Samantha Hastings: The Last Word
It's July! When you're hot and don't feel like doing anything, grab a book instead! There are a lot of really great new ones out!
The Last Word
by Samantha Hastings
1861. Miss Lucinda Leavitt is shocked when she learns the author of her favorite serialized novel has died before completing the story. Determined to learn how it ends, Lucinda reluctantly enlists the help of her father’s young business partner, Mr. David Randall, to track down the reclusive author’s former whereabouts.
David is a successful young businessman, but is overwhelmed by his workload. He wants to prove himself to his late father, as well as to himself. He doesn’t have the time, nor the interest, for this endeavor, but Lucinda is not the type to take no for an answer.
Their search for the elusive Mrs. Smith and the rightful ending to her novel leads Lucinda and David around the country, but the truths they discover about themselves—and each other—are anything but fictional.
July 9th, 2019
Introduce yourself and your debut novel!
My name is Samantha Hastings and I write YA historical fiction. My debut novel is set in 1861. Miss Lucinda Leavitt’s favorite author dies before finishing her serialized novel; desperate to know the fate of her beloved heroine, Lucinda decides to discover who the author was and how she would have finished her story. She enlists her father’s much younger business partner, Mr. David Randall, to assist her. The truths they discover about themselves—and each other—are anything but fictional.
What’s the most surprising part about your debut journey so far?
I was surprised by how many other debuts are from my home state of Utah. I’ve made six amazing new friends that just happen to also be talented authors. Check out: RuthAnne Snow, Tiana Smith, Crystal Smith, Dan Haring, Erin Stewart, and Sofiya Pasternack 😉.
Give a shout-out to a fellow debut!
Jennieke Cohen’s Dangerous Alliance is like a Jane Austen book with mystery and adventure. I absolutely adored it. Look for it in December.
Who is your favorite character?
Persephone Merritt is a supporting character, but her personality shines in every page she’s on. She’s loyal, loving, and you wish she were your friend in real life.
How long did it take you to write this book?
When I read Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters for the first time, I didn’t know that she had died before completing the book. I kept turning pages and wondering how she was going to wrap things up in time—she didn’t. She’d died. All I was left with was a page and half from her editor telling what would have happened. I was intrigued by the idea of what it would have been like as a contemporary reader who had devoted years to reading a serialized book only to not be able to read the ending.
What advice would you give to a new writer?
I gave up after a couple of years without success. I stopped writing and tried new hobbies. Then I noticed that an author friend that I hadn’t spoken with in seven years was finally published. He kept writing year after year, rejection after rejection and he finally made it. So, I decided to try again and keep writing and submitting. The only thing that all published authors have in common is that they never gave up. So, no matter how hard it gets, if writing is your dream, don’t give up.
How do you select character names?
I write historical fiction and I want the names to be authentic for the time period. The easiest way to do that is using first names and last names from my own family history tree. So yes, I have a great-great-great-great grandmother named Lucinda.
What book or author has most influenced your own writing?
Jane Austen. She created the modern novel and effortlessly combined humor, drama, characters, and stories which resonate with readers over 200 years later.
Share your favorite snack!
I eat a ton of popcorn!
Thanks for interviewing, Samantha! Everyone reading this should check out this book on 7/9/19!