Friday, March 9, 2012

Author Interview with Samantha Hale!

I truly enjoyed Sparkle's Song by Samantha Hale (as did my little sister, Margo- read the review). Samantha was kind enough to let us ask her a few questions and we are excited to learn a little more about her story. So, without further ado, take it away, Samantha...

1) What inspired you to write Sparkle’s Song?

Ever since I was a little girl I have loved writing and telling stories, but I never thought I would be a published author. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Maverick Publishing, kind of fell in my lap. Steve Bicknell, having seen "Map the Music," my documentary on the importance of music, reached out to me through email saying he was taken with my passion for music. He asked if I was interested in coming up with a children's story involving that passion, and of course I jumped at the opportunity. I have always been inspired by music, so the thought of creating a story about a little girl who felt the same way I do about it was very exciting for me.

2) How long did it take you to write the book?

I think I came up with the story in just a few hours. I added a lot of my own personal experience into the basic concept, so it really flowed from there. I believe that new or first time writers tend to write about what they know about. So the idea of a little girl suffering the loss of a loved one and using music as a way to find the light in the darkness...well it made sense to me. Thats exactly how I came up with my film as well. I lost my dad, and found solace in music. Of course the story went through many edits before it became what it is now, however. I think we went back and forth with rewrites for maybe a year or so.

3) What are some of your favorite books from childhood? Were there any specific authors who inspired you?

I always loved Where the Wild Things Are. I remember something magical about that book. The Witches by Ronald Dahl is another one. I liked the R.L. Stine Goosebumps series. And even as a kid I was reading Stephen King's books. I am so intrigued with darker stories and monster movies. Always have been.

4) Where did you come up with the character, Aunt Millicent?

Aunt Millicent embodies the idea of someone who is so full of love, but suffered a great loss and therefore closed herself off. I haven't thought about this before. Great question. Perhaps she represents what I could have become if I completely turned inward after losing my dad. She is what I didn't want to be. So in that case, it was even more important that Sparkle reach out to her to remind her that its ok to be happy again, and to continue on with life despite the sadness.

5) How did you meet the illustrator, Mariana Ruiz Johnson?

Once we had the story together Steve sent me example illustrations from three different artists, and asked which one I felt really captured the energy of the characters and the world they live in. All three were beautiful, but there was just something so right on about Mariana's work. When I saw her illustration of Sparkle for the first time I thought “That’s her! That is Sparkle." She took the notes I gave about how I envisioned her, and brought her to life. Her use of color, the way each instrument in the forest had a distinct personality... her work doesn't feel like a cartoon to me; it feels like art. Which really got my attention. I am a huge fan of hers.

6) What is your favorite song?

I have so many. And I have different favorites on different days. But the first song that ever truly moved me to tears is Little Earthquakes by Tori Amos. It still gives me the chills each time I listen to it. I actually decided the have a yellow bird in the story as a reference to the song. In the song she talks about a "yellow bird flying" ... it’s very symbolic to me. Tori's music has been a huge part of my life since I was 12 years old. One of my first tattoos is of a yellow bird. Yellow bird is probably my favorite character in the book.

7) If you could play any instrument, what would it be? Why?

I always hear the strings in a piece of music first if there are any...Hands down it would be the cello. I think its mysterious, haunting, beautiful, dark, sexy....I could go on and on. I actually did play for about a year, but I realized I wasn't meant to make music. I was meant to appreciate it. So I am very lucky that I am able to make films about it.

8) Where can we purchase a copy of Sparkle’s Song?

The book is available on Amazon.co.uk and on Amazon.com. I know Maverick is working hard on getting it in stores as well. That would be incredible!














Check out this wonderful video trailer Samantha is working on for Map the Music 2. It's all about the connection between music, people, and love!


16 comments:

  1. Hi Samantha it was refreshing hearing about your book Sparkle's Song and a bit about you too!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by the check out the interview! ~ F

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  2. I really enjoyed the part where Samantha said Aunt Millicent was created as a what-Samantha-could-have-been character. Music is such a special way of expression and healing. I like the haunting melancholia of the cello, too. Great interview!

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    1. I agree, Claudine! That was very insightful, and it's amazing how the sounds of instruments can draw up all sorts of emotions and feelings in us. ~ F

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  3. fantastic interview, Samantha is a great fil maker and now a magical childrens book author~much love and luck on the journey doll!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! Sparkle's Song is a unique children's book : ) ~ F

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  4. Sparkle’s song is new to me so I enjoyed reading both the interview and the review. The illustrations are very pretty.

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    1. Thanks, Barbara! Sparkle's Song is lovely! I can get lost in the illustrations. :)

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  5. This looks like a wonderful book for children

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  6. Hi there! Thank you so much for checking out Sparkle's Song. I am so proud of this book and it means so much that you like it. Really inspiring ;)

    Sam
    xx

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Sam! We love your book!

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  7. Wonderful interview! I love reading how authors come up with their characters especially.

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    1. Thanks, Donna! I love finding out where authots come up with their characters, too! :)

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  8. Cool trailer. I like Tori Amos, too! This was a fun interview. It was great to see where she got her ideas.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the interview, Flex. The trailer is cool! :)

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