In this Episode we Interview Samantha Cole
Hi, I'm Ann Jensen coming to you from the east coast of New Jersey. Hi, I'm Skyler West coming to you from the west coast of Canada. We are two Romance Writers using our life experiences to break down and share with you all things romance, how you find your next book boyfriend, discovering genres and tropes and looking at what works and why. What doesn't work and why. Welcome back to coast to coast romance today. We have Samantha Cole, romantic suspense author, one of my favorites who I've been reading for years. Welcome to the show. Thank you. Thank you. And thank you for saying that. You've been reading me for years. It makes me feel old. Well, yeah, I have. Yeah, I started writing at 48. So yeah, 4849 Yeah, six years. So 48. Yeah. And so yeah, now I feel I feel really old. That's okay. Okay, started with when your third tried and security book came out. Okay, so that was waiting for him. And then I went back and back and read the first two. Yeah, a lot. A lot of people do that. So you've been writing for six years? Six years. 2015 was when? Yep. So how many books have you been able to get out short story or novella or otherwise? Okay. Currently, I have, I think 35 books out novels and novellas. I also have five children's books out under a different pen name. I'm now going into audiobooks. I have about half of my book. Almost all my books are in order. Oh, now, I think I have like six or seven more before we catch up. And I am in the process of translating books into Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch. What am I missing? Oh, my gosh, French, French French. What made you choose those languages? Just curious? Well, I have I have an author friend that she was almost done with getting her own books translated. And she loved quite a few of her of her translators and said, You know, I would love to be able to give them business by once I'm done. And I was able to get the Spanish translator that way. And the German translator that way. And one of my Dutch readers offered to translate. She's translating the mother books, and she contacted me and she's like, I would love to, you know, do this. And I'm like, oh my god, I couldn't find a Dutch translator. I'm like, Yeah, great. Okay, you know, you know what, through the process, she did a chapter for me, and I let somebody else that reads Dutch Read It For You know, and make sure that it was translated, right. So I got that the first books I had done were Italian, I'd actually put a question up in Alexander's inkers group about translations getting translation done in marketing. I don't even remember what that the question was. And there is a Italian publisher that's in there, that saw my question and went over to look at my books and looked at the ratings and reviews and everything else like that. And then contacted me and said, we would love to start putting your Trident security series in Italian and I went over to their website and recognize the whole bunch of authors, some that I've read some that I'm friends with, that I didn't even realize that they were getting their books in Italian. And I contacted them and everybody was Go, go for it, go for it. We love them. They've been doing great for us and fantastic. So now I I have an Italian following. And I just contracted another Italian translator to pick up some of my smaller series, because the publisher can only get them out like every seven, eight months because they have other authors that they're still doing. So you know, everybody's like, when when when's another book coming out with another book coming out. So I couldn't go with it with the with the same series, but I was able to go to my smaller series. So that was one of the books that that's what I was doing. That was why I was almost late to our our meeting here because I just got the Italian translation for don't fight it, which is the first book of mazzard full series. Congratulations. So that'll be coming out good. But ironically, I've seen in several author groups, authors saying that their Spanish books are not going well. And Spanish was as aside from the first two in Italian, with with with the publisher, Spanish was the first ones that I started doing and I just released what is it seven? I think it's book seven and I made two box sets out of those seven books following the same that I do for the English version. And the Spanish books for me are doing phenomenal now Portuguese is a big one. Portuguese is two and I haven't gotten to that one yet but you know seeing everybody saying oh my god I you know my Spanish books are not selling and you know I I've heard it's not even worth it. Meanwhile, my one of my Spanish releases is in the top three of my moneymakers for that month. Wow. And consistently, the first two books and whatever the latest release is have been in the top 12 of my biggest moneymakers each month. Now you're talking 35 books plus seven plus two more, you know, so we're looking over 40 books and three out of my top 12 or top 10. I think it is actually on the thing are consistently my high moneymakers. So I'm like, Okay, we're going ahead with the Spanish. I don't know why, you know, other authors are having problems. Maybe it's their genre. Maybe it's their translator, maybe it's their keywords. I don't know. But I'm doing very well on the Spanish and I can't complain about it at all. So my Yeah, my my French book is still I only have one book out in French. Another one is in progress. And the French readers are contacting me and joining my group and saying when is the next one coming out? When is the next one coming out? So you know that that's, that's always an amazing feeling. I'm sure. