Sammy HK Smith
Sammy H.K Smith lives and works in Oxfordshire UK as a police detective. When not working she spends time with her children, husband and pets, renovates her house, and inadvertently kills plants. A keen writer and lover of all things science fiction and fantasy, she’s often found balancing a book, a laptop, a child, and a cat whilst watching Netflix.
Sammy also freelance edits, specialising in developmental and structural editing and copy-writing.
In 2013, she co-founded Grimbold Books with imprints Kristell Ink and Tenebris Books. In 2017 Grimbold Books was named the best independent science fiction and fantasy publisher at the British Fantasy Awards.
Hi, I’m Sammy (or Sam) and I’m an author from Oxfordshire, England. I write mostly speculative fiction in the sci-fi and fantasy genres and also run an award-winning small press, Grimbold Books.
My novel ANNA was published in May 2021 by Rebellion Publishing under their Solaris imprint. ANNA is a speculative dystopian novel that focuses on sexual abuse and the psychological effects and PTSD of the survivor, whilst also highlighting the injustices of power and control. It’s a dark novel, but something I think is incredibly important.
Beaten. Branded. Defiant.
Anna is a possession. Owned by the man named Will, she is cared for and protected. But when she falls pregnant, Anna finds the strength to run. And when Will catches up with her in her new life, it is not just Anna who is in danger.
Are you working on something now?
So I never intended to write in ANNA’s world again, but I found myself thinking about some of the characters there and felt I needed to go back and explore their motivations and backstories.
My new novel is called EMMA and we follow a bar owner in a broken, dystopic town as she tries to hide her epileptic brother and dementia suffering father from those that would look to eliminate them in a power play. I’m bringing back several characters (a pimp, the lead enforcer, our main antagonist from Anna) and want to show more of their layers.
Tell us about yourself?
Which six books will you take to the Island?
The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough.
I first read this when I was about 10 or 11. I found a copy at my grandparent’s and I’d read almost everything else they had. It was the summer holidays and we weren’t going to the library for a few days so I started… It broke my heart into a thousand pieces and I’ve re-read it so many times since then and find more and more that I can relate to or understand (passage of time and maturity opening up so many more nuances). It is an epic, sprawling story on love: romantic, familial, religious. I adore it.
One Day by David Nicholls
A nostalgic feeling love story with two characters who are so relatable and worm into your head and heart. This is contemporary literature about loss, love, grabbing chances and never letting go when you find your soulmate. Beautiful.
Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey
Another tale from JC. This is a reworking of Shakespeare’s The Tempest where Caliban’s backstory is retold into a love story (rather than the hideous version in Shakespeare’s original). This novel is almost a textbook to me in technical craftsmanship. Her language and prose is stunning and the poetry in her words drags you in.
Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
This novel helped reignite by love of fantasy. I’d grown bored of the same old ‘chosen one farm boy’ narratives and a writer friend recommended this and I read it in one sitting. It is sexual, sensual, and jaw-dropping. A strong female protagonist, beautifully crafted world-building set in a fantasy inspired France with brothels, courtesans, political manoeuvring, and religion in the form of fallen angels. 900 pages of fantasy perfection. I recommend this to everyone. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea (quite overt sexual themes but written with style and class) but it’s an example of near perfection in literature to me.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Who doesn’t love an enemies to lovers story? But the novel is so much more. It asks questions surrounding marriage, wealth, social class and having characters with the ability to grow and self-analyse. I appreciate I sound like an idiot breaking it down so simply, but for the time in which it was written of course the ‘want of a wife’ was the norm, but Austen adds nuance and strong themes to her work.
~ each and every one of the above I’ve read at least three times and I could read them over and over again and never get bored!
Which disc will you take to the Island?
I’m sulking a little that I can’t take an album, so I’ll have to pick the song ‘Rollercoaster’ from a small US group Bleachers. Their music always fills me with happiness and the quirky beat is so different from a lot of other bands. I find myself smiling whenever they come on my smart speaker!
What will be your luxury item?
I’ll simply have to bring my sofa! ;)
Which fictional character will you meet?
Phèdre nó Delaunay de Montrève, (main character from Kushiel’s Dart). She is an exquisite marvel of a woman, and I’d love to learn more about her world, her loves, her religion. I worry that 4 hours wouldn’t be enough… can I send the rescue party away for a bit longer?!