Sunday Interview – S. M. Beiko

Hello, everyone! I hope those in this fair city are hunkered down and weathering this summer storm! Man, the rain pelted down for quite some time, this morning, mixed with a bit of hail and those thunder-boomers are enough to make you want to jump out of your seat!

Anyway, I’d like to introduce Samantha Beiko author of The Lake and the Library. If you haven’t had a chance to read my review of it you can check it out here.

Samantha and I met at the C4 Lit Fest in April and the cover art of her novel enticed me to buy a copy. I know they say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but in this case, the story was even better than the cover, if that’s possible! So, please say hello to Samantha Beiko. 🙂

Would you please begin by telling my readers a little bit about S. M. Beiko?

Well! I’m 4’10”, I’m a red head, and I love books! I mean, I know it’s difficult to tell, what with being an author, working in book publishing, and making the power of books a big part of my first novel . . . you’d never know, huh? 😉

The Lake and the Library

I am always intrigued by the things that inspire wonderful stories, so what sparked the idea for The Lake and the Library?

Someone asked me this once before, and the memory is pretty fuzzy now. I was in high school at the time, and I think I was wandering around a library in St. James, looking for old editions of Coleridge poetry. As I searched, my brain conjured an image of a teenaged boy appearing out of nowhere, doing magic tricks with books and vanishing around shelves. He walked into my head fully formed, grinning and silent. He had a story but he was going to make me chase him through the stacks to figure it out.

Wow! That’s wonderful!

Who created your book trailer? It gave me chills! Also, who designed the backdrop for your web page? It is fabulous!

The amazing Helen and Laura Marshall did my book trailer for me! They are sort of experts at it. They are two very good friends and former ChiZine co-workers, and they were so excited to work on my trailer. They got it together in less than a day, and I still sometimes sit and watch it over and over, not really believing that it’s mine. You can check it out here:

(Or watch it now) 🙂


As for the backdrop on my site, it’s a photograph of the library inside The House on the Rock, which is located in Spring Green, Wisconsin. It appeared, most notably, in American Gods by Neil Gaiman, and was represented as a gateway into the minds of the gods. You can learn more about this incredible piece of American architecture here:

What was the process you went through to get The Lake and the Library published?

First of all, I wrote a solid draft, something clean that I was proud to submit. I also made sure I had a solid cover/query letter to go along with it.

You have a new book that just came out, but this is one in which you were co-editor. Please tell us what Imaginarium 2013 is all about and how you came to be involved with it.

Imaginarium 2013: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing (ChiZine Publications), is an annual reprint anthology that ChiZine puts out each year. Authors submit their work that was published in the previous year (short fiction and poetry), and we collect it in Imaginarium. It was a lot of fun, being exposed to a lot of new Canadian writers in the genre, but it was a lot of reading! And out of some 400 submissions, you can only realistically take 20 or so, or else the book would just be thousands of pages long. We have an Honourable Mentions list, though, for those authors whose work we loved but didn’t include. I was asked to co-edit it by Sandra Kasturi, co-publisher at ChiZine, because I worked on and loved the first Imaginarium we did, and I was excited to help out with this year’s in any capacity. Co-editing was a new challenge for me, because, like I said, you can’t pick ‘em all, but it’s a great experience.

After being a judge for a writing contest, I know how tough it can be to choose ONLY the number of entries required! 🙂

Not only are you a writer and editor, you are also an illustrator. In addition to a natural talent, have you taken any formal training? How has this helped you in your career?

Nope, no formal training per se. With all of my digital artwork, I learned the Adobe Suite, and programs like it, by just playing around in them and making myself use them whenever I could. I think I started around age 12, and I’ve been using them ever since. A lot of my work in publishing has also forced me to crash-course learn certain programs, like Adobe InDesign for book layout purposes, which had a steep learning curve to be sure, but was the best thing for me. I use it all the time now, and I feel crippled without it! I looked into taking professional courses in graphic design, but found that I probably wasn’t going to learn anything that was new or innovative from what I already knew.

As for traditional art (drawing, painting, sculpting), again, I’ve been playing around with different mediums since I was a kid. I painted murals on my walls and filled paper after paper with drawings until I ran out of space. I did, however, start off in University in the Fine Arts stream, and my first year was filled with some amazing studio courses that I learned a lot from. Though I didn’t stay in Fine Arts, I do still use a lot of the principles of art and design that I learned there in my day-to-day work.

What a talented young lady you are! 🙂

Now for some fun questions: What is your favorite comfort food?

CAKE. Any kind of cake, but mostly Red Velvet from Baked Expectations. Or vegetarian poutine from Smoke’s Poutinerie, which is right next to my day-job. Oh woe betide me!

Oh, you poor thing! lol

What does your writing space look like? Are there any special items in it that inspire your writing?

My writing desk is my Baba’s old 1911 Treadle Sewing Machine cabinet, which I converted into a writing space. It still has the wrought iron pedal, in working condition, so while I’m working I pump away at it, imagining that there’s a like-pedal churning away inside my head. But my writing space is always in flux. Sometimes I’ll end up doing my best writing in the kitchen, in the coffee shop down the street, outside, on an airplane, etc. Anywhere that can allow me to focus and get into the zone is fair game.

Cool! My best friend’s Dad had MS and used an old treadle sewing machine to keep his legs strong. I love them!

Do you have any social media sites you’d like to share with us?

My Twitter is @SMBeiko, website is, and my Tumblr is Sensing a pattern?


Do you have any parting words?

If you have a dream you are reaching for, or a goal you’ve set, don’t stop moving towards it! Even if things get bumpy, just remember that the path to success or achievement is a squiggly line, not a straight one. And if you don’t know how to achieve your dreams, talk to the people who you admire, get a dialogue going and investigate. If you’re a writer, go to conferences, conventions, or readings, and ask questions. If you don’t know how to get started in writing, maybe read more of what you love. Always ask, always investigate, and always keep moving.

Good advice! Thanks for taking the time to chat with me, Samantha, and I wish you great success.

My dear followers, I hope you take the time to check out the backdrop for her web page and browse through all her tabs. Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday, despite inclement weather! 🙂