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Interview with Samantha Atkins

SmashBear are delighted to have Samantha Atkins as our second author. Her novel, The Wing Thief, follows the tale of a flightless fairy and her journey to save her friends and family from a terrifying curse. Filled with magic and mischief, The Wing Thief is destined to fill children's hearts with joy and wonder. Atkins and I discuss her writing process, her inspirations and how she manages to weave magic and creativity into her life.

· What was your inspiration for novel ‘The Wing Thief’?

I’ve always loved the fantasy genre, whether adults or YA. One of my favourite things to do is sit with my children and read stories. We’ve read The Chronicles of Narnia together and are currently working our way through the Harry Potter series. I think that seeing how excited they get – losing themselves in the magic, is one of the best parts of my day. I love the idea of opening a book and becoming lost in a magical world entirely different to our own.

· How did you create your world of fairies and imps and gnomes?

It’s hard to describe exactly how I came up with it but I think mainly that I tried to picture what I would like to see in a magical world and simply went from there. I feel like, as I opened my mind to the idea of this magical place, the creatures and the land almost created itself. On the occasion when I did find myself struggling with a certain aspect of the world, I found that speaking with people helped a great deal – everyone tends to have a different idea when it comes to magic and so bouncing ideas off others can be really helpful.

· If you were to be any fantastical creature, which would you be and why?

It sounds cliché but I think out of every creature, I would choose to be a fairy. I think the very idea of being able to fly and glide through the air, especially in a place as magical as Letherea would be incredible!

· Your novel centres on the theme of belonging and overcoming adversity, I think this is especially important with the current situation. What would you like your readers to gain from reading ‘The Wing Thief’?

I think that the most important theme in The Wing Thief is that anyone, no matter how small or how different they may feel, can make a difference.

My main character isn’t the strongest or the most powerful and yet she is vital to everything, despite always feeling so different.

Speaking as a gay woman, I felt like I wanted to create a story showing that you don’t need to be the same as everyone else and you don’t have to fit the mould in order to be accepted. Every single person has something to offer the world and I think that, especially in current times, it’s important to remember that kindness and acceptance of others can go a long way.

I hope that, when readers read The Wing Thief, they can feel safe and escape to a magical world, stepping away from the stress of everyday life for a while and realise that anybody can make a difference.

· Outside of writing, what are your other passions?

I am a very family orientated person. I love spending all my free time with my family and friends. My partner, my children and I have sleepover nights in the living room every week – where we pull all the mattresses into the living room and watch movies together. I also love cuddling up with my dogs and finding new books to read. I’m currently taking part in “The 52 Book Club: 2021 Reading Challenge” and loving it!

· Has lockdown and the pandemic had any impact on your creativity? How would you encourage other creatives who are finding it hard right now?

I think that the most important thing to remember is to be kind to yourself. Everybody is going through uncertain times right now and everyone copes with things in different ways. Creative people are creative because they love it and, if you find yourself struggling, take a step back and allow yourself to relax. I find that losing myself to a new world inside a book helps me immensely when I’m struggling to get creative. Fresh air and exercise are also incredibly beneficial when trying to take a break. Give yourself time and don’t be too hard on yourself.

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