Historical romance author Samantha Grace discovered the appeal of a great love story when she was just a young girl, thanks to Disney’s Robin Hood. She didn’t care that Robin Hood and Maid Marian were cartoon animals. It was her first happily-ever-after experience and she didn’t want the warm fuzzies to end. Now Samantha enjoys creating her own happy-endings for characters that spring from her imagination. Publisher’s Weekly describes her stories as “fresh and romantic” with subtle humor and charm. Samantha describes romance writing as the best job ever. Part-time social worker, moonlighting author, and Pilates nut, she enjoys a happy and hectic life with her real life hero and two kids in the Midwest.
To connect with Samantha…
ER: Welcome to Embracing Romance, Samantha. To start us off, what is the first thing you would like us to know about you?
Hello! Thanks so much for inviting me to Embracing Romance today. I can’t wait to chat with everyone. Wow. The first question is a hard one. What do I want everyone to know about me? Well, I’m a down-to-earth sort of person and I love people, so if you ever see me at a conference, please come introduce yourself. I’m genuinely happy to meet readers and fellow authors.
ER: You work part time as a hospice social worker, have a family, and somewhere in what seems like a busy schedule, you’ve published six full-length novels, along with three novellas. Do you have a set time or number of hours a day you write, or just when you find the time? Are you a panster or a plotter?
Up until January, I had two days a week dedicated to writing and running errands while my kids were in school and my husband was at work. Then at the end of last year, my employer increased the number of days I worked, which meant less time for writing. Fortunately, I was able to find another social work job that fits my life better. In fact, I just started my new position this week! I don’t have set hours on my writing days, but I have daily writing goals like “Finish chapter ten and write scene at the park”. My most focused, productive time is in the afternoon, so I usually try to write from 1-4pm. Of course around deadlines, I write in the evenings and on weekends too. Sometimes I’ll take a week off from work to get everything finished in time.
I’m definitely more plotter than panster, but I don’t have a problem deviating from the plan if the story needs to travel a different path. I know my characters’ backgrounds and major events before I beginning writing, but sometimes those things change as the story develops.
ER: What is your favorite part of writing? Your least favorite?
I love those moments when the story seems to be writing itself. I’m watching everything unfold, hearing my characters talk, and trying my best to keep up. It feels magical, and I swear there must be times I’m simply a conduit, because I’ll read a passage later and think, “Did I really write that?”
My least favorite part is writing the first draft. Sometimes it’s like pushing a bolder uphill. It’s so hard! I’m envious of authors with large daily word counts. That will never be me, but that’s okay. We all have our own processes.
ER: What is your all time favorite romance book(s)?
It’s a cliché, but I love “Pride and Prejudice”. I read it the summer between ninth and tenth grade. It was an AP English assignment, and I’d put it off almost the whole summer. I’d never read any type of historical romance, so it really opened up a new world for me. I loved the sexual tension between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. It was a sweet romance, but still so satisfying. It might have been the first book to give me butterflies. I rarely read books a second time, but “Pride and Prejudice” is one I’ve read at least three.
ER: Was your road to publication a long, winding one, or a walk in the park? Can you tell us a little about it?
It was right around the two-year mark when I received “The Call”, but I didn’t start writing until later in life. I’m not sure I had much to say fifteen years ago, so maybe it was good I waited. I think I needed time to grow as a person. Plus, I needed my drive to catch up with my desire to be an author. I had a few stories I’d started years earlier and never wrote beyond the first chapter or two.
Once I made up my mind to write my first book, I went for it. My first book never made it to publication, but it was so fun writing a book without knowing any of the rules. I’m glad I did it. I still try to hang on to the joy of writing with abandon, even though I know the rules and judiciously break them at times. If I’m laughing with my characters and having fun, the chances are better my readers will too.
ER: What are the top three things on your bucket list?
You know, I don’t think I’d have any regrets if I were to kick the bucket. I’ve had a chance to do a lot in my life already, and what I wanted most has come true: a good marriage, to be a mom, and to write books. I’m very content with my life. I do have a wish list of fun things I’d like to do, though. I’d love to zip line in Belize, move to a different country for a year just to experience something new and allow my husband to explore his own writing, and learn to ballroom dance.
ER: What’s next for Samantha Grace? Can you tell us a little about your works-in-progress or an upcoming book?
THE BEST OF BOTH ROGUES, the third novel in my Rival Rogues series, will be released July 7th. It’s the story of a young lady who was left at the altar, and her former betrothed’s attempts to win her back. Ben Hillary has regretted his decision to leave England and Eve Thorne behind every day for the last two years. He returns home after receiving a letter that gives him false hope that he still has a chance with Eve. Instead, he discovers she is engaged when he crashes her betrothal ball. Eventually he convinces her fiancé to join forces with him to make her want to call off her wedding—the fiancé has his own reasons for needing out of the marriage and he doesn’t want to hurt Eve. But how does one make a lady cry off when she’s determined to make this marriage stick? I had several laughs with these two rogues and their antics, and I hope everyone enjoys the story as much as I enjoyed writing it. It’s not all fun and games, though. There are some heartwarming moments as well as a touch of suspense, which is what I love in a book.
1. Favorite color? Orange
2. Favorite animal? Chipmunks
3. Favorite vacation spot? Hawaii
4. Favorite food? Fish tacos
5. Least favorite food? Green peas
6. Favorite drink? Coffee
7. Favorite holiday? Christmas
8. Favorite sport? None
9. Favorite movie? Shawshank Redemption
10. Favorite time of day? Lunch!
Thanks again to Embracing Romance for inviting me to be a guest! To show my appreciation, I’d like to offer digital copies of KISSED BYA SCOTTISH ROGUE to 2 readers today. Just tell me something that’s on your bucket list. (A bucket list is a list of things you’d really like to do in your lifetime.)
