Getting to Know You
Tell us about yourself. How did you start writing and getting published?
- I’ve loved writing since I was a young girl and have always had a vivid imagination. I would come home from school and give my mom the most elaborate stories about my day when she would ask, mixed in with things she knew hadn’t happened. I wrote a lot of poetry in middle and high school but didn’t attempt to write a book until I was in college. After several attempts and throwing crumpled balls of paper against the wall, I thought I didn’t have it in me. Fast forward to 2018 and suddenly I had this continuous dialogue in my head that wouldn’t go away. It was so frustrating that I decided to write it down and figured it would stop after that. Next thing I knew, I had written a full paragraph. Then a chapter. Then an entire book! The words flowed out of me quicker than I could write them.
I put the book on hold after I finished it in October and didn’t pick it up again until the following year. I had 2 under 2 at the time, was working a full time job, and things had gotten crazy. I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to do anything with this book but after my sister pushed me to go after my dream, I did one final rewrite (completely rewrote the book THREE times) in January of 2020 and self-published it in May. It was the best thing that I’ve ever pushed myself to do and I’m so proud that I didn’t give up when I wanted to.
Why did you decide to be a romance writer? What do you think makes writing romance so enjoyable compared to other genres?
- I’ve read romance novels for so long that I knew that’s where my heart was. However, while the original dialogue that started my career was a love scene, I found that I really enjoyed writing romantic suspense which was something that I would have never guessed. I have written a handful of romantic suspense books as well as a few romantic comedies and honestly, I love both! However, sometimes I forget that I can’t just run off and kill someone when I’m writing a romcom and that can get frustrating. I may or may not have a problem…
Do you think writing was a natural talent you had or was it a skill you developed over time? Do you have advice for people who want to be writers but don’t have any writing experience?
- I think for me, it was a natural talent that I needed to work on developing. I’ve always been a story teller, I just needed a little bit of structure and guidance to get me to the point where I could put in into a story that people would enjoy. The best advice that I can offer is to try. You will never know unless you try. Be ready to ask for feedback from people who you trust will be honest with you. I begged my friends to be brutally honest with me and I’m so thankful that they were. I wouldn’t have benefited from them telling me what they thought I wanted to hear. Being an author requires you to have some thick skin because you’re going to get criticism every step of the way. It’s all in what you do with that feedback and criticism.
How do you like to spend your non-writing days?
- I have two little ones, a 3 year old and a 2 year old so my days are typically spent chasing them around and playing whatever they want to play. When I have some downtime for myself, you can usually find me watching reruns of Friends, painting, knitting, or reading. I also love lounging around in my parent’s swimming pool to beat the summer heat which can get brutal here in the desert.
Your Work and Life as a Writer
You write different kinds of romance, from heavy themes to fun, lighthearted novellas. What attracts you to these kinds of stories?
- Honestly, the stories I’ve written have all presented themselves to me. It sounds weird to most people, but I don’t struggle to write them or get writer’s block. There’s this constant flow of ideas in my head and sometimes I have a few books going at the same time. I have notes on each book to keep the details straight, especially for the characters, but I don’t do any plotting or try to organize the books. I’ve never read much romantic suspense so it really surprised me when my debut novel turned into one. I hate scary movies so it felt writing things that were scary… go figure! There’s this energy that flows through me when I’m working on a suspense novel and that’s what keeps drawing me back to writing more.
Can you describe your characterization process? How do you flesh out each character? Do you sometimes find yourself at odds with your own creations?
- Characters can be so tricky! There have been plenty of times where I’ve broken up with one of the guys in my books because they don’t act right. Trevor—you know what you did… I really try to find things that make the characters relatable- insecurities, imperfections—things that I want to see in romance novels. Just like the book itself, the characters talk to me as well. I get a good sense for what each character is going to be like, and sometimes their story gets put on hold until they’re ready to show me who they really are. I’ve created some really wonderful characters and then I’ve also created some really awesome villains. I guess it works out in my favor with the suspense, but I’ve gotten a few messages from people cursing me out about how terrible the villain is.
One thing that I like to do as well is create themed gifts for each book, so I try to make sure that the characters have something that’s unique to them, or that there’s something in the story that really pulls people in. It might be a favorite candy, a tv show they watch a lot, a catch-phrase—anything that speaks to that character.
When it comes to storytelling, do you prefer a plot-driven approach or character-driven one?
- I personally prefer the plot-driven approach. I think the plot should be phenomenal with characters to enhance it. The characters can be the best that I’ve ever written but if the plot is lacking then the book itself is a disappointment.
What was the best review you have received? How do you deal with negative feedback?
- My best review that I have received so far was from Amanda at The Litt Buzz on Five Steps Ahead. I loved that she included some feedback on the areas where the book was lacking because that really is important to me as an author, especially since I’ll be writing the second book in this series later this year. You can read the review here https://www.thelitbuzz.com/2021/02/five-steps-ahead-by-samantha-baca/Negative feedback is hard to receive, but there’s no way around it. I have 2 alpha readers who read the book as I write and they give me feedback on the plot and story in general. I then pass it along to my beta readers for feedback on the story before I send it off for editing. There are a lot of eyes on each book and we try to make sure that we catch everything so there are no plot issues or under developed characters but there will still always be someone who doesn’t like your book. And you know what? That’s OKAY! I’ve yet to find a book that has had zero negative feedback so I try to let it roll off my shoulders and keep writing the books that my readers want to see.
What are you currently working on?
- I recently finished my contribution to the Cocky Hero Club, Cocky Counsel, and am waiting for my beta readers to finish it. After that, I’ll work on edits before sending it off to the editor. In the meantime, I recently started the final book in my Haven Brook series. It doesn’t have a title yet but I’m already head over heels in love with Wyatt. I can’t wait for this book to be written because I’m anxious to tell his story, but I also don’t want the series to end. It’s bittersweet but I know that there are so many new worlds for me to create with new series.
Something Extra for Your Fans
Which of your characters would you consider dating?
- Hands down, Noah from The Cradle Will Fall. He’s fun, flirty, and has a dirty mouth that makes me melt. Plus he’s the sweetest, most genuine character I’ve written.
How many cups of coffee do you drink in one day?
- I would venture to say at least 2-3, minimum. Some days require more than others because, well, toddlers…
True or False: Ross cheated on Rachel
- TRUE! And I’m still not over it…
City or countryside?
- City, but really I love both!
What’s your hidden talent?
- I’ve recently taught myself how to knit and have made a few full size blankets! Aside from that, I’ve also had a side business doing boudoir photography, and I used to make soap and etch wine glasses. I have a handful of hobbies!
Describe the perfect date.
- We don’t get to do it as often, but I love playing video games with my husband. We used to go to a nice dinner, then come home and throw on some sweats and stay up all hours of the night playing video games together. I am the reigning queen of Tetris in our house.
Connect with Samantha:
Facebook Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2945710968775398
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/g0NcSj❣️Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Samantha-Baca/e/B087V4Z9Z6