Posted on September 15, 2020 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Today we're interviewing author Sam Cheever.
The USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author writes mystery and suspense, creating stories that draw you in and keep you eagerly turning pages.
Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Cheever is the award-winning author of eighty-plus books.
SADYE: Tell us something about your writing process that’s unusual or that you haven’t revealed before.
SAM: I’m guessing many readers envision mystery writers carefully planning out each clue, every red herring, and each plot point. Filling up a wall-sized chalkboard with intricate plot lines, character photos and stickies.
I don’t do that. One of the comments I get a lot from readers is that my storylines are unique, with lots of surprises. I’ve discovered that the best way to write mysteries with surprising twists, is to surprise myself as I’m writing.
Of course I have a loose idea of the beginning, middle and ending, but I discover the mystery as I go along. This process all but ensures the reader will be surprised too.
Sometimes I don’t even know the villain until the last couple of chapters! It makes the whole process of story writing more fun for me — and hopefully for the reader too.
SADYE: What have been the most surprising, rewarding, and challenging parts of your writing career?
SAM: Hands down, the most rewarding and challenging thing has been the process of indie publishing my work.
When I started out as an author, I never expected to become my own publisher. The publishing industry has changed considerably since I started out.
I survived the experience of having my work published by several well-meaning but inflexible presses, all the while lamenting my lack of control over every aspect of the process.
Breaking up with those presses was much like ditching a boyfriend you’ve outgrown: “It’s not you, really. It’s me.” It’s possible that I might be a bit of a control freak.
Free at last, I gratefully embraced the concept of indie publishing.
Being my own publisher requires me to wear many hats. I control everything in my business, from story concept to writing, to sales and marketing, and hopefully, to bestseller status.
I’ve failed and succeeded multiple times along the way, learning gobs of useful stuff as I went. And, in an industry that continues to change almost daily, it’s a challenge which I’ve continued to embrace.
Because, well, it’s also possible I love a good challenge. I’m kind of a freak that way.
SADYE: What has been the most touching or memorable piece of reader feedback you’ve received?
SAM: The following is without a doubt the most touching response I’ve ever received from a reader:
"You have that essential je ne sais quoi that it takes to tell a story so mesmerizing you cannot stop reading once started. You are not telling stories to your readers … you are taking them with you on your adventures so that the experience can be shared by all as it happens and not simply replayed like a memory on the page of a diary! You are indeed gifted and it is my pleasure to read your books!"
SADYE: What message or theme would you like readers to take away from your work?
SAM: First and foremost, my goal with every book is to entertain.
My books won’t change the world, but they’ll hopefully make your day a little bit brighter and bring you back for more.
I write the kind of stuff I like to read, and I crave action in the books I read, as well as humor and warm fuzzies.
Real life is hard. Real life is filled with challenges. Entertainment should be effortless and fun.
And by the time you reach the end of a great novel, you should feel like you’ve spent time with awesome new friends, and look forward to doing it again!
SADYE: What advice, as relates to your writing career, would you give your younger self?
SAM: I’d tell young me to take some marketing classes in college! Many indie authors today are taking full advantage of their sales and marketing educations.
I focused on an English/writing curriculum in college, and that’s been good for the writing end of my business, but left me initially flailing around trying to figure out the best ways to get my books in front of potential readers.
Also, I would have reminded myself that writing and publishing aren’t just a fun diversion for a busy mother and housewife. It’s a a business.
Which not only means acting like a professional at all times, but it also means doing the ugly stuff, like researching markets and crunching data. Ugh!
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Categories: Author Interview