Jaime Samms has been writing for various publishers since the fall of 2008, although she’s been writing for herself far longer. Often asked why men—what’s so fascinating about writing stories about men falling in love—she’s never come up with a clear answer. Just that these are the stories that she loves to read, so it seemed to make sense if she was going to write, they would also be the stories she wrote.
These days, you can find plenty of free reading on her website. She also writes for Freya’s Bower, Dreamspinner Press, Totally Bound, and now, Riptide Publishing.
Spare time, when it can be found rolled into a ball at the back of the dryer or cavorting with the dust bunnies in the corners, is spent crocheting, drawing, gardening (weather permitting, of course, since she is Canadian!), or watching movies. She has a day job, as well, which she loves, and two kids, but thankfully, also a wonderful husband who shoulders more than his fair share of household and child-care responsibilities.
She graduated some time ago from college with a fine arts diploma, and a major in textile arts, which basically qualifies her to draw pictures and create things with string and fabric. One always needs an official slip of paper to fall back on after all . .
What inspired you to start writing?
That’s a difficult question to answer, because honestly, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t making stories up in my head and writing some of them down that I didn’t want to forget. In those days, the writing wasn’t for anyone’s enjoyment but my own. Then, like so many other things in my life, writing for other people to read what I wrote came about when someone, somewhere, told me I couldn’t, or shouldn’t. I was told not to waste my time and so much effort on something that was only ever going to be a hobby unless I was going to share it. So I shared. Then I was told there was no such thing as a sweet gay romance, so I set out to write one. That was my very first published story. So I guess, really, being told no was the thing made me go ahead and do it?
How long have you been writing?
Well, like I said, I can’t remember a time I wasn’t writing. At least in my head.
What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
That you have to put what’s in your head on paper, and that you have to finish it. Half a manuscript in a drawer is fire starter. A completed story in a beta reader’s or an editor’s hands is just the beginning. Most important, always believe in what you’re putting on paper enough to take advice on how to make it better.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Probably? Maybe? Maybe not? I don’t feel like writing every day. I do other creative things, though. I crochet and draw and garden, and occasionally, I even clean the house. I don’t think my brain ever really stops muddling through my WIPs, though. That’s always going on in the background, and I have never thought the days I didn’t feel like writing would last forever.
Who is your favorite author and why?
This definitely depends on the day and my mood. In a world where I can’t always separate the work for the friend who wrote it, it’s a really hard question to answer. I have my go-to authors I know can give me a new story I’m almost certain to like. I also have a few battered and bruised re-reads because they make me infinitely happy every time. I’m can be a little like a goldfish that way. And I have some authors I read and always feel like I’ve been challenged to step outside my comfort zone. Sometimes I like where they take me, sometimes I don’t, so much, but I am rarely disappointed that I took the journey.
What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
I like to read stories with characters I can believe in and root for. Not much can really make me want to read a book, no matter how prettily turned out, or how much I might like the genre or the premise of the story, if I just don’t like or can’t relate to the characters.
How do you develop your plot and characters?
By the seat of my pants. Really. I make it up as I go along and hope for the best. Which is why good editors are worth their weight in gold. It’s really hard to see the plot holes in a story when you are knee deep in it.
What comes first, the plot or characters?
Yes. And neither. My characters are my plot. There is no plucking a character out of one story and putting him in another. He just wouldn’t fit, because his story is unique to him, and forms all the action around his one big question mark that I am trying to figure out the answer to (and the question, most of the time) as I go along.
Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
And give away the good bits? Nice try 😉
Okay, how about this. The beginner adult ballet class that Adam and Peridot teach is based on a class I actually took at my daughter’s dance studio a few years ago. Four women, all of us forty years old, and none of us dancers. Some of the descriptions of how to make your body do what the dance demands are plucked right from those classes as a very patient teacher tried to get a bunch of us middle-aged housewives to learn how not to be embarrassed by our own bodies. It was an amazing time.
Are you working on anything at the present you would like to tell us about?
Yes. I just finished the third book in this series, about Cobalt and his love interest. Of all the dance books, this one is the most raw. Cobalt has a lot to work through, but he has a strong and generous man to help him through.
What are you reading now?
Dreamspun Desires. I am currently on First Comes Marriage by Shira Anthony. I never read category romance in my life until now. I think I was just waiting to fall in love with this genre until there were books written with protagonists I wanted to read about. I am admittedly surprised I am enjoying them as much as I am. I half expected, after things like Matter of Time (Mary Calmes) and Cole McGinnis (Rhys Ford) these might bore me. But no. I guess romance isn’t quite dead for me after all.
What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
I have read so many books, and my story-crack choices vary so much—I can just as easily get lost in a good television series, movie or comic book as a novel—that I think this is another question that just depends on my mood and the day and what I am currently working on.
I guess, though, that if there is a time I can say I totally committed to the whole need-stories-like-air thing, it would have been somewhere during the first third of The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien) which I read when I was about eleven. Or..and?…when I was a kid and we used to go to my grandparent’s camp for the weekend, they had about a half dozen comic books. A Superman one, A Hawkman , a Thor and a Batman one. I must have read those things a hundred times, but I only had one issue of each series, so of course, as comic books often do, they ended on cliff hangers. I had to make up whatever came next to end the tales. I was writing fan fiction in my head before I ever knew it was a thing. I also think that the idea of good male friends pushed just past the boundaries of bromance for me with S.E. Hinton books like Rumble Fish and The Outsiders. Again, I didn’t know I was writing gay romance in my head at the time, but clearly, looking back, that was where it all began…
How do you come up with the titles to your books?
