An Interview with Author Sam Kates

Take it away Sam!

I met the lovely Linda when we were both inmates at Wormwood Scrubs. We ended up sharing a cell after we had each been caught trying to tunnel out using nothing more than, in my case, a teaspoon, in hers, a set of false fingernails.

Of course, Linda wasn’t then the sweet Southern lady that you all know and love. ‘She’ was an Eastend bruiser named Ronnie, with tattooed biceps like painted boulders, a bald head the size of a pumpkin that could double as a wrecking ball and fists like sides of ham with which I saw ‘her’ take out Billy the Baby-eater Brown and Mikey the Manic Madman Malone as if they were schoolboys rather than the most feared bare-knuckle fighters south of the Thames. (Billy didn’t really eat a baby. It was a dead squirrel, but you know how rumours can stick.)

No one ever dared mention to Ronnie his camp tendencies. Not if they valued being conscious. I always knew he would one day give in to his feminine side. I’m glad that he did. Welcome, Linda. You’re much nicer than Ronnie. And I happen to like tattooed biceps on ladies.

Sam, good to see you again! How you been on the “outside”? Me, I’ve been fine. Check out my new tattoo… it’s a beauty huh? Glad you’re here to tell us about yourself and your books! Make yourself comfortable. 

1) Sam, would you tell us about your most recent release.

The Beacon is the second book in the Earth Haven trilogy that began with The Cleansing. It begins where the first book ended so readers should start with The Cleansing. The trilogy is post-apocalyptic science fiction, a long tale about how humankind is brought to its knees by a manufactured virus. Who developed this virus and why… can’t say too much here as it will spoil it for new readers, but the makers have their reasons. The Cleansing deals with the spread of the virus and the immediate aftermath. In The Beacon, the handful of survivors face a new threat – as if they haven’t been through enough already, bless them. Again, it’s difficult to reveal too much. The book’s blurb contains about as much as I can say without spoiling anything.

The Cleansing was terrifying. I look forward to The Beacon and being scared witless again.

2) How do you react to a bad review of one of your books?

I stamp my feet, poke the cat, throw the computer out of the window, get drunk, eat chocolate, smash plates, solder my nostril hairs, squirt shaving foam at my wife, speak in tongues, paint the house and run naked through the streets, wailing and gnashing my teeth.

Nah, I don’t really do any of those things. What I also don’t do is respond to the review. The reviewer is perfectly entitled to his or her opinion; I’m just grateful they bought my book and took the time to read it. All too often I’ve seen authors bemoaning bad reviews, either in direct response to the review itself or by starting threads in various forums. Such authors rarely come across in a good light.

Sam, I have to agree with you on the reader’s right to their reviews. Stories are very subjective and what one may love, the next may hate. They invested time to read it, and they can say what they really think about the story. I think you’re wise.

3) Are there any occupational hazards to being a novelist? I mean, it’s gotta be easier than being in prison right?

I think the obvious one is becoming unfit (or, in my case, more unfit) by spending so long sitting down. To try to combat this, I’ve invested in a home gym that sits in my garage. I even use it now and again…

Very smart! Gotta stay fit in case you go back in the “big house”.

4) Tell us something surprising about yourself.

I have a distant relative who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his part in the defence of Rorke’s Drift (immortalised in the film Zulu). He was one of the soldiers who helped save six injured men who were being attacked as they lay in the camp infirmary. He’s (something like) my great-great-great-uncle.

That is entirely fantastic.

5) Who are some of your favorite authors?

Too many to list them all, but here are some of my go-to authors: Stephen King (for his horror and fantasy more than his crime writing), Terry Pratchett, Agatha Christie (for her Poirot books), Bill Bryson, Iain Banks (and Iain M. Banks), Tolkien, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Frederick Forsyth, Gerald Durrell (I have a soft spot for the Greek island of Corfu thanks to his books). That’s just off the top of my head. I could list many, many more, but I think that’s probably enough to be going on with.

I like some of those as my favorites too. Great list.

6) What are your favorite movies?

In no particular order: Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid; Inception; The Great Escape; The Good, the Bad & the Ugly (and one of my favourite film scores); The Wizard of Oz; Hair; Gladiator; Bladerunner; and, of course, the Lord of the Rings trilogy. At least once each year, my younger daughter and I spend a day watching the extended versions of all three films. We often quote our favourite lines to each other (‘My friends, you bow to no one’). She’ll be leaving home for university in September, but tells me she wants to maintain what has become a tradition when she returns home during the summer vacation. I won’t argue; I love our ‘Lord of the Rings days’ as much as she does.

That sounds like a fine tradition. I know y’all have fun.

7) Do you laugh at your own jokes?

Of course; someone has to.


8) Are you jealous of other writers?

No. I’ve never begrudged another writer their success, even if their books are not to my taste. I have, however, felt envy in the sense that I’ve longed to match their success, whilst at the same time cheering them on, glad that they’re reaping the rewards of all their hard work. They are living proof that persistence, allied to no little skill, can pay off.

