MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR SAM FERGUSON!
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
Sam Ferguson – I write Fantasy
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
My most recent book is a new novel in the Haymaker series, and has been germinating for some time based upon the previous three books. However, I originally got the idea for Jonathan Haymaker by walking in a monsoon. Seeing that trolls in my world can often regenerate unless you cut off their heads or use fire, I wondered what it might be like if trolls had enough magic to create monsoons to take away a human kingdom’s ability to use fire.
From there I came up with a fun story by creating a main character that wasn’t your normal fantasy archetype. I wanted the hero to be second-best at everything, instead of some prophesied prodigy. It turned out really well I think.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
I have been writing stories since I was 8 or 10 years old. I have always been influenced by R.A. Salvatore’s written works – I loved Drizzt and Wulfgar – and I grew up playing RPGs that helped me really dive into the fantasy genre.
Can you tell me about your Series?
I have several different fantasy series, but the fun thing is that I keep nearly all of my books on the same world. So, the more a person reads from any series, the more they get out of subsequent books even if the two stories aren’t directly related because there will be historical, religious, and cultural elements that link them all together in one way or another. I also love to hide Easter Eggs – little side characters that pop up in other stories, or deities that have their own overarching stories that mix and mingle with the mortals at different levels, things like that. It makes for a lot to remember, but it makes it a ton of fun. 🙂
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
My favorite books in the Haymaker Adventure series are #1 and #4. #1 is where all the characters are introduced for the first time and it’s an action-packed ride with a bit of humor. Book #4 has the main character totally removed from his comfort zone and from all of the previous supporting characters, making him grow in new ways while he struggles against some things that he never could have seen coming his way.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
Simply put, I have an extremely overactive imagination, made worse by the fact that I refuse to grow up into a full adult. So… stories are where I can make the magic come to life, and I love that other people take time to enjoy my work.
Was it always meant to become a series?
Actually no. Jonathan Haymaker was written to be a stand alone novel. However, both its success and the fact that I couldn’t get the character out of my head turned it into a series. Books 2 and 3 should be read together, but I am planning on making any future Jonathan Haymaker books to be more like 1 and 4, where they can be read independently.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I work in my home office, which is ideal since I have five very active sons who need both attention and supervision. Normally I set a goal of 10,000 words in a day. Or, if I am on edits, then I will set a chapter goal to get through edits on time once I get those back from my editor. I also schedule in monthly admin days, and the occasional free day.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
At any one time I have several books in varying stages of completion. At the end of August I will be releasing Gryl the Enchanter. In October I will be releasing Dominion:Rise of an Empire, and Alerik the Dragon Slayer. So it should set things up for a fun time.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
It depends. Sometimes I like to play with name meanings for characters, places, or races, but at least half the time I just want a decent sounding name.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
I’ve wanted to work in westerns… but the closest I have gotten is a western/fantasy mash up project I am working on right now.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
The hardest part for me is right after a book launches. It isn’t just about sales expectations and goals, but each and every time I get nervous about reviews. Almost always the feedback from new and established fans comes in positive, but there are still those jittery butterflies before the first review comes in.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
It depends. I think sometimes they can be done very well, but I think they can also come off fairly cheesy. I wouldn’t do one for my own work personally, but I have in the past worked with a production company on a couple book trailers. I think they are cool and done well, but I am not sure how beneficial they are in terms of sales or creating new fans.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Actually jumping and making the transition into writing full time as my sole career. It can be scary at times, but it’s also extremely rewarding when things go well. I certainly have a lot more family time than in my previous career, and that’s something that has been tremendously invaluable the last few years.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
The extra family time and the ability to work from home are pretty awesome things to have. My schedule has even allowed me to get back into competitive powerlifting, enabling me to reach some additional lifetime goals beyond writing.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Working out of my home office with four hour workdays. Aside from reducing the hours worked, I intend to move to Hawaii so my home office has a much better view. 🙂
Have you always liked to write?
Yes, very much so. It’s very fun, and I write the kind of books I would have devoured myself as a kid, which makes it really cool when I see my oldest two sons picking up one of my books and reading it.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Set a goal and write every day. Before it became my full time career, I would take my lunch hour at work, eat in 10-15 minutes, and then use the rest of the time to knock out 1,500 words. It kept me sharp and really honed my time management skills. So, set your goals, break it down into manageable chunks, and then attack the crap out of it until you reach your desired destination.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
I used to be a diplomat working in U.S. Embassies overseas, so perhaps I would still be doing that.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I most definitely read them. I used to respond to them, whether good or bad, and thank the reader for their support. I don’t do that as much anymore though. I try to stay out of it now so readers can just do what they do without wondering what I might say or think in response. However, if people want to chat with me, I opened up an email address with the sole purpose of exchanging emails with people who want to chat about my books, or writing in general.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
I like almost all of it. I’ll even take a bad review and try to use it as constructive feedback if there is merit to the opinion. I like crunching numbers, marketing, all of it. So, the only part I dislike are trolls. I’ve only had one or two, but they are the ones that bug me the most. If a genuine reader wants to give a 1 star review – it’ll hurt, but it’s their honest opinion so it’s acceptable. A troll, on the other hand, you can always smell a mile away. Their comments are either entirely off-base or made up, or they make a comment that shows they obviously never read the book and are just guessing, and you can see they are just there to have some fun tearing something down. I’ve never had anyone be horribly malicious, but I just don’t like how trolls affect the industry as a whole.
What are you working on now?
I have two new ideas in the early stages of development and working on finishing a couple upcoming new release titles.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
R.A. Salvatore is my all time favorite author. Any of the Drizzt books are always recommended. I also enjoyed the earlier Sword of Truth books by Terry Goodkind.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
Gorliad is my favorite character. He’s a massive dragon that loses his birthright and ultimately has to fight for his dreams by changing his entire society. Erik Lokton is my other favorite character – but that’s because he is the main character in my first published book and ultimately launched my career, so he always holds a special place among my creations.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Both – usually it’s a lot of fun if I stay on track, but if I get behind it can be a bit tiring to knock out 12-15,000 word days for a week.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Youtube. I’ll go there for one research question and end up watching 2 hours of powerlifting videos, or Shadiversity.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Mostly I work with original stories that I design, though I do also work to improve my craft continually so I can deliver better stories each year.
Where can your fans find you and follow??
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️