Interview With Author Samantha Diegutis

# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!

My name is Samantha Diegutis and I’m a multi-genre indie-author. Because, why not?

I write nonfiction as Samantha Dee, horror fiction as Samantha Diegutis, urban fantasy as S. Marie Diegutis. I’m also toying with a children’s book which will be released under Sammy Dee.

My first nonfiction was a Memoir called ‘My Big Fat Fat’ and edition two of that book released today (Happy Launchday to me) and received a five star ‘Must Read’ review from Reedsy Pro which was a lovely thing to wake up to.

Being a (over) qualified Life Coach (with several ‘ologies’), I’ve also released several workbooks and journals like ‘The Thirty Day Wellness Journal’, ‘Find Your Passion in Life’, ‘A New Dawn’, and ‘Plan Your Life’ which is also a course on Udemy and has thousands of students.

I’ve released three volumes of Vampire Fiction (Short Stories) which are hugely popular and so much fun to put together.

At the moment I’m 30,000 words into a five-book Urban Fantasy Fiction series about the existence of dragons in modern-day Wales – a country steeped in dragon history (and they have a dragon on their nation’s flag).

# What inspires/inspired your creativity?

Without sounding like a weirdo, my dreams mostly. I fuse real-life personal experiences with fictional situations and people. The idea for the Dragon Fantasy came to me when I was looking at Wales in Google Maps. I used to live there as a child, they have a dragon on their flag and voila – a five-book series popped up in my head. Wales is such a wild and beautiful country. There’s even a site which looks as much like a dragon’s nest as anything could! (Look up ‘Bryn Cader Faner’ and tell me I’m not crazy.)

# How do you deal with creative block?

I either write something else, or get up from my computer and do something else. I go outside for fresh air and a walk, I might nap, knit, or listen to music. It’s not uncommon for me to lose the will for creativity for a long time during periods of intense stress (I’m selling my house at the moment) – if that happens, just trust the Universe. It will come back, sometimes with a vengeance.

# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?

Typos and over-use of exclamation marks. Firstly, there’s really no excuse for typos in this day and age. The tiniest typo will pull a reader out of their thought process and, if it’s fictional storytelling, could even make a reader put the book down. I read a quote once about exclamation marks that went something like ‘An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own jokes.’ and after reading that, I removed every exclamation mark from everything I’d ever written. In fiction I use it sparingly, too, although it’s more appropriate.

# Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?

The titles usually come to me in my sleep. I often sit bolt upright in bed at 3am and shout ‘MY BIG FAT FAT’ or some such title. The other night it was “The Dragon and the Cupcake Pixie!”. Then I have to get up and write it down. For all of my nonfiction covers, I designed them myself using canva. This is a business, after all, so for first launches I try and keep my budget at zero. It’s important to research what is selling, and studying those covers, too. Like it or not, people do judge a book by it’s cover, to an extent.

# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?

I haven’t really had any awful reviews (in fact, my edition 2 release today got a ‘Must-Read’ five-star review at Reedsy Pro). But I am reminded of a guy in my writers group who had a terrible review and made an ad out of it – and got sales. There are always ways to cope with an awful review. If you think about it, the reviewer had to read the words you created and it left a lasting enough impression for them to tell the world about it.

# How has your creation process improved over time?

Routine, routine, routine. Apart from my ‘naked at 3am must write that down’ episodes, I write every morning for two hours. Even if I don’t feel like it. I write. Just. Write.

# What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?

That, deep down, I’ve been a writer since I could hold a writing implement. Life just got in the way. Now I’ve made a conscious decision to be a full-time writer, it just feels like my calling.

The worst, if I had to call it that, is realising that being an indie author isn’t just about publishing your book, sitting back and watching masses of people buy it. It’s an incredibly hard thing to do. I had to learn about marketing and ads and how to purposefully put my book in front of the right people. That’s the other half of an author’s day, right there. It’s hard work. I can’t stress that enough.

Most surprising? If any author doesn’t admit that they are surprised by great reviews by complete strangers, they are fibbing! Once your book starts getting those (outside the friends and family reviews) it really starts to become real. It’s humbling and inspirational.

# Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?

The one piece of advice I was given (and write by) is ‘Write what YOU would want to read’ and it’s served me well. If I try to write what I think my readers would like, it feels forced and inauthentic. I must write what I’m passionate about, to express my thoughts and creativity. Otherwise, what’s the point?

# What role do emotions play in creativity?

If you’re asking whether certain emotions stunt creativity, surprisingly not at all. Since I’m a multi-genre writer I can always find something to write regardless of what emotions I’m experiencing. I just adapt. There is creativity in the darkness and shadows, and we should never ignore those emotions as humans and as writers.

# Do you have any creativity tricks?

Look at sites like DeviantArt if you’re struggling with a character or place. Mosey around on Google Maps (or Google Earth; never did get the hang of that). Remind yourself that creativity has NO limits.

# What are your plans for future books?

Well, I’m veering away from nonfiction (which to me, has finite limits) and more permanently towards fiction, particularly Urban Fantasy writing. I love the idea of mythical things being present in the modern day, there are really limitless possibilities for storytelling. I do get nonfiction ideas for workbooks, journals and courses so never say never. But I’m having so much fun writing ‘The Dragon Hatcher’ series that I can’t see that ending any time soon.

# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself

  • I’m currently selling my house and everything in it to go live by the sea and write books.
  • I have a tattoo of a Dracula Vampira orchid (there is such a thing).
  • I once took part in underwater-helicopter-crash training – for fun.
  • I used to work for the British Security Services.
  • I once had a hand piercing.
  • I love the smell of fireworks (Gunpowder, mmm).


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