I asked Sam for an introduction as I know little about him apart from the 140 character snide comments we share on Twitter. So Sam told me:
I started writing again when my daughter was born. I used blogging as a diary to offset those nameless monsters that come with parenting. I wasn’t trying to impart advice. I wanted to connect with people because I had genuine problems. I needed help. Receiving genuine heartfelt advice from an often nameless stranger is powerful. People reaching out. Writing it out helps. And positive feedback is a great inspiration to keep writing. I became more involved with the parenting community on Twitter, weakly promoting my wares. I owe nearly everything to Charlie Plunkett who not only gave me confidence in my writing but gave me honesty and kindness too.
My blog posts were compiled and published as a book. All written over my daughter’s first year. It’s a difficult read. I wanted to portray that parenting is very hard work. I wanted to provide something that might aid the flailing neurotic parent. Some short passage that someone else can identify with. The recognition of your pain through my own.
Sometimes you have to Bite the Dog was published in November 2013. It’s not for everybody but I’m very proud of it.
I'm happy to be part of the supportive parenting community on Twitter (I hope Sam thinks that too!) so I was happy to interview him and share his book here.
When did you start writing?
I had a poem about Batman published in some newspaper when I was 13. I’d written before but only bouts of terrible poetry. Music was my conduit into writing. I would write out song lyrics. The Cure. Joy Division. Henry Rollins. I remember lyrics more than passages from books. I also find reading quite hard as I have a short attention span. Overall I’ve read more comic books than conventional novels. ~~ I think we've all written terrible teen poetry - I know I have - I even put one on this blog...let's move on
What 3 things (not including paper, computer, pens) would you like to facilitate a good days writing?
Being close to nature. Space. Music.
Do you write to a schedule, eg every day or three times a week, set times, etc or do you write as and when the mood strikes?
I don’t really do schedules. My life is fairly chaotic at the moment. I’ve tried to control some of it but it never seems to stick. It works for me. I try to work to deadlines which I set myself or ask others to set them for me. Anyone who has worked with me knows that I am very flaky and leave everything to the last minute but it’s always to the very best of my ability.
I write best through the night. I love watching the world come alive as the sun comes up. I’m too old for that. And I barely write these days. ~~ ah but you wrote this, maybe your other books are still lurking...
What are your favourite biscuits?
Those Foxes cream bad boys. I could drink a cup of tea by dipping an entire pack.
Tea or Coffee?
Where do you do most of your writing?
At home at the kitchen table. Directly in the middle of the house.
Is writing your main source of income, I read lots of articles saying writers make no money, and my readers asked this question a lot! Can you survive on book writing alone? if not, what else do you do?
No. I have been paid for the occasional article. My problem is that I am terrible at marketing myself. I know how I could do it but I’m reluctant. It wouldn’t be me. All the people I’ve interviewed on my site has been out of pure love. I don’t expect anything except honesty from the people I talk to and write about. If I’m selling anything I’m selling a person I find to be something special. Some sparkly human. I’m far more comfortable blowing someone else’s trumpet. For all my hoo haa on Twitter I’m rather shy and awkward. ~~ I think a lot of us use social media to show a side we are afraid to let go out in public.
I’ve worked in recruitment for most of my career but I’ve done all sorts really. I fell out of love with recruitment last year for various weird, nasty reasons. We took the girl out of school full time so we could save some cash. I’ve been very lucky to spend so much time with her.
(I am writing a new fiction piece at the moment. It’s quite good so far. See?! TERRIBLE MARKETING.) ~~ you see I knew you had other stories in there! I shall badger you on twitter about it.
What book are you reading at the moment?
Charles Bukowski on Writing.
Do you use social media (facebook, twitter, instagram etc) to engage with your audience, do you think it helps sales and do you find it fun or a chore?
I use Twitter. I just haven’t got the concentration span or the time to handle all the other communication. I’ve made genuine friendships on Twitter. It’s always fun and if it ever becomes a chore I turn it off. I've been challenged several times, taken to court and various other dramas but it's always fun.~~ I won't even ask - I've seen how weird twitter can get.
I’ll do my damnedest to promote something/someone I admire but I don’t market my content properly. Whatever that is. I also carry a lingering fear of the world suddenly falling to its knees and all of the lives we’ve created online becoming suddenly meaningless.
Do you own an e-reader? and do you prefer to read digital or paper copy?
I have an ipad but I don’t read books on it. If someone sends me a manuscript I’ll read it digitally but that’s about it. I mostly read comic books so I’ll always buy a paper copy. Can’t beat it.
If you could genetically cross an animal with a fruit or vegetable what would you choose and why? I'm currently thinking pineapple hedgehog mainly for the 70s cheese on sticks feel…
Good question. I’m thinking way too hard about it. Either bat/kiwi fruit or pig/potato. ~~ You should think hard about it - it's an important question.
If reading and writing were banned, what would you do instead?
Learn to play loads of musical instruments.
What's the most cringe inspiring embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you (or a 'friend')
Teenage romance on holiday. I was 11. With a terrible stutter. Crushingly shy. But this girl was something. So I paced outside her apartment for over an hour, working up courage and practising what I would say. Over and over.
Eventually I rang her door. She answered in fits of giggles. From her window she’d been watching me pacing outside, panting the same words repeatedly like some sun savaged lunatic. I melted into the concrete, completely forgetting my precious dialogue. She shut the door in my face, laughing even harder as I tried to spit a sound out.
I discovered alcohol that night. And how angry I could make my parents. Hooya. ~~ and there is a story beginning, I feel like an English teacher but I want to tell you to write a fiction piece around that starting point...
Sometimes you have to Bite the Dog - A new father's experiences of the first year of raising a child. A year of tears, laughter, life and beauty. A collection of thoughts and advice from the perspective of a new father. From the birth to the first birthday these insights are a reflection of the changing role of the father in modern society and all that comes with it.
Available on Amazon for Kindle or paperback - and all 5 star reviews!
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