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. i And from what I hear the German market is huge for romance, especially the steamy romance. And I have one book one being worked on right now. So I can't wait to see the results of that. Because from what I hear, that's probably going to be my top seller each month. Yeah, I've heard that, especially in Cancun, the super spicy. Germany is definitely a market to go in. Now I know what genre sub genre as you write it, but what is your favorite sub genre to write in? Or read or Polish? Yeah, my favorite sub genre is romance suspense. Because as I like, that's what I like to read. That's what I like to write. I'm a former police officer, I used to be a paramedic before that. So I most of my books need to have that criminal element in there. You know, they're on the run from drug dealers, they're, you know, there's a serial killer running around, somebody gets kidnapped all that stuff. Because I find that sometimes, if I don't have that suspense element in there, I ended up with novellas, and a couple of books. But recently, I started writing, again with JB havens, Jamie and I, she has a military suspense series. Still Core Series. And long story short, my beta reader started reading her series and said, Oh, my God, you have to do the series. We became friends. She read my series, and we started laughing, saying, you know, my training guys should be you're still core team. And we ended up doing a crossover. And it's called No way in hell, it's not a romance. And it says that in the blurb because you know, it's not for everybody. Some people want to skip over it. That's, that's fine. But it was such a fun project. And we had a blast writing it. I think we wrote the first half of the book in one week. And then I came back and I'm like, Oh, my God, I have the ending. I have to write the final chapter right now. I'm like, I'm like, I have the freakin ending. So I wrote the ending and said the tour and she's like, that's it. I love it. I said, now we got to get from there to here. And a couple of months ago, Jamie contacted me and said that she had an idea for a romance, small town Western romance. And she's like, you know, me, I can't write romance. I can't write sex. But I can help with the other stuff. And I you know, here's the idea for it. And I'm like, I love it. I said let's start writing it. Now. JB says she couldn't write romance. And she says she can't write sex. She lies. She lies like a rug. Yeah, doesn't want to admit it. No, she's got imposter syndrome. She doesn't. He doesn't well. And what was great about it is that we met so well. And she's like 20 years younger than me, and has three kids and all and we are just so different. And yet, we mesh like there is no tomorrow and show by the scene and I'll go in and edit it. And then make some changes and suggestions here and there. And then I leave all that for her to look at and then I start taking over the next scene. And then I leave that and she comes back in and so We did want to be in Wyoming which was book one. And we just released on this past two days ago, wistful in Wyoming, which is the first book is a male, female. She is in her 30s. And she inherits. She lives in Philadelphia. She got pink hair tattoos, she's got a whole sleeve. And she inherits this ranch out in Wyoming from the father she never knew. And anytime she asked her mom about her dad, you know, it was just, she didn't give her any information. She didn't even know his name. So she moves there after a mom dies and after divorce, and she's trying to decide whether or not she's going to take it over, or she's going to sell it, you know, to actually stay there or sell it. And she meets her gateway and your neighbor, who is very much in the closet. And at one of her trips to the supermarket. She sees this flyer for write to any soldier, and she starts writing to Nathan, she, her first letter goes, ends up in Nathan's hands, and he starts writing back and miss her falling in love through these letters. And when he comes back, they finally meet but then she finds letters that her father wrote her mother but never mailed. So she finds out their whole history. And what happens between the two of them through the letters. Oh, that sounds bad. It really, it's, it's an awesome book. I freakin love it. I think it's one of my favorite books that I've written. Jamie just she's really, really fantastic. Between the two of us, we get a ton. So when we did wistful, wistful is a male male romance. Everybody is loving that. And I busted a lot of male male cherries with topping the alpha which is for the Trident security series. And I had so many people that were weary about it. And I think back to when I read my first male male book, and that was Suzanne Brockmann troubleshooter series. And I started reading this series back in 2001. And she introduced this character, Jules, who's an FBI agent, and you just you over the series, you really started falling in love with this guy and just wanting him to have a story. And back then she couldn't she we had to find her publishers to get them to release a male male book. They will gay romance is not it was the thing. I mean. And she finally after a couple of years, finally was able to write Joseph's book. And by that point, I was so invested in I couldn't wait to read his story. So when me and Robin got together, and