Welcome to my Author Spotlight series, where I have the privilege of shining a light on the incredible talent within the indie romance community. As a passionate romance book blogger, I am dedicated to showcasing the works of talented authors, providing valuable insights into their writing journeys, and creating a vibrant community that celebrates the beauty of indie romance.
Today, I am thrilled to feature Allie Samberts, an indie author who has captured the hearts of readers with her captivating storytelling. Allie’s love for romance, combined with her background as a high school English teacher, brings a unique perspective to her novels. I am pleased to introduce Allie and her latest book, “The Write Time,” the highly anticipated second instalment in the Leade Park series, which is set to release on Kindle Unlimited on July 11th, 2023.
In “The Write Time,” Allie takes us on a journey of self-discovery, healing, and the power of love. Jenny Green, the protagonist, finds herself at a crossroads in her life, haunted by past mistakes and struggling to find her balance. When she crosses paths with Ben Allouer, a strong and sexy wrestling coach, a connection sparks between them. However, as they navigate their feelings and past obstacles, Jenny’s self-doubt threatens to sabotage their chance at happiness. Will she find the strength to overcome her fears and let love in?
Now, let’s dive into the interview with Allie Samberts as she shares her insights into her writing process, the inspiration behind her stories, and valuable advice for aspiring romance authors.
Can you tell us about your journey as an indie romance author? What inspired you to start writing in this genre?
I entered into a really bad reading rut a few years ago. We had a family tragedy, and then the pandemic hit, and I mostly turned to watching shows I didn’t have to think very hard about and taking care of our two small kids. Eventually, things loosened up and our kids went back to school, and that’s when I started reading again with the ACOTAR series. I devoured all those books in probably about a week, then turned to more fantasy romances. From there, it was a small leap to contemporary romances. At first, I was reading a lot of indies without really knowing they were indies–or knowing what indie authors even did. I mean, sure, I knew you could publish print-on-demand books, but I didn’t realize some of them were so similar to the traditionally published books I had been reading! At some point, I started thinking, “I can do this.” I wrote down some ideas in various notebooks, my notes app, docs… basically anywhere I could. Then, at some point, “I can do this,” turned into “I want to do this.” I sat down and got really serious about it. I finished the book, found an editor and cover designer, and researched everything I could about self-publishing and marketing. And here we are!
“The Write Place” is the first book in your Leade Park series. What motivated you to create this series, and what can readers expect from it?
This series is about a group of fictional high school English teachers at Leade Park High School. “The Write Place” is about Miss Mac–an English teacher–and Daniel Evans–a world-famous writer. Mac loves her job, and is the type to curl up with a good book and a glass of wine, so imagine her surprise when Daniel shows up and asks to shadow her as research for his upcoming book. “The Write Time” follows Mac’s best friends, Jenny, and Ben. They’re both English teachers (Ben is also the school’s wrestling coach). He’s been in love with her since they started teaching nine years ago, and it’s finally the right time (haha) for them. I was motivated to create this series because I am also a high school English teacher, and I thought it would be fun to show some of the high school antics, both with students and behind the scenes, while creating swoony workplace romances. Readers can expect a lot of heart, some heavy emotional moments, and just enough spice to keep it exciting.
Your upcoming release, “The Write Time,” explores themes of self-doubt and finding love. What inspired you to delve into these topics, and how do you approach balancing the sweet and spicy elements in your romantic comedies?
“The Write Place” explores the theme of finding where you belong, which I think is pretty typical for teachers. We want our students (and visitors, in Daniel’s case) to feel at home in our classrooms. But, while writing and publishing that book, self-doubt crept in. I did suffer from some major imposter syndrome thinking I was never doing enough or writing well enough. I mean who would even want to read a book by little old me? I was also struggling with a very difficult school year at the time, which exacerbated those feelings. I don’t think I did it on purpose, but working out those feelings through the main character, Jenny, and giving her a strong, solid person to lean on in Ben, was very helpful to me in sorting out some of those feelings of not being good enough. As far as the balance of the sweet and spicy, I think I will always lean more sweet, even though some of the scenes in this book are pretty spicy. Some readers might be looking for more spice, but, right now, my characters are all trying to work some stuff out, so their connections are often more emotional than physical.
Jenny Green, the protagonist in “The Write Time,” struggles with feeling alone and haunted by her past. How do you develop and portray complex emotions in your characters, and why is it important for readers to connect with these experiences?
