You may recognize him from one UK bodybuilding contest or another.
If you’re an avid e-Book reader, he might look very familiar for some reason.
And if you’ve been following my posts then you’ll be having an “Aha!” moment right about now *g*
Yes, I’ve been lucky enough to score an interview with accidental cover model Sam Bond…. SQUEEEEE!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Sam’s photo epitomized the essence of my alien hero Asher. And when I saw the final cover version of From The Ashes, I was thrilled to bits and beyond and my editor got chills up and down her spine. He was just soooo right!
Anyway, enough of me rabbiting on ’cause I’m sure you’re all wanting to read about Sam, right?
Right. Let the interview commence….
INTERVIEW WITH SAM BOND
by Maree Anderson
Sam, thank you so much for letting me invade your privacy interview you. It’s not often that an author even discovers the name of the gorgeous, totally hot, bare-chested guy hero who features on one of her book covers, let alone gets the chance to ask him a heap of personal questions.
And just so you know, I had a little bit of a fan-girl moment at the mere thought of this interview and I kinda blanked. I mean, OMG, what if all I can come up with are a big bunch of boring, dumbass questions? Nightmare! *hyperventilates, searches frantically for a paper bag*
So I had a rare moment of complete brilliance and posted the link to your official website all over my writers loops, told a bunch of writer and author friends a bit about you, and begged them to help me out. You’re not gonna believe the question that came up the most (but then again, you are a totally hot-looking guy, so maybe you will)….
Are you available???
Followed closely by:
Do you like older women???
BTW, please don’t feel obliged to answer those two questions. But if you do, you might help put a bunch of us out of our misery ;-)
Sam: I am seeing a girl called Emily. She is smart and sweet and makes me laugh. If I were single and someone else matched that criteria, age would not necessarily be an issue.
Maree: Awww…. Emily sounds like a real sweetie! (Sorry ladies! You’re all gonna have to suck it up and deal ‘cause Sam’s most definitely not available.)
OK, so now we’ve got the personal stuff out of the way (Bwah hah hah! Yeah, riiight!) let’s start with questions of a professional nature.
Your bare-chested self features on the cover of my December release From The Ashes and I know for a fact that there was no tinkering with the photo to buff you up, slim you down, or anything else. You obviously work very hard to take care of yourself.
How do you stay motivated?
Sam: That’s a good question. Just recently I have realised that I don’t actually stay motivated. I’ve played all sorts of mind games in the past to keep myself motivated for a competition and I’ve tried all sorts of tricks to get me up early in the mornings. After backpacking for three months though, and not training at all in that time, I can see that I only do well in my training and achieve the best results when I am enjoying it. I do enjoy weight training so from now on my focus will always be about having fun. The aesthetics will come hand in hand by default when playing around with iron plates.
What first hooked you about bodybuilding and weightlifting? Was it something you’d always wanted to do?
Sam: I think I watched too many Arnie movies as a young lad. I’ve always wanted to be the strongest man in any room too, and you can’t go around wrestling people you have just met (not always anyway) so perhaps I felt the need to also look like I was the strongest. Sounds quite pathetic now that I write it, but as I said before, my motivations have changed more recently – dare I say it, they have matured?
One of my author friends has a son who’s also a natural body builder, and she says, “Major kudos to you for going the natural way sans illegal substances/steroids. It involves more gym time and more sacrifice. One also needs to submit to various blood and urine tests and, in some events, lie detector tests.”
Wow, that’s some serious commitment—RESPECT!
Sam: That’s mighty kind of her to say such nice things. I’ve not had blood tests before but I’ve done my fair share of peeing in front of a man holding a bottle. Well actually, I hold the bottle – I don’t want to make the situation any more awkward than it needs to be.
Maree: LOL! (And here’s a YouTube vid of one of Sam’s posing routines at a competition. He-Man, anyone? *g*
What’s your routine for preparation for these events? Do you need to drop much weight? (Her son typically drops 50 pounds). What eating and exercise regimen do you use leading up to an event?
Sam: I don’t actually lose much weight for competitions. Towards the end of a season if I am really dialling it in for a championship/final then my weight might come down as I sacrifice a tiny bit of muscle for that last bit of fat. But otherwise I just crank it all up a few gears to get ready for being on stage. I try to avoid stepping on a cross trainer or saying no to my family roast meals so I let the gym efforts do the work for me.
Do you have a Youtube link to one of your posing routines you could share with us?
Sam: I have a GladiatorAtlas account on YouTube and there are a few videos on my site. The best thing to do is to watch my show-reel:
There is also a hidden Gladiators page on my website with one or two videos but you need to find it. Come to think about it, I’m not sure why it’s hidden, what did I do that for? Click on the little Gladiators “G” logo and you will find the page.
