Wednesday, May 18, 2022

A visit with Sam and a book giveaway

Introduction by Melissa Amster

When I talk about Sam and Meri, I am referring to Samantha M. Bailey and Meredith Schorr. I met both of these wonderful women and authors a couple of years after I started CLC and connected easily with them right away. They are lovely online and in person. And their writing is just fantastic. They both have new books out this year and they're here to talk about them today. Sam's latest thriller, Watch Out for Her, released last month (reviewed here) and Meri's latest romcom, As Seen on TV, releases on June 7th (reviewed here). Thanks to Simon and Schuster Canada and Forever, we have TWO sets of both books to give away!

Samantha M. Bailey is the USA TODAY and #1 nationally bestselling author of WOMAN ON THE EDGE, which has sold in eleven countries to date, and the instant #1 national bestseller, WATCH OUT FOR HER. She is also a journalist and freelance editor; her work has appeared in NOW Magazine, The Village Post, The Thrill Begins, and The Crime Hub, among other publications. Samantha lives in Toronto, where she can usually be found tapping away at her computer or curled up on her couch with a book. (Bio courtesy of Samantha's website.)

Visit Samantha online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

A born and bred New Yorker and lifelong daydreamer, Meredith Schorr fueled her passion for writing everything from restaurant reviews, original birthday cards, and even work-related emails into a career penning romantic comedies. When she’s not writing books filled with grand gestures and hard-earned happily-ever-afters or working as a trademark paralegal, she’s most often reading, running, or watching TV…for research, of course. (Bio courtesy of Meredith's website.)

Visit Meredith online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Synopsis of Watch Out for Her:

Wherever you go… she’ll be watching.

Sarah Goldman, mother to six-year-old Jacob, is relieved to move across the country. She has a lot she wants to leave behind, especially Holly Monroe, the pretty twenty-two-year-old babysitter she and her husband, Daniel, hired to take care of their young son last summer. It started out as a perfect arrangement—Sarah had a childminder her son adored, and Holly found the mother figure she’d always wanted. But Sarah’s never been one to trust very easily, so she kept a close eye on Holly, maybe too close at times. What she saw raised some questions, not only about who Holly really was but what she was hiding. The more Sarah watched, the more she learned—until one day, she saw something she couldn’t un-see, something so shocking that all she could do was flee.

Sarah has put it all behind her and is starting over in a different city with her husband and son. They’ve settled into a friendly suburb where the neighbors, a tight clique of good citizens, are always on the lookout for danger. But when Sarah finds hidden cameras in her new home, she has to wonder: has her past caught up to her, and worse yet, who’s watching her now?

A spine-tingling, page-turning novel from USA TODAY and #1 national bestselling author Samantha M. Bailey, Watch Out for Her is psychological suspense at its very best—a chilling look at trust, voyeurism, and obsession in the modern age, and how far we will go to watch out for those we love. (Courtesy of Amazon.)

Synopsis of As Seen on TV:
Emerging journalist Adina Gellar is done with dating in New York City. If she’s learned anything from made-for-TV romance movies, it’s that she’ll find love in a small town—the kind with harvest festivals, delightful but quirky characters, and scores of delectable single dudes. So when a big-city real estate magnate targets tiny Pleasant Hollow for development, Adi knows she’s found the perfect story—one that will earn her a position at a coveted online magazine, so she can finally start adulting for real . . . and maybe even find her dream man in the process. 

Only Pleasant Hollow isn’t exactly “pleasant.” There’s no charming bakery, no quaint seasonal festivals, and the residents are more ambivalent than welcoming. The only upside is Finn Adams, who’s more mouthwatering than the homemade cherry pie Adi can’t seem to find—even if he does work for the company she’d hoped to bring down. Suddenly Adi has to wonder if maybe TV got it all wrong after all. But will following her heart mean losing her chance to break into the big time?
(Courtesy of Amazon.)

What is something you loved most about each other's latest books? (Spoiler free, of course.)

