City Lights Press: Did you always know you wanted to write?
Samantha Adkins: I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I don’t think I considered it a career until grade 5 when we wrote an autobiography as a school assignment. That’s when I decided to be a writer.
CLP: Between having two children and being a teacher when do you find the time to write?
SA: I started writing more seriously after my daughter was born. I needed some adult time, so when she would nap, I would write. Now that my kids are older, our days are less predictable, so I fit it in whenever I can. Even fifteen minutes is better than nothing.
CLP: Do your friends and family ever read your books? What do they think?
SA: My parents and sister are usually my first readers. They are always supportive, but also offer good suggestions. My parents have a much better understanding of grammar than I do! I also have some good writer friends who read parts or all of my books and give me great feedback.
CLP: What’s your favorite book?
SA: I have a lot of favorite books! As a teenager, Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume was my favorite. Jane Austen’s books became a passion as an adult. I also love murder mysteries – Louise Penny’s series is my current favorite.
CLP: What do you spend more time on, plotting or the actual writing?
SA: Definitely writing. Plotting comes to me when I go for a walk, do dishes or vacuum the floor. It’s not usually a conscious effort.
CLP: You’re clearly a Jane Austen fan, personally, what’s your favorite Jane Austen novel?
SA: That is a tough one! Originally, it was Pride and Prejudice, but as I reread her novels and retell them, I am more and more impressed with Emma and Persuasion. I don’t think I can choose!
CLP: Besides the obvious, what inspired you to write the Jane Austen inspired novels?
SA: I wrote Expectations as a birthday present for my sister, who loves Pride and Prejudice. PBS was showing all of the Austen TV versions as well as some interviews and it seemed like most Austen fans wished she had written more. I thought I’d write a short sequel for my sister. It was too enjoyable to stop and it turned into a novel.
CLP: Since these novels are based on such classics are you nervous about the feedback you might receive?
SA: I was certainly nervous about the Austen books. There are people who study her work their whole lives. At some point I had to say, “I know I’ll make mistakes, but hopefully people will be gracious.” I read as much as I could and later joined the Jane Austen Society chapter closest to where I lived at the time. It’s amazing how much information there is about Austen and the regency times. I’ll never learn it all.
CLP: Which of your books has been your biggest labor of love thus far?
SA: All of my books come out of love. Expectations gave me the most joy to write. Other books have been more difficult, though still very enjoyable. I find, as I get older, it is more difficult to keep details in mind. I write myself more notes to remember names, places, and other details.
CLP: Are you working on anything right now?
SA: Yes, I am working on a novel inspired by my Grandmother teaching in a one-room school house during the Depression. I am letting it rest for a bit and am working on another Jane Austen-inspired piece as a bit of a “break”. It was also supposed to be a short story, but is getting longer. . .