For the Love of Writing: Be For Beauty interviews Sam Felix – Part 1

want to become a writer 1

Hey, Guys!

If you’ve noticed, we recently added some new categories to our website – we started talking about the importance of quality content and even started doing reviews in our entertainment roundups. As part of this section, our post today is actually an interview with a writer, Sam Felix.

Sam Felix is a published writer and his latest and first book, Ayden’s Choice, hit the stands late last year. Since I know Sam personally, I was really looking forward to reading the book and when I finally did – I found it extremely interesting, interesting enough to finish it in all of two days.

I sent him a message and thought it’d be a great opportunity for us to learn more about Sam as well as use his expertise to work on our passion projects!

A little about Sam

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Sam was born into a chaotic life. Growing up in a small Swiss village he felt the urge early on to stand on his own feet. So he left at a young age to start his own life and company by using his digital talents. And now, after riding the business dragon for more than a decade, he jumped off to focus on something he loves: to build, form and tell stories.

Here are snippets of Be For Beauty’s conversation with writer, Sam Felix

Pragati: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Sam: I never wanted to become a writer, as in a professional author who makes a living from it. Maybe as a child, I thought about it once or twice, but I learned early on that this is an economically challenged occupation. But I was always writing a little bit here and there. I started to write short stories for my wife about four years ago. And about three years ago – when we started to prepare my company for sale – I sought something to distract myself, which ended up to be writing a blog, where I combined scientific and technological articles I read with some Ideas for short stories.

Pragati: What do you think makes a good story?

Sam: Relatable characters. If I can relate to the characters, their emotions and what they have to go through, I am usually very motivated to read on. They don’t have to be similar to me, but I have to be able to feel their emotions and see their point of view. Something which I love as a reader but which challenges me a lot when writing my books.

Pragati: Where did your love for books/storytelling/reading/writing come from?

Sam: I like to imagine things and to dive into another world. A great book puts me right at the place it’s happening and when I put it away it feels like I am leaving its world like coming back from a trip. As a child, I got plenty of time on my own to read all kind of things. And actually, the first books I can remember were the encyclopedia collection at my grandparent’s house. I went back and forth through all of them and tried to find out everything about the world.

Pragati: What inspires you?

Sam: Nearly everything gives me some new ideas and keeps me thinking about all kinds of possibilities. A scene I watch while riding a bus or a new youtube video explaining another crazy thing about the US I didn’t know. I really like comedians like Trevor Noah, John Oliver, and Stephen Colbert, who often bring up important topics to think about. But I also read more and more novels, something I didn’t do for many years. I read about five Stephen King books in the last year and some other novels from lesser known authors.

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Pragati: Why do you think people should buy “Ayden’s choice”? What makes it special? It does sound like “nerd” fiction? Is this the right impression to carry?

Sam: Because it will not only take you on a journey of pain, fear, and struggle. But it will also show you hope, unknown possibilities, and freedom. It will hopefully bind you to Nele’s world and makes you wanting to read more of her stories.

It’s far from being “nerd” fiction (laughs), it’s much more about family, social conflict and the wish to decide one’s own faith. The fact that they use the power of today’s digital fog lying over everything is just a tool to achieve their goals.

Pragati: This has been your first book, so are you feeling rewarded as an author? Have you received feedback? What kind of things are your readers saying about the book, and you? What has been your best compliment?

Sam: It’s the first book I published, but it’s actually the fourth book I started. And two of the others will be published within the next two years – I hope. While writing the book I didn’t want to tell my social peers at the beginning, but when I got to the end, I started to tell everyone. The feedback from my private friends is very thin as most people don’t read a lot of books, or not in English or not of this genre.

I got some very nice feedback from bloggers and YouTubers. I really liked the remark, that I could combine two topics and genres in one book and that the readers could feel the pain and danger within the story. But there was also critique, an important one, like a lack of background information about Nele’s world or that there is not enough information about the locations and how they look. Something I absolutely want to improve in the next book.

Pragati: How difficult is it to write a book? I write articles, blogs and content all the time – and I have had this dream to someday write a book but somehow after a few pages I tend to get the writer’s block. Did you have similar feelings? How did you overcome them?

Sam: Just sitting down, opening an empty document and starting to write the first page is very hard. I couldn’t do it, and I still can’t. But writing the actual book is just one part of the project. If you look at it as a project, if you start to build a story and its characters without focusing on the writing style and flow, then you can build a solid foundation which makes the process so much more easier.

Pragati: What is your process as a writer? I am going to sound a little bit like a project manager here – do you have phases planned out with milestones say right from ideation to implementation or go-live?

Sam: That’s the right mindset. I started writing books with the romantic idea of just writing line by line and it didn’t work. I started three books: two about Nele’s fellowship and one about a fictional future of the USA. But I struggled with them due to lack of overview, plot and character study.

So here’s what I try to do:

  1. Build the story and characters. (80-90% of my story is built before I write the first chapter.)
  2. Take structured notes – but relaxed, the plot doesn’t have to be there yet.
  3. Write character sheets and short stories about their lives. (The more you know about your characters the easier it is to let them react to certain things or interact with others.)
  4. Try to form a structured plot table from the notes
  5. Start writing actual chapters in order as soon as your plot structure is ready. (I force myself to write them in order to still keep the flow in the whole book. It’s better to write a rough and maybe a bad chapter than to rewrite it later on.)
  6. Jump back and forth between character sheets, plot table, and chapters to sync everything.

Oh my, we were just warming up here, weren’t we? Of course, there is more, more to Sam, more to Nele, more to their dreams woven together. Stay tuned in for Part 2 of this interview. In the meantime, go check out the book on Amazon and start discovering Nele’s world – it’s the type which is hard to put down.

What did you think about this interview? Does it inspire you to start writing? Go ahead and start, start by leaving your thoughts in the comments section. I promise Sam is reading them.

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