Today I have a treat for you on the blog: indie author Samantha Seestrom! Samantha is a lover of mermaids, and this adamantly shows up in her books. Speaking of which, I can’t wait to get my hands on them! Hope you enjoy the interview with this wonderful lady!
Hi Samantha! It’s so nice to have you on the blog today!
S: Thank you so much for having me!
When did you first decide you wanted to write? Was it your first career choice or were you planning on doing something else?
S: I often times would write little stories as a kid. I’d hide them away from my parents and I never voiced my love for creating stories. When I was a freshman in high school I realized my imagination was a very big piece of who I was as a person. I began so many novel ideas and never finished them! By the time I was a senior I was working on my first novel which is now Surrender Your Soul.
So long story short, I decided when I was seventeen I wanted to pursue writing. I didn’t decide it as a career though. I never imagined actually publishing a book!
When did you first publish? Was self-publishing always in the cards or did you try to go the traditional route first?
S: I published Surrender Your Soul in 2017 when I was twenty-two.
I think I felt really pressured by society in thinking that if I self-published I was a failure. So, of course, I did pursue the traditional route first. I researched agents who were interested in fantasy and young adult literature. I queried to every single one that I could find that matched what I was presenting in my novel. It was about a two-year process. A lot of agents were interested in my writing style and told me to query them with another project, some agents didn’t give me any answer, a few gave me constructive criticism. There were even a couple of agents who weren’t looking for mermaids but were more interested in a vampire novel. I knew rejection was a part of the process and I was going to receive a lot of rejections, but I can’t lie and say it wasn’t discouraging.
So once I decided I wanted to take my dream into my own hands, I was fully on board with self-publishing. I had met a wonderful author who had self-published and she was amazing! Leigh mentored me through the entire process and even became my editor.
Did you enjoy your first self-publishing experience?
S: I did, yes! It was stressful and I had a few minor panic attacks, but the whole process was new to me. I was also worried about people not wanting to read my novel or worse…hating it! Again, I was so lucky to have my friend Leigh through the process.
You have two books currently out, is that correct? Tell us what they’re about!
S: Oh my goodness, put me on the spot! No, I’m kidding. 😉
Basically my first novel is a modern-day Little Mermaid story. I’ve always loved fairytale retellings/modern-day fairytales. Ariel has always been my favorite princess. I’ve always been a huge fan of the Little Mermaid, so I definitely wanted to put a modern spin on the Disney classic. I can’t say that my book is for the hopeless romantic. My plot has a lot of darkness to it. The original story written by Hans Christian Andersen was very dark. Anyone who has read his work knows it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. I pulled from his darkness and transferred it to my story.
My main character is named Marina. Marina is a seventeen year old mermaid, who happens to be a descendant of royalty. She collect souls for her adoptive mother’s consumption. Cordelia, empress of the sea and Marina’s adoptive mother, draws her power from consuming human souls. So one night, when Marina’s out collecting souls, she ends up saving a human boy named Beck. She doesn’t save him because she loves him or is attracted to him. She saves him because it’s the right thing to do. When Cordelia finds out about this betrayal, the sea empress shifts Marina into a human and gives her three days to kill and collect Beck’s soul. If she fails, Marina will be enslaved into Cordelia’s army of pets/slaves. My novel is definitely not a typical love story!
I don’t want to spoil Ashes of the Sea, but the plot continues on with the consequences of Marina‘s decisions from the first book. Did she kill Beck to protect herself or did she sacrifice her freedom to save an innocent human?
I will say there is a sexy Australian prince in the second book. He became a quick fan-favorite, which I wasn’t entirely expecting!
Are you working on any other projects right now? Can you tell us about them, or would you rather keep them private? 😉
S: First of all, I’m ALWAYS working on something. A story is constantly playing out in my head.
So I’m currently writing the third book (Blood in the Sand) in my mermaid series. This will be the final chapter in Marina’s story! I’m so excited because there is so much happening in this novel! I’m also stressing because I’ve grown a small fan base and they’re wanting more! This is amazing, but I also want the book to tie up every loose end. I’m taking my time and attempting to ensure I cover everything.
I would love to write a stand-alone fourth novel which will follow one of the characters about a decade later. I’ve been busy thinking about this adventure as I try to focus all attention on Blood in the Sand. It’s a struggle.
