Interview with Sam Cheever, Author of Tea & Croakies

20 Aug 2019

What can you tell us about your new release, Tea & Croakies?

Tea & Croakies is book one in a humorous paranormal cozy mystery series that’s based on a magical artifact librarian who has a Fae sidekick and a magical cat and frog. The book is filled with adventure, fun, and surprises, with magical creatures and a mystery to solve.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I’ve always felt the need to tell stories. I liked writing in different voices when I was in high school and one of my English teachers encouraged me to do something with my talent. That was probably the first time I believed I had something to offer with my writing.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

For me, this list is extremely eclectic. I chose the five books below not because they’ve been celebrated for their literary merit, although a couple of them certainly have. The following books have inspired me as a writer. Some have fascinated me with their magic. Others have given me an appreciation for comedic timing. Some have shown me the beauty and music in a well-formed sentence, a well-described scene, and a well-drawn character. They each have their own strengths and I’ve appreciated and learned much from them.

Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling
First Grave on the Right, Darynda Jones
Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
Sense & Sensibility, Jane Austin
One for the Money, Janet Evanovich

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

J.K. Rowling. I’d love to talk to her about her writing journey and why she went the way she did with the Harry potter series. The whole mood of the books changed so drastically from the first book to the last. It went far beyond normal character progression in my opinion.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

There are days when every word seems like slogging through deep snow on a blustery, overcast Winter day. And there are days when the words fall like soft rain over a verdant landscape. The good days are good for obvious reasons. But the bad days hold much more to be proud of. They prove to me that, when everything is working against me, I can still put words to paper. They offer proof that I’m in this thing called writing for the long haul. There’s comfort and encouragement in that knowledge.

What is a typical day like for you?

I work 7 days a week. I’m in my office by 4:00 AM and usually leave it around 3:00 PM. I try to get out of my desk every hour or so to take the dogs outside, do laundry or other chores. My goal every day is to write between 2,000 and 3,000 words. Once my daily goal is reached, the remainder of my day I spend replying to emails, updating my website and other administrative things, and planning and setting up promotions and marketing.

What scene in Tea & Croakies was your favorite to write?

This is a really tough question with this particular book. It was so much fun to write, from beginning to end. I have a lot of favorites. But, I guess my absolute favorite would be the following scene from the very beginning of the book:
I’ve been told from an early age that magic wrangling is a science. Color me skeptical. It’s not that I don’t believe it’s a science. It’s that, for me, the whole process is really more of a hit or miss, try until you die proposition. It’s like I’m missing something that will make it easier. As if someone forgot to give me my magic wand when I reached my eighteenth birthday and came into my powers.
Or rather, my powers came into me. With a crash, thump, grab your rump kind of unexpectedness that left me hanging over the toilet horking and holding my head with both hands as it tried to split in two.
Even now, five years later, I still get the migraines. I wish I could say they’ve gotten easier over time. And maybe they have. But if you’re making a comparison between a tsunami and a level 5 hurricane, it’s really a distinction without a whole lot of difference for the people getting pounded by weather. Well, except one might kill you faster.
I’m thinking my shelf life might be a little bit longer these days, though I couldn’t prove it.
At the moment, with a thousand tiny gnomes wearing spiked golf shoes and using pickle forks as walking sticks dancing on my brain, I was thinking it might be preferable to die faster anyway.
The world suddenly erupted in a series of explosions which had a familiar cadence to them. I hid under my long, brown hair and fought my lids to get them to open. But they fought back, eventually snapping closed again as the explosions stopped and the door my intruder had been banging on swung slowly open. “Naida? Are you awake?”
All evidence to the contrary, I was, unfortunately, awake. I grunted something even I couldn’t decipher and my torturer took it as permission to come into my room.
“I closed up downstairs. Do you want me to make you some tea?”
My lips moved and more words nobody could understand eased through them. Fortunately, my loyal, if slightly annoying, assistant understood Migrainish Gibberish.
“I felt the magic arrive a few minutes ago, so I went ahead and closed up,” she cheerfully said as she picked up my teapot and proceeded to bang out the Star-Spangled Banner with it on my stovetop.
Not really, of course. But only because she wasn’t musically inclined and couldn’t recreate the Star-Spangled Banner if her life depended on it.
“Ugh!” I said, hoping she could interpret that single non-word as “Please try to be quieter. My head is killing me.”
Bang! “Oh say…” Crash “…can you see…” Clang “by the dawn’s early light…”
She jerked to a halt as I sat bolt upright in my bed, my blue eyes flying open with outrage. I immediately regretted the decision to move, my brain pulsing unhappily inside my head and the soldiers with pickle forks breaking into a rowdy rendition of the Irish Chicken Dance. “You’re killing me.”
True to form, my non-serious friend simply rolled her almost iridescent green eyes. “Drama much?”
I put my head into my hands and groaned. “Why do I bother?”
A steaming mug appeared in front of my face. The sweet, floral scent undulated toward my nostrils in a siren song I could not resist. Taking the mug, I sniffed first, letting the sweet deliciousness infuse my sinuses.
The headache eased a bit just from that sniff, and by the time I’d drained the mug a few minutes later, the pain was gone.
I sighed. “Are you sure you’re not a witch? Tea never works this well when I make it.”
Sebille dropped onto the edge of my bed. “You know I’m not a witch. I’m just tea-talented.”
I would have sighed but the extra air rushing through my system probably would have enraged the soldiers with pickle forks. “Thank you. I was working up the courage to make myself some when you assaulted my door.”
Sebille shook her head. “You always exaggerate so.”
I glowered at her. “And you have zero compassion.”
Shrugging, she tugged a strand of her bright red hair before tucking it behind a pointed ear. “That is unfortunately true.”
No remorse. Which, BTW, perfectly matched her lack of compassion.

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

I do. I love this quote from P.T. Barnum: “The noblest art is that of making others happy.” It reflects my view of what I try to do perfectly.

Sam Cheever is the author of the new book Tea & Croakies.

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Author Website

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