Maree: Ooooh! Secret videos!!!
More years ago than I care to admit, I put myself through Bill Phillips’ Body For Life program. For me, it wasn’t the exercise routine that was the hardest part of the program, it was the diet. I had to eat about six times a day, and I found that really challenging – not to mention eating healthy and planning all my meals rather than just grabbing whatever from the fridge or pantry. And about two years after finishing the program, I was back into my bad old habits again. Now I have trouble remembering to eat lunch at a decent hour, let alone breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, after-dinner snack!
You mention on your website that you must have driven photographers crazy because you had to take breaks every hour or so to eat.
Are you still that rigorous with your day-to-day diet? Is eating regularly and not missing meals something you don’t even have to consciously think about anymore?
Sam: I’ve always grazed at my food since I was little. In fact, my childhood was spent in fancy dress, up a tree, with a sandwich in my hand or eating cold baked beans from the tin. It’s probably a good thing that I train and need to eat this way otherwise my physique might look totally different.
Bill Philips did some good things in his time of marketing that concept. Many people made some great transformations. But we all have to find our own way to achieving goals, You can’t follow someone else routine for ever.
Do you eat probiotic and/or organic?
Sam: I try to eat the healthiest food I can find and afford. When you eat the amount of chicken I eat, can you afford the best available? But by that same token, when you eat such a vast quantity of something, can you afford for it not to be the best? I just try to eat a very clean diet and avoid processed foods from Mon-Fri. That’s when I am dieting. Right now, I’m just eating whatever and whenever, at least until I find a routine again. (I’ve just returned from travels so there is a period of adjustment to get through.)
Be honest now, you’re like Oprah, and you have a personal chef to cook all your meals….
Sam: Sadly, no. But what a luxury, hey?
What do you believe are the biggest misconceptions the public has about bodybuilders?
Sam: That we all take chemical assistance (e.g. anabolic steroids, growth hormones), that anyone who does use chemical assistance for training purposes has made an uninformed decision (very controversial that answer, I know) and probably hundreds more that revolve around that subject. Sadly it is the biggest talking point in and out of the field.
We writers are all about goal-setting. Finish the damn manuscript. Write the damn synopsis. Don’t be a weenie: Send out the darn query. Deal with rejection. Send out the darn query. Get an agent. Get published. Make some decent money….
Did you set specific goals and envisage the path your career has taken?
Sam: Well I don’t actually consider anything I’ve done thus far (as a result of my physique) a career. I see it as more of a career-break actually – a sabbatical while I pursued the opportunities that presented themselves. But goal setting is part of my life yes.
What’s been the most surprising part of your career so far? And the most rewarding?
Sam: Working on the television show (Gladiators) was a great experience and was what started it all off.
Without a doubt the biggest surprise though, was seeing myself on the front of a book. I really had no idea this had happened.
We writers are also well-known for doing some crazy things when we get “the call” to say someone wants to buy our book. And most of these crazy things are accompanied by ear-splitting SQUEEEEs of utter joy.
How did you feel when you got “the call” about being on UK Gladiators? How did you celebrate?
Sam: You know what? I did exactly the same thing. The roar was so loud I had to go back into the office (my place of work at the time) and apologise to everyone.
Maree: Love it!
Did you get to choose your own nom-de-plume, or was “Atlas” chosen for you?
Sam: The producers chose the name but I was more than happy with it. I did a little research into the name too and ironically there is a myth surrounding the myth: Atlas didn’t hold up the world. He held up the heavens after his stone pillars were taken away by Zeus as punishment. A French artist didn’t quite know how to depict this so drew Atlas holding up the entire globe.
Maree: Whoa. I’ve read quite a bit of mythology and my mom’s an artist, too. How could I not have come across that fascinating fact before? Google, here I come….
What’s your favourite memory of Gladiators? The moment you’re proudest of?
Sam: The final episode of the second series was filmed on my birthday. I had friends and family in the audience, and was selected for three of the four events. I competed on Duel for the first time on camera. There was this moment when I was swinging on the rings, about to tear down a contender, when I thought, “Yeah, it’s been a pretty good day.”
Maree: And here’s a recap of some “Atlas” moments:
Indulge us, pleeeease! Run us through a typical day of you doing what you do to maintain your hawt self.
Sam: I’ll try and keep this clean shall I?
Maree: Yeah, considering I don’t have an “R” rating on my website, I guess you should. Rats.
Sam: Sadly my routine is really not very interesting. I only train for about 2 hours, 3-4 times a week. And when I’m not training I’m either spending time with Emily, riding the motorcycle, or of course, working.
