A Person of Interest: Sam Cheeve

Award-winning author Sam Cheever mixes in a little fun, a little magic, and a little real-life spice to create her sexy fictional characters in  Yesterday’s News. Sam’s fun-loving creations fight their way through a dizzying array of dangerous challenges without letting little things like dangerous bad guys, angry, manipulative gods, evil dark world denizens, or killing Furies dampen their zest for life and hot love!

In her real life, Sam lives on a hobby farm in Indiana with 11 dogs, 2 horses, 1 barn cat, and one husband. Not necessarily in that order. When asked why, why, why on the 11 dogs (yes, they all live in the house!), Sam simply shrugs and says she’s stupid. But what she really means to say is that she’s a dog-aholic. She of course can’t be blamed for her addiction. She is a victim. And along those lines, if anyone knows of a support group for this addiction please write Sam at samcheever@samcheever.com and fill her in.

Connect with Sam Cheever: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Chloe: As a decorator, I’m always interested in creative spaces. Tell me about your writing space. What about it inspires you? 

Sam: I love my office. It’s a warm and inviting room with hardwood floors and creamy yellow walls. My family had the covers from several of my early novels blown up into poster size and those are hanging on my office walls. I like having those covers up there to look at because it reminds me of how far I’ve come as an author and gives me inspiration for the journey ahead.

Chloe: So cozy. I love it. What aspect of writing do you consider your super power and what do you consider your kryptonite?

Sam: My superpower is definitely my characters. Many of my industry and reader reviews note how much they like my characters and the ease and familiarity of their interactions with each other.

My kryptonite would have to be social networking. I have so many stories bouncing around in my head I want to write that some days I really have to force myself to take a break from them and go be social. LOL

Chloe: If you could steal the muse of another writer, whose would you take?

Sam: Kresley Cole’s. She’s a phenomenal writer with a wonderfully witty and creative talent. I love her characters and the worlds she creates. I want to be her when I grow up and get big. #:0)

Chloe: If your life had a soundtrack, what artists would be on it?

Sam: Who Let the Dogs Out by Baha Men leaps to mind!

Chloe: And now we all have that song stuck in our heads. Change of subject: Do you know “whodunit” before you start your book, or do you have to follow the clues along with the rest of us?

Sam: I figure that out as I go along. When I start the book I have a very high level idea where I want it to go, but sometimes the bad guy isn’t one of my initial characters so occasionally I discover him or her as I write. That Eureka! moment is always fun.

Chloe: What were the first mystery series you fell in love with?

Sam: I’ve been a mystery reader since I was a kid. I used to love the Nancy Drew and Boxcar Children mystery books. As I got older I consumed Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes books and loved Murder She Wrote on TV and Hercule Poirot movies.

Chloe: How do you market your books? What’s been your most effective tactic and what do you consider a necessary evil.

Sam: Ah, marketing. The age old question. The absolute truth is that I have no idea what works. Mostly what I do is just get out there and visit with people. I do this through social networking and blogging. Early in my career I bought a lot of ads on popular book sites but I don’t think that really did anything except deplete my bank account. I also used to post a lot on Yahoo sites, but those loops are so saturated with authors hawking their wares that I think many readers have tuned out.

In the end it’s all about discoverability. Authors need to find some way to rise up out of a sea of hopeful writers and get in front of readers. For that reason, I think of all the things I do the blogging is the most effective. While the payoff isn’t short-term or directly traceable, just getting my name and strange personality out there so people can get to know me is the best thing I can do.

Chloe: You also write under the pen name Declan Sands. How do you market for two distinct authors/genres?

Sam: Managing two distinct personalities can be a challenge. It’s hardest at the onset, when you have to set up two of everything. LOL But once I had my platforms created it was really just a matter of cross-posting all of the blogging/tweeting/facebooking I do between my two personalities. Sam came first so she’s the dominant personality. I basically treat Declan as an online friend, putting everything she does out there for my other friends to view and promoting her as much as possible. In that way I can use the extensive platform I’ve developed as Sam to help Declan grow.

Chloe: Tell me a guilty pleasure you can’t live without. (Spoiler alert, mine is chai.)

Sam: Aside from my family, the answer would have to be my dogs. (I was going to give you a food but there would have been too many things on the list. LOL) My dogs are as necessary to me as breathing. I can’t imagine life without them. And, while some days I’d give an ounce of gold just to be able to walk through a room without falling over a furry friend or stepping on a sharp dog toy, I wouldn’t trade a minute of my life with them for anything in the world.

Chloe: Yes, you have quite the menagerie at your home in Indiana. Tell us about it.

Sam: I own 13 dogs. They all live inside my house and half of them sleep on the bed with us at night. My days are filled with such exciting and glamorous tasks as cleaning up vomit, snagging fur tumbleweeds off the floor, and wiping eye-boogies from sweet, brown eyes. Sound glamorous? Why oh why, you ask? My husband and I LOVE dogs. We rescue dogs who have had a rough start or which are heading for an even rougher end and give them loving, comfortable forever homes. The hard part for us isn’t deciding to adopt a new fur baby, it’s NOT taking in every one we see!

Having dogs is fascinating on many levels. Believe it or not, I learn a lot about people from watching my dogs. Dogs have the whole “interacting in a society” thing down at its most basic level.

I also have two horses which I mostly just clean up after and feed. I keep telling myself I’ll get back to riding someday, when my life gets less busy. Har!

If you’re interested in visiting my crazy world, here’s a little video I put together (Ignore the typo at the end. I really need to fix that someday!), which stars Wally, the adorable little fuzzy man who shares my bio picture:

 

Chloe: Who was the first champion of your writing and how did that make you feel?

Sam: My husband. He hasn’t read a lot of my stuff but he did read one of my earlier books that was kind of a slap-stick romance and when he laughed and said it was really good it made me very happy. I don’t encourage him to read a lot of my stuff because if he didn’t like the books I would be devastated. And he doesn’t read much for pleasure so having him read that book was kind of exceptional to start with.

He’s always supported my dream to be a writer. He’s always believed that I was destined for literary greatness and he’s never wavered in that support. I’ll always appreciate and love him for that.

Chloe: What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome to establish yourself as a writer?

Sam: Inertia. I spent the first several years telling myself it was just a hobby. So I didn’t really try to get anything published until about ten years ago. I wasted so much time by not believing in my writing enough to put it out there.

Chloe: Several of your books have paranormal elements. Ever had a brush with the spirit world yourself?

Sam: My daughter talks to ghosts all the time. Mostly when she’s sleepwalking, but that counts, right? LOL Actually, I’m pretty sure we were once haunted by a ghost who had a thing for electricity.

We lived in New Hampshire when the kids were small. The house we lived in was new but there were rumors (after we bought the house of course) about an Indian burial ground or some such. Probably just the neighbors tweaking us, but you never know. #:0) Whatever the reason, whenever my husband was out of town on business strange things, electrically speaking, would happen. The smoke alarms would go off at Midnight for no apparent reason. The doorbell would just start ringing…by itself…in the middle of the day. Half the lights and switches in a room would stop working, although the entire room was on the same circuit. (The electrician just stood in the middle of the room scratching his head. #:0)

We had a cat at that time and he basically hid for the entire couple of years we lived in that house. When we moved he suddenly emerged from the shadows. That was proof enough for me that we’d had a ghost. I really believe animals are sensitive to things like that.

Regardless of whether we had a ghost, I find the idea of spiritual things endlessly fascinating. I guess I’m drawn to the paranormal because of the possibilities. If there’s another realm which we can’t see, which only occasionally passes through our sphere, what else could be out there? How much more interesting could life be? I love the what ifs!

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