Samantha Grosser Interview
Posted by Michelle on February 14, 2008
Samantha Grosser is one of those people who seem to do everything that everyone always says they want to do; she’s travelled all over the world, lived in exotic places, and now, she’s realized a dream that many of us have – she’s become a published writer.
Not that the road has been easy – Samantha has worked hard and it’s paid off!
Q. Samantha, you’ve done a lot of travelling – has this inspired your writing directly and which place affected you most, and what inspired you to start writing in the first place?
A. As a child I used to write a lot but I stopped in my teens and twenties and only started to write again after I got married. We spent the first few months of our marriage in the Himalayas, and that’s where I began writing again, inspired, I guess, by new love and the mountains.
I started Another Time and Place when I was working as a temporary receptionist in Sydney. I didn’t have much to do, and at least it looked like I working.
The novel I’ve just finished writing (After the Twelfth) was definitely inspired by the places I’ve been. It’s set largely on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, where I lived for 7 years, and also has a chapter set in Thailand, which I’ve visited a few times. But I think the travelling has also worked on my writing at a more subtle level – it’s given me different perspectives and an outsider’s view of things.
The place that has affected me the most? It would have to be the Himalayas, because that’s where I found the inspiration to start writing in the first place.
Q. You’ve mentioned on your site that it took six years to get published. How did you stay positive through that time and do you have any tips for aspiring writers out there in a similar position?
A. It wasn’t easy to stay positive – but the fact that several agents and one publisher were interested enough to ask for more, or give it a second reading, helped me not to give up hope. Mostly I tried not thinking about it and just to concentrate on writing other things – in the end, I don’t write to get published, I write because it’s what I love to do. Having said that, getting published has given me an enormous boost in confidence, and I no longer sit at my desk and wonder if I’m totally deluded.
The only advice I can give to anyone out there trying to get published is to persist. And also, to read back through what you’ve written every now and then – sometimes a year or two’s distance can give you the perspective you need to improve your work. It worked for me.
Q. Where do you get your ideas from? Are they sparked by real life events or do they come purely from your imagination? How about your characters, are they modeled on people that you know?
A. That’s difficult to answer. A bit of both, really. Mainly I need an idea of characters and a basic situation, and the story kind of emerges from there. I tend to do a lot of writing in my head now, before I commit anything to paper – it saves a lot of revision later on!
All of my characters are composites of people I know, plus characters traits of my own, and a bit of total fabrication.
Q. Your novel Another Time and Place is set during WWII (obviously before your time). How did you go about researching for it and did you enjoy the research?
A. I absolutely loved doing the research – I’m now researching my third novel which is also set in WWII and once again I have become completely absorbed by it. Most of the research for Another Time and Place was achieved courtesy of Sydney Libraries, but I’ve spread my net wider this time, and have talked to a Sergeant Major from the British Army, and enlisted the help of the Bristol Record Office. Libraries, however, remain my main source of information.
Q. How would pitch your work to someone who hasn’t yet read them?
A. Another Time and Place is a love story set against the final years of the Second World War. Interwoven with the brutality and danger of Tom’s fight to survive on the run in Europe is the story of Anna’s own struggle to face the uncertainty of waiting in war-torn England. Amid the inhumanity that unfolds around them, the battles that Tom and Anna fight are markedly different, yet equally searching.
After the Twelfth is a very different book – moving back and forth across the continents in an intense and emotionally compelling narrative, it raises significant questions about the nature of honesty and deception, and explores the legacy of keeping secrets from the people we love.
Q. How long on average does it take you to write a book?
A. It’s hard to say, because I don’t write consistently, and I might write a first draft of something, get stuck with it and put it aside while I write something else. But it took two years or so initially to write Another Time and Place, and then I spent another three or four months on it four years later, making the changes that I think led to eventually finding a publisher. And I probably spent about two years on After the Twelfth too. So I guess the answer is about two years.
Q. Are your family supportive of your writing career? Do they enjoy your work or do they prefer something different?
A. My husband has been wonderfully supportive of my writing – at times he’s insisted I keep it on with it when I’ve been tempted to relegate it to the background for a more “proper” job. He loves what I write, though he’s more of a non-fiction reader really.
Q. Do you get time to read for pleasure? If so, which books do you like and have your reading tastes changed since you started writing yourself?
A. I read incessantly – I think it’s essential for a writer to be well-read, although that isn’t why I do it! I’ve always read a lot and I basically read a wide variety of quality fiction. Recent reads include Nightwatch, Fair Stood the Wind for France, Suite Francaise, and Saturday. At the moment I’m only reading books that are related to the Second World War, mainly for research, but also because that’s where my head is at the moment, and I can’t really get into anything else.
Q. Can you give us a sneak preview of what’s to come next?
A. I’m now working on another Second World War tale called Thin Ice, which is set in England and on the battlefields of Italy.
Q. Which book do you wish you’d written?
A. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. The most perfect love and war novel, beautifully written.
This entry was posted on February 14, 2008 at 8:49 pm and is filed under Author Interview. Tagged: author, Interview, Samantha Grosser. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.