What Tomorrow May Bring – The Voight-Kampff Interview

Hey guys!  It’s my turn to answer the Voight-Kampff Questionnaire as part of our tour for What Tomorrow May Bring!

voight-kampff

The VOIGHT-KAMPFF* Interview
*(JFYI, this is a Blade Runner reference – don’t worry, I didn’t know either!)
Leon: Do you make up these questions Mr. Holden, or do they write them down for you?
Mr. Holden: They’re just questions Leon.
Subject: Kowalski, Leon

— ABOUT THE BOOK–

WHERE DID YOUR TOMORROW SPRING FROM? IN OTHER WORDS, HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE CRAZY WORLD?

Believe it or not, Stitch started off as a paranormal romance in a contemporary world.  Girl goes to college.  Girl meets ghost.  Girl falls in love.  Girl and ghost live happily ever after.  Except, I had no idea how to achieve that last part.  Was she supposed to go back in time to be with him?  Die?  Would they live together in some third plane of existence?  Everything I thought of seemed ridiculous, until one day a REALLY crazy idea occurred to me about how maybe this boy was not really a ghost at all, and in fact, maybe everything that the main character *thought* she was experiencing was only just scratching the surface of a much darker (and more dystopian!) truth.  I kept wishing that someone would write that book so I could read it, and soon resolved that it would have to be me. And Stitch was born!

WHO SHOULD *NOT* READ YOUR BOOK?

Anyone who’s looking for a straight-up paranormal romance (as the book initially appears to be) – they’ll just be like, “Whhhaaatttt is going on here, this is too crazy…”  But if you like big sci-fi twists and dystopian drama, Stitch is for you.

WHAT SORT OF BODY COUNT ARE WE TALKING HERE?

In the billions.  Seriously.

WHO WOULD PLAY YOUR MAIN CHARACTER IN A MOVIE?

Alessa would be played by Emmy Rossum – see more character dream castings here!

YOUR MAIN CHARACTER VS BATMAN, WHO WOULD WIN?

Ooooh… sorry Less, but I think this one is going to Batman.  (He just has a lot more experience than you!)

IF YOUR BOOK WERE RATED LIKE A ROMANCE NOVEL, THE HEAT LEVEL WOULD BE:

1) NONE
2) SWEET
3) MILD
4) HOT
5) WILD RIDE
6) BLOOD THIRSTY

3.5 (about the level of a PG-13 movie).  Nothing graphic, but there’s definitely some heat!

— ABOUT THE AUTHOR —

HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START AS AN AUTHOR?

I kind of came to writing fiction in a round-about sort of way.  I was a voracious writer as a kid and spent a lot of time in high school honing my skills, but I was a bit ambitious (read: greedy) as a young adult and decided to study business and engineering in college, earning a joint degree from Wharton and Penn Engineering.  I got a job in software out of school, working at Microsoft in Seattle as a program manager on a developer platform and later Xbox.  Though it was a great job (and, indeed, much more lucrative than writing!), I still felt like something was missing from my life.  When I realized that people kept telling me how well-written my technical specifications and emails were, a light bulb finally went on and I understood that I needed to write.  So I packed my bags, dragged my then-boyfriend (now husband) back to NYC with me (we’re from the NY suburbs originally) and started a new career as a freelance business writer.  A year later, I’d just finished ghost-writing a book for a client when I realized that there’s no reason I couldn’t do the same for myself – that’s when I started working on Stitch!  So though it probably *should* have been obvious from the beginning, it took me some time to come to terms with the fact that writing was what I was meant to do, but once I finally got here, I’ve never looked back.  :-)

DO YOU HAVE ANOTHER JOB BESIDES AUTHOR?

Yes, I am also a freelance business writer for my company Medley Media Associates.  I work with small businesses to produce basically whatever they need – website copy, marketing materials, blog/social media posts, etc.

WHAT IS THE FIRST SCIENCE FICTION BOOK YOU REMEMBER READING?

A Wrinkle in Time.  I think I was around 8 at the time, and it totally blew my mind.

DO YOU BUY A BOOK BY THE COVER?

Who doesn’t?

LAPTOP OR DESKTOP FOR WRITING?

Laptop, always.  I don’t know why they even make desktops anymore – who needs ’em?

DO YOU EVER WRITE IN YOUR PJ’S?

When DON’T I write in my PJs??  Haha.  (Hello people, this is why you become a writer in the first place!)

