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The Wing Thief: Author Interview with Samantha Atkins

By Annabella Costantino “Let me ask you a question. It’s a pretty straight forward question, but one that you shouldn’t rush to answer. Do you believe in magic?”

The Wing Thief, published on 31 January 2021, is the debut YA fantasy novel from Samantha Atkins, aimed at readers aged 10+. Available in both eBook and paperback formats, it has joined Smashbear Publishing’s growing list of titles, supporting new and emerging authors. The Wing Thief is SmashBear’s third publication and their first of 2021. Here at The Publishing Post, we got the wonderful opportunity to have a chat with Samantha, about her experience as a recently published author.

What made you implement magic into the narrative of The Wing Thief?

“I just love fantasy. It’s my favourite type of film to watch, with that escapism that lets you get away to all these magical worlds. You can lose yourself for a while and it’s almost a form of therapy really. But I actually came up with the story accidentally! I’d always wanted to be a writer and one day, I was with my son waiting for an appointment. He asked me to tell him a story, so I started to tell him about a fairy who couldn’t fly.”

How did you approach the writing process?

“I first got the idea for The Wing Thief when I was twenty-eight and I’m now thirty-one. So, I think it came down to being in the right place at the right time. When lockdown happened, I found myself at home, unable to drive to work and I thought I’d re-visit my writing after taking a break from it. My family gave me the push I needed to finish my manuscript and support me with the kids whenever I was writing - they’ve all been amazing! Practically, I realised that listening to classical music really helped because there are no words to hum along to, so it helped me focus when finding the time to write amongst busy family life.”

Did you write the book to be read aloud, or independently?

“Well, I’d love to make it into an audiobook, because I love audio - it’s how I get most of my reading done. When I was proofreading, I would read aloud because I think it’s hard to tell if something flows properly until you actually hear it. My writing style is quite descriptive so I think it would be a book that does sound good aloud, having created a detailed visualisation of the forest setting.”

What were your hopes for reception with the teenage reader, when publishing The Wing Thief?

“The main thing would be letting young people know that they don’t have to feel pressure to conform to certain things of this world. My main protagonist doesn’t really fit in and yet she’s completely fine the way she is. Being in the LGBTQ+ community, it was important for me to have that in my story, and I think it’s an important message: feel free to be whoever you want to be. Above all else, I wanted the reader to see that you don’t have to be the strongest or the toughest to matter.”

What did you learn whilst writing The Wing Thief that is helping you write the sequel?

“I’m so excited to get started! With home-schooling my children and my partner working from home, it’s hard to find the time to write, but I’m hoping to soon. SmashBear has already asked me to get started and this time, I’m going to focus less on getting every detail perfect before editing. There’s so much you learn when drafting and the hardest part is getting everything on paper. This time around, it’s just such an amazing feeling knowing that people want to read your work.”

What advice would you give to publishing hopefuls out there who wish to work with authors?

“Interesting question! As a first-time author, it’s quite a vulnerable feeling when someone reads your manuscript, so I’d say to just remember how nerve-wracking that can be in the beginning, for the author. That’s why working with SmashBear has been so fantastic because they’ve included me in every decision; I feel very lucky to have signed with them.”

Huge thank you to Samantha for taking the time to talk with us - if you want to hear more, she has done an author Q&A over on Smashbear’s Instagram. Do you know anyone that needs a magical escape? If so, The Wing Thief is available to order now on Amazon, Waterstones and other online retailers. So, go over and support Samantha’s work if you’re interested. Be sure to also follow her on Twitter and Instagram if you want to receive updates on her sequel, coming soon!


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