Friday, September 28, 2012

Guest post and Giveaways: Samantha Stroh Bailey talks about her voices

Today I have Samantha Stroh Bailey here at The Book Bag. She is the author of Finding Lucas, the wonderful book I talked about yesterday. Read my thoughts here. Today she is here talking about the voices in her head. And be sure to check out the 2 giveaways at the bottom of the post!

Samantha ~ I have heard other authors say that they 'hear voices in their head' and that is how they write their books: the characters are telling their stories. Not being a writer myself, that concept has always intrigued me.

When some people hear voices, we get them medical attention, others end up becoming writers. Does this happen to you? How do you come up with your stories?

This is one of the best questions I’ve ever been asked! And the answer is a resounding yes. Oh, do I ever hear voices in my head!

My stories usually come to me late at night just as I’m falling asleep, and I always forget to keep a notebook beside my bed so I have to race downstairs to jot them down. But, my ideas also come from conversations with friends and listening to strangers talk. Now, I know it’s not nice to eavesdrop, but I figure if it’s in the name of research, it’s okay. I love to watch how people move their bodies when they talk, the words they choose or don’t choose, how they respond to each other. And the stories they tell!

I love dialogue so much that I actually did my Master’s degree in socio/psycholinguistics. It sounds crazy, and it is. I researched the way cultures use language, gestures and subtle nuances to get their point across and what people are actually thinking when they’re talking. Sometimes, what we say is not what we mean, and how people do this fascinates me. I may not have a high paying job thanks to my Master’s, but it has certainly helped me create unique story lines and relatable characters.

Getting a new plot idea is unbelievably exciting for me. Once I have a plot idea, I begin imagining my characters—their names, physical attributes and personalities. As I write, they become real to me, and I know their voices, quirks and physical gestures. I do embarrassing things like stroke my arm so I can describe how it feels and I hear in my head the cadence and tone of my characters’ dialogue.

My characters talk to me in the shower, when I’m driving and when I’m out for dinner with friends and my family. It can be hard sometimes for me to concentrate on what’s happening because my characters have such loud voices! And once I’ve started a story, my characters take over, and there’s not much I can do to stop them. They decide where they go and what they do, and they make their own mistakes and successes. I create them, but they become people in their own right.

When I started writing Finding Lucas, I knew that Jamie was going to be stuck in a very unhappy relationship with Derek, and I knew that she wanted to find Lucas—her “friend with benefits” from her past. Beyond that, the story told itself. My hands flew over the keyboard, and though the ideas came from my head, my characters’ voices spoke up loudly. Even in public.

I often wonder if I’m talking to myself and not realizing it— the way you wonder if you’ve just done something embarrassing without noticing, like pull at your underwear or check to make sure you’ve put on deodorant. Luckily, I can only write when my house is completely empty, and the baristas at my local café have become friends so they don’t look twice if it seems like I have a sudden case of Tourette’s.

There is nothing in the world like being a writer, and though I might technically be considered slightly crazy, it’s a label I’ll happily accept!

Samantha Stroh Bailey has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen. In fact, she even sent her first manuscript, Freddy the Flame, to publishers when she was ten years old. Sadly, it was rejected, but a lifelong passion to write was born.

After 15 years of teaching ESL to adults, including at the University of Toronto, she decided to live her dreams of being a fulltime writer and editor. Now the owner of Perfect Pen Communications, she not only gets to write novels, but also writes and edits for magazines, websites, businesses, students and other writers.

Her work has appeared in Now Magazine, The Village Post,Oxford University Press, Abilities Magazine, on and many other publications. Samantha also has a Master of Education in Applied Linguistics.

She lives in Toronto with her husband and two children. Finding Lucas is her first novel.

Connect with Samantha

Facebook|Blog | Twitter (@perfect pen)

Giveaway @ The Book Bag!

Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win
one of 3, that's right 3, Kindle e-books of Finding Lucas.
And then check out the giveaway on the tour page.

Tour giveaway

**Everyone who leaves a comment on the tour page will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Finding Lucas before October 1 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.**


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