Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Samantha M. Bailey

Samantha M. Bailey is the USA TODAY and #1 nationally bestselling author of Woman on the Edge, which has sold in eleven countries to date. Her psychological thriller debut received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was a PW Best Books Pick of the Week. It was also the December Fiction Book of the Month at Indigo Books and the Shopper’s Drug Mart January Book Lover’s Pick. She is also a journalist and freelance editor; her work has appeared in NOW Magazine, The Village Post, The Thrill Begins, and The Crime Hub, among other publications. Watch Out for Her is her second novel. Bailey lives in Toronto, where she can usually be found tapping away at her computer or curled up on her couch with a book.

My Q&A with the author:

How surprised would your teenage reader self be by your novel?

My teenage self wouldn’t be surprised by what I write, but she would be shocked that after twenty years of rejections, on novel after novel, her dreams finally came true. I grew up surrounded by books, and I was always drawn to the tantalizing and twisted, in both my reading and writing. I was hooked on stories by Stephen King, Patricia Highsmith, Daphne Du Maurier, and so many others. I’ve always been fascinated by the psychology behind people’s darkest wants and needs.

(2) Do you find it harder to write beginnings or endings? Which do you change more?

I find it harder to write endings because there are so many ways a writer can wrap up a story and the world she’s created for her readers. And readers, myself included, want very different kinds of closure. For me, I want a satisfying ending, that might be both sad and happy for the different characters. I want to see justice served and some redemption, while also showing that people have shades of good and bad inside them. No one is perfect. To come to the end of the journey is challenging and beautiful at the same time. In Watch Out for Her, I wanted the ending that the characters themselves led me to, where they go from here. When my readers close the book, I want them to think and feel and to have enjoyed an escape. Choosing exactly what the ending will be is a very detailed thought process for me, and each draft goes through evolutions that might lead to a different place than I expected.

(3) Do you see much of yourself in your characters? Do they have any connection to your personality, or are they a world apart?

I both see parts of myself in my characters, and they are absolutely fictional and not me at all. Their past traumas and the current events spinning their lives out of control belong to them, and they drive the stories I’m telling. In Watch Out for Her, there are my own experiences with motherhood and all the worry and fear inherent in being a parent, but at the same time, unlike Sarah, I’ve never used nanny cams; I don’t watch my neighbors so intently. But I think all writers consciously or subconsciously weave certain parts of ourselves into our books. It’s inevitable when we crack our souls open to create our best work.

(4) What non-literary inspirations have influenced your writing?

So many non-literary inspirations influence my writing. I love people watching, so anyone who crosses my path inspires me. Television and movies, as well, fuel inspiration. I watch a lot of true crime, and though I don’t directly use what I see on the screen, it takes my thoughts in the directions I might need as I draft and revise. And music is probably one of my greatest inspirations. I always listen to music every day before I begin writing, usually raw songs with hard drum-beats or pain-soaked ballads to help me access my characters’ mindsets.
Follow Samantha M. Bailey on Twitter and visit her website.

--Marshal Zeringue