You’re my first interview and I’m so excited to tap my inner Barbara Walters! Full disclosure for my readers, Samantha March is my cyber boss, as I’m a contributing reviewer for her book blog, Chick Lit Plus. In addition to writing reviews, she’s given me the opportunity to do other writing as well for new book releases and various entertainment topics. I’m so grateful. I was already duly impressed by how she managed her blog, ran her publishing company, and navigated social media – all while planning a wedding. I only recently learned that she also has another full time job. I am now in awe, dumbfounded actually, of her time management skills. For my first question, I was going to ask her how she found the time to do everything, but she addressed that in yesterday’s guest blog. Samantha is celebrating the first birthday of her book, The Green Ticket, which was published December 3rd, 2012. I read the book last week and loved it. It made me nostalgic for my college days.
1) You’re a very prolific reader and I assume most of the reading you do is for CLP reviews and submissions to Marching Ink. I know I sometimes get overwhelmed with my have-to-read pile, and look longing to my want-to-read pile. Do you ever get to read for pleasure?
I really don’t. All the books I read are indeed for Chick Lit Plus, CLP Blog Tours, or Marching Ink. I sometimes feel guilty when I say I don’t read for pleasure, because I enjoy reading so much. And I do get to choose which books I review and don’t review for my sites, so it’s not as if I’m reading books that I don’t have an interest in.
2) What was your inspiration for The Green Ticket?
My college experience. I had such a great group of girlfriends and I really wanted to capture our dynamic. I also wanted something to be dramatic when it came to a professional setting, because I have been in Alex’s shoes in a few different situations that she finds herself in.
3) What’s your dream cast for The Green Ticket, if it were made into a movie?
I love Emma Stone for Alex, and maybe Zach Efron for Henry.
4) What motivated you to start your own publishing company? Did you ever try to traditional publishing route?
I went to college for business and have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and I know books and publishing really well. It seemed like a natural career choice. I did query agents the traditional way in the beginning (to three agents exactly) just to make sure I gave it a try, but my heart was really set on starting my own business.
5) Given the multiple professional hats you wear, how long does it take for you to write a manuscript?
It takes me about a year. With my third book (currently written, in the cover design stage) it actually took me a little less because I stayed so disciplined and gave myself writing goals each day.
6) Are you working on you next book? If so, any hints as to what it’s about?
I am! The book is written and edited, and we are just starting the cover design work. The story is about a friendship between two women that looks perfect from the outside but everything isn’t as it seems….
7) I only stumbled upon the world of book blogging about a year and a half ago, and you’ve been doing this for a while. How did Chick Lit Plus come to be?
I started Chick Lit Plus to help me gain exposure in the writing community, because being an author was my goal. I have made so many valuable connections, and I truly credit CLP for my success.
8) Who are your writing crushes?
Oh boy. Emily Giffin, Jennifer Lancaster, Meredith Schorr and so many more. I add new ones each week!
9) Do you remember the book you read that inspired you to become a writer?
I wanted to be a writer since I was 9, but I told myself to get a “real” degree before pursuing what I thought was a fantasy. It was after reading “Something Borrowed” by Emily Giffin in 2009 that really lit the fire for me again.
10) What was you major in school?
I majored in Travel and Tourism for my Associates Degree and Business for my Bachelors.
11) Any advice for writers starting out?
Write every day. You will hear this from so many authors, but it’s the truth. If you don’t write your words, no one else will.
12) You are in the unique position of being a book reviewer and a published author. How do you feel about negative reviews, from both perspectives?
It can be tough. Negative reviews aren’t fun to write or receive. I like to call my negative reviews that I write “critiqued reviews.” I try not to focus on the negative, but give some advice on areas that I think could use improvement, and will also add a positive comment in there as well. Being an author, nothing is worse that a review that bashes you, your book, or your intellect (which I’ve seen often in the book world), or my least favorite – a two line review just saying how someone hates the book but gives no reasoning as to why. I think an author would love to know areas to improve, not just that you disliked a book.
13) What are your three favorite books of all time?
Kristy’s Great Idea – Ann M Martin, Something Borrowed – Emily Giffin, and I feel like my third choice would change every week if I had to narrow it down!
14) Do you read any nonfiction?
Not so much.
15) E-book or paper book?
As much as I love paperbacks, I prefer to read on eBooks because it’s more convenient for me and the number of books I read a week is pretty high.
16) Favorite book store?
I do like Barnes & Noble, I think because it’s so big. I just want to get lost in it.
17) Favorite place to read?
My couch – with my new puppy in my lap.
18) Name a book that everyone loved and you were just blah about.
Fifty Shades of Grey. All my friends just rave about it. I’ll admit – I haven’t read the whole thing. I read the synopsis and skimmed through the book and knew it wasn’t for me.
19) Do you have a writing ritual?
Yes, I write in the mornings and follow my word count goal I give myself.
20) As a publisher, were do you see the industry in five years?
That is so tough to answer. Each publishing plan Marching Ink has for books has changed significantly each time, and we’ve only been around since 2011. Something new is constantly popping up, and I just think it’s important to keep adapting and marching forward with the change – like that word play? 😉