Sounds like a good philosophy.

9) What makes you cry?

I almost skipped this question, but at the risk of looking a complete wimp, here goes.

I barely cried until I was twenty-six. In May 1991, my first child was born. As I sat in the hospital, holding her in my arms while she stared intently up at me with bright eyes, something inside me shifted. I went to the ground floor of the hospital to ring the new grandparents and could barely get the words out. It must have seemed to passersby that I was imparting bad news, not good.

Since then, I find myself choking up during films, books, sad news stories and whenever Wales win at rugby. It can be embarrassing, but I’m powerless to prevent it.

I think that’s a positive sign. Being a parent brings on many changes and we’re healthier people when we’re in touch with our feelings. I won’t let on to any of “the boys on the inside”. 😉

10) What are you planning to write in the near future?

I’m currently working on the final instalment of the Earth Haven trilogy. Provisionally titled The Reckoning, it will bring the series to a definitive end.

I look forward to reading that one also.


11) What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

There’s only way to go from being an aspiring writer to being a writer. You take a blank piece of paper or a blank screen and add words to it, one at a time. Do that regularly and, there you go, you’re now a writer.

That is great advice! Can I quote you on that? That is really profound.

12) Do you write under a pen name?

Yes. I am by nature a shy person, who hates being in the limelight. That’s a bit of a problem in this game where visibility, at least of the books, is key. I decided from the off that, since I am not good at blowing my own trumpet, I needed to use a pen name. I still don’t find that self-promotion comes naturally, but it’s easier to promote Sam Kates than it would be the person behind that name.

Interesting. I am reminded of the old proverb… “He who tootheth not his own horn, often finds his horn goeth without a toot.” Okay, I made that up, but I understand how you feel. I use a pen name too.  😉

Sam Kates writes science fiction and dystopia (the Earth Haven series), horror (The Village of Lost Souls), short stories (Pond Life), and general fiction. He lives with his family in South Wales, U.K.

Amazon links:

Website / Blog:



Sam Kates, Thank you so much for visiting with us. I appreciate your time and try to stay out of trouble. lol

A note from me. I have read several of Mr. Kates books and I have certainly enjoyed his creativity. Horror is not my primary genre, but once in a while, I just love to read a good old dystopian drama or horror story. Mr. Kates excels at his craft. I know you will enjoy his work as much as I do.

Sam, once again, thank you so much for being here and giving folks a chance to know you better.

First World Problems—When Do We Have a Good Reason to Cry? I linked to this. I love your blog. Yours is one I always… always read!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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We all have those moments when we feel like tapping out, but when should we complain and when are we being self-centered? I would love to say I have all the answers. Just get me talking (or typing) and I sometimes am good enough to fool myself. But I simply do not know.

I struggle with boundaries, with saying I need help or that I am having a rough time. Then what happens is because I didn’t acknowledge the small problems early? They pile up and hit me like an avalanche. *whiiiiinnnne*

Bear with me…

Last week was one of those that seemed to just KEEP COMING. It started out well enough, then sucker-punched me. It took three appointments to get the cat, Odin neutered. I’ve never had a cat I waited so long to neuter, but have learned some valuable lessons.

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Lesson #1 Never name your cat Odin. I…

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Interview of Ch’kara Silverwolf – extraordinary author from “down under” Australia!

Ch’kara, would you start off by telling these nice folks how we met, a Louisiana girl and an Australian author. Isn’t the internet great? 

Ch’kara – Linda and I met on a forum online and we have become great friends.  We laugh and cry and support each other.  She is a great author and although we are on opposite sides of the world this in no way inhibits our friendship.

And I would like to thank you so much Linda for this opportunity to connect with your followers.  Blessed Be!

Lalo – Ch’kara is one of the sweetest people I’ve met since I’ve been roaming the internet. I love her work and she’s a great person as well as an accomplished author.

1) Tell us about your most recent release.

Ch’kara – My first novel is called Daughter of Light & Dark and is the first in a trilogy Prophecy of Nitesh.  It started because my main character ‘Montayna’ came to me one day and pestered me until I began to write about her.  Other authors will know how those voices work.

Lalo – I’m a little envious of that. Sometimes my characters don’t talk to me for days.

2) What else do you have coming out?

Ch’kara – Book 2 of Prophecy of Nitesh will be out by the end of the year.  It would have been sooner but due to a lot of health issues things have been delayed.  But it’s all good now so surging ahead.  I also have several short stories published and a few other novels partly written.

Lalo – I understand and look forward to reading more of your stories.

3) What genre do you write?

Ch’kara – I write in fantasy, YA, and dabble in sci-fi. I love myths, legends and magikal creatures my characters come alive on the pages as I write.

Lalo – I can tell you enjoy what you do. That’s great.

4) How do you choose the titles of your novels?

Ch’kara – They choose me.  My first one had a working title and then one day I kept hearing that it was wrong.  Those pesky voices that speak to authors and continue until we finally listen.

Lalo – That’s remarkable. I love to hear how it works for other authors.

5) Who are some of your favorite authors?