Samantha Bailey: I love all of Meredith Schorr’s books because they make me feel so happy. But she absolutely knocked it out of the park with AS SEEN ON TV. The premise itself hooked me the minute she told me about it on our annual Beach Babes trip in Santa Cruz, California, and when I read it, I was so incredibly proud of my best friend. I loved Adina, the main character, because she’s funny, feisty, imperfect, a woman trying to better herself and her life, stumbling and picking herself up along the way. I’d totally hang out with her.

Meredith Schorr: Both of Sam’s books have impressed the hell out of me! She’s one of the most loving and “glass is half full” people I’ve ever been blessed to know, but she can write dark like nobody’s business! What particularly wowed me in WATCH OUT FOR HER was how well fleshed out the characters are. I was especially drawn to Holly, who just wants to be seen, loved, and feel she belongs somewhere. The lengths she took were usually misguided but she touched me. I was also really impressed with the way Sam subtly used random objects as clues, like Mr. Blinkers. Who knew a stuffed bunny could be so creepy?

How are you similar to or different from your lead characters? 

SB: When I started writing WATCH OUT FOR HER, it was right before the pandemic. I wanted to explore middle-aged motherhood because I was forty-six then, and the concept of identity—how we women separate ourselves from being only mothers and find who we are and want to be. At the time, I’d achieved somewhat of a sense of balance between parenting and my career; I wrote during “mom hours” when my kids were at school, allowing me to be fully present when they were home, volunteer in their classes, and have two roles that fulfilled me. I understood Sarah Goldman, one of my lead characters, a mother of a six-year-old, struggling to regain that piece of herself she’s lost, but I wasn’t her. Then the pandemic hit, everything was locked down, my kids were now learning remotely. Suddenly, my kitchen/office was the main hub in the house, and I no longer had any space or time of my own. I ended up writing the bulk of the book during the pandemic and identified with Sarah’s longing to have something all her own much more than I’d anticipated.

MS: On paper I'm very different from Adina Gellar. I was raised in the suburbs, the youngest of three children in a crowded extended family that, at times, included grandparents and step-family. Adina was raised in the city as an only child of a widowed mother and it was always just the two of them. However, we share a love/hate relationship with Manhattan. Like Adina, I have, at times, romanticized small towns and wondered how living in the "big city" has negatively impacted my life and been tempted to pack things up and head to Stars Hollow where Luke would be ready to pour me coffee and steal my heart.

If your books were made into movies, what songs would be on the soundtracks?

SB: I love this question because I love music so much. “Somebody’s Watching Me”: Rockwell; “Every Breath You Take: The Police; “Poison”: Bell Biv DeVoe; “Above”: Mad Season; “Got Me Wrong”: Alice in Chains; “The Day I Tried to Live”: Soundgarden; “Possession”: Sarah McLachlan; “You Can Do It”: Ice Cube; “Something I Can Never Have”: Nine Inch Nails; “What’s Up”: 4 Non Blondes.

MS: This was not an easy question for me because, while I love music, I need silence to write, and I’ve never made soundtracks for my books. That said, this was SO FUN.

In order:
"I hate New York" - Anna Bergendahl
"Shake it Off" - Taylor Swift
“Unwritten”- Natasha Beddingfield
"People are Strange" - The Doors
"Accidentally in Love" - Counting Crows
"Masterpiece" Jessie J
"Fine by Me" - Andy Grammer
“What I’ve Been Looking For” – Olivia Rodrigo and Matt Commett

Melissa and Sam, 2015

If you could ask each other one question, what would it be?

SB: I’ve stayed with Meredith in her apartment in Manhattan, and we always share a basement bedroom when we go to California. She bunked with me in my hotel room in Dallas when we went to Bouchercon together. We’ve been joined at the hip so many times, but I don’t really know what Meredith’s work day is like. I know her as an author, but she’s also a fulltime trademark paralegal, so I think I’d ask her to describe a typical day at the office. 

MS: Hmm, I don't think I've ever hesitated to ask her anything, to be honest! But I do wonder, if she was told she wasn't allowed to write thrillers anymore, whether she'd go back to writing edgy romcoms or something new entirely. (I'd also ask if she wanted to do all my promo because she never seems to get tired!)

