Sam Napier is a gorgeous person and she’s a laugh a minute when you’re with her so it’s no wonder she wrote such a funny book.
And guess what? She’s another superwoman! As well as being an author, Sam’s a mum to a squadron of boys, she’s a flight attendant, a playwright, a web series developer and a DJ on Melbourne’s 88.9 Wyn FM every Thursday at midday. Is there anything she can’t do?
She can certainly write! I read big funny chunks of Dating the Alphabet out loud in bed to my hubby. If you’re after a light, fun, truly hilarious book, you’ll love this one. Keep your eye out on my Facebook page in the next couple of weeks because I’ll be featuring Dating the Alphabet as my book club pick of the month where I’ll be giving you the chance to win one of three eBook versions of it.
From Archie to Zolon, Ramona is determined to find a happy ending to her fairytale.
Ramona Rawlings is going to make dating fun again. Armed with an alphabet poster, post-it notes and her best friend Emma, Ramona is going to date the alphabet - from A to Z, Archie to Zolon and everything in between.
Throw in the chaos of managing a theatre restaurant with a roster full of strong personalities, unfulfilled dreams and lustful hook ups and Ramona's world is turned upside-down.
In between Evan the arrogant, Ivan the emotionally stunted and Glen the racist, Ramona discovers what she really wants: to be a good friend, to emotionally connect with a man and to replace her vodka-tonics with kale smoothies. But how many frogs will she have to kiss before she finds her fairytale?
Boy did I laugh a lot reading this book! I absolutely love Ramona, so much so, I want to hang out with her. Ramona drinks, she has sex with men she really has no business having sex with, she fumbles from one disastrous date to the next, she has a steady stream of misunderstandings with her oddball staff in the theatre restaurant she is the manager of and she has an unhealthy dependency on post-it notes. But she's also a laugh a minute, a loyal friend and an intelligent, resourceful and sassy woman who is proudly waving that feminist flag by not being the meek heroine waiting for her prince, but the one who takes her love life into her own hands who isn't afraid to say "Unless you treat me well, satisfy me and are a decent human being, be gone!". I love her relationship with her BFF Emma and I especially love her dynamic with the theatre restaurant staff - Tarzan in particular had me howling with laughter. Samantha Napier has taken an original concept of dating men whose names start with the letter A, then B and so on and with that she's created a story that is both clever and hilarious. I hope there's a sequel as I can't wait to learn what Ramona does next. Bravo! Five stars!
You can learn more about Samantha by finding her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Samantha-Napier-1573300232885114/?fref=ts and on Twitter at @Quickwittier
An interview with Samantha Napier:
How do you come up with character names?
For girls names it’s pretty easy, after being blessed with three beautiful boys I had these three wonderful girl names that we’d picked left over so I thought using them as main characters names in some of my projects was a nice way to utilise them. Ramona my main character in Dating the Alphabet was one of the names, as yet I haven’t written any other books so I’ve still got two names up my sleeve!
Is there anything in your book based on real life experiences or are they purely all from your imagination?
There’s a little of both, Ramona is the manager of a theatre restaurant and while I was never the manager I did work in a theatre restaurant called Bobby McGees in Melbourne for three years. I’d like to say it was my amazing acting ability and singing voice that got me the job but I’m pretty sure it was because they already had all the costumes made and I was the only one who came through the door that looked like I’d suit the Snow White outfit. So the world that Ramona works in is one that I know well and thought it would be a fun one to set the book in.
What is the best piece of writing advice you have received?
I was lucky enough to go to one of Fiona McIntosh’s masterclass and one of the amazing things she does is read ten pages of your work. You then have this one on one chat with her about your WIP and while she is very encouraging she is also a straight shooter. She told me that I was writing like I was still writing blogs, she pointed out that it felt like I was standing in front of the reader and telling them the story whereas a good writer should make it feel like the reader is walking beside them and they’re sharing a story. It was such a good piece of advice and it took me a while to understand what she meant and how I could really do that but once I did, the way I wrote my work was completely different and much more enjoyable to write and hopefully read!
Can you tell us briefly about your book?
Dating the Alphabet is a story about Ramona, a gal who wants to make dating fun again. She already has a crazy filled world with managing a group of waiters in the character themed restaurant she works at so she figures a plan to date men based on the letter of their first name will fit right in. Of course it doesn’t matter what type of plan you come up with if you haven’t really worked out who you are or what’s really important to you it doesn’t really have any chance to succeed.
How long did it take you to write your book?
I started writing this as a sitcom five years ago and spent a couple of years writing and working with producers trying to get it made but it proved really hard to move it forward. Around the time I thought of giving up on the idea I read an article about Graeme Simsion and the difficulties he had trying to get someone to make his film script. He talked about how he made the decision to write it as a book, I was so intrigued I ran out and bought his book, The Rosie Project. I really enjoyed it and thought if one person can do why can’t I.
Then I realized a ninety thousand word manuscript is a little more involved than sitcom scripts so I did a few courses at Writers Victoria, hit a wall with my writing then booked into Fiona McIntosh’s five day Masterclass in Adelaide. The course is fantastic and one of the amazing parts of it is that you get to pitch to a publisher, the time I went it was HarperCollins.
In the pitch I told a little white lie, okay it was a whopper, I told Rochelle that I’d finished the book and she was very enthusiastic and asked me to send it to her so she could read it. Luckily I kept my poker face on and didn’t start laughing like a crazed person or curl up into the fetal position, to buy some time I told her I would just give it one last edit and then send it through. Obviously I was thrilled she wanted to see it but the reality was I’d only written forty thousand words so I knuckled down, gave myself a word count to achieve each day and set out to have it in her email box as soon as I could. That took about four months and I was pretty positive she was going to say who when I sent it through but was beyond thrilled when she got back to me soon after and offered my a publishing deal.
What are you working on at the moment?
In April, we will be shooting a comedy web series I’ve written called The Wedding Sisters, I’m really excited about it and nervous and excited and nervous! It certainly is a different experience from writing a book, the biggest difference being that there are a lot more people involved which isn’t bad but it certainly requires a lot more emails and phone calls.
Do you write with a plan or do you see where the story takes you?
Planning isn’t really my thing although looking back I do think writing something called Dating the Alphabet gives you a some kind of plan, I mean the title implies she’s going to date A to Z so I guess that was a little bit of planning without even trying! I tend to think of scenes with bits of dialogue and scribble that down and see if it can be worked in somehow, it’s not a particularly organized method but it works for me. Unfortunately for my family all these ideas scribbled on paper does make for a messy home but I’m sure like many of your readers who are writers I’m not the first writer to have lots of pieces of scribbled notes around their house and I doubt I’ll be the last!
Which books have made an impact on you and stayed with you long after you read them?
I really enjoyed Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, for one I was blown away at how young she was, okay I was probably jealous at how young she was but more so how beautiful her writing was. Her descriptive passages about this bleak and desolate place were superb and she really drew you into the struggle the main character was having. It’s not a secret what happens to the main character, it’s stated clearly in the blurb but the way she has you invested in her has you pleading right up until the end for any other outcome.
What do you think makes a really good story?
The world that the characters inhabit is always interesting to me, especially if it’s not a world I’m familiar with. I love comedy so anything that makes me laugh and moves at a good pace is fantastic but an author who can keep you guessing and wanting more is one that I always think has mastered a good story.
What is your all time favourite movie?
I absolutely love When Harry Met Sally, it’s one of those movies that really has stood the test of time. Of course there are the classic lines and scenes but the way it highlights so beautifully how wonderful and crazy relationships can be, especially with those cut aways to the couples on the couch, I just love and it draws me in every time.