Meet author and Pitch Wars mentor Samantha Joyce. Samantha is represented by Kathleen Rushall of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Her book DEALING IN DECEPTION is published by Pocket Star/Simon & Schuster and is out and available for purchase. When not writing or at her day job, Samantha can usually be found either singing and dancing on stage in local musicals, or at home watching geeky television shows with her husband.
DEALING IN DECEPTION (Love in Disguise #2) has a main character named Veronica who is an actress-for-hire. Have you ever wanted to be an actress?
Absolutely! I’ve wanted to be on Broadway since I saw Les Mis when I was a kid. Unfortunately, I have crazy bad stage fright—especially in auditions and that can be a real problem for a professional actor. So now I act on the side, in community theatre productions, when I have the time. The cool thing is, writing is a lot like acting. I get to be in different character’s heads and experience places and situations I don’t always go through in real life. So being an author helps fulfill that passion, too.
In the first book in the series, FLIRTING WITH FLAME, Veronica pretended to be a writer after being hired by Elise. What made you decide to continue Veronica’s story in DEALING IN DECEPTION to give her a love of her own?
I honestly never set out writing FLIRTING WITH FAME with the idea Veronica would get her own book. But as that story evolved, I began to see there was more to her than meets the eye. I wanted to dig into what made her so horrible in the first place and see if there was any redemption left in her story. Also, writing from the villain’s point of view was so much fun! She says and does things I’d never say or do.
FLIRTING WITH FLAME was originally called SILENT FICTION. What was the process of changing the title like?
It wasn’t easy! I originally queried it with the title SILENT FICTION, but my agent and I both agreed it sounded too much like a thriller. We went back and forth for days, trying to come up with an appropriate title. At some point, FLIRTING WITH FAME popped into my head and we both went, “Yes!” Because the main character, Elise, is both flirting with the idea of her own fame and is actually flirting with a celebrity.
What’s next in writing for you? Are there more books planned for the Love in Disguise series?
I’m currently revising a YA book that has nothing to do with the Love in Disguise series and I’m loving it! It’s very different from anything I’ve tackled before and has required a ton of research and has taken me out of my comfort zone many times. I think that’s all I’m allowed to say about that one right now. But I would love to re-visit Love in Disguise. There are so many more stories in those characters.
You found representation with FLIRTING WITH FLAME with Kathleen Rushall and had offers from three different agents. Have any advice for writers who might need to decide between multiple agents?
First, it’s okay to feel overwhelmed. Multiple offers are something most writers dream about, but then it happens and it’s actually agony to choose. I’m pretty sure I didn’t sleep for almost two weeks as I decided. Do your research on each agent. Look them up on Publisher’s Marketplace. Talk to their current clients (this is a fantastic way to learn how they work and see if this pairs with what you would want from an agent). Make a pros and cons list. But in the end, trust your gut. I knew from the moment I talked to her, I wanted to work with Kathleen. And she is as amazing as I believed.
You were a Pitch Wars alternate in 2013. You didn’t land an agent with your Pitch Wars book, but do you think the Pitch Wars experience still helped you?
Absolutely! Not only did my then-mentor, Molly Lee, turn into an amazing friend and critique partner, she taught me so many things about my writing and writing in general. Also, the process of putting your work out there is a learning experience itself. Plus, I got to meet so many amazing writers on the hashtag as we went through it all together. I truly believe I would never have gotten my agent and book deal if I hadn’t gone through the Pitch Wars process.
Did your experience as a Pitch Wars alternate inspire anything about your mentoring style at all?
I think because I’ve been there, I know how nerve-wracking this process is and how hard it is to put your work out there. Prior to choosing a mentee, I try to make a point of encouraging everyone who enters, and once mentees are announced, it’s important not to get discouraged no matter what the results. There are many people who don’t get into Pitch Wars who go on to get agents and book deals. Not everyone takes the same journey.
In terms of how I work with my mentee, I’ll give a thorough critique of their manuscript and pitch, making sure to highlight the things I love as well as the things that need work. I’m a firm believer in being honest, but also being positive.
And finally, the most important question of them all, why are you a Slytherin? Personally I identify more as a Ravenclaw and since snakes scare me I don’t think I’d ever make a good Slytherin.
Haha! No one was more surprised than me when I took the Pottermore quiz and got sorted into Slytherin. I fully expected to be Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff. I even took it three more times to be sure. Green was always one of my favorite colors, so I decided to just embrace it. Not a huge fan of snakes, either, but at least they aren’t spiders. 😉
DEALING IN DECEPTION (Love in Disguise #2)
In this stand-alone companion to Samantha Joyce’s Flirting with Fame, Veronica Wilde finds that playing make-believe isn’t all it’s cracked up to be—especially when it’s keeping her from pursuing the one man who makes her heart go wild.
As an actress-for-hire, Veronica Wilde has made a living out of pretending to be other people. It’s the one thing at which she’s always excelled: taking on someone else’s personality and running with it. So after Elise Jameson, author of the bestselling Viking Moon series, decides she no longer requires Veronica’s services, she needs to find a new gig—and fast.
But when her newest client hires Veronica to help him make his small business look more successful than it actually is, the sparks that fly between them are definitely not part of the act. Suddenly, Veronica finds she’s tired of playing pretend for a living. She’s been acting for so long, she’s blindsided by the one man who sees her for who she really is. And the most terrifying part? She might actually like it.