Friday, 29 May 2015

Feature Friday #8: Author Interview with Samantha Young

We are just over half way through my Feature Friday series on some of my favourite book series!

After taking a little break last Friday to join Cecy Robson's blog tour for Once Perfect I am back with a belter (excuse the Scottishness) of a post today. One of my favourite series is On Dublin Street by Samantha Young and with the up coming release of the 6th book in the series, Moonlight On Nightingale Way, next week Samantha joined me for another interview!

Firstly for readers who might be new to the On Dublin Street series can you tell us a bit about it?

On Dublin Street is an adult contemporary romance series set in Edinburgh. It follows Scottish and American (and English *Grace from MONW*) heroes and heroines and their romantic entanglements. Other than hot romance, one of the primary themes of the series is the importance of family— blood kin or not. It’s a series filled with sexiness, alpha males, strong, stubborn heroines, humour, sadness, and all the good stuff in between.

Do you have a favourite character and a favourite book from the series?

It’s very difficult to choose just one favourite character or one favourite book because they all have qualities about them that make them special to me. On Dublin Street is, of course, especially special because of how personal some of the story is and also because its success literally changed my life. However, I have to say I am particularly fond of Grace from Moonlight on Nightingale Way, the upcoming sixth book in the series. I think she may be my most compassionate and kind heroine yet. And Logan… ah Logan. He and Braden are good friends in MONW and for a reason. I think readers are going to LOVE Logan.

In one of our previous Q&As you mentioned that the series only turned from stand alone to a series after the reaction from your readers. We’re about to get into book six – how did it feel to have such a reaction to On Dublin Street?

Incredibly surreal. I remember a reader asking me to try my hand at contemporary romance. At this I had a discussion with my mum over a cup of tea about it. I distinctly remember saying ‘I’ll give it a go. It’ll be like an experiment to see if I’m any good at the genre.’ As soon as I started to think on an idea for the book, however, it became clear to me that writing a contemporary novel meant delving into real life stuff to make it as authentic as possible. Writing ODS was very therapeutic for me. To have readers react to the story and to react so positively to my first adult contemporary romance was utterly surreal. My mum still jokes about it to this day ‘It’ll be like an experiment!’

As well as six full length novels you’ve also released three novellas in the series. Is it fun to go back and revisit characters from earlier in the series?

It is really fun. The characters have their happily ever after but I like to show readers that a happily ever after isn’t always easy and the couples are constantly working at it. Revisiting Joss and Braden is particularly fun because I know the characters so, so well it doesn’t ever feel like work writing about them. It’s really just like visiting old friends who make me laugh. A lot.

The 5th and 6th books introduce new characters to the ODS tribe. How did you make sure they would fit in? Were you worried about readers accepting new characters?

I think it’s easy to make new characters fit into the ODS tribe. They’ve all become a bit like Elodie and are good at accepting strays into the fold. The new characters are characters that understand the importance of family and the tribe react positively to that. They’re also quite a protective bunch, so it helps that the new characters are ones in need of a good family. As for readers accepting the new characters… I never really worried too much about Shannon for instance, because she was involved with Cole, a long-running character in the series.  I think this helped ease her intro into the series. For MONW, it’s a little different. Grace the heroine is completely new and Logan the hero has only been mentioned in brief scenes in Echoes of Scotland Street. I connected almost instantly with Logan and that’s why I felt I had to write his story. I worked particularly hard to make him one of my best heroes yet, so I think that will more than make up for his newbie status! Moreover, the tribe are in MONW so readers will get to hang out with familiar folks.

How does planning and writing a series compare with the same process for a standalone novel?

The planning is definitely more involved because you’re planning ahead for quite some time. Once I knew ODS was evolving into a series, I had in mind which characters I’d like to see have a story. I knew from the end of ODS that I wanted to give Jo and Hannah a story. Liv came to me organically in Down London Road as did Nate. But by the end of DLR I knew Cole also had to have a story. It’s also different in that you can open a thread of a plot in one book without tying it up because you have the next book in the series to touch on it. With a standalone you have to craft the story so that all loose ends are tied up nice and neatly.

What do you think the key ingredients are for a sexy, compelling series like ODS?

I think the key ingredients are relatable characters, a carefully crafted chemistry between each couple, humour, real life stuff, and an authentic sense of friendship and family.

Finally, do you have a favourite series that you’ve read? If so, what is it and why?

Ooh that’s so difficult! I have a ton of fave paranormal series including KMM’s FEVER series and Richelle Mead’s VA series. Currently my favourite contemporary romance series is Knitting in the City by Penny Reid.

Moonlight On Nightingale Way is out on the 2nd of June - check it out on Amazon here.

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