Author Sam Skyborne

Sam Skyborne (pen name of Wollie Boehm) is a storyteller – both a writer and an award-winning filmmaker. She has an English degree, a masters in Artificial Intelligence and currently lives and loves in London.

Sam has voraciously devoured stories all her life. But like many, she struggled to find books that sparked her imagination through more interesting female lead characters of substance, with whom she could identify.  So, she decided to start writing her own. Her first novel, a superhero action adventure, “Simulation: The Dawn of a Superhero” was published in 2016.  In 2017 she published “RISK: Three Crime-fighting Women Risk All for Love Lust and Justice,” which is a sexy detective mystery.  Her third novel, a gripping thriller set in Cape Town, is due out this spring.

She has written and directed a number of short films and a few of these are available as short story & short film sets in the L.E.S (Lesbian Erotic Shorts) Combo Collection.

Independent or published author? Indie

Preferred pronoun: She

1. What’s your first memory of enjoying reading?

I was a real tomboy and spent as much time as I could outdoors, so my introduction to reading was not a fantastic experience. I viewed it very much as a chore and ‘homework’ — something to be done or you would end up in detention. It was only once I discovered Patricia Cornwall’s Kay Scarpetta series and Val McDermid’s Lindsay Gordon that I suddenly discovered the joy of reading.

2. What are you currently reading?

All sorts. I usually have a couple of books on the go at any one time, but I particularly enjoy action adventure, sci-fi, a good drama and a well-thought-out mystery, especially if it has savvy and strong female lead characters. Right now, one of the most amazing books I am feasting my way through is Becky Chambers’ “The Long Way to a Small, Angry planet: Wayfarers 1”.

3. Which character you’ve created/written do you wish you could spend a day as?

OMG. I have spent more than just days with each of the characters I have created – getting into their skin and seeing the world through their eyes. Each character provides a different perspective on life. It’s like experiencing reincarnation or body snatching. I have a particular soft spot for my lead characters, like Sam Fielding and Toni Mendez. But some of the supporting cast are great to wear as an alter ego on occasion, like the confident Maxine Bennet and nerdy, slightly OCD but strong minded Lizbeth DuCannon.

4. Which character that someone else has written do you wish you could spend a day as?

There are so many! I guess it is in the nature of body-snatching to meld with the characters you inhabit and somehow become someone or something else:

Sherlock Holmes, Jane Bond, Indira Jones, Daniella Brown, Kate Scarpetta, Lora Croft…

5. Have you created any characters you don’t like?

Some of my characters are questionable people and I probably would not choose them for friends in real life, but all my characters are like my children: I try to understand them. It is also very important to me to set up and fully understand their motivation. In life, I don’t believe (until proven wrong) that anyone is innately evil. I believe everyone tries to do the best they can with the circumstances and resources they are given, emotionally and physically. So, I try to give each of the characters I create the same depth and justification for their life and actions by developing their personality, backstory and circumstances.

6. What was the first thing you ever wrote that made you think, “I want to be a writer”?

Many years ago, I went to a wonderful arts festival in York called YLAF (York Lesbian Arts Festival), which sadly has long since stopped running. We decided to go as a treat for my then girlfriend’s birthday. In order to keep her company, I attended a couple of writing workshops, including one presented by the marvellous Stella Duffy. Afterwards, feeling inspired, we went out on a Tudor pub crawl, an easy feat in York with it’s numerous lovely Tudor pubs, and brainstormed a few story ideas. That whole exciting experience sparked off an unstoppable chain-reaction that fuelled my desire to write every day since.

7. Do you edit as you go or as a full process after a first draft?

I go through a number of drafts. Each iteration focusses on different aspects of the story. The first few drafts deal with the story events and plot. Then, with the help of some wonderful beta readers and editors, I drill down into more depth and detail each time, until the final refinements are made and the story comes out, in hopefully the best shape it can be.

8. Where do you write? And what do you need around you?

As long as I am in the right place in my mind, I can write pretty much write anywhere and I have done just that on occasion – in places ranging from my little studio, in London to a beach house on a rocky outcrop with waves crashing around me, at the southern tip of Africa.

9. What genre do you like to read?

Fantasy, adventure, mystery, thriller and slightly weird sci-fi or fantasy that bends reality into something that is awesome but still could be real.

Occasionally I also like to try to read something outside my comfort zone – to try something new.

10. Pen and paper, typewriter or computer?

Pen, paper, computer, iPad and mobile – almost anything that I have to hand… although organising and storing all these formats can become a challenge.

11. What is your guilty pleasure?

Oh, I have a few!

  • Eating white chocolate balls while sipping a nice dry white wine
  • Eating raspberries filled with Prosecco
  • “Dinner for one” – If you don’t know this, you have to see it. It’s a weird English black and white slapstick comedy sketch shown on German TV and in South Africa on New Year’s eve. It is “the same procedure as every year, ma’am”.
  • Wearing my sunglasses on my head even if it rains in the heart of winter – call me an eternal optimist.
  • Sipping really old Glenfiddich in front of a nice open fire.

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