that's kind of how I felt when I was writing, Nick. Jake's book, because I given them my readers, a lot of background or scenes with Jake, but there was still so much mystery about him and what you know why he was he hadn't found somebody yet. So by the time his book came out, I had readers that were like, alright, well, I can always skip over the sex scenes and just, you know, if male male isn't, they don't want to be that. And they started coming into my group and Oh, my God, why was I not reading? Oh, my God. I know, I gotta go find a whole bunch of male male authors to read. And you know, it was just really, really funny. To this day. I, I have readers that say that Nick and Jake are their favorite male male couple, and they busted their charity, you know, they pop their cherries on everything. So now they're they're starting to read wistful. And they're like, Oh, my God, I never thought that Jake and Nick, we're gonna have competition, but I think they have competition. Well, that's one of the things that I respect is that you? Don't it's a lot of people use other pen names or anything like that if they do male male versus male, female, but like within your series, you you switch back and forth. Now when you write your stories, does the to the characters draw the story? Or is it the the story brings out the characters? Now the characters tell me their stories. When I was writing leather and lace, and I was introducing the guys and getting to know them? Jake said oh, by the way, I'm gay. I'm like, Okay, that's good. You know, thanks for letting me know. And I'm like, Okay, so my characters. I'm one of those authors that the characters tell me their story. I don't tell them where they're going. And there are times where I think I'm going in one direction and they pop Oh, I got this great idea. We're going to, you know, make a left turn here. And I'm like, What are you talking about? And yeah, so I have to follow my characters in a dead man's pulse, which just came out in audio. I was a third of the way through the book, and the hero was over at Arlington National Cemetery, visiting the graves of his fellow of his teammates that he lost. And in the back of my mind, here comes this little boy about six years old, walking over to him and saying, Is he a hero, indicating the grave that he's standing in front of. And this little kid, like I said, came out of nowhere. I had no idea he was coming until I was literally typing him into the onto the page. And he became such an amazing part of the story. And he's in the epilogue to and and I so many people are like, Oh my god, that is my favorite scene. Little Charlie. I was just bawling for little Charlie. I mean, he was just such an incredible character. And I love that the characters surprise me as much as they do my readers. That's me, you know? Yeah. I just laughing I'm like, one of the things that drives me nuts, is that some of my characters are so witty and have these sarcastic comebacks, and they come out like this, you know, 123, boom. And I'm like, Okay. And meanwhile, in my real life, I'm one of those people where five hours later, I'm like, Damn, I should have said that, that would have been a great comeback. And you know, my characters are great with the comebacks and they do it right away. And me, I'm in real life I can't think of you know, come back until five hours later when it's doing Jericho. That's, that's why we write Sam so we can have that confidence elsewhere. Yes, yes. So I'm just curious. So obviously, you know, suspense, because of your background. Your work history has a lot to do with the types of tropes that you write. Is there any other tropes that you really like that maybe you haven't engaged in too much it or tropes that you really like to read? Love, the male male romance. I've gotten into to the Minaj romance, the BDSM romance, I found Teresa Claire Shadowlands, and I'm really not sure how I ended up with her as it came up as one of my recommended Tricos you've read this range show, and I honestly don't remember. But I read that book. And I was like, Oh, my God, where are these books, but you know, and so I started on that and then I caught up on that. And then I found a regale Lexie blade, Blake, Shayla black, Nicole Edwards, truthin, and Michael's car, Cartwright, all these other authors, and I'm sure I'm missing a few of them. I just got so into those series. And like Nicole Edwards, she has the Minaj she has the mm, she has the MF all within the same series. Right. And that's why I feel very comfortable writing that. And I'm like, Well, you know, some people are gonna say, Oh, well, the second book is male now. I don't like male male. Well, fine. Skip that one and go to the next one, which is going to be an MF. Right. So yeah, those are the tropes I love. I do like CIA thrillers, the Mitch Rapp series by Vince Flynn. I was very upset when he passed away quite a few years ago, but I was happy to find out that Kyle Mills was going to take over his his series, and I just love that series. Who else? Oh, gosh. I love the military. Romans, law enforcement Romans. Romans MC, I'm not big on the MC, I would probably read it. I can't really see myself writing it. I don't know why. It's just not something that that's hit me. I do have some ideas for some paranormal, but they're not the vampires, the shifters or anything else like that. Heather Graham writes, romance suspense with the paranormal. Yeah, satellite, spine, and yeah, and it's, you know, like they, the empaths and the, you know, they see the