Interview with Samaire Provost

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Samaire Provost is the author of The Mad World series. Her newest book, Sanctuary, released on August 30, 2012. Samaire Provost lives in California with her husband and son. Her love of paranormal stories, odd plots, and unique tales as well as the works of Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Susan Cooper, Madeleine L’Engle and Stephen King has deeply influenced her writing. Follow Samaire on her Facebook, Twitter and Blog.

Grilled Cheese or Egg Sandwiches?

Ooh, that’s a hard decision 🙂 I am going to go with Grilled Cheese. I make them with lots of butter, and brown them in a skillet. Greasy deliciousness!

Worst job experience?

 I have held a lot of jobs, some strange, some odd. The worst has got to be when I tried selling cars for 3 months. It was all commission, so I made whatever I could. It was days that began at 6am and ended at midnight. On your feet all day. Co-workers from hell. And the pay was horrid. During one two-week period, I sold three cars, and they all unwound, which means for some reason, the cars were returned, and the commissions reversed. That two-week period, my paycheck was around $350. I quit the next day.

Best vacation spot?

I would love to visit Scotland 🙂

I loved Ireland, which I visited in 2005 for 3 weeks. I plan on visiting all of Europe in the next ten years. I love to travel!

Tell us about your upcoming book, Sanctuary:

Oh, my goodness! It was such an exciting book to write!! The most exciting part was in the middle, I call it “The Farmhouse Scene,” but it was a series of scenes, all strung together, happening at several farmhouses. Mostly it was a search, but there was fighting in it. It really shows the personality of the characters, especially Alyssa and Risa, who are my two favorite characters.

The book is a continuation of my first book, EPIDEMIC. I think it is even better; the adventure, the character interactions, the events… And since I always want to be improving, I’m very happy with SANCTUARY. It was a labor of love.

 Sanctuary is set in 2017. Were there any difficulties with writing a book set 5 years in the future?

Not at all, it came very naturally. Since the setting is a somewhat dystopian world, I was able to mix reality with what the world would be like in that setting, after 5 years. I found it actually very refreshing, creating the things in our future that would be there if this emergency happened. The world is slowly going to pieces, and it shows. How do people react when the emergency touches on them personally? Their family? Themselves? This book explores that.

What can readers expect next from the Mad World series?

I am now writing the third and final book in the series, it is titled “Mad World: DESPERATION”

It should be out before Thanksgiving.

This is a three book series, but I won’t say it is the end, I may come up with some more books, or short stories, that are set in the middle years. The entire series spans a total of 25 years, so there’s room to wiggle.

What do you plan to work on once the series is finished?

I have several novels in the works. I think the next will be a single stand-alone novel, I have two that are both fighting with each other to be the next thing out of my head. One involves vampires. One involves a ghost. Neither will be anything you would expect.

I prefer to write stories where the setting (in the case of the Mad World series zombie apocalypse) is secondary. The characters are basically put in an extraordinary situation, and they have to survive. They must survive. How do they do that? That is the story.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

 Toughest criticism has been a reader pointing out errors. I cringed. How could I make that error? I feel like a dunce for a few minutes, then I go and fix the error. I bounce back quickly, thank goodness 🙂

The best compliment has been in several reviews, they basically say the same things: “book gave me nightmares” “couldn’t put it down” “please hurry up and write the next one”

Actually, the BEST best compliment was from my husband and editor (and he’s a professional editor) Steve. He was reading SANCTUARY and as he read the last chapter, he read the last page and looked up at me, and gave a small sob! I looked at him and he was crying and smiling. He told me the pacing was perfect and it was just so poignant. I told him that his was the perfect reaction, it was what I was going for. Above all else, I strive for the reader to care deeply for these characters. I revel when I accomplish that.

 Where do you get your ideas?

I wish I knew 🙂

No, actually, I have been full of ideas for stories for a long time, I have the rough idea for at least a dozen stories, with outlines and note, already written.

I like to think of a realistic premise, something that could possibly happen (with a little paranormal help) and what if something went wrong? What would happen then? I read about scientists actually unearthing mass graves from the 1300’s filled with Black Plague victims, they were actually extracting the DNA from these remains and trying to reawaken the Plague bacterium. The story was on the internet and in the papers a year ago. I thought, “well, that’s a pretty stupid thing to do, what if something went wrong?” and then I thought, what COULD go wrong? And I started thinking, possibilities, why were the plague victims mass buried so quickly? What could have happened? What could happen in modern times if this scientific endeavor went horribly wrong? That was it. BAM! I had my story.

Then I put great characters into that world and had them fight for their lives.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Read voraciously. Write more than you read. There is no magic other than a great imagination. The most important thing to writing is to WRITE. You have to put the hours in. Even if you think you are putting down rubbish: put it down. It can be fixed later. And it’s never as bad as you think.

What is currently in your To-Be-Read pile?

Oh my gosh, that pile is dozens of books high! I am so blessed to have so many great writers out there right now. My favorite genre is YA paranormal and there are SO MANY great stories out there. I also love to revisit old friends, so this fall I will be rereading all the Harry Potter books, they are the best treat!