Welcome to the tour hub for the 34 Seconds Tour, a debut novel by Stella Samuel. Setting is everything when I’ve written my stories in the past, so Stella is here to talk about Deltaville…
With only one road in and out of Deltaville, few just happen upon the little town unless that are under duress in the water.
Legend tells a story of Captain John Smith coming across Deltaville’s point in 1608. While exploring its beaches and coastal waters, John Smith was stung by a stingray. He told his crew to dig a grave as he thought he’d die right there on that point. He didn’t, of course, but he did leave a name for the point, Stingray Point.
Residents of Deltaville still say the little ‘town’ is a fishing village. People travel from miles around for the seafood caught in the area waters. Folks living there will say they are lucky to be in the most beautiful village around.
Though my book takes place in Deltaville, and I’ve taken many liberties with the village by creating roads and places that are indeed fictional, many from Deltaville will know where my mind was while writing.
Nikki is a small town girl who felt she had to get away and live a full life in a city with sidewalks and coffee shops. I chose to use Deltaville, Virginia as Nikki’s small town backdrop because it’s a place where I spent my childhood. My father lived there for more than thirty years. He’s buried in Deltaville. When my father passed away in 2012, I knew I’d never have a reason to go back. Sure, I have family nearby, but I could visit family and never get real close to the actual village of Deltaville. I may never go back. Using Deltaville in 34 Seconds gave me an opportunity to honor a place I love as well as gain closure I needed on a place I may never see again.
Stella Samuel is a debut author who reads multiple genres. Her first book, 34 Seconds, talks about the moments where life changes suddenly, and the choices we make in those moments where the people that hold parts of ourselves from the past meet. A literate and lyrical view at love, life and fate, this story is both uplifting and satisfying. Stella is a debut author who loves nothing more than connecting with fans on social media. Her blog bio is: Stella Samuel – Writer, Butterfly and Singer of Silly Songs. Smiles under sunshine but dances in warm rain. Silently wishes to winter in Phoenix.
Nikki and Will fell in love a lifetime ago in Deltaville, Virginia. Now living in Colorado with her family, Nikki is invited to attend Will’s wedding back in Virginia where she finds her past staring her in the face. Will never wanted a wife, and he broke Nikki’s heart long ago. Nikki knew what she wanted: a strong, happy marriage and children, a future. She found those things when she married Chris, and she and Will managed to grow their friendship after heartbreak. A year after the wedding, Nikki is faced with her painful past again. She soon discovers she must find the strength to help Will on his own personal journey. In thirty-four seconds, she sees him slip from her life forever. Watching Will cross over to his fate, her past collides with her present, and Nikki learns she’s never been in control of her own destiny. Her own journey back to her family in Colorado becomes one of self-discovery. With the help of Will’s voice to carry her across the country, Nikki must decide how she will move forward.
Buy 34 seconds here
Hi everyone. I’m Shaun Allan and I’m an author from Grimsby in the UK. I’ve written for most of my life (I couldn’t hold a pen in the early days) and have penned a variety of stories, ranging from science fiction to horror to humour to children’s. I’ve also written a paranormal thriller called Sin, and have appeared on Sky TV to discuss traditional versus electronic publishing.
Except, of course, I’m none of those things. I don’t really exist. I’m a pigment of Sin’s emancipation – as Sin himself would say. I’m not surrounded by girls (in the shape of my partner and daughters) with only our three cats (all male) to back me up – we have fish too but their sex is undecided… although, as I don’t exist I suppose I don’t have fish…
Being unreal can be confusing sometimes.
So. I’m Shaun, and I’d be pleased to meet you if there was any chance of escaping the confines of Sin’s imagination. Going by some aspects of him, though, I wouldn’t like to say that isn’t actually possible.
Hi. Oh, I said that. Well. I’m here to interview Sin, lunatic extraordinaire – or, as he would have us believe, non-lunatic ordinaire. Why would one interview a madman? Well, it worked for Clarisse when she met with the goodly Mr. Lecter. And, as Sin protests that he’s not actually crazy, I may get some more sense. We shall see.
SA: Hello Sin.
Sin: Hi Shaun. How are you?
SA: I’m fine thank you. It’s a little dark in here, but I don’t mind.
Sin: I’m sorry about that. I’d like to brighten it up in there, but the gloom in the hospital kind of invades my head.
SA: A little like I’m doing?
Sin: *laughs* Not quite. You’re a welcome deviation. Connors is the only one who invades my head.
SA: Thanks, I think. Although the hospital is glaringly white. I wouldn’t have thought the term ‘gloom’ suits?
Sin: Well, you’d think so, but in a building where no one is particularly happy, even the blinding walls can feel dark.
SA: Well. Yes… Let’s lighten the mood a little, shall we?
Sin: Unlike the inside of my head?
SA: Indeed. So. You’re crazy?
Sin: Hey, don’t waste your time, OK? I’d prefer it if you’d get right to the point!
SA: I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be so blunt.
Sin: Don’t worry. I’ve been called much worse in here. In answer to your question, yes, I’m crazy. Except when I’m not.
SA: When you’re not? You switch it on and off?
Sin: After a fashion, I suppose you could say I do. I’m crazy as a loon… when i want to be.
SA: So, from that, do I assume you’re not really?
Sin: You can indeedy. My wibble doesn’t wobble. I act up so they’ll come and give me the drugs. Little pricks giving little pricks.
SA: Why would you do that? I can’t see why anyone would want to actually volunteer to be locked up in an asylum.
Sin: Maybe I’m crazy to do it then?
SA: *I shrug my shoulders. Maybe he has more in common with a certain cannibal than I thought*
Sin: You do realise, as you’re a conjuration of my consciousness, I can hear your thoughts?
