Wednesday 25 September 2013

Guest Post - Samantha Tonge

I am very lucky to have as my guest post today the lovely Samantha Tonge. If you don't know who she is, just open any People's Friend magazine and you will find one of her wonderful stories there. 
Sam has just published an anthology of her short stories through Alfie Dog. It is called Sweet Talk - but I won't say any more about it as I'll let Sam do the sweet talking herself.
Hi Sam, I know you always offer your guests cake when you interview them on your blog. I'm not much of a baker but I can offer you sunken Victoria sandwich or burnt flapjacks...

 Ooh, burnt flapjacks, lovely thank you – nice and chewy!

Perfect... they needed using up. Now the niceties are over, lets get down to the important writerly stuff. You have a collection of short stories “Sweet Talk”, which was published by Alfie Dog Fiction on 24th September. Would you like to tell my lovely readers a little about your stories.

They are warm, uplifting stories, guaranteed to make you feel good after a hard day. The perfect gift (I like to think, when my marketing cap is on!) for a woman who likes to dip into fiction or take a book travelling – plus they cover a wide variety of settings and themes.

Sounds like a great holiday read, Samantha. Do you have a favourite or would that be like asking a mother to choose between her children?

Ooh, I couldn’t possibly say! But I felt a huge sense of achievement after writing “Birds of a Feather” as it is set just after the Second World War and I don’t write many historical stories. Plus it is from a young lad’s point-of-view – I really enjoy creating stories where the protagonist is a child. “The Ultimate Hero” is another favourite as it is a saucy story for the ladies and was huge fun to write!

A saucy story for the ladies - sounds perfect! Can you tell me the inspiration behind a couple of the stories?

Sometimes a news item will inspire me – “Icing on the Cake” was inspired by an article on a new phenomenon from America, ‘gender-reveal cakes’. You’ll have to read the story to find out what they are! “Messy Buckets” was inspired by real-life and how, in my younger days, I hooked up with a rather nice man after we met on a train.

Ooh, you must tell me all after the interview but until then, using only two adjectives, how would you describe the stories in your collection?

Feel-good and uplifting.

I won't give you my husband's reply to that answer, Sam. Moving swiftly on, what made you decide to publish your stories through Alfie Dog? Was it their suggestion or yours?

I noticed that they had published collections by other authors, so after submitting several of my own individually, I approached the editor, Rosemary Kind, to ask if she’d be interested in putting together a collection of mine. In fact I am writing a blog post for the lovely Womag blog in a couple of weeks, detailing the whole process of my journey with Alfie Dog, from approaching Rosemary in the first instance, to picking up copies of the book last week.

I shall enjoy reading that post, Sam. You started out writing novels - what made you decide to change to short stories?

I’d written several novels, without publishing success, and had really reached a point where, for my own self-esteem and sanity, I needed some sort of validation of my work. I’d tried now and again but just couldn’t put together a beginning, middle and end, in the short form. However, I finally succeeded for one competition in around 2010, I think. Although I came nowhere, this spurred me on to join an online group which helped me learn how to write for women’s magazines. In March 2011 I made my first sale.

I know that a lot of your time is spent writing fiction for the People's Friend, does that leave you any time for writing novels?

My output is quite high when I’m not writing a novel – I usually write and sub two stories a week. This might drop to about one a week, when I’m writing a novel. I try to keep 10-15 stories out there at any one time and that seems to work for me.

Blimey! I thought my output of one story a week was high... I'd better write faster. Which do you prefer writing - novels or short stories?

Impossible to say – writing romantic comedies is probably my first love, but having said that, I adore the versatility and scope of shorts. Recently I sold a cowboy story to The People’s Friend and it was such fun to write. Plus, if a rejection rolls, at least I’ve not put months of my life into it. Let’s say I’d marry a novel, but snog lots of shorts J

What a great saying - wish I'd thought of it. You are participating in a blog tour to publicise 'Sweet Talk', in what other ways are you promoting your book?

Well, I am of course promoting it a lot on Facebook and Twitter (sorry to my friends there, but it is a necessary evil for writers nowadays!) Also, Alfie-Dog Fiction have trialled a traditional print-run with my book, so I have about 70 copies to get into local outlets! So far the lovely Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe in Alderley Edge has agreed to stock it, and I am doing a signing there on October 12th (so if anyone here is around it would be great to see you!) I have also contacted a local radio station and newspaper, to see if they will give the book any coverage. I am new to all this, so it is a steep learning curve.

I think Mr. Simms from the Olde Sweet Shoppe should feature in one of your stories. Finally Sam, can you tell us something we may not know about you?

I have a degree in French and German. My German accent was never fully authentic, but when I lived in France and spoke French people couldn’t tell I was English – for some reason, they thought I was Belgian!

She's not just a pretty face, readers! Thank you, Sam, for finding the time in between writing short stories to talk to us and I look forward to reading your anthology.

You can find Sam's website here

Alfie Dog Fiction's website is here

Sweet Talk is available to buy here



  1. Morning everyone! Thanks for making me feel so welcome, Wendy - your husband sounds very naughty! And can i just say the flapjack is actually delicious. I look forward to offering you coffee and cake on my blog, one day :)


    1. You're very welcome, Sam. Thanks for being such a lovely guest

  2. Enjoyed the 'Sweet Talk' interview, Wendy and Sam.

  3. Loved this interview, Wendy and Sam. Good luck with the book and the Olde Sweet Shop signing :-) x

  4. Thanks Pat and Teresa - yes, my first signing, Teresa... *nibbles nail*! All exciting, though x

  5. Thank you for popping in, Teresa and Pat and thanks for your comments.

  6. Really enjoyed your interview welldone !
    Lisette x

  7. Thanks, Lisette - nice to see you here! x

  8. Hi Wendy and Sam, what a great interview. Thanks. I love reading about how other writers go about their writing. It reminds me that I am not alone and that there an awful lot of us are out there, working quietly away, getting on with writing stories. Yes! Excellent!

  9. Thank you for stopping by, Lisette and Marianne - glad you enjoyed Sam's interview.

  10. What a lovely interview, ladies - your collection sounds great, Samantha.

  11. Thanks, Marianne - yes, we're all beavering away, aren't we, collecting our rejections (or at least i still am) :) I don't know how writers used to survive on their own without the camaraderie of the internet.

    Thanks, Rosemary! Nice to see you here.

  12. Enjoyed the interview - thanks Samantha and Wendy. Loved the 'marry a novel, snog lots of shorts' quote, think many of us would agree with that!

  13. Thank you for popping over rosemary and Tracy. Always good to see you.

  14. Great interview, Wendy and Samantha. The book cover will definitely help sell that book. Glad to know I'm not the only one with rejections popping back through the letter box. I'll pass on the flapjacks though Wendy.xx

    1. Pass on the flapjacks, Susan? Oh, I am very hurt.

  15. Thanks for visiting Tracy and Susan Jane - yes, lots of snogging, Tracy ;)
    Ooh, more flapjacks for me ;)