Ask other people. Not even joking. Easily half my books were named by other people. Titles are really, really hard.
Cases in point:
|Thank you, Rhys Ford||Thank you, Mary and Amy||And thank you, Lynn|
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Creating stories is about as deeply ingrained in me as breathing and eating. It isn’t like I was ever not a writer. I didn’t always have a name for it, but it’s always been there.
Describe your writing space.
Do you really want to know what the inside of my brain looks like? Because I gotta warn you, it can get a bit dodgy in there. As for where do I sit down to commit all that to the page, well, anyplace flat and still enough to hold my laptop or a notebook, really.
What is the hardest part about writing for you?
What is your work schedule like when you are writing?
Is this a serious question? I wish I had a schedule. But no. I write when it fits into the day. I write when I should be sleeping. I write when the light at the intersection turns green and I should be driving. I only work when I can manage to turn all that off long enough to make sense of a spreadsheet and an email program. My writing isn’t neatly scheduled in around the other events in my life. My life is shoehorned into the small cracks left open when my brain takes a breather.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I have no idea. That seems like something best answered by people on the outside of my head.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Um. Asked and answered? I’m always writing, one way or another. But if not, I play with string and hope something pretty comes out of the effort.
What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book(s)?
Myself, I think. Those times when I was writing away and suddenly the story opens up like a bright light and I see glimpses of the things I didn’t know I knew, or feel things about whatever I’m writing about I didn’t know I felt. Then I understand that as much as the stories aren’t about me, they are of me, and in those moments, the advice of “write what you know” makes perfect sense.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Lots. I don’t have an exact count, and some I’ve written only in my head, or at least, others are in print, but no one has ever actually read them. Every one of them is my favorite when I’m working on it.
Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?
I’ve heard some very nice things from my readers, occasionally, and it never gets old to hear someone say something I wrote made them happy, or even made them cry. It made them feel, and that’s why I do it. I like the feels, too.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Me. I guess when I was little, I had those “I want to be a ballerina” or a vet moments. I never once believed I was going to be those things. No coordination, and really not interested in that much school, but I could imagine being those things, and I never really wished I could do something other than get lost in those imaginings. I used to think I wasn’t very ambitious because the only dream I ever chased was the dream of being able to dream up more dreams. Now here I am doing that for a living, and pretty much I think that covers the whole “when I grow up” part f the question! Lol!
How do you do research for your books?
Like anyone does research for anything, I suppose. I talk to people. I search the net. I ask questions. Lots and lots of questions.
Jaime’s Latest Release
Blurb: About to lose the only thing he ever loved, Adam Pittaluga is at a crossroads in a dancing career that has hardly begun. He has always wanted to be a ballet dancer, but now that it’s impossible, he turns to Peridot for comfort. Peridot has been rebuilding his life after losing his ability to dance professionally, his marriage, and very nearly his daughter. He has a lot of reasons to be leery of starting something new, especially with a man as young as Adam.
Adam and Peridot have to believe that starting again can lead to love and success and that sometimes, the strength needed to love like you’ve never been hurt can be borrowed from unexpected places for a while. But ultimately, they must find it inside themselves to be each other’s happy ending.
To dance is to put one’s heart and soul on display for the world to see and judge. Conrad, Peridot, and Cobalt always knew this. For years, this small group of men has danced in and out of the spotlight and one another’s lives. Now, settling in one place, one studio, they all have to find a place on the stage—or behind the scenes—and find the even greater strength to once more dance like no one is watching. To love like they’ve never been hurt before. But most of all, to live their lives like they have found their heaven, both in the music and in the eyes of those who love them.
“I wish I could tell you something else, believe me,” Annie told him as he hopped delicately off her table. “But you just have to trust me.”
“I do trust you. I know you’re right.”
“But you don’t want to hear it.”
“I don’t want to hear it.” He slumped, setting his ass on the edge of the table.
Her ministrations hadn’t been easy on him. She had insisted that he show her what was going on, and the continued manipulation of the joint after a spectacular pop that had other patients and therapists turning to glance at him had him wanting to slap her hands away.
“It will heal, Adam. But only if you rest it.” She kept her voice low in the quiet room and began to pull the privacy curtain closed.
“You’ll ruin any career you could have if you don’t do this now.” The shush of the curtain almost overrode her words.
“In a year, I won’t be able to do what I can do now. I’ll take another year to get back in shape. By then….”
“Maybe you ought to think about something other than ballet.”
“I’m a dancer!”
“Ballet isn’t the only dance there is. It’s just one of the very worst things you can do to your body. There are hundreds of other things you can do in dance that don’t include torturing your body into doing things it isn’t capable of.”
“What would you know about it?”
Annie glared at him. “I danced in a modern company full time until I was thirty-five,” she told him, voice flat. “The company folded, or I would still be doing it. All that experience makes me a very hot commodity in this town. I have a healthy practice because I know how a dancer’s body has to work. When I can, I still dance with a community group three times a week. We do all kinds of things besides ballet. Come out and see what it’s all about.”
“I’m a ballet dancer.”
“No, Adam.” Her voice was hard, and the edge made him wince and meet her eye. “You can’t be a ballet dancer. You know you can’t.”
Amazon Author page: amazon.com/author/jaimesamms