August 31st, 2018
I asked Sam where she would like to meet up:
I insist on meeting at a dive bar with no parking lot, situated smack in the middle of the iconic RINO district in Denver. It’s the end of August and a storm is brewing over the Rocky Mountains. There’s an energy in the air and you feel it tickle the back of your neck. The first drops of rain start falling as you finally find an empty space on the street, pay the meter, and and hurry toward the squat cement building. You push through the tinted glass door and the smell of petrichor gives way to whiskey. You’re squinting because there’s only florescent beer lamps on the back wall and you don’t see me right away. Your eye is drawn to the figures at the bar top, hunched over and hopeless.
I wave my arms wildly and finally catch your eye from the booth in the left corner and you look relieved. After you’ve sat down and ordered your drink, you ask me why this place? “I love the food,” I say. I pick up a steaming, golden, beer-battered steak fry anointed with garlic and Parmesan cheese. “You want some?”
Laura Mae: What’s going on today, Sam?
Sam Hendricks: I’ve been moving into a new house most of the day, responding to e-mails here and there when I can. I wrote a few chapters last night in a totally empty room and thought, “there’s something to this!”
L: Oh nice! Awesome job! How did you like what you wrote?
S: I thought it was good last night, it got better this morning, but twenty minutes ago it was shit. Shrug. I’m usually pretty hot and cold with my manuscripts. 😀
L: Haha! I totally feel your pain. What was it you were writing about? A new book, perhaps?
S: It IS a new book! Right now I’m calling it Summer Camp for Seers. It’s an adult comedy/fantasy and it’s a very new tone/set of themes for me. I’m really enjoying the writing process, probably more so than my last several endeavors.
L: Ooh, I like that! You don’t see that genre too often. What’s this one going to be about?
S: It’s centering around a quiet male camp counselor who doesn’t realize the camp is run and populated by individuals with telepathy until his first day. He doesn’t have any abilities and he’s totally in over his head. He’s about to fall in love, actually! The rest will remain a mystery… for now.
L: That’s sounds really good! I love books that make me laugh. Would you call it a romance as well?
S: I think it could easily be called a romance. Which is a first for me! I also love to laugh! My favorite laughs are the ones in the middle of thrillers and horror novels. Stephen King is a master at leading the reader into thinking everything is okay with humor and then BOOM! But, I digress. This is not a thriller or horror story. The humor doesn’t temper violence, but it does add to the romance!
L: Aw that sounds really fun! How long have you been writing and what do you think sparked your love for it?
S: I’ve been writing (and reading) since I was four, I think. I’m not sure what sparked it, I wish I did! I just remember feeling more comfortable when I was reading and writing than when I was doing anything else since… forever. 😀 Probably it was my parents and grandparents; they are all educators and love to read.
L: Oh that’s definitely a good factor! Do you remember the first thing you ever wrote? Or at least the first thing you remember being really proud of?
S: Hmmm! Good question! The first pieces I ever wrote were poems and lyrics. I probably have hundreds of them on old hard drives and in notebooks. I still write lyrics and melodies and play a few instruments and sing. I have a lot of interests!
L: Those are the best things to look at, old notebooks with your ramblings, haha! That’s so cool you write lyrics and play instruments! What do you play, and have you ever wrote a song with a tune and everything?
S: I agree – I found a few of them while moving and was surprised by how raw and intense some of my work was! I play the clarinet and saxophone and I dabble in percussion. I’ve written a few songs with lyrics and a melody but none with all of the music. It’s hard to write music for instruments I don’t play. I know it isn’t that way for everyone, but it’s how my brain works.
L: Oh yeah I bet! That’s very impressive, though! I can’t play an instrument to save my life. So, what other interests do you have besides ones you’ve already mentioned?
S: I took band class for three years and picked them up, it wasn’t too hard when my grade depended on it! I was always a perfectionist with grades. I feel like it would be easier to list what interests I don’t have! Haha! But I would say science, art, music, film, nature, geology, volcanology, aliens, philosophy, civil engineering, anthropology, sociology, criminology, crime, football, farming… in no particular order. I had to list science first because in general, I love science. All the social sciences I listed are my favorites, though.
L: Yeah science! I agree, science and sociology are mine too. So do you go to school for anything that your interested in or are you pretty focused on writing?
S: Yeah! I graduated with a BA in Sociology with minors in Criminal Justice and Human Development. I wish I had gone for Geology though.
L: That’s awesome girl! Why geology?
S: My mom. I grew up on the ocean in Washington state and my mom always took me with her to scavenge for cool rocks. We’d travel up the Columbia River Gorge and she’d point out the layers of basalt and we’d marvel at the beauty and force of mother nature. She’d have been a geologist too, if she could go back. Maybe we will in another life. If I were a geologist now, I imagine I’d be traveling the globe and seeing things I wouldn’t have otherwise. I have a serious case of “fear of missing out.” Especially when it comes to cool places. Jared Diamond is an incredible academic and adventurer and he wrote “Guns, Germs, and Steel,” and, “Collapse.” They are amazing non-fiction books and he makes history/geology/sociology FUN. As a sidebar recommendation.
L: Aw that’s so cool! That would be so much fun traveling around to see stuff like that. Thanks! Do you apply your knowledge in your areas of expertise into your writing a lot?
S: I hope so! I’m fascinated by the earth and people pretty equally and I think my stories are rich and textured but people will have to judge that for themselves in November when my first story comes out! 😀 It’s called “What They Deserve,” and it’s a story, at the heart of it, about what people will do for love and how love can mean different things to different people. But it’s also speculative fiction; I think we decided it’s a science-fiction thriller “officially.”