We read to connect, and we read to open new worlds. It’s important that readers are able to connect with the characters in my books so they can find something to relate to. While I don’t wish Jenny’s self-doubt and loneliness on anyone, I think we’ve all been there at one time or another. Developing Jenny’s complex emotions was both the most difficult and the easiest thing I’ve ever done. It was the most difficult because she’s a frustrating character sometimes. She is willing to sacrifice herself for the love of her friends. As such, she’s extremely loyal, and she does things that some of us might want to shake her for. But it was easy because, once I figured out her motivation–making other people happy–her choices became a lot clearer. In this case, because Ben and Jenny have known each other for nine years, the story is also written in a dual timeline, where we get to see little snippets of their past together and how they’ve had bad timing with each other for so long. I think this really helps develop the complexity of the characters, because we get to see them grow over a period of time, and we get to see why they are the way they are as we see their formative experiences shape them.
In “The Write Place,” the main character, Mac, is a high school English teacher who falls in love with a world-famous writer. What inspired you to combine the worlds of education and literature in this story, and how do you create realistic and relatable characters within these settings?
I was honestly inspired by Emily Henry’s “Book Lovers” in a lot of ways. As a book lover myself, I wanted to create a story where two people with similar interests meet and fall in love with each other, but also with the way they share a passion. I’m happily married, but I did start thinking about how cool it would be to have a suave, sexy, charming, wealthy, famous writer sit in my classroom and watch me teach. Then, I started thinking about this writer having a bit of imposter syndrome and feeling adrift in his life, and I knew it’d be perfect for a teacher, whose job it is to help people find their way, to help him, too.
As an indie author, what challenges have you faced in the publishing industry, and what strategies have you found effective in reaching and engaging with readers?
There are a lot of hurdles in the publishing industry. I think a lot of people don’t know how expensive it can be! I don’t have an answer for that, but I will say that I probably will never leave my day job because I love it, but also because it helps pay for this endeavor. I do think one of the other big hurdles is marketing, which is all about reaching and engaging readers. Luckily, I actually like doing that stuff. It gives me a reason to step away from the manuscript and talk to readers and fellow book lovers. Most of the time, I also like poking around in design programs to make marketing graphics and reels. Even with the best marketing posts, though, I have found that the best way to engage readers is to just talk to them! Readers want to connect with authors, so commenting, getting excited when they read and review your books, sharing common books you love, etc. is the best way to reach people.
Your bio mentions that you are also a high school English teacher. How does your experience in the classroom influence your writing, and do you find any overlaps between your teaching and storytelling?
So far, my experience in the classroom has directly informed most of the things I’ve written about the high school setting. Also, working with people all day has made me observant of a lot of human behavior. Teachers are always trying to figure out why their students are behaving a certain way, and authors do that with their characters, too! More than that, though, teaching about character development, story arcs, figurative language, etc. has helped me write engaging stories. I felt very prepared when I began the writing process. As far as overlaps, I spend my entire workday trying to persuade kids to listen to me. I have to be engaging and funny and exciting. I try to infuse as much of that in my writing as I can.
Can you share a bit about your writing process? Do you have any particular rituals or routines that help you stay focused and inspired? I always love this question because I wish I had a process. As of right now, I have two kids who are 8 and 3 years old, so I am truly writing during nap time and in other stolen moments throughout the day. The amount of times I’ve banged out a short scene while waiting for dinner to come out of the oven might surprise you.
Your blog offers valuable insights into your writing journey. What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned as an indie author, and what advice would you give to aspiring romance writers looking to publish their own books?
First, everything is going to feel overwhelming with huge projects like this. Finishing an 80,000+ word manuscript, editing, finding a cover designer, marketing… it’s a lot. When I start to get overwhelmed, I like to remind myself of something one of my teacher friends says his mom always used to say to him: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Do what you can now, and you’ll get there. The second thing is to always be open to trying new things and learning. You can learn from other writers, but you can also learn from yourself. And learning from your own choices and mistakes–you will make mistakes–is probably the most impactful.
Finally, what can readers look forward to in “The Write Time,” and do you have any other exciting projects or future releases you’d like to share with us?
Readers of “The Write Time” can look forward to a relatable, emotional journey with a lot of laughs and love, and a slightly higher spice rating than “The Write Place” with 3 spicy scenes. I really love this book, and I hope you do, too. As far as future projects, there is one more book planned in the Leade Park series, and I can say that you’ll meet the couple in this book. After that, I’m excited to get to a true enemies-to-lovers story that has already been outlined, so stay tuned! I’m just getting started.
To stay updated on Allie’s latest releases and writing journey, you can visit her website at alliesamberts.com and connect with her on Goodreads, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. Make sure to follow her social media accounts for exciting updates, behind-the-scenes peeks, and engaging book discussions.
I hope you’re as excited as I am to dive into “The Write Time” (pre-order your copy, here) and experience the beautiful blend of romance, humor, and self-discovery that Allie Samberts has crafted. It’s a story that will warm your heart and leave you eagerly anticipating her future releases.
If you’re an indie romance author interested in being featured in my Author Spotlight series, I invite you to fill out the form found on this page. Let’s continue to celebrate the incredible talent within the indie romance community together.