dead, they talk to the dead, you know, all that. And I've read her series. Matter of fact, I'm actually behind now because I've, you know, expanded my repertoire of authors that that I follow. So I really do have to get back over and catch up on her series. You know, I used to read 1214 books a month, and now I'm looking at probably two. So, yeah, that's the disadvantages of becoming an author all of a sudden you don't you don't have time to read. It's very true. And then by the time you find a book, you're desperate. I just want to be left alone. Yes, exactly. Exactly. You know, or see end of the day, and you read three pages and your eyes are just shut? No. Yeah. Sometimes I open up the Kindle and go, Okay, that was enough. Light. I've done that a couple of times. Oh, my. Any. Sorry, I was gonna ask you, is there any trope that you definitely don't like within the romance genre? I'm not into the Vampire, Werewolf shifter stuff. Yeah. Yeah, that's, it's not something that I can get into. And there's so many other books out there. And, you know, even some of my favorite authors have written shifter books. And I just, I just skipped that series, because I just, I don't know why. It's just not something that hits me. And it sounds like you're more about the react like realistic. Yeah, like CSI and, you know, Criminal Minds. And you know, those kinds of TV shows. My books. Those are his favorite shows. Yes, yeah. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Gibbs. Haha. Anyway, ah. So when you read reviews from fans or things like that, what is your favorite compliment, like, great story, action, Pat? Like, is there something that you made that just really does it for you that I made them laugh that I made them cry, that I made them scream and shout. That's what I love to hear. Because it means my words evokes such a strong emotion from them, to the point where they had to write about it. That's what I love to say, Oh, that's not to say that look for in the Trident security series, not negotiable. It's a novella. And I started writing it, as my cousin was losing her four year battle to cancer. And we knew this was, we didn't have much time left. I didn't try. You know, a couple of my readers had been asking for Shelby's story. And I didn't really know what CIOB story was. All I knew was that she wore different color wigs to the club that matched her outfits for the club. So she had, you know, hot pink and lime green and orange and all these different colors. And it turns out that she was, she had battled cancer and one. And she started wearing the wigs in the clubs when she lost her hair the first time. And it just became part part of her persona. Yeah. And and now she had her cancer was back. And she didn't want to tell anybody the first time or folks were still there. And they were able to help her get through it. And her folks are gone. Now, her sister lives on the other side of the country. You know, she didn't feel want to feel like a burden to her friends. So she had it for a bit and the DOM that really likes her finds out and he's like, Yeah, you're coming to live with me until this is over and taking over and making sure you get you eat healthy, and you get to your appointments, and you know, all this other stuff. And writing Shelby story was my therapy. As I was losing my cousin. I finished it probably about two, three weeks before we lost her. And actually, yesterday was her anniversary of her passing. And we went to a church today because the the the mass was for her today. It's ironic that we're actually talking about this now. And I didn't click until just that. But when I put this book out, I didn't expect much out of it. Next thing I knew I was getting emails and direct messages and tagged in posts from women who went through cancer. They were cancer survivors, or they were going through cancer, or they were in a cancer support group because they had lost somebody to cancer. And what I was getting from them was was just like, Oh my God, everything I felt everything I went through, you put into into words you put into that book, I related to everything that you talked about. And I said well, you know, my father passed away after five years of battling cancer for different types of cancers. We lost my cousin she had lung and brain and I said I went through this boot with them. So it was just so fresh and right you know, right that real but yeah, it was real. Exactly. I had the recommending it to their, their cancer survivor groups. And, you know, so and so I know my, my sister has cancer and she's going through her treatments right there. I'm giving her this book. And it just blew my mind that that was the first time I realized how emotional my books could be. Right? And and that I was getting that emotional reaction from people. That was the first time. And since then it's just become, you know, a regular thing now, but it still blows me away. When people put in their reviews that they laughed, they cried, that they screamed that they threw the book across the room, and then picked it up again and started yelling at the character. And yeah. That's awesome. Here's a fun question for you. If you couldn't write romance, what would what do you wish you could write? I do have a couple of ideas for straight thriller suspense. I would love to get them down on paper one day, I have like three books, book ideas that have been percolating for a while. And I would love to sit down and write them. But at the moment, I have so many freakin books in my series that I have