L: Oh wow! I love that so much!
S: The plot centers around a series of cyber crimes and a family being framed for them. The setting is thirty years in the future after the U.S. splits into two countries. It’s a different time and it lets me do fun things I couldn’t do in 2018.
L: Very interesting! I’ll definitely have to keep an eye out for that! Now, are you going to be self-publishing it or traditionally?
S: Please do, it’s being published exclusively as an ebook and it’ll be under $4.
L: Even better!
S: This is being published through a company I own a third stake in, called Kyanite Publishing! Sophia LeRoux and B.K. Bass are my partners. We started it to publish our own titles and those of artists we share a similar vision with. It’s a traditional publishing company in the sense that none of the authors we sign pay any money to be published and we pay standard royalty rates. I’m the Marketing Director, so if you let me, I’ll talk your ear off about it.
L: That’s really awesome. I like that you are all writers as well so you can sympathize with us really well! And please do, I want to hear more about this company!
S: We do sympathize! When we decided what our standard contract would look like, we tried to make author-friendly choices wherever we could and still make enough to support ourselves. Some of those are things like the length of the contract (when the rights return to the author – negotiated on an individual basis), and how often we pay royalties (quarterly). I’m going to regret this Game of Thrones reference but I’d say B.K. and Sophia are trying to “break the wheel,” and I’m like Tyrion checking their impulses. *Laughs* More seriously, we’re trying to put out great work, support authors, and sell books. I worked in small business and commercial banking and lending for the last several years (yet another interest) and that foundation has helped us build a new business model that we’re proud of. We’re just starting out, so it’s an exciting time!
L: Hahahaa! Love it! Very exciting! Good luck to you guys!
S: Thank you!
L: Of course! So Sam, what would you consider your favorite part about writing?
S: Editing. I love seeing a rough draft through all the stages. For my own work, that’s usually three or four before it goes to beta readers and then editors and then proof readers. I never had to write rough drafts academically, those papers came easily to me. But fiction is a whole different story. That was a bad colloquialism. Hah!
L: LOL it works! I have to say, you might be the only writer I’ve met who truly enjoys editing. Haha! I can say it’s probably my least favorite part!
S: I totally see how it could be. But there’s something so… fulfilling about seeing an idea go from great to exceptional. Even on a sentence by sentence basis it moves me!
L: Okay, when you put it that way… Haha! What would you say is your least favorite part?
S: Writing anything with violence. I have a soft heart and a weak stomach. I’ve really struggled with action scenes, death, and psychological violence. I’m getting better as I go, though. It takes practice to separate fiction from reality sometimes. That goes for editing violent content too, but somehow less so.
L: I could see that. Is it something you’re trying to get over to improve yourself and your range or do you think some stories ‘need’ to have it?
S: Both. Life is full of violence and almost all stories have some. I think my aversion to violence is my desperate and futile attempt to “resist what is,” as Eckhart Tolle would say. That being said… I’ve read some INSANELY violent things recently for Kyanite and I disagree with some forms of violence for the sake of entertainment.
L: Agreed. Some of it is too excessive. Getting off the subject of horrible things… Hahaha, where would you say you get a lot of inspiration from?
S: So many places. My parents. They’re both insanely intelligent and curious and my mom is an inventor. Nature. Dreams. Dreams are such a big one. My mom’s dreams, too! I’ve used a few of her dreams for stories. I scour the internet for stories about things that interest me and interview people. Daily life, if I didn’t already ramble about that. I pick up things everywhere. It’s amazing what the universe/God/the force will give you if you listen.
L: Wow! That’s awesome! You never run out of places to get inspired! And I totally agree with dreams! I am obsessed with dreams.
S: Me too on the dream obsession. We can talk dreams anytime, hit me up! Haha!
L: I would love that! Alright, last question Sam! What do you want to say out there to aspiring authors?
S: If I could, I would deliver an entire two hour speech on this topic and I think my business partners would laugh and agree. If I could condense it… 1) Write. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you. 2) Let go of things and people that don’t serve you. It will give you more time to do #1. 3) Read. Stop making excuses. There’s something out there for everyone and you CAN make time. 4) Be friends with other writers but never compare yourself. It’s a waste of time – see #2. 5) Face your fears and reward yourself. Celebrate every success. Get dirty in the process. Be yourself 100% and don’t settle for friends, agents, editors, or publishers that don’t get you.
L: Awesome, awesome advice! Thank so much much Sam!! I can’t wait to read that book of yours!
S: Thank you, Laura Mae!!
Sam Hendricks is the Marketing Director of Kyanite Publishing LLC and the Managing Editor of its digital imprint, Kyanite Glass. She co-founded and writes for Peak Story Reviews and is a fan of storytelling in all formats. She is also an author of science-fiction, fantasy, romance, and mystery. Sam’s earlier careers include business banker and photographer. She has a BA in Criminal Justice and Human Development from Washington State University. In her off time she reads whole books in one sitting, binge-watches sci-fi and true crime TV, and spends time with her family and friends.
I don’t have a book published, but I did recently reveal the cover for a novella that’s being released digitally in November of this year called “What They Deserve.”
It will be available for purchase through kyanitepublishing.com and most national e-retailers including Amazon, Apple, Kobo/Walmart, and Barnes & Noble.
It’s a cyberpunk, science-fiction/thriller about a string of heinous cyber crimes and the implosion of the accused’s family.