Name Sam Reese
Where are you from
Originally from McDonough, GA but currently residing in Kingston, TN
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I’m married and have been for ten years this year. I have no children but I do have two dogs, Gracie and Prissy, a cat named Freya, and a guinea pig named Bam Bam. Education-wise, I have a Master’s in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. I’m really terrible with biographical information, so I’ll just leave it at that to add to the mystique.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My book entitled “Immolation” is due out this summer from J. Ellington Ashton Press. I’m also working on a few novels and short stories, and I just ate dinner, so that’s pretty recent.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started when I was young, mostly because I wanted to write stories about me as a superhero. The first story I ever wrote was called, “The Big Dog” about a Godzilla-sized dachshund that walked on its hind legs. No one liked him, and he was sad, but then a space amoeba came and attacked the city, and only the dog could fight it off. He did, and everyone loved him. It was a classic of children’s literature I tell you.
Writing seriously, however, came later in life, probably about ten years ago. I read Stephen King’s “Bag of Bones”-my first King novel incidentally-and thought, “This is so amazing. I want to touch people with stories like this book has touched me.” So I started writing various stories and whatnot.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I don’t know that I ever thought about it. I guess it was when I read an interview with Mr. King in which he said, “Writer’s write.” I figured I must be a writer since I write.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Like I said, “Bag of Bones” influenced it quite a bit. However, I think any writer will tell you that writing a book is something of a spiritual thing. You’re something of a portal for these characters to tell their stories, and one day Lydia woke me up and told me to write her story. So I did.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I don’t know. I’ve been told I have the style of Lovecraft with the imagination of Neil Gaiman, as well as the talent of King coupled with the snarkiness of David Sedaris but, like all good writers I think I suck. No one else shares the sentiment so far, so maybe I should give myself another chance.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Well, Lydia controls fire, and the story talks about forgiveness versus vengeance, and which one ultimately wins out. So, I coupled fire with forgiveness-which in many religions requires sacrifice-and came up with “Immolation” which is a burnt offering to God or the Gods.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
If there is any message to the novel that I hope people get, it’s that darkness does not have to turn one dark. Power does not have to corrupt. I hope that people will understand that life is beautiful and horrible, but it’s often much more beautiful than we realize because we’re too focused on the horrible.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Well, it takes place in the “real world” though in a fictional town. Nothing is really unrealistic except perhaps Lydia’s powers, though I’m sure there are some who believe things like pyrokinesis exist. I tried to make it seem like something that could happen in your hometown to a girl who goes to the local high school.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Not really, although some of the characters are based on a hodgepodge of people I know and myself. Lydia and Michael are probably the duality that is me, but they contain other people I know as well.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life?
My three favorite books are “The Thief of Always” by Clive Barker, “Bag of Bones” by Stephen King, and “The Ultimate Evil” by Andrew Vachss. But so many books have influenced my life that a list of them would inevitably leave something important out. The best I can give you is those three, “Watchmen” by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, The Dark Knight Returns” by Frank Miller, “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman, and “The Vanishment” by Jonathan Aycliffe. And, lest I forget, the entire run of “Calvin and Hobbes” by Bill Watterson.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Probably Neil Gaiman. I don’t like all his work, but his wisdom and encouragement through his blog and interviews have kept me going when I was ready to quit.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I read something like ten books at a time. However, I’m currently focusing on “Rose and Steel” by Sharon L. Higa, “The Waste Lands” by Stephen King, and “Fragment” by Warren Fahy. Somewhere in the periphery I’m working through the second “Hunger Games” book, “The Dwarves” by Markus Heitz, and “Beowulf”.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Jim Goforth, author of “Plebs” has garnered my interest, though I haven’t read “Plebs” yet. Also, the aforementioned Sharon L. Higa has captured my attention as well. Otherwise, I don’t really pay attention to the “newness” of an author, mostly because I’m fairly oblivious to how long someone has been around unless it’s obvious.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m currently working on a haunted house story, a story about a human prince raised by dwarves with my friend Melissa, a series about twin sisters and their struggles with demons with my friend Amy Dees, and some short stories and such. I’m also potentially working on a comic book/graphic novel with my friend Jordan. We’ll see how that pans out. I’ve also got about 120 pages of a novel that is about a guy who meets an imp and his mute muse, teams up with Titania and Oberon of the Faerie Realm as well as the Norse Gods and the archangels Azrael and Raphael and fights against Lucifer and Loki for control of…well, I haven’t gotten that far yet.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I guess the staff at J. Ellington Ashton, as they were the first to not only publish me but were also the first people outside of family/friends who thought I wrote something worthwhile. It’s cool to know that people who don’t have to say they like your work actually do like your work.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I would like it to be, and I hope it can be something I’m successfully at. But if the only story that ever sees the light of day is “Immolation”, and it helps someone, then I would be content.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’d make it longer. But hey, you never know when a “Director’s Cut” will come out.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
As I said before, it was primarily just a desire to tell stories with me as a hero, then it morphed to telling stories to entertain and hopefully help people.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
“Immolation” is the story of Lydia Allison Cantrell, daughter of the wealthiest man in the small north Georgia town of Sherman’s March. Her family is loved and respected in town, but Lydia lives with the knowledge that for the past four years her father has been abusing her. Because of the abuse, Lydia has chosen to be an outcast and only has one friend, Michael. Everyone else is either scared of her because they think she’s some kind of freak or they mock her and bully her. As she turns fourteen, her powers of pyrokinesis begin growing in strength and Lydia realizes that she has the power to destroy all those who have hurt her.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Mostly just sitting down to write. I don’t get writer’s block really, I tend to get what I call writer’s pity, meaning that I think I suck and that everything I’ve ever written sucks. But once I sit down and write, it just kind of flows out of me.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I guess Stephen King. I like how he takes the everyday and makes it terrible, but still human.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I haven’t had to yet, but we’ll see.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Susan Simone started, but Michael “Fish” Fisher completed the gloriously creepy art that is the cover of “Immolation”.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Editing it the first time through. Trying to figure out what to cut and what to keep was like cutting off a finger. Okay, maybe not that bad, but it was tough. In the end, I cut what either didn’t work or what would need hundreds more pages of explanation to fit it in cohesively.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
That I could finish a novel. That’s quite an accomplishment, and one that I’m proud of. Another is that I can make myself cry with my writing. That was a surreal experience.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
The best advice I can give is to sit down and write. If it sucks, you can fix it in editing, but you can’t ever finish if you don’t start.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me a try as a writer. I hope I don’t let you down.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The first book I remember reading was some dinosaur book in Kindergarted. I read it our loud and was the first in my class to do so. My teacher was so thrilled that she took me around to other teachers and the Principal. I was pretty awesome if I do say so myself.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Reading, learning, and enjoying nature. Also, I’m big into the ancient Norse and their mythology.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
The Shield, Sons of Anarchy, Vikings, Psych, Star Trek/Wars, Sherlock, Predator, Aliens, crusty horror films. Really too many to list, but these are some of my favorites. I also like good horror, but the really bad ones make me laugh.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food: Steak and Macaroni and Cheese. Colors: Black, Blue, and Red. Music: Just about anything, but I really like metal. Bands like Extol, Demon Hunter, Marilyn Manson, Finntroll, Eluveitie, Slayer, Battlecross, etc. make me feel alive.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Been a vigilante. Good thing I chose writer, because I’d get killed my first night out on patrol.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I do. My blog is http://samueladamreese.wordpress.com/
My facebook is https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sam-Reese-Author-and-Adventurer/140116649427941?ref=hl