to get to. So I'm not sure when I'm going to get to those books. But they've been said, two of them have been sitting on the backburner for five years now, and one has been sitting there for about a year now. So they're not going away. I will get to them eventually. That's great. All right. So what what's next, what's your what's your What are you working on? What's, what's next? I owe my readers two books. I owe them master Cordell. And I owe them the ultimate price, which is Brian Malone's story, the characters stop talking to me for a bit, and I am like, edging them along. And it looks like we're getting back into that. So I'm going to finish up those two books. And then in the Trident security series, my readers are begging for Jenna Doug's book. And Jen, I had to let Jen grow up a little bit, because when she was in book one, she was only 18. And so now she's 23. She is madly in love with Doug, who works for her uncle's now and was actually her bodyguard twice. So he thinks that she just has this hero worship thing going on. And she's like, now they you know, this is the real deal. And you know, he's 30. She's 23. So he's having issues with the age. And of course, the uncles are going to have an issue. Don't they always? Yeah. Especially when you're when you're your uncle's are badass is right. Exactly, exactly. And they're the boss. Not only are they not only Okay, bad passes, but they're your boss. So yeah, that's, that's gonna be fun. So I have that. And then I am going back to hazard falls. Again. And I'll be working on Book Three for that. And then I'm going back over to Largo ridge, and working on that book. And then JB and I are working on the next book for the for the antelope rock series that all is. Yeah, yeah. Though, only five, five days. I'm one of those authors. I have, like, keep tabs of books open. And whenever a scene starts to hit me, I have to go over there. And I got to at least put the general concept down. So I don't forget it. Yeah, so any given day, I can be writing in three different books. And it's just whoever is talking to me. Okay. Yeah, I'm gonna shut up now and go, you know, this guy wants to come in and talk to you for a little bit. And that character come in and then I'll go over there. So and then on top of all that, you know, you're doing the marketing, you're doing the networking, you're doing the podcasting So, but it's just so much that there are some days where I, you know, it's nine o'clock at night, and I'm like, I didn't write a single frequent work that i What the hell did I do today? Yeah, I got, like, like the other day. I we were laughing because I had Wednesday I had a BookBub free they'll come out. So you know, you're what you're watching the numbers on that. Friday was the new release of wistful and Wyoming. I had two audiobooks that I had to upload to find a way voices in a CX. And then I had a Spanish book that I had the format. And then I had the Spanish box set, because that was the last book in that box set. So I had to format that and get those uploaded. So by the end of the day, I'm I did a lot of stuff. But I didn't write a single word, you know, and you feel like a failure because you didn't write a single word. But meanwhile, you were busy all day. So yeah, yeah. And not only are busy, but these different components take a different type of energy from you. That's what I find. And you know, there'll be a time like, I could go for a week or two of just hammering on the editing while I'm writing another book, while I'm working on finding people for the podcasts and creating questions and all these things. And I'm like, You know what, I just want to go on to Shutterstock and find my next cover guy. Yeah, I just need something that I can my candy. Yes. And does not require thought and processing. Yeah. And I do that sometimes. Because like the, the antelope rock series, I'm doing a coverage for those. And we, we actually have storylines planned for 17 books. Don't ask me, we're only on booktube. But we were like, Oh, my God, this is a great idea for this character. So we added in there. Yeah. And I made a whole bunch of covers one day, because I was just, I needed some downtime. And I find that when I'm in Canva, that's my downtime Canvas. So much fun. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. And I use kit, I actually use Canva. And I use Photoshop, because some things I can't do in Canva. And some things are easier in Canva than in Photoshop. So So I use both. So going back for so I actually made like, I think 12 covers and but we do have 17 books planned. We'll see how well that works. Writing with with JB goes so much faster. Because if I hit a wall, she comes in, and she's like, Oh, I got this great idea. And next thing I know, I know where the next scene is going. Hi. So writing with with another person that you mesh well with is amazing. is amazing. If you don't if you don't mesh well, and your your your styles are so different and things like that. It can be area of Sure. But JB and I do do a phenomenal job. And I love writing with her because it flows so easily with her. Perfect. Yeah, perfect. That's awesome. All right. I think that is the end of our interview. Thank you for joining us, Samantha. Thank you so much for having me. I had a blast. It's so nice getting to know you better. Thank you for listening to coast to coast Romans. I'm Ann Jensen, and I'm Skyler West. If you'd like to contact either of us. Our links are located in the show notes. Have a great week. Thanks so much for joining us.