Off the topic of mermaids, I have started a romance novel on the side! I love science fiction and fantasy, so it’ll have a sprinkle of all that in the novel.
I’m excited for the future!
What inspires you to write?
S: Two things inspire me. The characters in my head and my readers!
As I said before, I always have a story in my head! My characters are itching to get out.
My readers are amazing! I keep writing because I love to tell stories. It makes me extremely happy when someone enjoys the adventures I’ve created.
Who are some authors that inspire you to become a better writer?
S: Kiera Cass is one author who inspires me every day. She originally self-published her first novel and then wrote the wildly popular series The Selection. I strive to be like her.
Diana Gabaldon is amazing. Her Outlander series is incredibly descriptive. I feel as though I’m in the story. I devour her words!
Do you have a favorite character you’ve written thus far?
S: Speaking of that sexy Australian prince… 😉
Aquarius is my absolute favorite to write. I don’t write from his point of view like I do with Marina and Beck, but he’s so much fun. He’s flirty, cocky, romantic, and AUSTRALIAN. I get to use Aussie slang and I only hope I’m writing it correctly. It’s really hard writing a character who has such a distinct accent. I hope the readers can imagine his accent with the way I present him in dialogue.
What is the hardest part about writing for you?
S: My boyfriend says “doing the actual writing.” Haha!
I mean… he’s not wrong. If I don’t have a clear picture, I get stuck! I’m all about plotting! Of course, I leave room for my creativity to flow as I write, but I need direction in my life. As of right now, Blood in the Sand is flowing! I have the full picture and nothing can stop me!
How would you describe your writing style?
S: I’ve been told unique… I never thought I was different until I really began to compare myself to other writers.
I write in present tense and in first person. I am the character; The character is me. This limits what the story tells the reader, but I love writing this way!
Do you have a favorite snack or drink you enjoy while writing?
S: I usually always have water with me, although I’m a sucker for a Cherry Coke every once in a while. On a cold Minnesota winter you can find me writing with a mug of hot chocolate!
Food wise, I try to avoid it while writing. I can’t resist dark chocolate. If it’s in my office, I’ll eat it. I try to keep the candy away from my desk.
Just because I’d like to include it for readers’ purposes, what would you say your target audience is for your books? Is there any content I should warn readers about?
S: This has always been a little tricky for me since my characters grow from their teens to adults over the series.
Surrender Your Soul is targeted for 13 and up. I labeled it as YA fantasy. With that said, I’ve had people from age 10-80 read my novels and they’ve loved them all the same.
Personally, I don’t think my content is inappropriate. SYS has a few passionate moments, a couple of colorful words, and a lot of killing, but nothing you wouldn’t see on cable nowadays.
Ashes of the Sea touches on more adult oriented subjects, and I didn’t label it YA. Many teens have read AotS and its content hasn’t been an issue. Again, the sexual scenes are subtle and non-descriptive. I hope I’ve written them tastefully!
Blood in the Sand (Book 3) will be written the same with subtle sexual scenes. There is one F-bomb. I felt it was necessary to the scene and the dialogue. One thing I believe in while writing is REAL dialogue.
What is some advice you can give aspiring authors out there that you wish you had known when you began your writing and publishing journey?
S: Don’t be afraid to self-publish! I know it seems intimidating, but I feel it’s a great way to start and it’s a way to build your writing history. Self-publishing is a way for you to take control of your dreams and you can build a fan base from there.
What do you consider your definition of success, as an author? Have you reached it yet or are you still in the process of obtaining it?
S: To me, success means being someone’s favorite author. I absolutely have reached success. All I’ve ever wanted is for someone to read my novel and love it as much as I do! I have readers coming to me daily, whether it be in person or online, and tell me how much they enjoyed my books! It makes my heart happy.
A huge thanks again to Samantha for letting me interview her! If you’re interested in following her on social media or checking out her books, the links are below!
Samantha Seestrom has written and published two novels (Surrender Your Soul, Ashes of the Sea) and is currently working on her third book in her mermaid adventure series titled Blood in the Sand.
When she’s not writing, you can find her working with her preschoolers as she uses her imagination to help them learn. Samantha lives in Minnesota, but is always dreaming of the ocean. She’s an avid lover of mermaids, Australian accents, and Josh Hutcherson.
Official Author Website: