Hello and welcome to Author’s limelight, Samantha Tonge! Congratulations on the recent release of Doubting Abbey.
Hello, Sarah! Thanks for having me!
What was the first story you ever wrote?
Apart from at school, it was my very first attempt at a novel in my twenties, and set in EuroDisney – I had just finished working there. However, I never completed it and didn’t start writing again until my late thirties.
Of all the individuals you have created, do you have a particular favourite? What appeals to you the most about this character?
Phew – that is a hard question, as I have several novels under the bed, plus have sold over 80 short stories to women’s magazines! But I think Gemma, out of Doubting Abbey, enjoys the qualities I most like my heroines/heroes to have. She is loyal, determined and guileless. Plus has a wicked sense of humour. Gemma would make a great best friend – one you could laugh with and rely on.
Has being published changed you at all? If so, how?
It has done my OCD no favours, now that I also have Amazon rankings to obsess about! On a serious note, though, after nine years of trying to get a novel deal, I think being published has brought me an inner calm. Not that I’m complacent but it’s a relief to have finally achieved one of my writing goals.
What would we find on your bookshelf / e-reader?
A selection of chick lit books, of course – plus several from the teen Romance with Bite genre. Also, “How to Write” books and celebrity autobiographies.
What’s the most unappealing thing you’ve ever eaten?
I lived in Paris once and was invited to a family home. They went to a great effort and served oysters, cockles and rare-to-bleeding beef. I was very English about it all and said how wonderful the food was, which led to second serving. I really appreciated their hospitality, but was off work ill for two days afterwards!
If you could be any of the following characters for one day, who would you be and why? How would you re-write the ending?
a) Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind.
b) Thelma or Louise from Thelma and Louise.
c) Princess Leia from Starwars.
d) Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffanys.
Without a doubt, feisty, wilful, reckless, beautiful, passionate Scarlett O’Hara! I just wish she wasn’t still yearning for Rhett Butler at the end and could accept that, as a couple, they were no good together.
Of all the books in history, which do you wish you wrote and why?
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. How wonderful to have written a book with a plot and characters that still inspired people a century on.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
I am obsessed with the vampire genre, so it would have to be the ability to run super-quick, have super-strength and to compel people at my will. Plus to live forever, of course.
If you could go back in time, where would you go and when? What is one thing you would want to take with you?
I would want to go back to my insecure teenage years and take my husband with me. He would have boosted my confidence and been a great confidante.
Can you tell us about your works in progress?
I am considering a REALLY fun and slightly bonkers idea for a sequel for Doubting Abbey! I can’t say anymore though, at the moment, in case I jinx it! (One of my many writerly paranoias!)
Finally, can you give us a sneaky excerpt from (Doubting Abbey), please?
“I dodged around to the other side of the trunk. Edward chuckled and looked back to make sure I was following him as he ran. Faster I sprinted, to the left and then to the right, around trees, skirting bushes, jumping over tree roots, praying Edward would stick to the moonlit areas so that I didn’t tumble over a boulder and land in a pile of mud.
I ran into a clearing and stopped still, chest heaving up and down, wishing now that I wasn’t wearing the mega thick, sauna-hot coat. Edward had disappeared. I turned my head. What a giveaway! Someone sneezed from the left. I tiptoed across a grassy area and peered over a large bush.
‘This is too easy. Tig!’ I said and ruffled his hair.
He roared and with a scream I ran back the way I’d come. Laughing, I could hardly breathe and lost my way. Where on earth was I now? Heading for the broken fencing or toward the cemetery at the front? I lay flat on the ground behind some tall grass.
‘Aarggh!’ I screamed as someone grabbed me, under the arms. I turned and glared at Edward. ‘You scared me!’ I shouted and jumped up.
‘Your… face,’ he stuttered and wiped away tears from his eyes.
I giggled. ‘Beautiful as ever, I hope, even if mega surprised.’
He stopped laughing and stared at me, his familiar serious expression back in place. ‘Yes. Yes, it is.’
Before I knew it…”
I’ll leave any blogvisitors to guess what happens next!