Sunday, January 6, 2019

Coffee Chat



By Ally Shields

Grab that much-needed coffee this morning and join me in meeting mystery/thriller writer, Augustine Sam

AllyGood morning, Augustine. How do you take your coffee?

AS:   I like my coffee extra-strong with a smidgen of sugar. Normally, I drink espresso - the traditional Italian coffee - now and then, depending on my mood, I like to have it ‘corrected’ with a shot of grappa (the grape-based brandy of Italian origin), which is the kind of coffee Italians call “caffè corretto”). 

AllyAh, I see. Like I occasionally "correct" with Baileys! :)

Author bio:

Augustine Sam
Augustine Sam is a journalist by profession, a novelist by choice, and a poet by chance. A member of the U.K. Chartered Institute of Journalists, he was formerly Special Desk editor at THISDAY newspapers, an authoritative Third World daily, first published with the Financial Times of London. He later became a correspondent for central Europe. In addition to pursuing hard news, he fell in love with poetry the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once. He was the winner of the Editors’ Choice Award in the North America Open Poetry Contest organized by the National Library of Poetry, USA. And his poetry collection, Flashes of Emotion, was a finalist in the International Book Award Contest.

Something unique/unusual that isn’t in your regular bio: 

I’m fascinated by ancient architecture. By that I mean I have a somewhat childlike excitement about it. In fact, the sight of those magnificent, primal constructions, and tales of ancient civilizations always fill me with awe. I don’t know about other people but I find the mathematical precision by which measurements, structural dimensions, and space were figured out in an era where there were no computers to be inspiring. Not surprisingly, therefore, my travel destinations are often determined by the prospect of such relics-themed sightseeing.

The Coffee Chat:

Ally: Where do you get your story ideas?

AS: I sometimes get story ideas from events I have witnessed or from bizarre stories I’ve heard and sometimes my story ideas are figments of my imagination. But the idea for The Conspiracy of Silence came from a radio play I wrote when I was a student. It was a half-hour radio drama that revolved around a murder that threatened the career of a very successful musician. As it turned out, his sister who was the only one that knew of his innocence could not, due to an intricate chain of events, prove it. When the play was aired, I felt it was too short to convey the kind of emotion that should naturally accompany a tense plot such as that. So, years later, I developed the plot into a mystery/thriller novel complete with legal intrigues and all the accompanying drama that was missing in the radio play.

Ally:   How did you get that first book or story published?

AS: My debut novel, Take Back the Memory, was rejected by several literary agents and big-name publishers because, as one of them told me, “I had no name.” For someone who didn’t understand the industry, it was very unsettling for me because I had no idea how to go about “getting a name,” and it shattered the notion I had in my head that writers were published because they had a talent and their books had potential, not because they had a name. After years of querying agents and publishers, I decided to take a break and concentrate on my day job - journalism. Eventually, a small press in the state of Minnesota accepted the book and published it without fanfare and, consequently, without the commercial success I had hoped for. But the process opened my eyes to the possibility of self-publishing. I haven’t looked back since.

Ally: Why did you start writing? Why fiction? What keeps you writing?

AS: I started writing because I love storytelling and because it offers me a unique opportunity to reach people, which is a big deal for an introvert like me. Actually, I had a passion for writing even as a kid. I remember that while some of my friends kept toys, I kept piles of notebooks where I created stories mainly for the pleasure of my two sisters who, by the way, were my first real fans and readers. Why fiction? Well, sometimes we read fiction to ‘escape’ and sometimes we do so to be entertained and to be informed because fiction, in manifold ways, gives us valuable insights into many of life’s realities. What keeps me writing is the desire to tap into that reality.

Ally: What three books in your genre would you recommend to fans (after they’ve read your books, of course!)

AS: I would recommend (1) Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow (2) Split Second by David Baldacci & (3) Tears of God by Steven F. Freeman

Ally: What is your next writing project? Anticipated release date?

AS: My next writing project is a trilogy - a literary thriller with romantic elements. I can’t say more at this time. Though the first part is now in the editing stage, I’m unable to proffer an anticipated release date because I haven’t laid the groundwork for it yet.

Ally:  Are you ready for some quick answer questions?

  • favorite bookThe Collected Oscar Wilde
  • an author (living or dead) you’d love to take to lunchAgatha Christie
  • favorite tv showBreaking Bad
  • favorite song“Dignity” by Bob Dylan
  • favorite quote“Be yourself; everyone else is taken.” - Oscar Wilde
Ally: It has been a pleasure chatting with you, Augustine. Before you go, please show us your featured book, The Conspiracy of Silence.

A ‘hypnotic’ political thriller…with an epic courtroom showdown.

The conscience of a town steeped in sexism, vanity, and hypocrisy is pricked by the brutal murder of a mysterious woman in a park in Los Angeles. But the shock is transformed into a steamy, seductive scandal when the corpse turns out to be Susan Whitaker, the flamboyant wife of the governor of California. An intricate shuffle of accumulating leaks soon lead the police to the delicate theory of secret lover/blackmailer, and to the indictment of Benjamin Carlton, Hollywood’s most influential celebrity.

Then curious things begin to happen when Carlton’s ambitious girlfriend, Rita Spencer inadvertently unearths the shocking secret that Susan Whitaker did not, in fact, exist. She little realizes however that her discovery of this colossal fraud is a mere curtain raiser to a chilling world of ugly skeletons dating back to the assassination of a U.S. senator in a Washington hotel sauna, skeletons connected to riveting scandals in high places, skeletons the FBI and political king-makers will kill for...


     Thanks for stopping by!