Today WinterHaven Books has the opportunity to review Stitch by Samantha Durante. Thank you Samantha for allowing us to participate in this blog tour!
Stitch (Stitch Trilogy Book 1) by Samantha Durante
Publication Date: August 1, 2012
Order: Amazon / Barnes & Noble
Her heart races, her muscles coil, and every impulse in Alessa's body screams at her to run... but yet she's powerless to move.
Still struggling to find her footing after the sudden death of her parents, the last thing college freshman Alessa has the strength to deal with is the inexplicable visceral pull drawing her to a handsome ghostly presence. In between grappling with exams and sorority soirees - and disturbing recurring dreams of being captive in a futuristic prison hell - Alessa is determined to unravel the mystery of the apparition who leaves her breathless. But the terrifying secret she uncovers will find her groping desperately through her nightmares for answers.
Because what Alessa hasn't figured out yet is that she's not really a student, the object of her obsession is no ghost, and her sneaking suspicions that something sinister is lurking behind the walls of her university's idyllic campus are only just scratching the surface...
The opening installment in a twist-laden trilogy, Stitch spans the genres of paranormal romance and dystopian sci-fi to explore the challenges of a society in transition, where morality, vision, and pragmatism collide leaving the average citizen to suffer the results.
What a great debut novel by Samantha Durante! Stitch was nothing what I expected. I purposely stayed away from the reviews and blurbs because I wanted to experience this novel from a fresh perspective. So color me impressed when I thought I was jumping into a paranormal ghost story, then later to discover there was a dystopic twist to the world building, and ultimately deciding it was probably more scifi because of certain unique elements Durante weaved into her story-telling. So ultimately, I’ll leave it to the author to give me her take on how she’d categorize this intriguing tale of mystery, intrigue and sinister plots and twists.
In Stitch, we get to meet Alessa who is trying to get accustomed to her new life as a freshmen in college. In the aftermath of her parent’s death, she is faced with another challenge when a ghost begins to appear in her sorority house. As she starts to investigate the history of her house and who that apparition could possibly be, she begins to uncover a sinister element to her world that ultimately leaves her wondering what is truly happening around her.
I have to give props to Durante for being able to incorporate metaphysics into her plot without making it overwhelming and contrived as I’ve seen happen in other novels. The author gives us just enough information to create her environment and not make you feel like you need a degree in physics to understand why and how certain things can happen in her story. So I have to say I enjoyed that aspect of her book.
Also, the author does a great job of creating an extremely likeable cast which is mainly made up of Alessa, Isaac and Janie. They have a bond and strength about them that really made me root for their cause and I hope we get to see these characters continue to develop in the subsequent installments. I have to admit now… I really don’t believe Joe is completely out of the picture… something feels off about that piece of the storyline so I’m wondering if there’s more to come where he’s concerned.
Overall, I have to say that Durante delivered an intriguing story that incorporates some interesting elements, which ultimately makes Stitch uniquely her own. I can’t wait to see what happens in the world of Paragon!
WinterHaven Books had the pleasure of interviewing Samantha Durante. Check it out!1. What inspired you to write Stitch and how long did it take you to complete this project?
The inspiration for Stitch was to take elements that I loved from other stories – a futuristic dystopia like from Hunger Games or Divergent, a paranormal romance element like Twilight (but not more vampires!), a strong female lead like Pride & Prejudice’s Elizabeth Bennet, and good dose of old fashioned suspense and out-of-the-ballpark twists – and combine them to create something unlike anything I’d ever read in one book. I wrote it starting in January of this year to help me pass the time after I’d finished all my wedding preparations (or at least, anything I could do in advance) nine months before the big day!
2. I truly had no idea what I was getting into when I started Stitch. I purposely stayed away from detailed blurbs and reviews because I wanted to form my own opinion. So, at first I thought it was a Paranormal story; then you shifted the plot to make it feel Dystopic, but after experiencing it full circle you added some unique elements to make if feel more SciFi. So I'm curious, what genre would you classify Stitch as?I think that’s the best way to read it, without any prior knowledge of what to expect – that was what I did to all my beta readers as well. J
Whenever I tell people I wrote a book, they always ask me what kind of book it is, and my first reaction is usually to answer “a young adult science fiction novel” (which I consider to be inclusive of the dystopian aspect). Then if they press for more details, I tell them that it starts out like a paranormal romance with a ghost, but it has a big twist that turns everything you thought you’d read upside-down. So I guess I have trouble classifying the genre succinctly as well, haha.
