Author Q&A With Samara Breger

Author Q&A With Samara Breger

Samara writes books about women in improbable circumstances falling in love. Before she started writing books, she worked in public radio, podcasting, and digital journalism and is a proud News and Documentary Emmy loser. If you peek into her work history, you’ll find a lot of stuff about sex, reproductive health, and queer people. She lives just outside of New York City. with her wife and a dog. Meet Samara…

You are an author, but is it your day job?  Writing is most of what I do, but not all of what I do. It’s definitely the thing I like best. On days I’m writing, I’m often taking breaks to go on walks, chat with friends, read, or play with my dog. He’s pretty lazy, so he generally only wants to play for like five minutes at a time.

Did you always want to be an author? I’ve wanted to be an opera singer, actor, comedian, journalist, primatologist, and writer. I’ve done a few of those things, but writing has been the best by far. The day-to-day stuff is just so enjoyable. I like to sit down and write. I feel lucky that I get to do it.

What is your most recent book and what inspired you to write it? My most recent book is a sapphic, Victorian, gothic romance called A Long Time Dead. I was approached to write a vampire novella, but it got out of hand—I realized pretty quickly that there was enough there to spread across a full-length book. I love gothic novels, so that was the major inspiration for me. This book has a lot of the markers of a gothic romance: crumbling manors, mysterious strangers, macabre locales, decadent parties, and revenge. It’s also pretty funny!

How do you hope your book uplifts those who read it? It is a particular difficult time to be queer. My book is filled with blood and revenge and heartbreak, but it is also so much about queer joy. A good chunk of the book is spent with a queer found family. They have conflicts and disagreements and falling-outs, but they always come back together, because that’s what it means to have a chosen family. They choose each other over and over. At the end of the book, one of the characters says “We aren’t aberrant. We aren’t unnatural. We’re of this world, so we belong in it.” That’s the message I hope to get across.

What are you most excited about with this book? I’m in love with the history of the lesbian vampire. Blood-sucking and predation have been used as a metaphor for queerness, but, as in all things used against us, it belongs to us, now.

How did writing a book help your career take off? I’m not sure it did. I hope it does in the future!

What advice would you give to someone wanting to succeed in your professional industry? My advice is to not take my advice. I’m still learning.

How do you handle setbacks and criticism? I remember how cool I am and how many people love me. That helps.

Being an author today is like running a business. How do you manage all your publicity, social media and keep your engagement up with readers? I hired a publicity team. They’re great! I highly recommend!

How do you hold yourself accountable and achieve the goals that you set forth? I don’t always. I have periods of low productivity and periods where I’m churning out thousands of words a day. I ride the good moments and forgive myself in the low moments. I’m a person, not a machine. I wake up different every day.

How do you structure your day and make time for writing? I write in the afternoons, after I eat lunch. If I have to stop for lunch, it ruins my flow. In the morning, I like to answer emails, hang out with my wife, or go for a walk in the woods. I try not to read anything I really enjoy in the morning, or else I’ll keep reading for the whole day and skip writing entirely. When I write, I usually go for the pomodoro method, which is twenty-five minutes of work followed by five minutes of break. After four of those, I take a longer break. It works really well for me.

What do you find most fulfilling in the career that you’ve chosen? Seeing my growth. I’m a better writer than I was a year ago. I’m a better writer than I was a week ago. I plain to keep getting better for as long as I do this, which I hope to be a very, very long time.

What book uplifts you? In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado is a masterpiece. It’s like holding a prism in your hand and seeing all the ways the light can move. It’s a heartbreaking and anger-inducing and very, very brave work.

Anything else you’d like to share with your readers? A Long Time Dead is a fairly high-spice sapphic romance. It’s fun, bloody, and spooky. Best of all, I wrote it for you.

You can connect with Samara and grab a copy of her book via her website. 

Images Courtesy of Smith Publicity, Inc.

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