Interview with Samantha Bennett

1. Tell us about your latest book, Chasing Xaris.
Chasing Xaris explores themes of grief, teen romance, and release through the supernatural surfing adventures of sixteen-year-old Chandler Bloom. Basically, a surfer guy raises new questions about the deaths of Chandler's parents two years earlier, and Chandler's search for answers leads her to a hidden civilization—which also leads to lots of danger, suspense, and the like. It’s a story that deals with emotional healing with the fun backdrop of the beach, a hidden island, and cute boys.

2. Chandler is dealing with the loss of her parents. What other challenges does she deal with in this book?

She struggles with living life deeply and not just walking around on autopilot. She’s a girl with this amazing thirst for life, for adventure, for beauty and romance—but she’s deadened her appetite to cope with some very hard things. This story is her journey into full living.

3. If you could have coffee with Chandler, what would you talk about?

I have had coffee with Chandler! Well, in a way. I interview all of my characters at some point in the writing process. But let’s see… if we were to talk today I’d ask her about her parents. I think she’d love the chance to talk about them. I’d also ask her all about surfing—what her very first time on a board felt like, that sort of thing. And of course I’d ask her about Jordan! (A guy in the book)

4. Have you ever been surfing?

I have! I’ve only surfed teeny tiny waves, but I’ve gotten a taste of the thrill that Chandler feels on her board. And I LOVE the ocean. I’m actually married to a surfer, which was oh-so-helpful in the writing of this story. My husband read any part of the novel that involved surfing and told me which phrases worked, which didn’t. A lot of Chandler’s passion for the water was inspired by my husband.

5. What's next for you?

I’m actually working on a sequel to my first novel Penumbra. I’ve never written a sequel before and it’s been so bizarre-fun to return to familiar characters. It’s a high fantasy series that takes place in a different world, so I’m reacquainting myself with the different kingdoms, customs, all that. And might I just say that I’m not a detail-oriented person at all. I have to be very intentional about including details in my writing. Thankfully I work with some amazing editors who are into all things detail!

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