My interview today is with Sam Reese, author of the recently released novel, IMMOLATION.
Can you tell my readers a little about the plot (without giving anything away!) and what inspired you to write it??
The book is about a young girl, Lydia Allison Cantrell, who is the daughter of the wealthiest man in a small town in north Georgia. At the age of ten, her father starts abusing her. This causes her to isolate herself from nearly everyone in town and essentially become a “freak”. At the age of 14, Lydia learns that she is pyrokinetic, and a voice tells her that she has the power to punish all those who have ever hurt her.
As for inspiration, I’m not entirely sure where the spark came from. I think it came primarily from the idea that so many people-especially women-have been abused in one way or another and that there is so much hurt and bitterness being held inside by these people. I wanted to write Lydia’s story to tell them that there are others who feel your pain, and that there is a way towards healing.
What other authors in your genre, do you feel had an influence in your writing?
Stephen King was an influence to be sure. Some people hear the description of Lydia and immediately think “Carrie” or “Firestarter”. But really, Lydia’s story transcends these I hope. However, I can’t deny King’s influence on me. Lovecraft’s sense of terror as well as Poe’s sense of foreboding also influenced me as well. I also hope that I got in a little of the human element of writers like John Saul, who I think is good at making you care about characters and seeing them as real people.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and what led you to first put pen to paper and share your experience with the world?
Well, I’ve always been something of a storyteller. I started reading at a young age, around 4 or 5, and I’ve always loved stories. I suppose I have my parents to thank for that, as they encouraged me to read anything and everything. I’ve met people who say their parents wouldn’t let them read things like comic books and I just can’t fathom that. If it weren’t for comics I don’t know that I’d have learned the joy of reading nearly as much. I’m an only child and I lived out in the country, so for the most part I entertained myself, telling myself stories through writing, reading, or just playing with toys. My cousin used to love coming over to play because I came up with the best stories according to him.
I guess what made me really put pen to paper seriously was reading Stephen King’s “Bag of Bones”. It was my first King novel, and I was so enamored with the story and how it made me feel. I loved some characters, despised others, and I felt that what was happening could theoretically happen to me. Then one night as I was reading it, I thought to myself, “You could do this.” So I started writing little snippets of stories, including a story I wish I still had about a kid named Seymour who loved his fan, a fact which concerned his parents to no end and prompted them to put him in a treatment facility for children with unique “problems”.
From there, it was a natural progression for me. The stories got longer, and eventually Lydia-the protagonist for Immolation-came knocking at my mental door and asked me to tell her story.
Is there a message in IMMOLATION that you wish your readers to grasp?
There are a few messages, but I think the primary messages are of the power of forgiveness and the frailty of human beings. I hope that “Immolation” will encourage those who have been hurt and abused to forgive their tormentors, not for their tormentor’s sake but for their own sake. But I also hope it will make people think about the things that they do to contribute to the cycle of abuse and the destruction that being terrible to one another can cause.
I’ve always said that sitting down to write is the hardest part, but I also find that it’s sometimes just as difficult to press forward once you’ve sat down to write. Most people are their own worst critics, and I think artistic people are triply so. You sit down, you start typing, you start thinking it all sucks, you start deleting. This continues until you’re frustrated ad decide to go putz around on Facebook or whatever, and then before you know it it’s bedtime and you’re exhausted, so you go to bed pissed at yourself because you didn’t get anything written.
Besides your own writing(s), what other new titles in your genre are you excited about in 2014?
Well, I’m pretty excited to read Stephen King’s newest novel “Mr. Mercedes”. I’m also reading through “Plebs” by Jim Goforth and I’m very excited to see how that one works out. Other than that, I have such a backlog of reading I don’t really know what’s on the horizon. I just look around and find things to read.
What’s next for you? Any new projects in the works?
I’m working on a few things these days. I was asked to submit a story to an anthology entitled “Axes of Evil II” so I’m working on that. I’m also working on my take on the haunted house genre, a book about a guy who befriends an Imp and his mute Muse of a wife and goes on an adventure in which he teams up with some Norse Gods and Goddesses, two archangels, and members of the Faerie realm to stop Lucifer and Loki from destroying reality. There’s also what will likely be a YA novel I’m writing with a friend about a human prince raised by Dwarves. There are a few other things in the works as well, but those are the ones that are currently taking up most of my time.
Finally, do you have any advice for other writers who are just starting down the publishing path?
Keep writing, even if you think it sucks. And, in the spirit of Winston Churchill, never give up, no not ever.
Thank you, Sam! I’m reading Sam’s book right now, am really enjoying it and will be reviewing it right here in the next few days! If you’re interested in finding out more about Sam and IMMOLATION, here are some helpful links:
Sam’s Novel on Amazon: IMMOLATION
Sam’s website: www.supernaturalsam.com
Sam’s Publisher’s Website: www.jellingtonashton.com