Tell readers a little about the Sawtooth Range series.
We own property in Idaho and spend time visiting the central mountains whenever we can. I think anyone who has driven Highway 56 between Boise and McCall or the breathtaking Highway 75 along the Sawtooth Range will understand the romance of the landscape. Settings have always triggered my imagination. That’s where characters step onto the stage in rapid succession when I am breathing the mountain air. The real-life town of Roseberry was the inspiration for the fictional town of Snowberry in Kat’s Law. The ghost town of Sawtooth served as the backdrop for Comes the Winter. Both towns can be visited today and I really hope you can one day.
My goal in writing this series was two-fold: inspire women to courageous living and provide them with a pleasant and sweet adventurous escape from a stressful life. From the response I’ve received, my goals have happily been achieved.
If you could live the life of one of your characters, would you?
Perhaps I would like to live as Lena from Comes the Winter because of the legacy she builds with her husband in Sun Valley. The books of this series have not all been written but if I could live in her guest ranch and meet some of the real historical figures she is destined to meet, yes, I might trade places. She’s wise and patient and makes a home for others to share as she reads great works of literature before a stone fireplace in a room with an expansive view of the mountains.
What's your favorite character that you have created and why?
That’s a difficult question. Don’t we authors love all our characters? Dr. Kat Meriwether probably takes top-billing because her personality is patterned after my daughter of the same first name. Both are serious when they need to be but they share the same tendency to tease and demonstrate a dry sense of humor. Like my daughter, Kat’s a woman of strong convictions but able to demonstrate immense compassion. I’m very proud of them both for, pardon the pun, sticking to their guns.
My U.S. Marine son also had an influence with this story by being my firearms expert. I wanted Kat’s use of guns to be realistic. He made that element of the story authentic. He even named his cat Browning and I’d like to think it was the result of his help with the choice of Kat’s weapon.
Do you have any real-life stories that you have incorporated into one of your books?
Redeeming Lies brings two real-life characters to the fictional stage.
If you had to choose a different career other than writing, what would it be?
I’ve been a teacher, a theater director and professional potter. But my romantic notion of college professorships has often caused me to ponder what life might have been like if I’d continued along that path. I like the image of myself as a history professor surrounded by dusty tomes, colorful antique maps on the walls of my office and a pipe clenched in my teeth. Wait. Maybe not the pipe. Sigh. That’s C.S. Lewis envy.
What is your favorite book that you have ever written and why?
I’ve written a middle grade historical fiction set in nineteenth century California just north of San Francisco at Russian Fort Ross. Misha Alexandrov was my first novel and the little orphan Misha will always be my favorite protagonist because he overcame so much in his young life. He learned to trust not only his creative instinct but in his adopted ohana family.
What do you like to do with your time when you're not writing?
Time not writing? It’s become a full-time job. However, for my husband’s sake, we do go hiking and sailing on occasion. (But I think my brain is still writing)
What's a fun fact that your readers might not know about you?
I like to walk in the footsteps of my characters by visiting the location of the story. In the case of Comes the Winter, we visited the ghost town of Sawtooth City and walked through the ruins of what was once a thriving town. The cemetery was amazing.
One more fun fact? My son takes me shooting in Idaho to learn the feel and sound of the guns my characters use. He says I’m pretty good with a gun. Who knew?
What do you have in store for your readers next?
The story of Lena and Evan continues in the next novel, Redeeming Lies. That story romantically weaves the character of Dr. Reynolds from High Valley Promise with a new female character, Madison Jennings. This is a suspense/romance in which Maddie is on the run from both the Sicilians and the Pinkerton Agency as a result of her father’s scam. When he dies while traveling west with her, she’s left literally holding the bag. She takes refuge in Ketchum and the Hartmann’s boarding house and must assume a false identity. It was my first attempt at a mystery/suspense/romance and quite fun to write.
Redeeming Lies is complete and should be released in February 2019. If I release it sooner, you can be notified by signing up for my newsletter on Samantha’s website. www.samanthastclaire.com
The second manuscript, currently in Beta reading stage, is A Light from Friday Harbor and it’s quite different from anything else I’ve written. It is another suspense with romantic elements set in the San Juan archipelago of Washington State during the prohibition years. Jazz is the protagonist who is washed ashore on San Juan Island after she and her brother are attacked by hijackers while they are running whiskey from Canada to America across the Haro Strait.
It’s the story of two women’s journeys from wonder to worship and the transforming power of relationship.
I hope it will encourage those who are grieving and those suffering from depression. The challenge has been to inspire and guide without dishing out simplistic answers to very deep and troubling conditions. I’ve selected Beta readers who have lived these questions and until they are satisfied with the story, I will not publish.
If you are a reader looking for short stories, you can try my new multi-author series, Whitcomb Springs. Healing Fire, Tracking Amy and The Unwitting Hero of Whitcomb Springs are my offerings of sweet romantic stories for an evening’s reading.
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