#CharachterSpotlight #ElenaJameson with Samantha Wood

I am delighted to be joined by author Samantha Wood today as we discuss one of her characters.

Now, Samantha has brought along some wonderful Australian biscuits, Tim Tams, which she informs me I have to eat by biting off each end and then sucking my coffee through . . .  While I give this a go, Samantha, who are we meeting today?!

My character is called Elena Jameson and she is one of the main protagonists in my novel The Bay of Shadows. She is a thirty-five-year-old woman, a former mine administrator in the Western Australian Pilbara region, recently divorced and temporary guardian to a six-year-old foster child, Daniel.

Sugar . . . It got soggy and dropped in my coffee!!!!!

When did you create Elena? ~ can you make this a long answer please while I refill the kettle?!

Elena was always in mind as a character and she was first created about four years ago when I started writing this novel. She came to life in my office bedroom with the window looking out onto the garden, in my house near the beach, so I think she inherited some of my love of the ocean. The ‘how’ was the easy part.  She was an amalgam of all the wonderful strong women in my family who have faced extraordinary odds and come out winning.

While you tell us if you wrote the book to accommodate Elena or Elena to accommodate the book, I’m going to give this Tim Tam straw malarkey another go . . .

The book was definitely written to accommodate the character.  Elena sprung to live in my imagination and then I wrote a book around her, really, I think, with her telling me the story as I went along.  The whole novel sprang from the idea that when it comes to love people are capable of amazing things.

Nearly got it that time!!!!

What do you like most about Elena?

I love her mix of strength and vulnerability. She doesn’t think she is strong, but everyone around her can see it and when bad things happen she does whatever it takes to look after the people around her, without hesitation.  She is brave and funny and loving and brilliant, a mix of many wonderful women I have known in my life.

What do you like least about her?

I think this is where I inserted some of me into the character!  She finds it really hard, almost impossible, to ask for help.  Indeed, when life become a living nightmare after Daniel’s father, the bikie, finds the two of them she is still reluctant to go to the police, her former husband, or anyone else who might be able to help.

Did your early readers/editorial team like Elena to start with or did you have to change her in any way?

My editor loved Elena from the start.  She thought that even in the early draft stages she was the character with the most heart and the most appeal to readers.  What I did have to do, however, over subsequent drafts was to really flesh out her motivations and her character because although I knew why she was doing things that wasn’t immediately clear to the reader.  I had to breathe life into her, so to speak.

I think that happens with lots of authors, because you ‘know’ them already, it can be hard to get it all on to the pages in a way that readers can get to know them just as well as you do.

Does she have any similarities with anyone real?

Mmm, tricky question.  I didn’t base her on anyone in particular so I couldn’t say that she is plucked from real life, but certainly she has similarities to a lot of mothers that I know.  That is, the depth of love they have for their children and in that regard my own mother would have to be the best example of that because her love is boundless, fierce, and unconditional.

What are your plans for Elena?

Since this is a stand-alone novel, I don’t have any future plans for Elena, but I’m happy that she has come to life between the pages of this book and because of that she will always be with me.  She is my creation, but also my friend.

Would you be friends in real life?

Absolutely!  She is awesome and amazing and I know we would get along like a house on fire.  In my imagination, I see us chatting for hours over crisp white wine and a selection of cheese and dips…

Elena sounds like my kinda girl too, although, I can’t get the hang of this Tim Tam straw thingy so if she can do it I’m not coming for a night in with you two!!!! I’ll embarrass myself!!

Thank you so much for joining me today Samantha! It’s been a pleasure having you round, even if I do have coffee all down my top! Mind you they are delicious so if any of my Australian readers want to send me some, please feel free!!

You can get your copy of The Bay of Shadows over at:

Amazon Kindle 



Apple iBooks 

About Samantha . . .

Samantha Wood was born in Victoria in 1971.  Her first book, the memoir, Culua: My Other Life in Mexico was published in 2003 after extended visits to Mexico, and was essentially a love letter to her mother’s country. 

Samantha graduated from Monash University in 2005 with a Master’s degree in Translation Studies (Spanish) focusing on the translations of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s little-known children’s stories where angels crash landed in chicken coops and the world’s handsomest man washed ashore.  It was this love of the magic of language and words that inspired the story for her first novel, The Bay of Shadows. 

In 2007, she joined Ai-Media, a world-leading broadcast captioning service that provides access for the Deaf and hard of hearing.  She lives in Melbourne, Australia.

Samantha Wood



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