I had the opportunity recently to interview a new author on the YA scene. Her name is Sameeda Bachmeier (Lundgren) and her book is titled BANYAN. It is a Historical Fiction due out August 2011 by MuseItUp Publishing.
Where did the concept for your current book come from?
I hate to admit this but I am a total day dreamer! I can be doing anything and weird stories start weaving in my head.
How long have you been working on your latest book (concept to editing)?
About three months of writing for this novella, it has a word count of 21,000 words.
How many books do you have published?
I have three contracts with three different publishing houses. Release dates ranging from January 2011 to August 2011.
What interferes with your muse and what do you do about that?
If I get a writer’s block I usually just step away and do something else for awhile, that usually does the trick.
Where do you perform your best writing? Why? Anywhere in my own house is great, I think because it is my “space”,
Must you keep anything special on your desk or nearby?
My ipod- I often listen to music while writing, The Album Leaf is a favorite. Or the background noise of a good movie.
Who was your greatest influence on your writing? Do they know it?
I am so inspired by JK Rowling and Stephanie Meyers, they had a passion and went for it.
Did you grow up in a ‘reading’ household? If so, do you believe that had anything to do with your becoming an author?
Both my parents were avid readers and instilled that love for books in my sister and I at a young age. I think it really nudged me in the writing direction and molded who I have become.
What was your favorite childhood activity and why?
I used to draw like crazy. Drawing still life's and people were of particular interest to me.
As a youngster, what did you want to be when you grew up? If this has changed, when did it change.
Anything and everything, I think it changed every year, I think my favorite was a whale saver!
Do you think people who are especially good at something, writers, singers, musicians, artists, etc, were born with talent or can it be fostered throughout a lifetime?
I think it is really a combo of both. You are born with many gifts, how you choose to utilize and grow from them is the key, and it's all yours!
What is your greatest fear about being an author? What about in life?
No reservations about being an author but life.... I would fear not accomplishing what I am meant to be here for.
What was your favorite subject in high school and why?
Writing and Art
How did your high school English teacher(s) respond to your writings back then?
I always did well in writing classes and it came really easy for me. My teachers were always positive and seemed happy with my works.
What was your favorite book as a teen and why?
I really liked the Diary of Anne Frank as a kid. I was so amazed by this young girl’s story and the ability to tell it in the outlet of a journal. Amazing book to this day for me.
If someone told you everything you write is junk and worthless. Would you continue to write? Why or why not?
Yes, I would continue to write, I already know not everyone is going to like my style of writing or such and that is a welcomed criticism. That is what makes people so unique with the awesomeness of different likes and dislikes.
What classic literature would you recommend teens to read and why?
The Lord of the Rings. It is a challenging read yet inviting. It has such a high element of creativity and drive, it is easy to love.
What one book do you think everyone should read and why?
An Atlas! They are so intriguing and are often loaded with informative cultural diversity.
What would you tell teenaged writers about the submission to publication process?
Get the Writers Market Literary Guide. And do your research, make sure each publishing house you are submitting to is seeking your genre and open to submissions. Also follow guidelines carefully, first impressions are really all you have with them. Be very careful that the publishing house you are working with too is a valid house as well, a lot of scams out there these days unfortunately. Lastly, don't take rejections to heart. I always look at them rather as not a good fit for my work, not reflecting my work.
Why do you think teenagers are so fascinated by the paranormal and fantastic? (vampires, werewolves, ghosts, faeries, elves, demons)
I think there is always a lure of luster for the unknown, especially when it is decorated with something we find intriguing or attractive. Also, I know I loved fantasy as a child, it opens to many doors within the imagination and is such a fun genre.
You’ve been asked to choose 5-10 books for a space capsule. What would you choose and why?
The Giver, Jaws, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Psycho, and The Bible.
Is there an upcoming release (from any author) that you are anxiously anticipating? Why?
I really enjoy Maya Angelou books, they are so positive and self affirming.
If your child declared they were going to an author while a senior in high school. How would you respond?
I would be happy that they have found their niche at such an age, and are motivated to follow that.
If your daughter wants to marry an author who is just starting out and has no other job, what would you tell her? If your son wants to marry an author… Does it make a difference?
As long as their relationship is great, finances are cared for ...have at it!
If you weren’t an author what other job might you be doing?
Probably something clerical. I enjoy working with others.
How is being an author different from what you thought it would be like?
It always takes me longer than I presume to complete a writing piece.
When you decided to pursue publication, did you realize what marketing and promotion would entail?
Yes, but I really enjoy marketing and promotions so I rather look forward to that aspect.
If technology did not exist, would you still pursue writing and publishing?
Yes, I have done many submissions via mail (non e-mail). Makes no difference other than the convenience factor.
Do you prefer publishing fifty years ago when the big houses ruled or today when e Books and POD allow anyone to publish?
