Jen: Today we welcome Samantha Chase back to Romancing the Book. Samantha, will you share a short bio with us?
Samantha: New York Times and USA Today Bestseller/contemporary romance writer Samantha Chase released her debut novel, Jordan’s Return, in November 2011. Although she waited until she was in her 40’s to publish for the first time, writing has been a lifelong passion. Her motivation to take that step was her students: teaching creative writing to elementary age students all the way up through high school and encouraging those students to follow their writing dreams gave Samantha the confidence to take that step as well.
When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading contemporary romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Samantha: I’ll Be There is the technically the 7th book in the Montgomery series (there was a novella in the middle!). Zach Montgomery is the oldest in his family and he’s always been an adrenaline junkie who pretty much lived life with no limits. After a catastrophic fall while climbing on Denali, he’s struggling with getting his life back.
I liked the idea of a wounded hero. There are a lot of stories out there that have that trope, but you see it more in military romances. Years ago I had read a story by Sandra Brown where her hero was injured in a skiing accident and it was something that stuck with me. I wanted to explore what it would be like to have someone whose entire life is about all kinds of physical activities and getting what he wants, to suddenly have to rely on others and how he would deal with it.
Here’s a short excerpt:
“I guess I could come over.”
Her words were said so quickly that Zach thought he might have imagined them. “What did you say?”
“It…it was nothing. Never mind. I’ll just plan on seeing you tomorrow.”
“You said you could come over. Like now.”
“It’s late,” she said softly.
“Do you have a curfew?”
She giggled. “No.”
“That’s good. Neither do I.”
“But…it’s crazy, Zach. It’s not like we can get anything done tonight.”
He wasn’t so sure about that. “So? We’ll watch a movie or we’ll start our online research and making our plan for tomorrow.”
“I’m…I’m kind of in my jammies already.”
Was it too much to hope that it was scraps of silk and lace and she’d kept her stilettos on? “Me too.”
Now she laughed a little harder. “Oh really?”
“Yup. Really. Flannel pants, a t-shirt. Very jammie-ish.”
“I don’t even think that’s a word, Zach.”
“It doesn’t need to be. Come on. I’m not expecting you to come over in business attire, Gabs. I’ve seen you in jeans and dressed casually. It’s not a big deal.”
“I don’t normally drive around a whole lot at night.”
As much as he wanted to see her and spend time with her, he certainly wasn’t going to be selfish and endanger her by making her drive around late at night. If he was ready to drive on his own, he’d suggest going over to her place, but he hadn’t gotten the clearance from his doctor yet.
“It’s okay, Gabriella. We’ll leave things as we originally planned and I’ll see you tomorrow for lunch.” He sighed quietly and got comfortable on the couch. “I don’t want you driving around by yourself late at night.”
“You’re very sweet.”
He laughed darkly. “I bet it hurt to say that.”
“Oh, stop. We agreed we weren’t looking back, right?”
He nodded. “Right.” God he wanted to keep talking to her but he could hear it in her voice that she was tired. “Why don’t I let you go and get some sleep and I’ll see you tomorrow?”
“Mmm,” she sighed. “I’m sorry. If it wasn’t quite so late…”
“It’s all right, Gabs. Really.”
“Okay. I don’t want you to be mad.”
“Not mad. Disappointed. I’m finding I really like spending time with you.”
“I like it too.”
She was killing him.
“Go,” he forced himself to say. “Goodnight, Gabriella.”
She made that purring sound again and everything in Zach hardened. “Goodnight, Zach.”
Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors? What are you reading now?
Samantha: I absolutely love Sandra Brown, Nora Roberts, Bella Andre, Melanie Shawn, Sydney Landon, Erin Nicholas, Kate Perry…I could go on but those ladies are always on my must-read list.
Right now I’m actually reading Melanie Shawn’s Hope Falls series and loving it. She created a fabulous world in her small town and the books are fun and flirty and just a great escape.
Jen: How do you come up with characters names?
Samantha: I’m pretty boring with that. I go to the baby name list that comes out every year. Occasionally there’s a variation of it – like top French baby names you’ll love – but I tend to be pretty old-school with my names. I have to admit, I don’t enjoy it when I read a book and the characters have really weird name. It distracts me too much. Sometimes, I’ll just start calling the character something else in my head while I’m reading just so I can finish reading the book!
Jen: What’s been the highlight of you career to this point?
Samantha: The very first signing I went to was with Authors in the City in New York City in 2014. No one had ever invited me to sign and when they reached out to me, I was thrilled! I live in North Carolina but I’m originally from Long Island and my mom still lived there so I flew in there and she came with me to the event. When we checked in at the hotel, I was at the front desk and I heard someone say “Oh my god! It’s Samantha Chase!” and that was just the coolest thing ever!
The other was getting to meet Sandra Brown at RT back in May. I mean…she is my idol and she was so incredibly gracious and came over and chatted with me and my friends and…it still just makes me giddy to think about it!
Jen: What did you do to celebrate your first book? Do you do anything to celebrate a sale, new contract or release?
Samantha: Believe it or not, I didn’t do anything to celebrate that first one – which was Jordan’s Return. I didn’t start celebrating my releases until I signed with Sourcebooks and the books started coming out in paperback and in stores. Now the routine is on release day that I meet two of my best friends at the local Barnes & Noble where they buy the book and make a big scene to get me noticed in the store (I LOVE that!) and then we go to lunch together. Sometimes there’s a tiara involved, but not all the time! Lol!
Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Samantha: I read – which is a given. I love to listen to music on my iPod (30 minutes a day no matter what). I make sure I go out with friends as much as I can because it’s easy to get sucked into my little writing cave and never get out. I watch very little TV – although I am addicted to HGTV and will watch that at any given opportunity.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Samantha: A lot actually! 2016 is looking to be very busy and I love it! Sourcebooks is going to continue re-releasing several books from my backlist in paperback and I’m super excited about that. In February they are re-releasing my Life, Love & Babies trilogy as an all-in-one. In June it will be Jordan’s Return. Then in October they’ll release my Christmas novellas, Mistletoe Between Friends and The Snowflake Inn as a duo.
There are also a bunch of new releases too! In April, Love Walks Inn – Shaughnessy book 2 – comes out. In May I have an indie book coming out (still working on the title!). In July, Always My Girl – Shaughnessy book 3 – will come out. In November I’ll release a Christmas novella (also still working on the title) and finally in December, Our Song – Shaughnessy book 4 – will come out.
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