SA: Oh, sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. You just seem to be… contradictory.
Sin: I’ll take that as a compliment, thank you.
SA: You’re welcome. Why, then, did you deliberately put yourself in here?
Sin: I needed it all to stop. I couldn’t take it anymore. I felt like I was being haunted.
Sin: Yes, ‘it’. The deaths. The screams. I couldn’t think of how else I could end it other than locking myself away somewhere where they’d pump me full of drugs to take it all away.
SA: What deaths? What screams?
Sin: Shaun, people die around me. I don’t like it and I can’t help it, but they do.
SA: They die?
Sin: Yes. They die. So I need a healthy dose of oblivion to keep me out of it, so it stops.
SA: Does Dr. Connors know this?
Sin: No. He thinks I’m just paranoid. I’m hardly going to tell him that, am I? He’ll think I’m…
Sin: Exactly. Which I’m not.
SA: How’s it going with that plan then? Is it working?
Sin: Actually, no. I can still hear their screams and I can still feel their deaths.
SA: Hmmm… What are you going to do about that?
Sin: I’m going to do the only thing I can. I’m going to kill myself.
SA: Suicide? So, people die around you and you want to commit suicide, but you’re not crazy.
Sin: That’s right.
SA: OK… I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt on that. How are you planning on doing that? After all, this is an asylum. I assume you’re not even allowed shoelaces?
Sin: That’s the best bit.
SA: Killing yourself has a ‘best bit’?
Sin: It does indeed.
SA: So, tell me. How will you do it.
I think you’ll agree that that’s my cue to take my leave of Sin’s senses, as he’s clearly done so himself. I must admit, though, that he seems at least as sane as I. Perhaps that’s his composure, though. He doesn’t look like Doc Brown for a start. He looks like you or I.
He looks ordinary.
They do say it’s always the quiet ones.Learn More
Plan your book? Plan? Hold on while I look that up in the dictionary…
Hmmm… I can’t say that applies to me. Perhaps I should plan my books, but I just can’t. If I try to, I end up feeling the writing is forced. Usually, I have no idea where a book or story is going. Whether it’s a blog entry for Sin’s diary, a short story or a full blown book, I often have no idea what’s going to happen until it does.
I don’t even have the plot in my head. Or if I do it’s very vague. I start with a first line or the name of a character and run with it. Sometimes I lose the race and am overtaken, but most often it works out. Blog entries are written ‘off the cuff’ and, though the more extensive stories are written over a period of time, I don’t pre-empt the plot or the characters. It’s a voyage of discovery for me as well as the reader – though the seas may be rough I (fairly often) manage it back to sure unscathed.
An example of this – other than the blog entries – is my Rudolph Saves Christmas book. I sat down one night with my tablet computer and the TV turned down low, planning on working on the sequel to Sin. 1000 words (ish) later I discovered that Rudolph was sleeping in his chair and was about to be accused of attempting to sabotage Christmas! I have no idea how one ended up being the other – SO far removed – but it did.
So… Planning? Let me just go and look that up again…Learn More
What’s the difference between a writer and an author? Or is there even one? I write. I’m not sure which of the two categories I fall into, or if I have a foot in both, but I write. And I do that because I can’t help it.
I never have been able to.
Apparently I started to write when I was very young, and I’d draw pictures to go along with my stories. I remember writing lots of stories in school, and English was my favourite lesson. The teacher, Mr. Staniforth, was passionate about teaching us the craft and about books. One of my main memories from that time is when he read To Kill A Mockinbird to us. Apart from it being a great story, he put feeling and heart into the telling, and we were all held under the spell. Maybe that’s a romanticised version of what really happened, but that’s how I felt. I wanted my stories to hold people that way.
I wanted readers to pick up something I’d written and not be able to put it down.
And now I’ve managed that. I’ve created a story that does that. It’s a great, wonderful, humbling feeling.
Life, unfortunately, has a habit of getting in the way. I have a full time job. I have a family. I know I’m not even slightly alone in that – it’s a club with millions of members. But it means I have very little time for writing, and, when that’s something I feel I have to do – that the muse is almost a caged beast waiting to be set free – it can be hard!
Once, for various reasons, I didn’t write anything for almost a full year. I wasn’t ‘in the right place’ (or should that be the ‘write’ place). I hated it. I felt that writing would be a release for the problems that I was facing, but it wouldn’t come. The urge wasn’t there. The beast was sleeping. Or it was lying on a beach somewhere sipping cocktails, soaking up the sun, oblivious to my predicament. Other times, I can’t stop. I’m chomping at the bit to get the words down, even though I never know what those words may be. On holiday last year, I went to Egypt. It was a place I’d wanted to visit since being a child. I’d always been fascinated by the pharoahs and their mythology. When I walked in the Valley of the Kings, and stayed in a hotel right on the Nile, seeing the sun set to the left and the hills of the Valley to the right, it was amazing.
I wrote 15,000 words of Sin there. It was bliss. I couldn’t stop. Sin was finished a few months later. It had taken ten years from the initial short story that then formed the prologue to the novel. I’d written a great many other things in that decade, but Sin was always there, lying in wait. My ‘Dark Half’. even now, with the book finished, he can’t stay quiet, hence his blog.
I never know where a story will take me. I don’t plan – or very rarely do – the outline or the characters. I just start. A title, a phrase, something fragmented like that, and I find out what’s going to happen as it does. I suppose that’s a weird way to do it. Some people can’t get their heads around how I can write like that, but I do. It’s a journey for me and, if I’m surprised along the way, then maybe the readers will be too?