Interview: Samara Parish

Samara Parish is an Australian author who loves to read, write and spend time in her absurdly large garden. She lives with her husband, two keyboard cats, and a dog that likes to sit at her feet while she writes.

Your first book, How to Survive a Scandal (Rebels with a Cause Book 1), comes out on May 25th. What was the inspiration for the story?
I had been working on another story for years and it was going nowhere. I put it aside during NaNoWriMo about 5 years ago and decided to try something else. I just started with the idea of a carriage covered in snow. The characters just kind of appeared from there. I just asked myself what is the worst thing that could possibly happen to a lady stuck in a carriage and that became the premise of the book.

In terms of the inspiration for the characters, Lady Amelia was actually inspired by the villain on JoJo’s season of The Bachelorette. Chad was not somebody I should have liked. He was rude and sarcastic and took far to much pleasure in winding up all the other guys. But he was just so funny that I couldn’t help but love him. And so that’s where Amelia came from – this idea of a person who you really shouldn’t like but you do.

Given she was such a divine character, I knew I needed some a hero readers would fall in love with from the start so they would read the book long enough to fall in love with Amelia. He had to be really kind and loving, a good older brother, a good friend, someone who was willing to lend a hand whenever it was needed. He was the sugar that cut through Amelia’s tartness.

What fictional character do you wish you could meet?
I think I would have a really good time hanging out with Kate Sheffield from the Bridgertons. I feel like we’ve got a lot in common in terms of being unable to keep our opinions to ourselves, having much love for our siblings, and just generally interested in the same kind of things. If she was living in today’s time, I reckon she would be devouring young adult fiction and I think the two of us would enjoy watching reality television together, loudly exclaiming to the television “What??? Why would you do that???”Actually, I think Elizabeth Bennett would fit very well on that same couch for all of the same reasons.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Always. I’ve done a lot of other things, especially in the communications field where I write media releases and blog posts for a living. But the dream has always been to be a novelist, so yeah, I’m unbelievably excited that it’s happening and that I had an agent and an editor who were willing to give me a shot.

Are you writing for a particular ideal reader? Who is it and why?

Honestly, I’m writing for a reader like me – someone who is after sugar-spun fantasy. Pure escapism. It’s (hopefully) historically accurate but it deals with modern themes and has a modern flavor to the pacing and the language. Amelia feels like a 21st Century woman that I would be friends with—eventually once she’d grown a bit.

If you like the marriage of convenience or fish-out-of-water tropes, then this is for you.

What would be the worst thing to put in a piñata?
Oh goodness, I can think of a thousand things. Anything sticky. Or cold. I hate the cold, which is not good given that I live in Canberra, one of the coldest cities in Australia. I did not own fleece until I moved here and now I have fleece tights, fleece shirts, fleece jumpers. Getting sprayed with ice water would be the worst thing in a piñata unless it’s a very hot summer’s day!

Buy How to Survive a Scandal (Rebels with a Cause Book 1) here (Amazon Affiliated Links)

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