Writers Spotlight: Samantha Light-Gallagher

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Red was busy keeping Claret and Bruno out of the chocolate croissants and white chocolate mocha when a breezy Samantha Light-Gallagher swept into the M3 Coffee Shoppe. With an admonition for the Wombies to mind their paws, Red set out to see what Samantha had to say about Crazy Courage.

M3: You and I have some things in common, Samantha. Tell the M3 Readers about yourself.

SLG:  I am a recent widow, an author, and a member of MADD. I lost my husband, Mike, in September 2010, to a drunk driver’s awful choice. Our two boys inspire me every day with their courage. I try to live up to my Crazy Courage.

M3: Do you have someone you want to thank?

SLG:  I want to thank my editor for putting the final touches on Crazy Courage.  I also want to thank my children for their constant inspiration.  My family and friends for their support.  I want to thank my husband for serving his country and giving me the confidence to accomplish what I set my mind to.

M3: Crazy Courage started out as something different. How did you make time for its transition?

SLG: I keep a journal.  After my husband was killed in the line of duty I would journal about my feelings and different events. Writing is therapeutic for me.  Once I decided on the outline of my book the rest came easy, and I made time for it.

M3: Most of the M3 Readers can associate with the therapeutic value of writing. Where did you get started on the publish road?

SLG: Crazy Courage is my first book.  I self-published through Authorhouse.  I began writing in a writing class, which inspired my book.

M3: Any bone to pick with the publishing industry?

SLG: I think they take far too long to send books out to customers who buy it.  I know it is print on demand with self publishing, but it has taken more than three weeks for some people to receive Crazy Courage.

M3: Unfortunately, those delays are far from uncommon. You chose self-publishing. Do you think the traditional industry considers self-published material inferior?

SLG: YES! In most cases the traditional industry sees self-produced material as inferior.  It is a hard industry to break into unless you know somebody who knows somebody.  But I have read that there is a big push now for self-publishing.  At least you can keep it the way you want to and do not have to worry about someone else changing your message in your book due to the fact that they may sell more copies.

M3: To me that is the heart of a writer: The book is more important than the sales numbers. Considering this is your first book, what advice do you have for new authors?

SLG: Don’t be over-critical about your writing.  Know what you are good at and educate yourself in areas that may be lacking.  Do not delay publishing your book because you think it is not perfect.  You will always find ways to improve it, know when to stop and say this is good enough.  If you do not stop, you will never publish anything.

M3: It is a fine line. Should we be all that concerned with your day job?

SLG: Not really.  My day job does impact the amount of time I get to spend writing.  I am a personal trainer during the day and a mother both day and night.

M3: *grins* I am with you there. So, writing, training, boys (plural)…did you take a hiatus?

SLG: Yes, I took a hiatus to focus on marketing Crazy Courage: A Young Widow’s Survival Guide.  I do still write though.  I spend some of my time thinking about new ideas for a book.  When I come up with a great idea, I know it.

M3: Which leads me to believe you have something up your sleeve.

SLG: I am working on another book with my editor.  The idea is great and I want it to be another honest book, like Crazy Courage. I am also working with several newspapers and magazines across the US and Canada writing articles.  We will see if and when those articles get published.

M3: Newspapers can be rougher than books. BTDT. Seems you and your editor are close. How do you feel about your colleagues?

SLG: Authors, writers, producers, editors are awesome.  It is hard work writing a book and seeing it through to the end.  I applaud them all and love the creativity.

M3: Very true. After all the hard work, have you had any triumphs?

SLG: I just felt successful publishing Crazy Courage.

M3: It is no small task. Has the economy changed things for you?

SLG: The economy has no impact on what I am doing with my writing.  I want to help others through my writing.

M3: So, how is your own marketing important?

SLG: My own marketing is very important.  I love connecting with other widows and sharing stories.  It continues to help me.  What I find the most valuable is when someone approaches me and tells me that my book helped them.  It gives me goose bumps!

M3: That is a terrific feeling. Tell the M3 Readers why this book is so emotional for you.

SLG: I am a widow. My husband was killed in the line of duty in 2010.  As I was going through what I like to refer to as an emotional roller coaster, I felt alone, scared and full of pain. I wanted something or someone to validate my feelings.  I decided to write about my “first year”.  I want to help others going through the heartache to have at least one sentence to comfort them.

M3: The fact you say that means it will, Samantha. How is Crazy Courage different from what is out there?

SLG: It is my story and written from my perspective.  It is brutally honest, written simply and is about the lessons that I learned my first year.  It is not written from the standpoint that there are several stages of grief, and this is how you are going to feel during those stages.  It is real life examples and intimate thoughts that are hard for people to share with anyone.  I had a hard time sharing them.

M3: I know I took a different approach to mine as well. Were you surprised by how few books there are in this vein?

SLG: I was surprised that there were not more.  I was also surprised at how many of them focus on the stages of grief.  Seems like there was an order that you had to experience something, when I truly experienced things over and over again.  I also do not believe that everyone experiences loss the same way.  There is no cookie cutter way to it.

M3: There is not, and everyone does. I have done it differently every time. Where does this book come in your grieving process?

SLG: I wrote the book during my grieving process.  I wanted it to be raw and allow the reader to capture what I was feeling.  As I was writing it, it helped me get through some of the lessons that I learned.  I did not really plan on publishing the book until my editor, who was my writing instructor at the time, told me I needed to do this.  That I will be able to help so many people with it.

M3: Definitely the truth. You have been very open both in the book and here with me. Anything you probably want to keep on the QT?

SLG: That I was scared to publish the book.  I definitely had to use my crazy courage to push through my worries.  The book is very honest and has intimate details that make me feel vulnerable.

M3: You have come to the right place. If you did not have a touch of fear, it would not be worth reading. Tell the M3 Readers in 15 words or less why they should buy Crazy Courage.

SLG: It is a honest guide for those going through grief and those helping others with grief.

M3: I hope to see you again when your next one is out.

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Dearest M3 Readers,

Take some time to get to know Samantha Light-Gallagher by visiting her blog and picking up a copy of Crazy Courage: A Young Widow’s Survival GuideYou can connect with her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Enter to win a copy of Crazy Courage: A Young Widow’s Survival Guide. everyday between now and Tuesday.

When you tweet and +1 this post, please use the hashtags #WW, #giveaways and #authors.

Thank you for your continued support of the authors of the M3 Coffee Shoppe. You can find out more about all the authors in the Coffee Shoppe.

Red.

(c) Red Dwyer 2012
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