I think both ways have their perks. Back then you didn't have the worry of scams added to your publishing house quest. But with latest technology, e-books are amazing and I think a hit.
Do you think self-publishing demeans the title ‘author’? At what point can one consider oneself an ‘author’? How does that differ from being a ‘writer’?
I think if someone has the passion enough to self publish then more power to them for following their dreams. I think once you are published either way you are an author.
If you’ve never written a children’s picture book, would you consider doing so?
I already have written several, one set to be published and release date January 2011. I love children's books!
If you’ve only written for children and teens, would you consider writing a mainstream fiction novel? Yes.
What do you think is the boundary between Young Adult and Middle Grade?
Not only the level of understanding difference but the appropriateness of the content.
What is the boundary between Young Adult and Mainstream Fiction for adults?
I think books that are young adult seems to have a bit of a lighter note to the storyline that the ones geared for adults.
Do you think many adults read what is classified as Young Adult? Why do you think they do this?
I think no matter what genre or classification a book is if it is a good read, people will read it.
Sameena can be found at http://facebook.com/sameenamichellebachmeier
Following is an excerpt for your pleasure:
Kannie was taken to the dining quarters of the ship. Her and colonel Montgomery sat around a wooden table and awaited the cook to come dish them out. As they sat Kannie was admiring his rifle that hung gallantly around his chest.
“You like this?” He asked, pointing this rifle. He held it up towards her so she could have better look. “This is my baby. It's a musket rifle.” Kannie reached out and ran her fingers along the grooves that spiraled down the length of the entire rifle. “The groves create the mini balls that I load to spin, it makes them bullets go faster and shoot further than normal.” Kannie smiled at him in understanding.
The cook entered the dining room from the kitchen doors, which when opened alluded a heavenly smell. The cook bowed as he placed two cups of in front of each of them.
“Beef Alamode in a musket.” he stated waving his chubby hand over the cup,
“Tea to quench your thirst too of course.” Kannie smelled the steam coming from her musket. She had never smelt meat so divine. Her stomach growled again with anticipation. It smelt heavenly compared to last nights hamburger surprise. “Thank you so much.” she nodded at the cook. “You are both very welcome. Enjoy.”
And with that the cook hurried back off to the kitchen. “So, this is a musket?” Kannie asked Colonel Montgomery as they began to eat. “You must have hit your head or something. Of course that's musket. We use it for drinks, cooking, and as a bucket even. Don't tell me you've never seen one of these?” he chuckled. “Oh, yeah, of course.” Kannie quickly played along, not wanting to look like a total idiot. “I think you're right, I must have hit my head or something.” wanting to change the subject she decided to ask him more about Harriet Tubman.
“So, Harriet. Can you tell me a bit more about her?” He continued to eat as he answered her, dribbling his Beef Alamode into his beard. “I can tell you what I know. I think she was born as a slave around 1820 in Bucktown, Maryland. She managed to escape from slavery around 1849. She worked as a conductor for the underground railroad you know. She did about nineteen trips.” Kannie continued to eat as she listened.
“What was the underground railroad.” questioned Kannie as Colonel Montgomery squished his thick eyebrows together forming one. “You sure you're alright? You really don't know about the underground railroad?” Kannie shook her head.
“Well.” he began “The underground railroad runs from South America you know, to North America. The slaves ride to escape from slavery, it's a dangerous ride but worth it for freedom. Some even go on all the way to Canada.”
Kannie was amazed. All this was really going on. Why hadn't she heard of this before. She'd studied history in school but it was never this interesting. Suddenly, the colonel Montgomery stopped eating. He scratched at his his profusely. “Damn lice.” he grumbled. “Where's my gosh darn haversack?” he reach down to the ground and grabbed a pouch that he had sat down on the ground next to him. He carried that pouch where ever he went.
He spoke aloud as he rifled through it pulling out miscellaneous items as he set them on the table. “Praise the Lord God Almighty for my trusty housewife.” he giggled to himself as he set on the table what appeared to be a sewing kit. 'Ah ha, here it is!” He smiled proudly as he pulled out a comb and began to comb his hair.
Kannie was suddenly not hungry anymore. She sat repulsed, suddenly questioning the sanitation of the table she was dining on as she watched him comb the lice out of his hair at the table. Suddenly a man rattled his was into the dining room. “I have to report sir.” he said looking at the colonel. “Go on” allowed colonel Montgomery, still combing away.
“We are near destination, and have picked off many confederate ships already. Also we have spotted a temporary platoon bridge that my just be our key to passage.” “That is perfect! Inform Mrs. Tubman at once!.” ordered colonel Montgomery.
He looked at Kannie “Are you ready to make history.” He patted her on the shoulder and sang “Liberation is afoot!”