Ch’kara – There are so many great authors, particularly indie authors.  There is you of course I love your writing.  I have read all of Linell Jeppsen’s books and I usually devour Lisa Williamson’s work.  I have just finished inhaling the Sensor Series by Susan Illene.   There are many more Indies, but I would take up the whole page. Then some of my other favorites are Kim Harrison, Patricia Briggs, Traci Harding and Jennifer Fallon.

Lalo – I know we enjoy the same kind of stories and read many of the same series and authors.

6) If you listen to music while you write, what kind and why?

Ch’kara – Sometimes I like the quiet of my beautiful surroundings; I’m a bit of a Celtic fan, so I often listen to Loreena McKennit and Enya.  Their music takes me to other worlds.

Lalo – oh those Celts. I love their music also.

7) Describe your perfect day.

Ch’kara – Currently its winter here, so I get up in the morning and after my husband goes to work, I curl up on the sofa in front of the fire with my notebook and coffee and write.  I hand write all my work and then type it up later.  It has always been this way for me.  I love the flow of the words as they unfold on the paper.  I have tried in the past to write directly to my computer but then nothing happens, I find myself sitting starting at a blank white page, not very productive.

Lalo – I have heard that hand writing uses a different part of the brain. I cannot read my handwriting… so I’m stuck with the computer.

8) What are your favorite movies?

Ch’kara – There are many wonderful movies around, but one of my all-time favorites is Ladyhawke with Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Lalo – I love Ladyhawke also. It is a great movie.

9) How do you remain sane as a writer?

Ch’kara – Sane? Are there any sane writers (I say this as I fall off the sofa in hysterics)?  Let’s face it, we have conversations with people who nobody else can see or hear.  I’m sure if we weren’t authors we would be locked up and they would throw away the key.

Lalo – okay, I admit, that was a trick question.

10) What are books for?

Ch’kara – I believe books take us to worlds of wonder and enchantment.  They take us on a journey to places we wish we could be and I always find some message in books that can help me feel that I am on the right track in my life or that I can improve my life.

Lalo – I agree with that.

11) Have you ever found true love?

Ch’kara – Absolutely, my husband and I just had our 23rd anniversary.  We were best friends for twelve years before getting together (I was a little slow in making up my mind lol).  He always loved me from the very beginning, and although I loved him I didn’t believe I was in love with him.  Then one day it just hit me like a big sledge hammer and bam that was it. After all these years he still says I was worth waiting for.

Lalo – You are both fortunate.

12) Are you jealous of other writers?

Ch’kara – God no, I am so inspired by other authors.  It encourages me to see how many wonderful Indie authors are here now. I am so proud that there are so many gifted people out there willing to take a chance on their dreams.

Lalo – Interesting, I never thought of it that way before. All those people taking a chance on their dreams. It’s very encouraging.

13) Describe your writing process. When and where do you write?

Ch’kara – Well as I said earlier, I hand write everything because there is something magikal for me in the process of the pen flowing across the page.  I don’t really plan anything, for me it feels like someone is telling me a story and I am taking dictation.  Having said that there are times when I write notes and know something is going to go into a certain place.  But mainly it’s by the seat of my pants.

Lalo – Well it’s working for you. J

14) What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Ch’kara – To read everything you can lay your hands on in the genre you want to write in.  Write daily, even if it’s just in your journal, it keeps your mental flow going. Get feedback from Beta readers.  If you can afford it get it edited by a professional.

Lalo – That sounds like great advice. Thank you Ch’kara.


Ch’kara – I live in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges in Victoria, Australia with my ever-patient partner and two beautiful Maine Coon cats.

I travelled around the world in my early twenties worked in the film industry in London for ten years. Then spent a year travelling in America, and after returning to Australia worked in Advertising, as well as doing volunteer work for several years in my spare time, before settling down to write seriously.

I live a magikal life and am a hereditary witch, and although I was born in Australia, I come from a mixed heritage of an Irish/Spanish mother and a Cherokee father.
You can connect with Ch’kara Silverworth and find her fine books via these LINKS:

Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

Author Page:





First Chapters – Shadow Path by P L Blair

Reblogging from Ch’kara Silverwolf’s blog… I read this series.

Ch'kara SilverWolf

Another First Chapter, this time from my friend P L Blair from the first in her Portals series called Shadow Path.  This is a fantastic series.

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Magic and crime. Agatha Christie meets J.R.R. Tolkien in “Shadow Path,” the first book in the new Portals series by author P.L. Blair.
An Ogre murdered with a rune-inscribed sword is just the beginning as Kat Morales, a very human detective on the Corpus Christi, Texas, police force, and her Elf partner Tevis McLeod follow a blood trail that leads to Pixies, necromancy and Magic of the Blackest kind … to its climax in a stronghold Between worlds, where Tevis must duel spell for spell with a former lover who wants to see her old flame extinguished permanently.

Chapter One

Ogres looked – and smelled – bad enough in life. Death magnified those uncharming qualities, especially the smell, something like a cross…

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