Indie or Traditionally published? - Tell us how this works for you…
Indie all the way. I’ve read horror stories about authors who have gone through traditional publishers who have broken their hearts with the limitations imposed on the author, along with all of the money they make from the author’s hard work. I’m a total control freak, and I want a say in my career--plus, I have a fantastic team I trust, so I’m not missing anything. *waves* Hi Arden! Hi Beau! Hi Mildred! Hi Elena!
Plot or Pants? Do you pre-plot your books, use an outline, fly by the seat of your pants or some combination of things? How do you keep track of characters in a series? Do you keep a journal of your characters’ statistics, such as hair and eye color, relatives, hometown, etc.
Oh, when I began my writing career, I’d close my eyes and soar by the seat of my pants as high as I could go. As you can imagine, those first drafts were huge messes--they didn’t make sense at all! I finally figured out I had to put some thought into it ahead of time. I can’t plot worth a damn, but I try to go into a story with an ending in mind. I take whatever route the characters decide, but I know where I want to arrive at the end.
Every story gets a character synopsis--deets about physical attributes, age, pertinent information about the character, and relationship to other characters. It’s a mess I think only I could figure out, but it helps me, believe it or not! I refer back to it constantly. It’s like a life raft for me..
Tell us about your first… published M/M fiction/romance
My first published M/M fiction/romance is book 1 in a series--not too cocky starting out with a series, right! It’s called “Loving the Bullrider,” And, I still love the book, but I pulled it from sale. I had some friends from FictionPress who loved the story, and they read it and reviewed it. The learning curve back then was like Kilimanjaro for me, but I figured out based on the few reviews it got that the story was a hot mess! I still love the story, though. Maybe someday I’ll go back and rewrite it...and then your most recent one…
Men of Memphis Blues” series--”Dori & Sonny.” It’s my first Daddy/boy story, and it’s about a team owner and his head coach, who have a history from when the owner was in his teen years. I love the story and the characters so much. (Check out our review)
(Since Sam's first book is out of print, I'm going to go ahead and use my incredible interviewer powers to let you know that since she sat down for this interview, The Secrets We Whisper to the Bees has released. It's a re-release of an amazing story and you can get all the details here in our review.)
Do you write full time or part-time?
Full-time writer here! I didn’t come to it the way most have--working a full-time job and writing part-time. When our daughter started high school, I had been working as a paralegal at a law firm. Special K--hubs--and I decided we’d sacrifice my salary so I could be home with our daughter after school since she was too old to go to an afterschool program, and we never looked back.Where do you write? Do you have a routine?
I had to find something to do with the hours between my daughter going to school and me picking her up, and I had developed a huge fanfiction addiction, so I decided to try my hand at it. I then began writing my own fanfiction and branched out from there. I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything in the world.
Now that my husband has retired and my author life has become more organized, I have two places I work in my house--one in the family room, and one in my office. I do admin/promo work in the morning and afternoon, and I write in the evenings--though I may sit down at a laptop to get something down when an idea hits.
What are your writing goals for the next year? The future?
I’ve planned out next year, and I’m going to be busy reworking some old stories that got no interest when I first put them out. Back then, I had no idea the importance of an editor and a proofer, plus the need for eye-catching covers, so between releases of next books in established series, I’ll be working on a few previous releases, but I’ll change the names and edit/proof/re-cover them. I’ll let you know the schedule!
What else do you want us to know about you?
I’m not a member of the LGBTQ+ community, but I’m a hardcore ally. I embrace everyone under the rainbow with my whole heart. I have friends and family who are precious members of it, and I want to support them in every way I can.
They certainly deserve to love who they love, live their life the way they want to live it, and be equal to everyone else on this planet. I hope my support for the community comes forth in my writing because I believe the more we put their stories out there and the bigger audience we can reach, the more support we can give them to achieve all of our dreams… Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, just like everyone else.
What is the funniest scene you’ve written?
