Thursday, March 8, 2012




Hello Samantha, thank you so much for allowing us to interview you. I would love to know how you got into writing children's books and what was your inspiration for "Sparkle's Song"?

Hi there. Thank you so much for the opportunity to be interviewed. Well similar to what happened with how I became a just happened. I never intended to write a children's book to be honest, but Steve Bicknell of Maverick Publishing saw my documentary on music, and sent me a message saying he loved how passionate I am about music. He asked if I wanted to try coming up with a children's story involving music. Of course I was very flattered and wanted to give it a shot. When he messaged me back saying they were excited with the idea I came up with I was thrilled. I'm really just so grateful I got to do it. If anyone would have said to me "You are going to write a children's book that is going to be published" I would have said "Yeah...Right." But it happened.

The book seems to be richly music motivated. It seems I read somewhere that you were into music as well, can you tell us more about what you do besides writing?

Well my main interest as an artist is documentary films. My first film, "Map the Music" explores the therapeutic value of music, and premiered last year on The Documentary Channel. I got the idea for it because going to concerts was how I got through the loss of my father, and I wanted to document my experience with the music, as well as other people's. My new film I am working on is about the connection between music and love. Obviously music is a huge part of my life - and I am not even a musician. But it keeps me going. So of course the protagonist in my book would be inspired by music as well. Sparkle and I have a similar story.

Who are some of your inspirations in the literary world and what books do you like to read when you have the time to do so?

My favorite author is Neil Gaiman. "Neverwhere" is the only book I have read more than once. And his wife, Amanda Palmer (The Dresden Dolls), is one of the featured musicians in my second film. I am so excited about that. But I tend to read a lot of plays. I am a huge theatre geek. I love Shakepseare. Especially the tragedies. So it would make sense that my own book would have an element of tragedy in it. But being that "Sparkle's Song" is meant for children, it was really important to me that it have a hopeful ending and that kids know that even when something awful happens...something beautiful can come from it.

Do you have plans to write more books in the near future and if so can you give us an idea of what you have in store for us?

I would absolutely love to. If "Sparkle's Song" does well, I would really like to continue with her and see what other adventures she may get herself into. I am excited enough about having one book published. The opportunity to do another one would be fantastic.

With children's books being so important to help endorse reading as a quality part of life, what do you feel is the most important message you can convey being an author?

I think its important for kids to be able to put themselves into the story in way, and not only be able to learn from the character's mistakes and triumphs, but come away with the feeling that they are not alone. Perhaps that is why kids identify with and connect to certain characters so strongly...they see themselves.

Other than writing and music what are some other hobbies you enjoy when you have the time?

Believe it or not I was doing stand up comedy for a while. I love it. I really love being on stage and connected to the audience. I thought I was going to be a comic for a while, but realized my true passion is in filmmaking.

Is Sparkle's Song the first book you've written?

Yes. When I was little I used to write short stories all the time, but I never thought I would be a published author!

Tell us a little more about your background, your family, where you live.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. I come from a family of actors so we my family has been here since the 1930s. My grandfather, Alan Hale, Jr. was "The Skipper" on Gilligan's Island. Growing up I thought I would be an actor as well, and I pursued it for a while, but then I realized I was much happier behind the camera working on my own projects.

Right off the top of your head what do you believe the most important word in the English dictionary is and why?

Inspiration. I need to feel it to feel anything. And in order to move forward with anything in my life,whether it be a creative endeavor or a relationship with a loved one...I need to feel inspired to see it through. Passion is another one. But inspiration popped up first.

Do you have any advice you'd like to share with other aspiring authors? Please give us your links as well, so we can learn more about you and your works.

I would say, and this applies to anything anyone would want to accomplish...make it up as you go along, make mistakes, don't be afraid to ask for help, and don't give up.

Map the Music
Link to film streaming on Doc Channel:

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