Okay, now we’re gonna get to the real good stuff! *rubs hands in glee*
Describe your ideal romantic moment.
Sam: Beer, pizza, bedroom. I’m kidding of course, but then that does sound very appealing.
Maree: I’ll say! Though DH and I always swap the beer for wine ;-)
Sam: I don’t dare get too philosophical about this subject, knowing that the readers of this interview will most likely be female and therefore more qualified than me, but an ideal romantic moment for me is one that catches me off guard. A complete surprise is perhaps more romantic than a planned outing to a fancier restaurant, wouldn’t you think?
Maree: Absolutely! I always say I don’t like surprises but secretly? They’ve been the moments I treasure most.
With your busy schedule, is it hard to maintain a personal life? Do you find yourself neglecting your friends and screening your calls—even ones from your mother—and staying home because you just have to finish that chapter? Oh, wait. Sorry. Ignore that last question—that’s obviously not meant for you! What I meant to ask you is, with your busy schedule, is it hard to maintain a personal life?
Sam: Not at all, the schedule is really not what you think it is. I have friends at the gym should I choose to train alongside them (or else I reflect on my own in a more quiet training place) and I have weekends free to nock about with friends and family. Most of us ride motorbikes, so we all take the girlfriends out for a blast and a bag of chips on a Sunday afternoon. I’m very fortunate to live where I do–there is no doubt about that.
Sam: Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach.
Maree: Oooh, I haven’t read that one in years! Note to self: must re-read.
Sam: Or…. An Utterly Impartial History of Britain: [or 2000 Years of Upper Class Idiots in Charge] by John O`Farrell.
Maree: *snort* Based on the title alone I’m so buying that one!
Do you read romance books? Have you ever read a romance? If not, why the heck not??? would you ever consider reading a romance?
Sam: I don’t really read very often I’m ashamed to say. Though I did pick up a few books in SE Asia. The last Dan Brown book I found disappointing. But then I was given a book by an author called Stieg Larsson– The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I finished it in two days and immediately had to find the next two books in the trilogy. These were real page turners.
So the answer is no, I haven’t read a romance novel. Is there one you would recommend?
Maree: Well, duh! One of mine, for a start *VBG* Seriously, though, since I haven’t read any of Larsson’s books, and my personal tastes run to paranormals, historicals and the occasional humorous contemporary, I’ll open the floor to recommendations:
Anyone know of a romance novel that might appeal to Sam? (I’m thinking maybe Meljean Brook’s The Iron Duke?)
I mentioned to my writer friends that you had no idea your stock images were being used on the covers of romance novels until one of your fans set up a blog with all your covers and sent you the link. The general reaction was one of OMG, that must be embarrassing as all heck! I’ve assured them that you’re extremely flattered by all the cover-love but I’m not certain they believe me! So, to put everyone’s minds at rest….
What do you think about having your photos available on royalty-free stock image websites? Do you have any concerns about what people will do with the images?
Sam: I’ve already said it was a massive shock but I’m actually really pleased. The photographer took those images free of charge as a favour to me (so I could use some on my website). I’m glad he got something out of the arrangement.
Maree: And to be quite honest, we’d probably never have discovered you if you hadn’t become a cover model—albeit an unintentional one. So we’re pretty glad about it, too!
Do you ever get recognized in public as “that guy on the cover of a book” rather than “that guy Atlas on Gladiators”?
Sam: I’ve never come across that, no. I almost hope that I do though. I still haven’t seen one of the books so it still doesn’t seem real.
Maree: If From The Ashes ever goes to print I promise I’ll send you a copy. In the meantime, watch out for the electronic version coming your way.
Of all your covers — the ones that you know about, anyway! — which one is your second-favourite? Given that my From The Ashes book cover is your favourite, of course ;-)
Sam: I don’t even know how many there are actually so I couldn’t possibly make an informed decision. There are some nice looking covers out there for sure and From The Ashes is one of them, in my opinion.
Maree: Have I mentioned you are a true gentleman?
Do you share any attributes with Asher, the hero of From The Ashes? (I mean, other than the, er, alien ones that are purely a product of my warped imagination *blushes*)
Sam: Yes he looks a lot like me.
Maree: LOL Good answer! (And just so’s you all know, that question wasn’t one of mine. I’m trying very hard to be ladylike and well-behaved *g*)
If you were a girl (and I hear all the world’s women weeping buckets at the mere thought of such a travesty!) what kind of guys would you date? (SNAGs? Nerds? Jocks? Joe Average?) Would it be looks or personality that would first attract you?
Sam: It would be the same as what I look for in a woman – money ;-)
But if I had to give a serious answer it would be whoever charmed me, made me laugh and someone I could see a great future with.
Maree: Emily is a lucky girl!
