Samantha Durante lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband, Sudeep, and her cat, Gio. Formerly an engineer at Microsoft, Samantha left the world of software in 2010 to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams and a lifelong love of writing. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, Samantha is currently working full time for her company Medley Media Associates as a freelance business writer and communications consultant. The Stitch Trilogy is her debut series.
Thank you so much for joining me, Samantha! I’m so excited to be a part of the SHUDDER blog tour!
I’m very excited to be joining you, Komal, thanks so much for hosting me!
For those unfamiliar with the Stitch trilogy, could you briefly tell us a bit about it?
Sure! Stitch starts out seeming like a college ghost romance, but it’s got a big sci-fi twist that lands the characters in a disturbing future dystopia. The second book, Shudder, is more grounded in dystopian territory, but it’s got some interesting paranormal additions to keep it fresh and different. And I can’t tell you much about the third book, because I haven’t written it yet!
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 additional 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.
Stitch had a huge twist towards the end that no one saw coming. When you went into writing Shudder, did you have any idea how you were going to outdo the twist in the first book?
That had to be the hardest thing about writing Shudder – how was I EVER going to outdo the genre-bending twist in Stitch?? In the end, I couldn’t think of a way to do it without going off the deep end and turning the series into like a cowboy space opera or something ridiculous, so I decided instead to just focus on making Shudder a really strong story and trying to avoid the dreaded “second book syndrome.” I wanted to use this book to expand upon the foundations that were laid in Stitch, answer readers’ questions about the world-building, and continue to develop the characters, with a healthy dose of action and romance thrown in to keep the story moving. I was able to bring in a *few* big twists this time (my favorite being the jaw-dropper in Alessa’s last chapter – sorry, I’m a sucker for cliffhangers!), so hopefully those will tide readers over until we can really kick things up in the conclusion of the series.
You presented many interesting ideas in Shudder, but what really resonated with me were your views on over-population. What were you hoping that your readers would take away from the story?
You know, I don’t really have a good answer on how to address the issue of over-population (and being someone who would eventually like to have 4 kids, I’m certainly in no position to preach to anyone to about population control! lol). But I can very easily see our world going the same route as the one in Stitch, where eventually just too many people competing for resources is going to have massive, planet-threatening consequences, and it’s really scary to think about that happening. I guess the message here is that we all need to take a collective step back and look at what we’re doing and try to come up with some solutions, rather than forging blindly ahead until it’s too late (much like we’ve done with global warming…).
Could you tell us something about Stuck, the final book in the trilogy?
Things are going to get shaken up in a massive way for Alessa and the gang, and they’re going to have to find a different way of accomplishing their goals than they originally thought. That’s all I’m going to say for now. :-)
What was it like writing a sequel? Was it easier or harder than writing book one?
I thought writing Shudder was actually a lot easier than writing Stitch. All of the hard parts – the backstory, the character introductions, the world building – are out of the way, so you can really focus on the fun parts and on making the world you created richer. It was great to just set Isaac and Alessa loose and see where things went.
How much planning do you do before you write your novel? Or do you just go with it and see where the story takes you?
I do a TON of planning. I literally do not write even a sentence until I have the entire story plotted out and a completed chapter-by-chapter outline that I feel fairly satisfied is 90% of the way there. The remaining 10% I allow to develop as I’m writing, since sometimes ideas will occur to me or I’ll begin to see a development in a character that I didn’t notice before which is worth expanding on. But in general, writing is the easy part – when I sit down to write, I already know where the story is going, so I just need to get the words out and try not to make too many typos along the way!
What are you currently reading?
I’m actually knee-deep in parenting/pregnancy/birthing books, since I’m six months along with my first, and (like with my writing…) I like to be prepared and have some plans in place before I jump into things. But once I finish those off, I have a list of great new sci-fi books plus a few compelling YA/NA contemporaries – many of which are from other awesome indie writers (cough, Falling for Hadie, cough, cough) – that I’m dying to crack open. :-)
Do you have any other projects in the works? What can we expect from you after the conclusion of the Stitch trilogy?
Nothing in the works right now beyond Book 3 (besides this baby, haha!), but once the Stitch Trilogy is released, I do have a bunch of ideas for potential stand-alone YA/NA sci-fi novels that I’m really excited about! I’ll be sure to keep readers up-to-date on my blog/social media as plans cement…
Is there anything you would like to say to your readers?
THANK YOU for all of your enthusiastic support of the Stitch Trilogy! I never expected people to be so receptive to my work, and I feel enormously grateful for each and every person who’s picked up one of my books. :-) Also, stay tuned tomorrow on the Shudder tour for more BAD GUY WEEK and themed posts about your favorite Stitch villains!
Thank you for your time, Samantha!
Thanks again for having me, Komal!
If you haven't read Book 1 in the Stitch trilogy, Stitch is currently 99 cents on Amazon!
You can find out more about Samantha and her books on the following sites:
Twitter - @SamanthaDurante