What Tomorrow May Bring - YA Dystopian Boxed SetDon’t miss interview responses from the other authors of the boxed set on the Hunt For Tomorrow blog: http://huntfortomorrow.blogspot.com/ 

And remember to sign up for the AMAZING prize-loaded scavenger hunt coming July 18th!  More details here.

Interview & Giveaway at Michael SciFan

Michael SciFanCheck out this great new interview up today at Michael SciFan!  Here’s a sneak peek:

Did the story or characters take any unexpected directions from your original plans?

I’m a big planner (especially when it comes to something like the Stitch Trilogy, which has a fairly complex backstory and very twisty storyline), so there hasn’t been too much divergence from my original plans, when it came to the main characters at least. But as the series has developed, I’ve found some of the side characters playing much bigger roles than I ever anticipated. Nikhil and Lizzie in particular just started as one-dimensional throwaway characters when I first set out to write Stitch, but over time – either through necessities of the plot or reader demand – these characters have taken on a life of their own and really impacted the story in major ways that I didn’t foresee at first. So that was definitely a surprise, but a good one! <continue reading>

While you’re there, you can also enter a giveaway for an e-book copy of Stitch or Shudder (winner’s choice!).  Don’t miss out!

Thanks so much to Michael for hosting me!!

“A truly engaging plot that will leave its readers breathless” – 3 Reviews, Interview, Giveaway & Excerpt

Book JemsThanks so much to Sandra, Emily, and Nicki of JeanZBookReadNReviewBook Jems, and A Thousand Lives for hosting three awesome stops today on the Shudder Blog Tour!  Check out these snippets:

  • At JeanZBookReadNReview, an excerpt and e-book giveaway, plus an excellent review: “I really enjoyed Stitch and I was a little worried as sometimes in a Trilogy it’s BK#2 that tends to suffer and not be very good. But this is so not the case with Shudder. I found Shudder an even more exciting and intriguing read than Stitch.  So did I enjoy the book?  Yes!   Would I recommend the book? Yes! as it’s a great series so far and it has such a great selection of genres within it I’d guess there would be something for every reader.” <continue reading>
  • At Book Jems, a revealing author interview (“What is the hardest part about being an author?”) and another fab review: “Lemme tell you, this book packs a punch. Durante immediate grabs the attention of the reader and doesn’t give a moment’s rest as she settles into the continuation of Stitch. This book was able to pull me out of my reading funk, and entertain me while I suffered from strep throat (which is the absolute worst; I want to cry just thinking about it). Shudder has everything needed to make a great novel: action, thrills, science and romance that’ll make you swoon and sigh.” <continue reading>
  • And finally at A Thousand Lives, an amazing 5-star review: “I fell in love with these characters all over again. Issac is one to add to the list of “book boyfriends”. All he wants to do is protect the people he cares about. He second guesses his decisions and in a weird way, the insecurity makes him more endearing. He’s not the overly confident, cocky hero we’re all used to. It sets his character apart from the pack, anchoring him in reality. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a place for those arrogant yet lovable heroes but I find this character a refreshing change of pace.  If you loved Stitch, this book is a fantastic follow up.If you haven’t read it yet, hop to it. You’re missing out! This book was a wild ride of emotions. Within the first one hundred pages, I feared for the characters’ lives, swooned at the sweet moments and cried at the heartbreaking ones. Samantha Durante has a wonderful gift of incorporating many genres into one well thought out and intriguing tale.  Let this author pull you into her fascinating, dark future of the world we live in. You won’t be sorry!” <continue reading>

Guest Post: “Book Pirates: Not the ‘Arrrgh’ Kind” + Alessa/Isaac Interview, Review & Giveaway!

Nomi's Paranormal PalaceSome awesome new content up today on the Shudder Blog Tour, including an interview with Alessa and Isaac over at Nomi’s Paranormal Palace (plus an excellent review) and a guest post titled “Book Pirates: Not the ‘Arrrgh’ Kind” (plus giveaway & excerpt) at Reading Between the Wines!  Here’s a sneak preview:

From the Alessa/Isaac interview:

Naomi: Hi Alessa and Isaac! Welcome to my Paranormal Palace!!
Alessa: We’re very excited to be here!
Isaac: Thanks so much for having us, Naomi!

