An Interview with Danny Samsel

I’m planning to start an Only On Sunday Author Interview series soon, along with a Hump Day Guest Blogger series. Further details will be available shortly.

In the mean time, let me start the interview series out with an interview with the protagonist of my novel Stealing The Marbles, Danny Samsel. I managed to catch Danny, thief extraordinaire, on his island home of Kefalonia and he was gracious enough to answer a few questions. So, without further ado, here’s Danny.

EJ: For starters, you’re an American, right?

DS: American by birth, yes, though I left there shortly after turning 18 and have only been back for brief, usually business oriented visits. I suppose you could call me an expat now, though I rarely stay in any one country long.

Where were you born?

I don’t actually know. Indeed, I’m not one hundred percent sure what my birth date is. My mother was a bit scatterbrained and rarely gave me the same answer to such questions more than once. My birth place could be Detroit, Michigan, San Francisco, California, Billings, Montana, Fargo, North Dakota or Taos, New Mexico. Those are the ones I remember her mentioning, anyway. Date? Sometime in June I’m almost certain. I made my first big score on June 13th so I usually celebrate that as my birthday.

How do you feel about engaging in an activity that most would consider morally wrong?

Stealing is morally wrong when you mug some poor old lady on the street or knock off a mom and pop store. I remember reading that Jesse James, when robbing trains, never stole money from men with callused hands. He wouldn’t take from the working class. That’s my kind of thief. A large percentage of what I steal has already been stolen. I’m simply rearranging ownership. I’ve never kept anything I’ve stolen for myself. I’m in it for the thrill first and, of course, the money.

If you can remember, what is the very first thing you ever stole?

A book from a public library in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I was eight or nine at the time and they wouldn’t issue me a library card because we had no address of record. We were living in an abandoned house as I remember and I was desperate for something to read. Years later, when I heard the library system there was in financial trouble, I donated $20,000.00 to their fund raising efforts.

Expensive book. Do you remember what it was?

I do indeed. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain. I love Twain and have read everything he’s written. I have a complete, first edition set of his works in my apartment in Bize.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Kurt Vonnegut would be right there at the top. Twain, of course. Jon Clinch, Sara Gruen, A. S. King. I read a lot of thrillers so Lee Child would be on that list along with Carl Hiaasen, Elmore Leonard, to be sure, Michael Connolly, John D. MacDonald, James Lee Burke, Christopher Fowler. I like Stephen King, oh, and Christopher Moore, his early stuff anyway. My early reading was mostly science fiction so Issac Asimov would be on that list along with Clarke and Heinlein. M. C. Beaton would fit in there somewhere. I could go on and on with this, I’m a voracious reader and have quite a few favorites, but I don’t want to bore your readers.

M. C. Beaton? You like cozy mysteries?

Yes, I find them amusing. Great Escape books, I call them.

What, in your opinion, is the most significant thing you’ve ever stolen?

That first book, for one thing. It opened doors for me, showed me a world beyond the barren one I found myself in. There were two other items of significance but I’ll keep those to myself for now. Don’t want to give anything about Stealing The Marbles away.

I understand you travel a lot in your profession. Do you have one place you consider home?

Without a doubt it would be the island of Kefalonia. That is where my heart is and will always be. Second would be Bize-Minervois in the South of France. Third on the list would be San Francisco, though that might be a bit dangerous for me.

What led you to decide to steal the Parthenon Marbles?

I can’t really answer that without giving part of your story away. The readers will have to learn that by reading the book.

What was the greatest obstacle to stealing the Marbles?

Well, there were many obstacles, before during and after, but I would say the greatest obstacle was pulling it all together.

How is Kaz doing?

Quite well. She loves the island almost as much as I do. Her and Eleni have become fast friends.

Do you two plan on getting married?

We’ve talked about it. Perhaps one day.

Do you have plans for another caper?

Not at the moment, though I do have a few ideas in mind. Right now I’m just relaxing, exploring the island and eating way too much fattening food. Kaz jokes that I’m developing love handles. I suppose at some point I’ll have to get off my duff, get some exercise and get back to work. Until then, I’m just going to enjoy Kefalonia as much as I can.

That concludes the interview. Thanks, Danny and good luck on your next heist. If you’d like to read about Danny’s adventures with the Parthenon Marbles, hop on down to your local bookstore and order a copy of Stealing The Marbles. Or, you could always buy it at Amazon where it’s available as both an eBook and a Tree Book.

3 Comments to An Interview with Danny Samsel

  1. Tina Wald says:

    Danny’s home in Bize is just about 40km from my future retirement home in Montolieu, le village du livres. I’d love to see the first edition Twain set. I’m just wondering how he acquired it… don’t think I’ll ask. Nice interview, EJ.

  2. EJ says:

    He stole it, of course. Been to Montolieu a number of times. Beautiful little town.

  3. Cat Connor says:

    Great interview EJ, answered some burning questions about Danny. 🙂

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