I recently had the opportunity to be interviewed by BlogEspresso. I seriously enjoyed answering their questions–possibly a little too much, as each of my answers are kinda mini novels. But it was so much fun!
I reposted the interview here, but everyone should go check out their blog of book reviews and author interviews at: https://infoespresso.data.blog/
Book: The Very Real World of Emily Adams
Q1. Hello Ma’am, can you please introduce yourself? Readers would love to know more about you.
Hello! My name is Samantha J. Rose. I am a married mom of three hilarious and amazing little boys. I’m also a forever-student at Utah State University, and plan to have my Master’s Degree in Psychology some lovely, future day.
Q2. Tell us about the process of coming up with the book cover and the title ‘The Very Real World of Emily Adams’?
The title started off as a writing prompt sent out from the blog of author Chuck Wendig. He gave five random titles to choose from—which he created from a random word generator. He asked his readers to pick one title, and then write a short story to go along with it. The title I picked was “Music Box Earth.” I never did write a short story to that, but I did write the scene in my novel with Emily, her dad, and her mother’s old music box, and it became the original title of the entire book.
I felt I had to change it, though, once I was ready to attempt to pitch my novel at a writing conference. Changing it mostly consisted of me mentally banging my head against my writing desk like a pinata and then scribbling down whatever words spilled out until some of them made sense. I really wanted it to reflect some of the humor of the book, and I’ve always been drawn to long titles of things, like, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I think that lengthy titles hold a humor in and of themselves. And what better way to add a notch to it than to have the title of a science fiction/fantasy book insist that it is, in fact, very true and real? (And, indeed, much of the story is true and real.)
The cover was designed by my husband, Paul Rose. He is an extremely talented artist and has been my rock through this whole writing process, believing in me when I stopped believing in myself. So I didn’t feel like my book would be complete without his artwork on the cover. Since the book is set up like a combination of music albums, he took some inspiration from the cover of No Doubt’s, Tragic Kingdom. And since there are Bob Ross quotes throughout the book, he actually used Bob Ross techniques to paint the skies, the tree… basically for everything but the silhouettes of Lipstick Rick and Emily.
Q3. When writing a book how do you keep things fresh, for both your readers and also yourself?
For me, my stories are very character driven. I put all the focus on them and let them tell me the story. And a lot of times, they really surprise me—just like the living people in my life.
I also don’t force the characters to do things that they wouldn’t do in an attempt to move the plot forward. I genuinely hate it when stories do that. I do everything in my power to be true to the characters, and just by doing this, I find myself often surprised by the twists and turns the story takes. The characters keep me guessing. That’s what makes storytelling so exciting to me! I often don’t have any idea where things are going. All I do is throw obstacles in their path that they don’t see coming. And I hope that, if they don’t see it coming, then the reader won’t, either.
Q4. What does success means to you?
So, my motivation in writing this book was to try to help people through fiction. I’ve been down dark roads. When I reached the other side of some of my roughest moments and saw that other people were going through very similar things, I just wanted to reach out them. I wanted to let them know that they can make it through. Even if everything goes wrong, if you just hang on, and keep putting one foot in front of the other, then you’re going to make it. There is hope!
I also hoped to inspire empathy in others. Fiction is such an amazing gift. It gives you the ability to walk in someone else’s shoes for a while, and that experience can change your heart.
If just one person were to read this and feel hope, if one person were to read this and view the people around them with a little more compassion, then all of this would be worth it. That would be a success to me.
Q5. Is there lots to do before you drive in and start writing a book?
Nah, just lots of praying and day dreaming to music. That transports me right into the heart of the scene I’m working on.
Q6. How long did it take you to write this book? Where readers can find your book to buy?
It took me about three years, but the characters have been living in my head for much, much longer.
You can preview my book on my website: https://whererosewritesverytruestories.com/
You can buy my book on:
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Very-Real-World-Emily-Adams/dp/1734904623/
Barnes & Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-very-real-world-of-emily-adams-samantha-j-rose/1137080437
And the Immortal Works website – https://www.immortalworks.press/product-page/the-very-real-world-of-emily-adams
Q7. What’s your favourite spot to visit in your own country? And what makes it so special to you?
I’m from Utah in the United States, and one of my favorite places to go is the Salt Lake City Temple. The building is this gorgeous, magnificent structure, every particular put together and carved with incredible detail. It took forty years to build. And the grounds around it are absolutely beautiful. Just driving by brings me peace and serenity. When I lived close to Salt Lake City, and I was stressed or exhausted or in need of inspiration, this was the place I would run to. At Christmas time, the grounds are covered in lights, it’s like stepping into a storybook.
I’ve since moved pretty far away and I miss it like crazy, so I actually made my family take me there for my birthday a couple of years ago.
Q8. What were the key challenges you faced while writing ‘The Very Real World of Emily Adams’ book?
Writer’s block. I got about halfway through my book and couldn’t write another word. It was one of those things where, my characters were trying to tell me where the story was going, but I didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t want it to take that turn. And then they stopped speaking to me. There were several months there where I didn’t write anything at all because of it.
The other struggle was, I ended up writing too much! I had only planned on writing one book, but I had all of these ideas that I wanted to cram into it. It was just too much. So, once I actually got past the writer’s block, I ended up with 164,000 words. I got it cut down to about 154,000 when I sent it into the publisher, and they gave me a “Revise and Resubmit” where they told me to cut about 30,000 more words. It was extremely painful, I had a couple of nervous breakdowns, but with the help of my editor, I did it. I decided, “Well… I guess I’ll just have to write another book.” So a lot of the stuff I cut will be in my next novel. That was the only way I could make peace with it. I would tell myself, “It’s okay… I’ll just put this in the next book…”
Q9. What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams was a huge influence on my novel. The humor in it is amazing. There were moments where I was in tears, I was laughing so hard. And I just thought, “I want to do that. I want to write like that.” Emily’s last name is actually a nod to Douglas Adams (and to The Addams Family, of course, because I want to be like them someday).
Then there’s Stephen King. I’ve read The Green Mile twice, and it left a deep impression on me. It made its way so completely into my subconscious that it influenced my novel in ways that I didn’t even realize until later. I would also constantly look up quotes and interviews with him for inspiration while I was writing it. He made me feel like I could actually finish the thing—and I did!
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo also had a huge influence on this, and so did Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling, The Book of Mormon and some of the works of Edgar Allan Poe. They’ve all inspired me and made their way into my dreams.
Q10. Are there any secrets from the book (that aren’t in the blurb), you can share with your readers?
The last two chapters were my guiding light as I wrote The Very Real World of Emily Adams. They’re the heart of the novel.