3. Reality television plays a huge role in your plot. I have to say, I'm now a bit skeptical of RTV after reading Stitch! LOL Is there a particular reason you chose to include RTV as a theme in your story?You know, I actually don’t watch a lot of reality TV (with a few exceptions here and there – right now The Bachelor/Bachelorette are my big guilty pleasures, with a little Top Model thrown in on occasion) and I think part of the reason for that is that I always found the voyeuristic aspect of it very creepy. I know these people signed up for the show knowing what they were getting into, but I just don’t understand how they do it – I would be so uncomfortable knowing that there were millions of people potentially watching everything I do (and I would probably embarrass myself A LOT). So that general icky feeling I have about RTV was definitely part of the inspiration.
The other reason I went that route was because I thought it was something we could all relate to and that it would serve as a nice bridge between Alessa’s world and our own. Reality TV has gotten so popular (and so wildly out of control…) over the past 10 years or so that you can totally see how it’s not a wild leap to take that idea and turn it into something truly sinister. And you can understand how viewers would never once question what they’re seeing since we’re all pretty much desensitized to anything we see on RTV by now. So in some way, I think that element of Stitch was my guess at where this trend could end up if we continue on the same path for the next 100 years. And it’s not pretty!
4. Alessa, Isaac and Janie are extremely likable characters and there was a quiet strength about each of them that made me fall for them and root for their cause. Do these characters reflect anyone in your life or are they complete figments of your imagination?I’m so glad you liked them so much! A big goal of mine for the characters was to just make them normal. I feel like in so many books the main characters are extreme in some way, and it always makes it difficult for me to connect to them. Bella Swan, for example, drove me nuts (despite being addicted to the Twilight series) because I thought her dependence on Edward and Jacob and her general lack of self-confidence was just too much – I don’t know anyone who actually thinks or behaves that way, so Bella had me shaking my head a lot.
And I think that’s true of a lot of books – each character has one main driving force and that pretty much shapes everything they do – but it’s generally not true of real people. Everyone has lots of dreams and desires and motivators, many of which are conflicting, and we all change our minds constantly about everything, so I tried to capture that with my characters. And in order to do that, yes, I absolutely based them on combinations of lots of people that I know.
Alessa in particular is very much like me, plus some characteristics that I wish I had – or hope I would have if I were in her shoes – and others (like the general sense of depression and doubt that she struggles with) that I’m glad I don’t! Since Stitch is my first book, I just thought it would be easiest to put a slightly tweaked version of myself in the story and think about how I would react. So if you like Alessa, we should be friends! Lol.
And the other characters are all combinations of things I love about my close friends and family – Janie got her wittiness and her smarts from my two best friends, Diane and Joan, Isaac got his quiet determination from my fiancé, Sudeep, and lots of other little things like those that are borrowed from people I know. But none of them are an exact replica of any one person, either.
5. I can't wait to read the next installment for this trilogy. Do you have a release schedule or any tidbits you can offer us with regards to the next two books?Sure! Right now I’m planning on writing Book 2 over the winter/spring and releasing in the summer. I’ll be sure to post updates on my website, www.samanthadurante.com, as I make progress (there’s also a sign-up form there where you can elect to get an email when the release date is announced, or you can find me and Stitch on our Facebook pages where there will be announcements as well).
As far as tidbits go, I do have much of the story planned out already and can’t wait to get started! Expect to jump right into the action and to learn more about the pasts of Alessa and Isaac and the other characters along the way, plus lots of details about their world, how it came about, and what their enemies have been up to (and believe it or not, the bad guys are WAY worse than what we got into in Stitch. WAYYYY worse.). Plus, there are at least two or three big twists/reveals coming in Shudder, so it should be another fun ride!
Okay, some final questions.... about you...
Notebook & Pen OR Laptop?Laptop, always! Pretty much the only thing I hand-write anymore are grocery lists (and it’s a good thing, because practically no one besides me can read my writing!)
Night-time OR Day-time Writer?Morning is when I’m most productive with actually writing, but nighttime is when I get all my best ideas (much to detriment of my sleep schedule…).
Make it up as you go OR Outline the story completely?Outline completely! I’m super organized; I can’t do anything without a plan, least of all write a book. J
Samantha, thank you so much taking the time to chat with WinterHaven and best of luck on your novel!
Samantha Durante: Author Bio
As an avid lifelong reader of fiction of all sorts, there’s nothing I find more engrossing than an epic sci-fi/fantasy/romance series. I’ve whiled away countless weekends of my life immersed in richly-woven worlds that someone else was kind enough to put on paper, and I’ve always felt a debt of gratitude to these wonderful authors – J.K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyer, Suzanne Collins, Christopher Paolini, Sharon Shinn, C.S. Lewis, Jane Austen, and most recently Lauren Oliver and Veronica Roth, to name a few.
Stitch – my very first novel, and part one of an upcoming trilogy – is my humble attempt to return the favor. My dream is to bring the same enjoyment and delight to readers that these authors have brought to my life. If you find yourself staying up just a little too late to finish another chapter, or sneaking into the bathroom at work to read when things are slow, I will know I have done my job!
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