Naomi: The pleasure is mine, I assure you! Alright, let’s get straight into the nitty gritty. How are you both adjusting to life now that you are out of the spotlight, not that you realised that you were being filmed before…
A: (big sigh) It’s a relief!  It was SO difficult during Stitch once I realized what was going on.  Can you imagine getting dressed or going to the bathroom knowing there are thousands of people watching you??  It was horrifying.
I: Yeah, we were definitely happy to get some alone time in Shudder.  (gives Alessa a wink)
A: (laughs and elbows Isaac) <continue reading>

From the guest post:

I have a confession to make: at one time in my life, I was a pirate.

No, silly, not the swashbuckling “arrrgh” kind – the digital media stealing kind, of course.  Though I’m proud to say I’ve since reformed my unscrupulous ways and now purchase all of my music and streaming TV legally, in my past life as an internet scalawag I probably acquired upwards of 1000 songs and watched at least 10 or so seasons of some of my favorite shows through shady online “sharing” sites.

I still vividly remember the day in high school when one of my friends introduced me to Napster. The first song I ever downloaded was “Flagpole Sitta” by Harvey Danger, and the experience changed my life.  I never looked back (well, until I graduated college and had a job and realized that a) I could afford to pay for stuff and b) it actually made me feel better to do so, since I would never under any other circumstances condone stealing and I was tired of being a hypocrite).

So I get it.  Really, I do.  Why pay for something you can get for free? <continue reading>

Thanks so much to Naomi and Crystal for hosting today!!

Exclusive Interview with Isaac! + Review

Always YA at HeartWe’ve got a special treat today on the Shudder Tour – an exclusive interview with Isaac!  Check it out at Always YA at Heart:

Hi Isaac, thank you so much for stopping by to talk to us today (Sigh – he is definitely a hottie).  
(blushing)  Thanks a lot for inviting me, Ellen, I’m happy to be here.

Can you tell us something about yourself that we don’t learn from the book?
I harbor secret fantasies of overthrowing Paragon’s government… and keeping the entire city for myself, muahahahaha!  JUST KIDDING!  Seriously though, I’m a pretty straightforward guy – what you see is what you get, and I pretty much wear my heart on my sleeve whether I want to or not, so if you’ve been reading the books, you know me pretty well.

What is your author like?
She’s a sadist!  God forbid she could have sent, I dunno, fluffy bunnies or something chasing after us in the woods…  Haha.  But no, she’s cool.  She just has a very overactive imagination.  At least she gave me Alessa for a partner – I can’t really complain about that at least. <continue reading>

Lots more where that came from, AND an awesome review!  Head to Always YA at Heart for the rest!  And thanks to Ellen for hosting!

Double Reviews & Interviews + Giveaways!!!

ParajunkeeLots of awesome new content to share with you from the past few days on the Shudder Blog Tour!  Here are links to everything:

  • An excellent 4-star review from Short & Sweet Reviews (“an excellent follow-up… pacing of the book was perfect… not to be missed!”) + giveaway
  • An in-depth interview with me, Janie, and Phoenix at Live, Love, Laugh, Learn
  • 5 stars and a giveaway at Parajunkee (“both horrifying and hauntingly beautiful.”)
  • Author interview and ANOTHER giveaway at Doodle’s Book Blog!

Huge thanks to Van, Pree, Lori, and Emily for hosting!!

INSPIRATION WEEK Interview & Review – “Alessa was fierce and brave”

Salacious ReadsWe’re capping off INSPIRATION WEEK today with an inspiration-themed author interview and awesome 4-star review at Salacious Reads!  Check it out:

From the interview:

New Adult is becoming a very popular Genre. Did you always want to write for young adults? And what is it about this age group that inspired this trilogy?

I’m SO thrilled to see the success of the New Adult genre! When I was first coming up with the idea for Stitch, the genre was in its infancy, and still the prevailing industry attitude was that no one wanted to read about people in their 20s. As someone in my 20s, I found that quite insulting! It’s a very formative time in a person’s life, with so many changes going on and huge life experiences (college, first job, first serious relationships with the possibility of marriage, etc.) – who wouldn’t want to read about that? I’d always loved young adult books since they’re also about coming of age, but with slightly older characters, you have the opportunity to bring in more depth and maturity in the characters, and also more real-life grittiness. I think it’s an awesome genre and am really happy it’s finally getting its due! <continue reading>

From the review:

I gotta say that I love this world that Samantha created. It’s scary, futuristic and unknown…exactly what a sci-fi story should be. … Stitch, the first book was a bit slow moving for me; but I thought that Samantha picked the story up in Shudder. Here, there was more of a faster pace and I was able to connect with her character more. Alessa never annoyed me and she gained my respect in this 2nd story. She was more fierce and brave. … Shudder is a unique Sci-fi story…set in a future that is unsure and tested by its characters. I loved it…I really did. And that is saying much because I will tell you that I am not a fan of “younger” characters. But this author gave me characters that are new adults, BUT they have very adult thoughts and feelings. <continue reading>

Thanks so much to Sharonda for hosting!!  Have a great weekend everyone.  :-)

A Short Reprieve from BAD GUY WEEK w/ Double Interviews

After a few days of heavy bad guy related content on the tour, I’m sure you could use a little light refresher, and so today we’re presenting two engaging new interviews with yours truly.  :-)  First, check out this thoughtful interview from fellow indie author Komal Kant at KomalKant.com:

Stitch was a skillful cross between the paranormal, science fiction, and dystopian genres. I expected Shudder to solely focus on Dystopian, but was surprised when it drifted into the paranormal genre once again. What is your favourite part about crossing genres in this unique way?

Blending genres for me is a way to bring something different to the table.  I LOVE dystopian books, but let’s face it – there are a lot of popular ones out there right now, and the last thing I wanted to do with Shudder was rehash the same old tropes and storylines.  I thought the addition of some paranormal elements would help the book to be unique and hold readers’ interest, even if they’re burned out on straight-up dystopian reads. <continue reading>

And then, swing by Lisa Loves Literature for another one!

Did you do a lot of research for the science parts?

I actually didn’t have to do a TON of research, but only because the science-y stuff (viral epidemics, space-time physics, cognitive science, etc.) are all topics that I’m interested in anyway and have read about or taken classes on in the past.  So I drew from what I already knew and supplemented with some internet research.  I did also reach out to one expert from the Federation of American Scientists for input on how an apocalypse could most realistically come about, and he gave me the idea to go with a viral epidemic and recommended a really frightening book about real-world outbreaks and how easily this could happen today. <continue reading>

Note: There’s also a review at the end of that post, but it contains some minor spoilers, so if you haven’t Shudder yet, don’t scroll past the interview!

Thanks so much to Komal & Lisa for hosting today!!

It’s BAD GUY WEEK – “The Nature of Evil” + Giveaway & Interview

Word SpelunkingVery excited today to kick off BAD GUY WEEK on the Shudder Blog Tour!  (Okay, okay, it’s only Tues/Wed/Sat, but how many days of badness can you really stand?)  I’m thrilled to share a new guest post at Word Spelunking about “The Nature of Evil” and how that relates to the characterization of the Engineers in Stitch/Shudder.  Here’s a sneak peek:

Everyone loves to hate the classic evil villain. “Muahaha, I’m going to take over the world!” he cackles – maniacally, of course – and we shudder and seethe while waiting for the hero to come along and save the day.  It’s so straightforward, so black and white: this is evil, and this is good.  We know who to root for, and there’s no conflict about the villain’s motives. He’s just plain evil – he knows it, we know it, and everyone is okay with that state of affairs.  It’s just that simple.

But in real life, no one believes themselves to be a monster.  Even the people who commit the most heinous crimes – rape, murder, genocide, slavery, abuse of children or animals – in the vast majority of cases do not inflict suffering without any qualms or misgivings.  Even those who perpetrate evil have a sense of right and wrong, or at least a sense of what society at large considers right and wrong.  So they find some way to justify their horrible acts, whether it’s reasoning that it’s somehow for the victim’s own good, or that it’s somehow deserved, or that the victim is somehow lesser – not a “real” person, not someone anyone will miss, not human.

The fact of the matter is that the battle between good and evil rages within all of us every day.  There’s no person on earth who can argue that they’ve never committed an act that can somehow be interpreted as “evil,” depending on who’s laying out the judgment. <continue reading>

And there’s also a new e-book giveaway while you’re there!  And for our second stop today, we have a super fun author interview at Passionate Book Divas!

Thanks so much to Aeicha and Alana for hosting!!  And check back every day this week for more bad guy themed festivities.  :-)

Shudder Movie Dream Cast + Interview, Review & Giveaway

Falling BooksEver wonder who would play Alessa, Isaac, Janie and all your other favorites from the Stitch Trilogy in a movie?  Check out this guest post from yesterday’s stop at Falling Books to find out!

Also don’t miss a great author interview at Reading Until Dawn and a review plus e-book giveaway at All Fantasy Worlds!

Thanks so much to Sam, Daphne, and Oana for hosting!!