Thursday, July 11, 2013

Shudder (Stitch Trilogy #2) by Samantha Durante 2013 Blog Tour: Author Interview and Review

Once again I'm very excited to be a part of a blog tour for a series that I have really enjoyed.  By being a part of this tour, I was lucky enough to get to ask the author, Samantha Durante, some interview questions, and now I can share them with you.  Now, if you haven't read the first book in the series, Stitch, you can check out my review HERE.  And you can check it out yourself for just $0.99 at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, or anywhere else e-books are sold.

Author Interview

1.  Where did you get the idea for the Stitch series?
I started with the idea of a college ghost romance, but couldn’t figure out how to unite the girl and the ghost in the same time/place in the end… and the Stitch Trilogy basically ended up being a very creative solution to that problem.  :-)

2.  Did you do a lot of research for the science parts?
I actually didn’t have to do a TON of research, but only because the science-y stuff (viral epidemics, space-time physics, cognitive science, etc.) are all topics that I’m interested in anyway and have read about or taken classes on in the past.  So I drew from what I already knew and supplemented with some internet research.  I did also reach out to one expert from the Federation of American Scientists for input on how an apocalypse could most realistically come about, and he gave me the idea to go with a viral epidemic and recommended a really frightening book about real-world outbreaks and how easily this could happen today.

3.  What is your writing process? Do you just write as you go, do you plan it out?  If you plan it out, how do you do that?  Outline, notecards, post-it notes, etc.?
I’m a planner!  I had a 40-page document outlining every minute detail of my wedding, and I have about the equivalent for each of my books.  :-)  I keep all my notes in a big OneNote notebook that’s broken into different sections on character development, notes about backstory (world and character history), day-by-day timelines to make sure all the different storylines in the plot are in sync (even parts the reader doesn’t necessarily see), plot direction, ideas for future books in the series, questions that need to be answered in the book, and of a course, a detailed chapter-by-chapter outline.  Once I’ve got all this in place (which takes a few weeks of brainstorming and talking through ideas with my husband), I’m able to sit down and write the story without thinking about it, which makes it easier to be productive and avoid any issues with writer’s block.

4.  What types of books do you like to read? Favorite authors?
I love to read anything that takes you to a different world, whether it’s sci-fi/fantasy or historical fiction, or just a really engaging romance.  My favorite authors are those who’ve created epic series that I can just get lost in for days – J. K. Rowling, C. S. Lewis, George R. R. Martin (hmm, I’m thinking I need to start using some initials in my name! lol), Stephenie Meyer, Suzanne Collins, etc.  There are too many to name!

5.  Since I am a teacher, and the best part of that is hearing back from students that they got something or learned something from me, can you name one of your teachers that you feel was important in your life in some way?

Absolutely!  I’ll give you two: my English teachers from junior and senior year of high school, Ms. Meehan and Mr. Scanlon.  I’d always been a good writer naturally, but I never really gave any thought to developing my writing or pushing it to get better until these two awesome teachers took an interest and encouraged me to really see what I can do.  When I made the decision many years later to leave software engineering to pursue writing full-time, knowing that these teachers believed in my writing even at such a young age really gave me the confidence to give writing a shot, despite the risks of leaving a lucrative career for something completely unknown.  And now I get to spend every day doing what I love and sharing the words in my head with readers.  :-)  So to all you teachers out there, just remember that you really ARE having an impact!  It may take your students a few years to really appreciate the time and effort you’ve put into them, but we will ALWAYS be in your debt, and we will remember you for it.

Here is my review for Shudder:

So, Alessa is now out of Paragon, but not for good, she and Isaac have been sent on a mission by Regina to find a new, safer place to make a base for the Rebellion.  Of course as they left, her sister Janie might have been taken, as well as Regina's daughter Lizzie.  And so it is hard for Alessa to just leave.  On their journey, they seem to run into some kind of creatures, they seem human like to a degree, but make noises that are extremely un-human.  And Alessa begins having strange feelings.  As if she can sense the feelings of others, but the feelings are almost always related to people dying.  Even in a mall they find, that is deserted, she feels what seem to be the last thoughts of many, many people.  Along the way, they are worried about catching the virus, the one that sent everyone to Paragon in the first place for safety.  In fact, Isaac even gets sick, so sick that Alessa spends a day caring for him, and even getting a glimpse into his thoughts.  They do finally find a building, some sort of business/security building, that would be perfect for a base, but now they must make it safely back to share this location with the Rebels.  While this is going on, Lizzie is being held by the Engineers, the men who came up with the idea of Paragon.  They are taking care of her after a terrible attack, helping her to heal, and also filling her in on the background of Paragon, what their idea was behind it, and trying to help persuade her to get the Rebels to work with them.  You see, all the people in Paragon were chosen, chosen to help bring the human race back from all the war and disasters that had been going on in the world.  And really, the Engineers feel they need all of the people in order for their plan to be a success.  That is how the "stitch" was brought into use.  A way to control the upper class people by entertaining them with their tv shows, and also to control those people who might be getting out of hand and recognizing that this upper class thing wasn't really fair.  Alessa's sister Janie is in prison, next door to Nikhil, and they find a way to communicate, trying to figure a way to get free, if and when the rebels come to rescue Janie, she'll try to get Nikhil, but just in case, she also teaches him the way to try to resist the stitch so that he can remember who he is no matter what.
Now, it was a bit hard to get into the book, as we don't start off with as interesting of a story as the first one, with the ghost, tv show, etc., and I also feel it has a bit of what I call the "second book slump."  But once this one gets going, you can see how the author is using it to bring us along and set up the final part of the trilogy.  We get so much information, learn about the "bad guys", as well as find out just what the rebels have planned.  Throughout this Alessa has doubts about wanting to fight.  After her peaceful time spent with Isaac at the future rebel base, she decides at first she just wants to run away with him and Janie, and try to avoid all the violence.  But there will be things that she learns, things that convince her the only way to move on is to stop this group of Engineers and take back the world for humans, the way they should be.

And if you'd like to purchase Shudder, here are the links:
Amazon (Kindle $2.99, print $8.99)
Barnes & Noble (Nook $2.99)
Smashwords (multiple e-book formats $2.99)
Also available ($2.99 e-book) in the iTunes store, Kobo, and wherever e-books are sold

So, I hope you're ready to read on, or give the first book a try and see how you like the series.  I've also included below some author details in case you would also like to get in touch with her after you read the books.

Samantha Durante lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband, Sudeep, and her cat, Gio. Formerly an engineer at Microsoft, Samantha left the world of software in 2010 to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams and a lifelong love of writing. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, Samantha is currently working full time for her company Medley Media Associates as a freelance business writer and communications consultant. The Stitch Trilogy is her debut series. Learn more about Samantha at

 Social Media Links —
Facebook: Stitch Trilogy | Author Samantha Durante
Goodreads: Stitch | Shudder | Author Samantha Durante
Twitter: @SamanthaDurante | Hashtag suggestions: #Stitch, #StitchTrilogy, #Shudder
LibraryThing: Stitch | Shudder | Author Samantha Durante
Shelfari: Stitch | Shudder | Author Samantha Durante