Author Spotlight Interview: CB Samet
Today, we continue our series of author interviews by chatting with CB Samet, author of a multitude of romance and suspense novels that combine fiery female protagonists with high adventure and intense thrills. We hope you enjoy this peek into her life, inspirations and motivations.
Whether it’s a firecracker smart Dr. Lillian Whyte, the heroic Avant Champion Abigail Cross, or matriarch super-spy Maxine Rider, you’re always guaranteed to have a tough, capable and achingly human heroine in the lead of CB Samet’s eclectic catalog of suspenseful and romantic novels. According to her author biography, CB Samet is a “writer, mother of two and wife to a caring and supportive husband” – but we wanted to find out more!
HG: So, we’ve read your bio – but who are you really?
CS: I’m a writer, mother, tennis player, and dog lover. I live in the Southeast US and my daytime job is in health care.
HG: Oooh, what type of dogs?
CS: I have a Jack Russell Terrier. She’s 13 now, so she’s in the pleasantly calm phase of her life.
HG: Down to business – how long have you been writing? What got you into it?
CS: I’ve enjoyed writing as long as I can remember. As an introvert, I like escaping into another world. Reading and writing has always been a relaxing escape for me. Growing up I read Tom Clancy, Dan Brown, Michael Crichton, and Robin Cook. I set out to write the same level of adventure and suspense but with strong female leads. I started with thriller novels. But then I began reading more Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, and Maya Banks, and I branched into romantic suspense.
HG: I can see a lot of Dan Brown in your stuff, especially the novellas. I was going to ask your background interests – are you into history specifically?
CS: I was a history major in college!
HG: Also, from Mal in the Avant Champion series to the ghosts in your other novellas, you have a theme of unseen male companions. Any insight into that?
CS: I enjoy the fun of the supernatural. I guess I hadn’t noticed that most of my ghosts are male!
HG: I LOVE your Rider Files books and I think it’s because they’re of the genre I love – romantic suspense.
CS: The Rider Files are so much fun! I’m working on Book 4.
HG: So, what was the first work you published?
CS: First work is Black Gold … a thriller novel about a female physician who goes to Africa and is kidnapped by oil thieves. Her tale became a series in the Dr. Whyte Adventures where she takes on biochemical terrorists in book 2 and a nuclear threat in book 3. I was thrilled to get a five star Readers’ Favorite review for book 3.
HG: So, how many of these locations are based on real experience? Have you been to Africa?
CS: Yes. I did a medical mission in Africa so the descriptions are authentic – it takes place in Kenya, and Nairobi is part of it. The other books are Montreal and Paris and I have been there as well – Paris on vacation and Montreal for a medical conference.
HG: Okay, so you have SO many hats when it comes to your writing. The Rider Files, the ghost novellas, AND the Avant Champion books. What inspired all these different series?
CS: The Rider Files was my husband and I over a glass of wine. I told him I wanted to create a private security team-themed romantic suspense series, but where the woman and man rescued each other. We enjoyed shows like Chuck and Leverage and Castle, so we tried to incorporate those lighter, fun moments. The ghost novellas started one Christmas when I got the idea to make Sadie’s Spirit out of combining the movie Ghost with Just Like Heaven.
The Avant Champion is the second series I started because I loved the idea of a female heroine who rises from obscurity and has to face her weaknesses and her insecurities. I wrote this through residency and fellowship – so maybe there’s a parallel there!
HG: I LOVE Abigail. I got into the series with the second book, I think – and it was interesting because that was very grounded. I think that’s why Avant Champion: Conquest blew me away – you threw Abigail into a foreign land and all her abilities you’d built up in previous books got ripped away; which provided a true sense of jeopardy. That was just masterful storytelling.
She’s VERY relatable and inspirational, too – trying to have it all, but balance it all. I related – but I think she’s a very strong female character because the challenges she faces are so intrinsic to the female experience. She’s pressured to be the Champion, to be a professor, to be a mom. She’s torn in all these different directions. She’s just a wonderful character.
CS: I’m thrilled to hear that all of her struggles shone through the writing!
HG: Okay, so you write these series concurrently. How does that work? How do you slip into different modes?
CS: I have minutes throughout the day in the morning or evening or when I travel to write a scene or two. The only way writing works for me is if I write what interests or inspires me at the moment. Hence, the variety and multiple works at any one time. Sometimes I lament that I’d be done with a complete series if I worked linearly on a single projects, but I have to work on what calls to me. I can’t force it.
HG: Speaking of the writing – how does the process go? You say you snatch time for writing? When do you get it done? Do you have a set place to write? What do you write on? A laptop? Computer? Parchment?
CS: I have a home office where I work mornings and evenings and weekends. Most of the time to get a book going, I start with a vague outline and then write in a notebook–good ol’ pen and paper. Then I type it and see where the gaps are. I use Scrivner on my Mac where I can put the outline side-by-side the manuscript.
HG: Do you struggle with distractions? How do you cope?
CS: I eat distractions for breakfast … not really! I am readily distracted (was that a squirrel?). Social media and two boisterous boys are plenty of distraction, but I still manage to write. It helps to have a supportive husband who actually creates writing time for me. He’s phenomenal.
HG: Supportive partners are so important. So, tell me – do you plot your stories out first? How granular do you get?
CS: My plots are not very granular to begin with. I have rough outlines that are honed and filled in as I go.
HG: So, where do you get your inspiration? Romance AND adventure!
CS: The adventure comes from Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, Dan Brown, Lee Child, James Patterson, Jim Butcher, and others. The romance comes from Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, Maya Banks, and Suzanne Ferrell. But I’m influenced by television, too. Indiana Jones, The Mummy, James Bond, The Avengers, Wonder Woman, Firefly and Serenity and so many more over the years.
HG: I LOVED all the Indy references in Phoebe’s Pharaoh. Okay, very quickly – the men in your books. Oz was the first ‘alpha’ male I remember, like the typical former military dude. Joshua from Avant Champion was sweet, and kind, and patient and learned. In the book McMillan File, David left the fighting up to her. They’re AWESOME guys, but they’re not the typical ‘raawwwwr’ alphahole type AT ALL. I LOVE Mal. Mal is awesome.
CS: Yes, Oz is alpha and Asher in Sadie’s Spirit is a bit alpha – a firefighter. Also, in my Dr. Whyte Adventure series, Lillian Whyte is married to a former CIA agent who is very alpha. In fact, it’s so much fun having him married to a hard-headed, redheaded physician. I like mixing it up with some alpha males and others more supportive roles.
HG: You really do, and it’s delightful.
CS: I have great things in store for Mal.
HG: What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
CS: Read. Read. Read. I read 40 books last year between the authors I enjoy, book club recommendations, and other authors wanting feedback. I think my writing has improved through reading. I was an avid reader for a long time, and then got busy with work and children. In the last two years since I’ve read more, I’ve written more and my quality of writing has improved.
HG: We suggested a reading list this year and I’ve definitely noticed this. Is that the same advice you’d give other aspiring writers?
CS: Absolutely. Read. Read. And find like-minded groups where you can get feedback on your writing – whether that’s in person – local writing clubs – or through social media.
HG: So, if people like what they’ve heard about you – where can they find more, or connect with you?