Sam Lopez, author of “Dead Sea” (Interview)

What is your book about?

Down and out Luke and high-class Tara, linked by a violent incident in London’s seedy King’s Cross, run away to the Philippines to escape their sordid pasts. But the tropics can be unkind to kids on the lam. On a remote island in the South China Sea they soon face more trouble than they can handle – with each other and the local criminal elements. Only a mysterious Englishman with a luxurious dive boat can spring them from their new predicament, with an offer of high seas adventure that has to be too good to be true. But Luke and Tara are in no position to refuse…

Do you have any rituals that you follow before sitting down to write?

I make a strong cup of coffee made with ground coffee beans sent specially from Brazil. They are a supermarket own brand but to me, taste better than any gourmet Brazilian coffee I find at home. The whole process of grinding the beans and making the coffee is an important ritual; I think of it as a time of preparation to give the creative juices a chance to flow.

What is the most difficult part of the whole writing process?

Writing! Or more accurately, facing the blank page. I tend to write in small notebooks first which means they fill quickly. I then write up these notes onto the computer so that I have something to work from, rather than staring at the blank screen waiting to get started.

What is the easiest part of the writing process?

Editing and rewriting. I find it easier working with material that already exists, rather than dealing with a blank page.

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Joseph Campbell said to follow your bliss. If you want to write, then write.

What one word describes how you feel when you write?


Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character in your story because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you, his or her creator?

Oh yes. But if they no longer serve the purpose of the story then they will kill the story, so they have to go. I soften the blow by filing them away for future use.

How do you deal with exposition give readers the background information they need?

Disputes between characters can provide helpful information but if there is no conflict, then sometimes you just have to spell out what needs saying.

Would it matter to you if you were never published? (In other words, would it matter if no one ever read your books?) Why or why not?

Absolutely not. Writing is my bliss. It’s something I need to do and enjoy doing, so it wouldn’t matter if no one ever read it. Not worrying about being published means I don’t have to think about a potential market or which genre my writing fits into.

What do you wear when you write?

Pyjamas usually. I like to write first thing if I can, before the day’s distractions take hold. I find the moments between waking and full consciousness is my most creative time.

Where can people learn more about your books?