If you got to switch places for a day, what is something that would surprise the other about your life?

SB: That’s such an interesting question! Meredith and I have known each other for over ten years, and the minute we connected online, it felt like we’d been friends forever. But we haven’t even seen each other in two and a half years, and she doesn’t witness my parenting life in person. I think what would surprise her most is the sheer magnitude of tasks I have to get done throughout any given day, and how often she would hear, “Mom” instead of “Sam.” 

MS: How even living in a huge city with millions of people in a skyrise apartment with 36 floors, there are days when I don't talk to anyone at all! If I'm working from home that day and have no plans at night and don't happen to talk on the phone, I can actually go an entire day without speaking! It sounds lonely, but usually it's by choice :)

Melissa and Meri, 2015

What is something you're looking forward to doing this summer?

SB: Seeing Meredith! It’s not really summer yet, but at the end of May, I’m going to New York City for ThrillerFest. And while I am incredibly excited about that experience, I mostly cannot wait to hug Meredith after more than two very long years without her.

MS: SO MANY THINGS that I can't limit it to one. 

ONE: My traditional debut romcom releases this summer. I’ve been waiting more than a decade for this!

TWO: I get to see Sam face-to-face for the first time in more than two years. I CANNOT WAIT for that.

THREE: I just learned that I've been invited on a panel for the Bryant Park Reading Room summer program. To be a participating author on one of these panels is a dream come true for me and I’m so excited. 

Thanks to Sam and Meri for chatting with us and to S&S Canada and Forever for sharing their books with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

Giveaway ends May 23rd at midnight EST.

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Rita Wray said...

Escaping an abusive relationship and finding help from someone you didn't expect.

Anonymous said...

A young couple in a relationship who solve unsolved murders

Toni Laliberte said...

If I could write a book combining a thriller with a rom-com, I'd have a man and a woman have a meet-cute in an elevator of a hotel and when the elevator reaches the woman's floor, it opens to a man being murdered in the hallway. What ensues is, the new couple has to hide out together from the killers and during that time they fall in love.

Kelley said...

Mine would be a a plus size gal dating and conquering her fears in the time of 1893 The Chicago World Fair.

Mary Patricia Bird said...

I may actually be writing that type of book right now. LOL!

traveler said...

A novel about living in the 1950's and learning about a family because you met them through another relative whom you dated.

bn100 said...

no idea

Emily Catan said...

Hmm..My story would start out where a good-looing husband landed in deep water when his wife was found murdered in their bedroom.. While he's still the center of the investigation, he met a very naive small-town woman through a blind date, and their chemistry of love sparks out of control until they were the laughingstock of the community. And the investigation turned ugly and tensed up..

Anita Yancey said...

International crime and on the run from a killer.

Anonymous said...

Two detectives fall in love while trying to investigate a serial killer thriller. @susieqlaw

Dianne Casey said...

Best friends from college decide to open a bookshop on an island and fall in love trying to solve a series of murders.

Charlotte Lynn said...

Rom-com mystery...

I am not a writer but two people meet, instant attraction but there is a unknown thing between them. It maybe a person or it maybe a paranormal.

Mary Preston said...

Has to be on a cruise ship.

Nancy said...

If I could morph a thriller with a rom com, it would be about two thirty something ex-lovers who jointly inherit a mystery bookstore, but who are threatened by a book hating pyromaniac!

allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

Nancy P said...

Not sure but it would be mostly a thriller.

Josie Brown said...

What a FABULOUS interview of two women who are near and dear to my heart! Thank you, sweet Melissa, for sharing this with the world! Watch out, NYC, the Dynamic Duo will be out on the town. Fun, whimsy, and great times will ensue!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Stephanie | The Espresso Edition said...

It was so much fun to read this! I was really excited to receive an ARC of As Seen on TV and I loved every second of it. I was also lucky enough to attend the author event Meredith had with Dylan Newton and it was an absolute blast. I'd love to win a physical copy of her book to add to my shelf!