From my earliest memories, my parents read to me. And they encouraged me to learn to read for myself. Our home was full of books and people who wrote them were held in high regard. So I always wanted to be one of “those guys”, the guys who could throw words on a paper and have them form into a compelling story that people read and talked about. Since first grade, I have tried to write and have loved hearing from the people who read.
Have you based any of your characters on someone you know, or real events in your own life?
Many of my characters start out with vague resemblances to real people, friends and relatives. It helps in the beginning to ask myself, “How would Bud act if dropped into this situation?” As the story develops and the characters develop, though, they become less and less like the person who initially lent their personality or looks to the character. Sometimes they become composites of more than one person (because “Bud would never do anything to land in that situation … but you know, Carol might!”).
One funny thing happened along these lines. I had patterned much of one of my characters after a friend of mine from high school. The character of Marianne was described as looking like my friend who I’ll call Lindsay (to protect the innocent), and had many of Lindsay’s personality traits. During an early draft of the story, I became friends with a young woman who had recently lost her father and that event found its way into Marianne’s back story. Flash forward twenty-something years (and countless rewrites) and I met up with Lindsay by accident. We got to talking and I was telling her about the book and we were discussing life and I was shocked to learn that her father was still alive. I had forgotten that that “little” element came from someone else’s life. I did get a reader out of that, though, because Lindsay’s father read the book after he heard I had killed him off in it.
What books have most influenced your writing most and why?I tell people I’m something of a flamingo. When they look at me with cocked eyebrow, I explain that flamingos aren’t pink at birth, but become pink due to their diet. I am flamingo-like in that I have ingested so much Louis L’Amour that it’s no surprise when people tell me that my writing reminds them of his (even though all but one of my books aren’t westerns in the strictest sense of the term). I can’t say that one of his books has influenced me more than another (though my favorites are “Bendigo Shafter” and “Mustang Man”) but I love his sense of style, his descriptions of the scenery, and the pacing of his books. He writes about what’s happening! Most of all, though, I think I have been influenced by the way that even when he’s not describing the scenery he has placed the characters and events on actual ground he has walked. For my writings, it’s very important to me to know that I have walked through La Plata Canyon or downtown Dallas and I think that comes through in my novels.
Have you ever read a book more than once?
Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version?
Only one: “Field of Dreams”. In all other cases, the book is far superior to the movie (even in the case of movies I loved, like the Lord of the Rings and Narnia trilogies). “Field of Dreams” is based on the novel “Shoeless Joe” by W.P. Kinsella. It’s an excellent book and I had read it a couple years before the movie came out. When I heard they were making a movie of it I was skeptical—being of the general opinion that “Hollywood ruins all books”—but I saw “Field” on opening night in Dallas and was blown away. Not only had the film-makers captured the spirit of the book, they had improved upon it by creating visuals that put me right in the corn field in an even stronger way than the book had done.
What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)?
“Riders of the Purple Sage” by Zane Grey, on Kindle. It’s one of those seminal books—not just of “westerns” but of American lit in general—that I had always heard about but had never gotten around to reading it. This past weekend I had just finished a P.G. Wodehouse book and was looking for something to read when I remembered that I had put “Purple Sage” on my Kindle shortly after purchasing the unit two years ago (when I was stocking up on all the old, free, classics) and started in on it. Excellently written book and easy to see why it’s held in such high esteem.
What are your thoughts on book trailers?
Personally, I find them annoying (partly for one of the reasons I usually don’t like movie or TV adaptations of books). One of my favorite things about reading a work of fiction is seeing it all in my mind. It feels like some of that is taken away from me when a trailer shows me what the lead character looks like, for instance.
What is the best advice that you have ever been given when it comes to writing?
Just write. Improving my writing and writing on a schedule and writing every day and all those other pieces of wisdom have their place, but the most important advice given to me (by many, many people) is to just keep writing.
Laptop or desktop for writing?
Both, but probably 70% desktop. I like my laptop and it’s great when I just want to get off somewhere and write, but for whatever reason I feel like I do my best work sitting upright, at a desk, John Williams music pouring from the stereo. Mostly, it’s probably a mental thing that sitting at the desk seems more purposeful and business-like.List 3 of your all time favorite movies?
“It’s a Wonderful Life”
“Field of Dreams”
“Star Wars – A New Hope”
First Time: The Legend of Garison Fitch
"What if history didn't happen that way ... the first time?"
Garison Fitch was one of the most revered scientists in the Soviet Americas until he left fame behind to work on a secret project in his log cabin in the mountains of Marx.
But something went wrong. Instead of traveling interdimentionally, Garison has traveled through time ... twice.
Now, he's in something called "The United States of America" and a woman he's never met before is calling herself his wife. It it a hoax? Or, has he somehow changed history?
If so, can he return the world to what he believes is "normal", or must he live in this strange world he created?
"Sam continues to weave his magic as a storyteller. I always find myself anxious to find out what will happen next and what kind of twist will befall the adventurers. It helps to be familiar with the places that the heroines go, which adds to the story."
"I've had a few very unproductive but enjoyable days thanks to Samuel Ben White. If you haven't read Sam's books you have been missing a treat. These were funny, suspenseful, spiritual and kept you turning the pages."
"Just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed your books. I have a Kindle and I have purchased all of the Garison Fitch novels. I am in Saudi Arabia and your books have really helped take me away from here."
Also Part of the Series:
Two years ago Garison Fitch traveled through time and rewrote history. An accident in the eighteenth century created a whole new world, and even gave Garison a wife he had never met before. Now, he’s got a daughter and he’s coming to enjoy this world he created. Until he’s attacked by men masquerading as Indians, and a funeral procession from out of the past enlists his help, and a tree grows from sappling to full-grown in a matter of minutes, threatening his daughter’s very life. Time itself is unraveling and Garison’s trips through time seem to be the cause. Garison must go back in time once again and keep himself from making the original trip that started the problem. But he can’t use his time machine to go back. How does one sew up a rip in time?