Book blurb for KISSED BY A SCOTTISH ROGUE:
Fergus McTaggart, land steward of Aldmist Fell, has no time for wife hunting. Any day his employer’s long lost sisters will be arriving at the Scottish castle for a long overdue reunion, and Fergus is determined to make their stay memorable, especially for the youngest sister, who has him quite wrapped around her finger. But so far, all anyone is likely to recall are the loud rows between him and Edith Gallagher, his employer’s paid companion. A woman has never bested him, but he might have met his match in the cheeky Sassenach.
SHE THINKS HE NEEDS A GOOD KNOCK ON THE HEAD.
Edith has been charged with watching over her employer’s youngest sister and keeping her safe while the family winters at the remote estate, but a stubborn Scottish oaf and his harebrained ideas are making her job more nerve-wracking than it should be. After many heated quarrels over what is in the girl’s best interests, she and Mr. McTaggart call a temporary truce for the sisters’ sakes. Soon they realize their passionate battles have been masking their desire for one another, which is rather inconvenient since Edith can never be the woman Mr. McTaggart needs.
Buy Link: Samantha Grace Author
His mother turned on him to shake a finger in his direction. “Now you listen to me, Fergus McTaggart. I have been as patient with ye as any mother should be expected, but I cannae hold my tongue any longer. A man of three and thirty should have many a bairn by now.” She punched her fists to her hips, giving her scolding finger a rest. “Ye have a family line to carry on, and ye cannae do yer duty as long as ye run circles for Lady Thorne and her wee sister. God knows I love them both, but their wishes cannae come above yer responsibilities to yer family.”
“Nothing is interfering with my duties.” Fergus raked his fingers through his hair and growled under his breath. His mother hadn’t opposed him traveling to London with Helena to search for her sisters, but she’d been badgering him to find a nice lass and settle down ever since he’d come home. He had nothing against marriage or bairns, but he wouldn’t marry just any lass to make his mother happy. He had to find the right one, and his choices were limited in a small village where more than half the lasses were relatives. His luck might be improved in Inverness, but he was needed at Aldmist Fell until Lord and Lady Thorne returned to England after the new year.
“Can we no’ make it through Christmas first?” he said. “Mistress Gallagher and I have called a truce. Perhaps you and I can do the same. Once the Thornes leave, I will set my sights on courting a lass. I promise.”
His mother scowled. “I will hold ye to yer word. I expect ye to make me a grandma before Christmas next year.” She jostled past him and stomped back toward the kitchen.
He cursed softly. Glancing up, he discovered Mistress Gallagher standing at the end of the corridor. She was gripping her hands in front of her as if in prayer and looking any place but at him. “Forgive me,” she muttered. “I did not mean to eavesdrop.”
He shrugged, not concerned that she’d overheard anything. There were no secrets among the servants at Aldmist Fell. For that matter, there were no secrets among the McTaggarts. A clansman would be frustrated beyond reason if he expected any privacy. He came forward, noting how she fidgeted as he drew near. “I dinna mean to make you nervous, lass.”
She shook her head and dropped her hands at her sides. “You don’t, Mr. McTaggart.”
He stopped in front of her, feeling like a giant in comparison. Her wide eyes said she was lying, but he didn’t contradict her. “What can I do for you, mistress?”
More strands of hair had slipped from her knot and her dress was a bit rumpled from their afternoon of digging through trunks, but she couldn’t look prettier.
She licked her lips, leaving behind a slight sheen. “I—I wanted to apologize for running off earlier. It was rude, and I was afraid it might affect our truce.” Her soft blue gaze lifted to meet his and his heart tripped. “I liked not fighting with you this afternoon. I would not want to go back to old habits.”
She looked younger shifting from foot to foot—and innocent. She wasn’t, of course. Mistress Gallagher had lived in a brothel, and Fergus had searched enough of them in London looking for Helena’s sister to know one could not step a foot in such a place and maintain one’s innocence. Yet, there was no denying her vulnerability, and it called to his protective instincts. His arms ached to wrap around her and shield her from any man that would dare misuse her. Instead, he took a step back before he gave in to the urge and embarrassed them both. “I gave my word, Mistress Gallagher, and I willna break it.”
The lines between her brows disappeared and she offered a tentative smile. “I see. Well, it is good to know a man who keeps his word.”
He chuckled. “Have there been so few?”
She blinked; the small smile she’d granted him disappeared. “My father was an honest man.”
“Yes, honest ‘til the day he died. Then there is Lord Thorne, Lord St. Ambrose, and… No, not him.” Her gaze shifted toward the ceiling and her lips moved, as she seemed to be mentally sorting through all the men she had known in her lifetime. And not many were making it onto her good list.
His fist clenched against his thigh. He didn’t like to think of any man mistreating her. It made him want to pound his fist into something.
She looked at him again, her blue eyes a little warmer. “Then I met you.” Holding up her fingers, she counted. “One, two, three, four. I suppose that is a rather good number. Most of the girls at Madam Montgomery’s would say they’d never met even one honest man.”
He crossed his arms. “There are good men in this world, lass. It’s the blackguards that give us a bad name.”
“Not all of you, Mr. McTaggart.”