Oh yeah! I'm buzzing with today's guest! We chat books, writing, publishing, and other important stuff!
Check it out...
Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK and studied German and French at university. She has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris, and has travelled widely.
When not writing she loves family time, reading and baking. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women's magazines.
In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins and in 2014 her bestselling debut, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction Best Ebook Award.
In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category.
In 2019 she was shortlisted for the RNA’s Romantic Comedy Award.
In 2020 she won the RNA’s Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller Award with her novel Knowing You, from publisher Canelo.
Sometimes the best holidays are the ones you least expect...
After a long and turbulent year, Sarah is dreaming of the five-star getaway her sister has booked them on. White sands, cocktails, massages, the Caribbean is calling to them.
But the sisters turn up to tatty beaches, basic wooden shacks, a compost toilet and outdoor cold water showers. It turns out that at the last minute Amy decided a conservation project would be much more fun than a luxury resort.
So now Sarah's battling mosquitos, trying to stomach fish soup and praying for a swift escape. Life on a desert island though isn't all doom and gloom. They're at one with nature, learning about each other and making new friends. And Sarah is distracted by the dishy, yet incredibly moody, island leader she's sure is hiding a secret.
Who are you and what do you write?
My name is Samantha Tonge and I write contemporary romance fiction and women’s fiction.
Where and when and how did the writing life begin for you?
I always knew one day I would write. I was a voracious reader as a child and loved making up stories in my head, before going to sleep. I dabbled with a writing idea in my 20s but didn’t seriously attempt my first novel until my late 30s, in 2005 and joined an online writing forum that taught me so much. In 2013 I finally got my first deal and have had 13 books published since then.
How has the journey to this point been? Can you give us a basic rundown?
I wrote five novels before getting my first book published in 2013. Submitting and getting rejections was a disheartening process, so I started to write short stories for women’s fiction magazines at the same time – I sold almost 100 – and this really boosted my confidence. I’m grateful for the career I’ve had so far, with two novels reaching the Amazon Kindle Top Ten and I have also won two awards, which was very exciting, and had some books translated for sale abroad.
What's been the hardest part of your writing/publishing experience so far? And the most enjoyable?
It’s a rollercoaster career and the lows can be very low – bad reviews, poor sales. Equally the highs can be amazing. The hardest thing is continuing to believe in yourself when the going gets tough and if you depend on your writing income, like I do, this makes everything worse. The most enjoyable part is interaction with people who’ve read your books and loved them. This makes all the sweat and tears worthwhile. One of my books inspired a reader to follow her dream and move abroad. Another helped a reader seek treatment for a mental health problem. It means a great deal to feel, in some small way, I am making a difference.
Would you go back and change anything?
No. The years of rejection prepared me for any bad reviews I get and during that time my writing really improved. I went through a hard time in 2016 with my mental health, partly because my career had had some ups and downs – so if I’d change anything, it would be to go back and tell myself that my career doesn’t define me. However I’m very much a believer in everything happening for a reason, and the difficult times I’ve been through have brought me to the more contented place I’m at today.
Where would you like to be in 5 years time? And 10?
I don’t think that far ahead. My mental health has improved tenfold by living one day at a time. My agent and I might plan for the next year or two ahead, but that is as far as we go. Who knows what the future will hold – I’m excited to find out but I’m not going to set myself any expectations.
What's one piece of advice you'd give to new writers just starting out?
Believe in yourself AS A PERSON. Writing is a passion but it’s not who you are and if a book is rejected, it’s not a rejection of YOU or a statement about you as a person. It simply means you’ve got more to learn about your craft or that you haven’t found the right agent/editor yet.
And most importantly...
Ketchup or Mayo? Mayo
Night or Day? Day
Inside or Outside? Ooh. That’s a hard one. Outside but not at night!
Dogs or Cats? Cats all the way
Twitter or Facebook? Twitter
e-book or Paperback? Both! I go through phases
Sun or Rain? Sun
Keyboard or Pencil & Notebook? I do love a pretty notebook and have far too many
Comedy or Drama? Comedy. I’m addicted to Schitt’s Creek and Grace and Frankie on Netflix
Chips or Chocolate? Chocolate
Want to guest blog or be interviewed? Got a cover reveal or book coming out?
Get in touch today!