Good one! In “Weighting for Laughter,” the second book in my pansexual cowboy series, there’s a scene where four men--some straight and some not--have to give a baby girl a bath while her mother is Christmas shopping. It made me laugh out loud as I wrote it.
One character, Cal, asked the men, “It took four of you to give one little girl a bath?” Cal is a seventeen-year-old character who has his own past, but the fact that those men made such a mess while trying to bathe one little girl made me cackle!
What’s the hardest part about writing?
Marketing and promotion! The easiest thing to me about writing a book is the actual writing! Everything after I make the final edits on it is hard for me. Marketing is as perplexing to me as String Theory, and figuring out the mix of promo that works best is like learning the periodic table. I’ve been fortunate to find wonderful people to assist me with my weaknesses because I accepted a long time ago that there are things I’m crap at doing!
Who’s your biggest supporter/cheerleader?
I’m fortunate enough to say I have a few!
My husband--Special K--and my daughter--Sweet A--are my supporters, and for that I appreciate and love them.
My PA, Arden O’Keefe, is my rock. He talks me out of sour moods, nurses me through bad reviews, and offers pep talks when I need them. Without him I’m not sure if I’d have come this far or have even continued to write.
My editor, the amazing Beau LeFebvre, has saved my biscuits when he’s editing my books more times than I’d like to say. He’s so sweet to write these incredible supportive notes when he edits and tells me when he finds things funny or when a character pisses him off. He challenges me when things aren’t clear or when I’m telling and not showing, and I couldn’t begin to thank him enough for his talent and friendship.
My proofer, the incredible eagle-eye Mildred Jordan catches the slightest thing I miss, and I greatly appreciate her talents.
Finally, I have a loyal tribe who are there to support and cheerlead for me, my readers!! My appreciation for them knows no bounds!
Where do you find inspiration?
That’s one of the best surprises I find as a writer. I didn’t really notice it until recently when Special K and I were hanging out with his sister and her husband. We were out for dinner one night, and I spotted a younger guy pushing a wheelchair where a gorgeous Daddy-type was sitting.
Young guy pushed Daddy up to the table and as he started to step around and take a seat, Daddy took his hand and kissed the top of it. The younger guy’s face lit up with love and joy--or so I told my brother-in-law as I watched the couple together. I don’t know if they were family or lovers, but in my mind, they were in love. My brother-in-law chuckled. “You’re writing a book right now, aren’t you?” There was no judgment in his voice at all, just surprise at the peek inside my crazy mind! That’s how I find my inspiration.
What do you do if you hit a wall while writing? How do you combat writer’s block?
Writer’s block is a vindictive demon a$$hat that does its best to squash creativity, so I try not to give it any space in my head. If I run out of ideas when I’m writing a story, I take a step back from it and write something else. I look up writer’s prompts and write something from those, or I go make edits on another book or I read. Even if what I write ends up being crap, I try my best to write something every day. It’s like working a muscle--it constantly needs to be flexed.
What do your friends and family think of what you write; do they know?
That’s so funny! My extended family knows what I write, but a few of them don’t understand why I don’t write “something normal.” I ignore them because I love what I write, but I remind myself constantly about how my LGBTQ+ friends must feel when they share their deepest secret with their family and hear “why can’t you just be normal” from those they love who are supposed to love them in return.
I wish I could wrap my arms around all of them and offer them a safe place to be themselves. I argue with my family about why they feel so threatened by my books--”What does it matter to you who loves whom?”
I certainly am not equating what my family thinks about my books to what LGBTQ+ people go through. That would be very ignorant and arrogant of me, but I hope maybe someone will pick up one of my books and open their minds just a crack to the idea that love is love in whatever form it takes.
How can we connect with you?
Well, the easiest way to find me is here: https://linktr.ee/SamE.Kraemer. I hope I hear from you!
Thank you, Heather, for the opportunity to tell everyone a little about myself. I’m so grateful for the chance to reach out!