the lyrical voice was there from the beginning, but it has been refined a LOT in revisions. So top 3 in craft:
a) Reading books like THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak, THE UNDERNEATH by Kathi Appelt and WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson showed me what was possible and encouraged me to push further.

b) Early on with this book, I did a three-month paid mentorship with author Bethany Hegedus. She taught me a lot about psychic distance. The manuscript also won a year's mentorship with Kathi Appelt through the Houston SCBWI chapter, and that helped me learn to trust myself and my instincts -- although I still falter all the time.
c) For plotting, the biggest thing that has helped me was watching Dan Wells' 5 Story Structure videos on YouTube. The midpoint was a game changer for my storylines.

3.     I love that the boy in your story has a piece of fabric in his pocket. What part of The Boy, The Boat, and the Beast did you borrow from the fabric of your life?
Nicely done on that question. ;)
I have always battled fear and feeling like I'm not enough, and those themes show up over and over again in my books. For me, BEAST speaks to the scared 10-year-old that I think is inside most people, no matter how old they are.

4.     Please complete this sentence: Once upon a time, there was a girl…
...who's terribly glad she's sharing this publishing journey with the awesome Electric Eighteens [fellow debut authors], because they help her to not be as afraid.

5.     What do you have planned for your debut year including book launch party and speaking engagements?
This has been an amazing and busy year, and I'm enjoying every minute of it. I'm signing copies of THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST for amazing librarians at ALA 2018. I'm on faculty at the Writers League of Texas conference, speaking at the International Literacy Association conference (where I'll see you! yay!), speaking to kids at a summer writing camp at my local independent bookstore, BookPeople,  and teaching a kids writing workshop at The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles on Aug. 4 (also with you! yay!). Plus I'll be celebrating the book with a launch party at BookPeople in Austin on July 28 at 2pm, a month after the release because of my busy schedule, but it's going to be amazing! Family and friends from out of town are coming, and we'll have cake, and chocolates, and cake, and chocolates... That's really all we need to make it wonderful.

Lightning round!
Tell us about your PET(s)
Two rescue dogs, who are amazing. We've had Annie for around 7 years and she's the sweetest, cutest dog. We just got Peanuts and had to keep his name because his foster mother's 4-year-old niece named him Peanut Butter Buttons. He's known as PBB on Instagram, and has quite the loyal following.

It’s your birthday dinner, what are we cooking and baking?
Oooh, probably an English roast with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and lots of veggies and gravy, followed by apple crumble. I'll make it all.

If you could have a Freaky Friday moment and swap places with any literary character for a day, who would it be and why?
Could I have 2? Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, because of course. And Alice in Alice in Wonderland, because who wouldn't want to meet a Mad Hatter and a disappearing, grinning cat? I'd just have to steer clear of the Queen of Hearts.

What were your favorite books from when you were a child?

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe all-time favorite. Charlie. Alice. Winnie the Pooh books. Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books. And anything by Enid Blyton.

Thank you, Samantha! I loved chatting with you!

You can meet Samantha at her launch party by signing up here: https://www.facebook.com/events/164713617522443/

Available for pre-order on IndieBoundPowell’sBook DepositoryBooks-A-MillionBarnes & NobleAmazonTargetWalmart and Samantha's fabulous local indie bookstore BookPeople.

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