My Australian friends want to know if there’s any chance you’d visit Australia and come to a conference to talk about your experiences as a cover model – they’re sure you’d be a very popular speaker! And hey, maybe you could hop across the ditch and be a guest at our New Zealand Romance Writers conference, too!
So, any thoughts about being a motivational speaker for a bunch of eager Australian and New Zealand romance writers who’d hang onto your every word? (Seriously. They would love you!)
Sam: Australia and America are on the top of my list to visit next. It’s just a case of finding an opportunity. But I’m not sure this one quite fits the bill.
Maree: Note to self: find a way to make it work….
Cat-person or dog-person?
Sam: Definitely a cat. Dogs smell, they need constant attention, they slobber everywhere and they bite! I’m really not a dog person – sorry, ladies.
I have an author friend who has a snake for a pet. Me? I’ll just stick to neurotic cats and goldfish ’cause snakes give me the willies.
Do you have any pets?
Sam: Emily takes some looking after and she has a pet rabbit which enjoys more affection than me. But I don’t have a pet, no. Besides, my motorbike already takes up a huge amount of my time. How sad is that, hey?
Maree: Sounds to me like you’ve definitely got your priorities right—as I’m sure Emily agrees *g*
If you had to choose an occupation that didn’t involve keeping yourself ultra-fit, what would it be?
Sam: I’d be a doctor. If I could afford to go back to University and retrain, I’d love to study medicine.
Maree: I truly hope you get the chance to follow that dream. With your focus and drive and sense of humour I think you’d be an asset to the medical profession.
What’s your most guilty pleasure?
Sam: I couldn’t possibly tell you.
Maree: Sorry ladies, I tried. So you’ll just have to use your imaginations ;-)
Many romance writers I know are big fans of chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. Followed by coffee. And the type of snacks they can eat at their desks while writing.
What’s your favourite food?
Sam: My mother cooks a mean roast dinner. But I do enjoy pizza, the odd jug of beer, and of course who doesn’t like chocolate?
Favourite movie? Song?
Sam: Four Weddings and a Funeral. More Than a Feeling by Boston.
What’s one thing you’d like to tell us about yourself that no-one else knows about you? (We promise we’ll never tell!)
Sam: I think over the last two years just about everything about me to know is already out in the public domain. Though, I’ve recently started to find myself singing along to particularly girlie music, which I’m not too pleased about.
Looks like you travel extensively, and you mentioned a recent holiday in Bali where you got some surfing in. (Ladies, don’t make me pour cold water over you, okay??? Now compose yourselves! That’s better.)
So which place that you’ve never visited, would you most like to visit? Which place would you most like to return to?
Sam: I cannot wait to see Thailand and Malaysia again but I really would like to visit the Maldives/Seychelles (I’d settle for either, I’m not fussy).
Do you have a bucket list? Would you share one or more of the things on that list?
Sam: Well I don’t know what a bucket list is, but I do have a “things to do one day” list. I’d like to snowboard in Whistler, Canada. But not just snowboarding on the piste, I’d like to start from a helicopter about 5 metres in the air. It’s doable, but extremely expensive. Maybe not anytime soon.
Maree: Sorry, should have explained it better. I believe “bucket list” is an American term? Anyway, it’s a list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket/shuffle off this mortal coil. You pretty much nailed it, though. Jumping out of a helicopter on a snowboard? Yep. Definitely bucket-list material.
What’s next for you personally? Career-wise?
Sam: To get one.
Maree: Boy, do I know the feeling!
Where we can get more Sam Bond? We want links and photos!!!!
Sam: Well, there’s my website:
That’s it really.
Maree: Um…. Not really ;-) Check out this World News link for more vids. And of course Sam’s YouTube channel has lots of lovely visual treats.
Sam, thank you soooo much for answering all our nosy insightful questions. You’ve been the best interviewee EVAH!
And I’d also like to thank the members of Romance Writers of New Zealand, Romance Writers of Australia, From The Heart Romance Writers, Writers Gone Wild, and my Facebook & Twitter friends for helping me come up with a bunch of interview questions. (Even if there were some I didn’t dare ask, I hope we’ve satisfied your curiosity *g*)
And an extra “Thank you, lady!” to fellow Wild Writer Saranna, who, when I told her I’d emailed Sam to tell him about how the cover of From The Ashes came to be, cyber- slapped me upside the head and said: “Duh! Email him about doing an interview!” (And then, when I didn’t think I’d be able to do it, encouraged me all the way.) Saranna, you rock! I would have chickened out if it hadn’t been for you and this interview would never have come to be.
To find out more about Sam, please visit his official website
To drool over check out some of Sam’s romance covers, check out his fan site