Indie Support Sunday: S.L. Astor
Have you met Sam? She goes by S.L. Astor and is the author of The Hope of You, which releases this Tuesday (and will also be available in Kindle Unlimited). Sam and I are new acquaintances, but as a fellow ‘22 debut author, I am beyond excited for her book and what else her journey brings.
With a love for Anne of Green Gables and The Sound of Music, writing in the romance genre was an obvious choice for Sam. She’s interested in dabbling in some non-fiction and her story was largely inspired by her own experiences as a soon-to-be published author.
Sam’s also got 5 projects currently in the works, with obviously tons more on the way like any good author would. For now, I’m excited to read her debut and get to know Sam a little better!
What inspired you to write—was it another author or books you read as you grew up?
I’m going to quote one of my favorite authors in Writers & Lovers: “I don’t write because I think I have something to say. I write because if I don’t, everything feels even worse.” -Lily King
Why did you choose romance as the genre to write in?
I could pin it on an early attachment to Gilbert Blythe and Anne Shirley or The Sound of Music, but I wouldn’t say I chose it. I write stories about love and life—and romance is at the heart of that. My stories aim to bridge the gap between literary fiction and romance, always with an HEA. Because this writer needs closure and a good night’s sleep.
Why did you choose to self-publish instead of going the traditional route?
Self-publishing made it possible for me to tell this story in the way I wanted to.
What’s the best and worst part about being an indie author?
Best, is the flexibility to explore stories that speak to me, and the community of creatives I learn from, and the friends I’ve made. The worst, spending time on necessary parts of “the business” that aren’t writing, and not having the protection of a major publishing house with built-in teams and reach.
Do you write full time or is this something you do on the side? And would you want to write full time?
I like to say, I write on borrowed time.
Other than writing, what is something you enjoy and are really good at?
If not romance/subgenres of romance, what genre would you like to write in?
What are some of your all time favourite books—ones that you recommend to people or can reread multiple times?
What are your top 5 tips or pieces of advice for aspiring authors?
Reed would have a lot to say on this subject. Truly, advice is subjective (and often, unhelpful). Here is what helped me (take what resonates, leave the rest):
No one else can tell your story.
Go at your own pace.
Write what you love.
Listen to podcasts on industry.
Find critique partners in the same place as you (career-wise) and learn together.
Can you briefly tell me about your book?
The Hope of You is a contemporary love story about an aspiring author, and an emotionally devastated romance author, working and living under the same roof to get her debut novel finished. As the story and the characters come to life, the line between fiction and reality starts to blur.
Who is your favourite character?
Ask me this one in a couple of years.
What inspired your published stories? How and when did you come up with these stories and plots?
The Hope of You, the initial spark came from my own disappointment in not being able to find a mentor as I tried to navigate publishing. I come from an academic background, which relies heavily on the advisor-advisee relationship. I wanted that same experience in this profession. When the pandemic made it impossible to travel and go to signings and meet other authors organically, I had to find other ways to learn and coach myself. So, this “mentor” began to form from all of my research. And that got the ball rolling.
How much of yourself do you put into these characters?
This story has “me” in it, but not in the obvious places. The place that felt most like me was in Kat and Rory’s friendship. I have the BEST friends and I loved crafting the scenes with two supportive women. Honestly, in my limited experience, I believe that a piece of you in some way, goes into every character you write. They are your creations.
When you write these stories, what are you hoping your readers will feel?
I’m hoping they will feel whatever they need to. That they will make it their own. Once it’s in their hands, it becomes their own unique experience, and has little to do with me anymore. (If they love it, I also hope they'll write a review on Amazon, since those help Indie Authors out.)
What is a story/stories that you really want to tell?
I have five projects lined up, so all of those. And the list keeps growing. I have chatty characters begging for their turn.
What’s next on the bookshelf for you? Anything you can tell us about a future project?
You’ll get to find out in the Epilogue of The Hope of You. (cringe-worthy attempt at promoting)
What are your most and least favourite tropes?
Depends on my mood, but typically, Forced Prox is FUN. Forbidden is great, because of all that immediate tension. Fated Love lends itself to those special details in a story too. I avoid reading Billionaire or Secret Baby.
What are some tropes you want to write in the future?
I don’t think about my writing as true-to-tropes, I mean, I don’t write with tropes in mind. Sometimes, it might fit, but that’s not something I consider when telling a story. Though I am excited to explore the themes I’m interested in. A few in the mix: time-travel, friends to lovers, and a long-distance cross-generational.
What are some topics (sensitive and otherwise) that you think should exist more in romance?
I can’t speak to what “should be”, but I do think romance is a unique genre in that there's an opportunity to represent humanity in every character you write. Romance is about relationships, and I believe that when you choose to write about a sensitive topic, or a time period, or character that is not your direct experience and/or similar to your own demographic, community, and culture, you have a responsibility to research until you become an expert.
What is your favourite thing about the romance genre?
To write: hand scenes. :) Overall, I think romance is central to our lives. It makes us feel, and feelings drive inspiration and art. It connects us back to ourselves in a tangible way.
THIS OR THAT
Ebooks or audiobooks
Historical romance or romantic suspense
Single or Dual POV
Standalones or series
Music or silence while writing
Plotter, pantser or plantser (Character-based outlining)
Tea (in the pm) or coffee (in the am)
Cold or warm weather
Morning person or night owl
Illustrated cover (rom com) or photo cover (anything else)