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An Interview with Author Sam Polakoff

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My bio entails a lifetime at a family-owned logistics company called Nexterus. At 78 years old, it’s the oldest privately held company of its kind in the U.S. We help small and medium-sized companies manage supply chains more effectively so they may compete with the goliaths in their industry. I am also the founder of a company called BrillDog, which offers supply chain software to small companies. About ten years ago, a mentor challenged me to do something I’d always wanted to try but never had. That, as you have guessed, was authoring novels. I am 61 years old, married for 34 years, and have two adult children who are both married, and each has a daughter…so I am also a proud and happy grandpa. 😊

What inspired you to start writing this book?

Throughout my entire life,. I’ve enjoyed historical fiction. Learning through well-researched fiction educated me on a number of topics from English trading in Asia to wars and American history. Authors like James Clavell and James Michener were a few of my favorites.

Tell us the story of your book’s current title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

I knew I wanted to write historical fiction and I knew it would follow a heroine into indentured servitude in the 17th or 18th century rural colony of Maryland. I began reading, researching, and speaking with local historians, one of whom told me a story about women in England’s overcrowded debtors’ prisons. As the story goes, these ladies were shipped across the Atlantic to become indentured servants in the New World. Once I heard that story, combining it with my original notion became much easier.

What books are you reading (for research or comfort) as you continue the writing process?

For research, I have been reading books recounting the history of the Maryland Colony in the late 18th century. For pleasure, I just completed the new Elon Musk biography by Walter Issacson and The Exchange, John Grisham’s long-awaited sequel to The Firm.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

Apart from running the family logistics and supply chain business, I have been a college professor teaching both freight transportation and entrepreneurship at Penn State York, and Towson University, respectively.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

I always had the itch. It wasn’t until I was in my fifties that an executive coach challenged me to cite something I’d always wanted to achieve but hadn’t. That, of course, was writing a novel. Accepting the challenge, I began writing with zero knowledge of my new craft. A month or so later, I was talking to an old friend who had recently retired and asked what he was doing with himself. He replied, “You won’t believe it, but I’m writing a novel.” He later introduced me to his writing coach, a former Random House editor who ran a course for a small number of would-be novelists. This editor helped me learn my craft and worked with me until Hiatus, my first novel was published in 2018.

Where is your favorite place to write?

My home office, usually with one of my four cats laying on the laptop and my dog beside me begging for yet one more treat. He knows they are stashed in the upper desk drawer. 😊

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

Reading should be an escape from the chaotic and stressful world we live in. A good story will whisk you away into a scene where the characters are your friends, and you are rooting for them to overcome their difficulties.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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