Welcome! Happy Monday! Today I have Sarah Ballance over for an interview. Thanks you, Sarah, for stopping by.
Thank you so much for having me here today! Readers, I came with goodies, so check out the end of the interview to find out what you can win. ;c)
Tell us about your book/series and how did the idea come to you?
I don’t know why, but for some reason I decided to write a book about a gun. Maybe I just felt like annoying my husband, because in writing UNFORGIVEN I did so handily, LOL. I didn’t know anything about guns so I had to grill him, which totally ruined his entire Sunday afternoon. *grin* But anyway, in the story a rare rifle is used to murder someone. Thanks to the scarcity of that type of gun, suspicion immediately falls onto the only person who has access to it, but things aren’t always what they seem, and that goes double for UNFORGIVEN. ;c)
When did the writing bug first bite?
Almost a year after my fifth baby was born (my husband and I have six), I started writing non-fiction to supplement our family income. One of my friends suggested I write a novel, and I laughed it off and said I couldn’t do that. Not long after, it hit me that I’d said “I can’t” … so I did. LOL. It took me six months to write that first book, and it was accepted on the first query. And now I have the dubious honor of having my first story EVER out there for public consumption, LOL. That manuscript is now DOWN IN FLAMES, my June 2010 debut release from Noble Romance. I was 32 at the time.
Who are you favorite authors, book/series?
Between DOWN IN FLAMES and my second book, RUN TO YOU, I discovered the Harlequin Intrigue romantic suspense line. I was HOOKED. Intrigues are not only my favorite books, but they a source of recharge for me. I have a huge stash of them, and when I start to experience burnout, I MAKE time to read one. I get excited about writing all over again. It’s amazing how well that works, LOL!
What is your most favorite childhood memory?
We (leisure) traveled a lot when I was a kid, and my parents made a point of seeing as much of the country as possible. One of the first trips was to Yellowstone National Park, and we drove cross country to get there, taking one route there and another route back so we’d see new states. That was a-MAZE-ing. We also went to Mt. St. Helens, rode mules down the Grand Canyon, and saw the Bay of Fundy. One way or another, we’ve seen most of the U.S. states and parts of Canada, and they also sent me to Spain the summer I turned 15 and I saw Barcelona as the host city for the 92 Olympics, visited the World’s Fair in Seville, and toured the country by bus, train, and horse-drawn carriage. I will never forget that chance to see the world firsthand, and it’s something I want for my own kids as well.
Do you have any hobbies or special things you like to do in your spare time?
We live on the coast and love the water and boating, which is convenient because I can sit in the a/c inside our largest boat and write all day long. ;c) I also cook, bake, and decorate cakes, but most of my free time is spent homeschooling the kids and hiding from housework.
Any advice for new writers just starting out?
Have your work critiqued by someone you trust, and if they don’t find anything wrong with it, ditch ‘em and find someone else. A crit is NOT an insult (or it shouldn’t be—dump that guy, too). It’s a chance to improve your writing, and that’s something every single one of us need . . . and need to understand.
Boxers, brief or commando?
Boxer briefs! LOL.
Favorite eye color?
Blue. My husband’s eyes are blue.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve heard or seen?
My husband and I always planned to have five kids, so after my fifth baby was born, I had my tubes tied. The strangest moment was about two years later when I was staring down a positive pregnancy test, then about eight months after that when I found myself staring at our sixth baby. I’ve also seen a glass move several inches across my kitchen table without explanation, but the kid still wins, LOL.
Riley Beckett’s past just came back to haunt her . . . and this time, he’s got a gun.
When Gage Lawton finds his brother shot dead on his back porch, every shred of evidence points to one person: Gage’s former lover, Riley. He and she didn’t part ways on good terms, and he’s not planning to rekindle anything now–not when he’s got a revolver pointed at her head and a finger on the trigger.
A year after Riley swore she and Gage were over, he returns in a hail of gunfire. One look into those achingly familiar blue eyes and she knows how wrong she was to let him go, but now far more than their heated past stands in the way. A twist of fate puts them in the crosshairs of a killer, leaving Riley with two slim options: trust her greatest betrayer or face a murderer on her own.
Something was wrong. Was the dark playing tricks on her? Riley Beckett froze, arm outstretched, hand poised to toss her keys on the table just inside her front door. But she didn’t let go. Instead of dropping them in their usual spot, instinct whispered for her to feather pieces of the makeshift weapon between her knuckles. Heart pounding, she pressed the keys in a silent, white-knuckle grip and prayed her concerns were her imagination, that the paranoia of coming home alone to a dark house was getting the better of her.
One, two steps in. Wood planks echoed underfoot. She fought to breathe in air that grew thinner with every tense second.
Then it hit her. The scent. His scent. And with it a flush of memories. The burn of hot grass on her bare skin. Rough hands, a tender touch. Love so sweet she ached for it, her dreams raging, and her body drenched with need.
Their first time.
“Gage?” Her voice broke on the single syllable. Riley’s grip on the keys tightened, her blood raging hot and cold all at once.
A creak sounded from the corner chair. Her eyes refused to adjust in the darkness, but not even the faint light kept the blond streaks in his russet hair from giving him away. Like rays of sunshine, she used to tease, and her words never failed to draw a scowl across his rugged face.
God help her, her name on his lips sounded as it always had. Coarse. Dangerous. Forbidden. Even before . . . The memory surged, hot and vivid, leaving a metallic taste in her mouth. White heat assaulted her from every corner of the room.
The keys fell to the floor with a clink.
“An eye for an eye, is it?” His voice sounded unpracticed, as if he hadn’t spoken in a long while.
She couldn’t see his face, but she knew his expression. Flat and humorless. Broken. She remembered the day he stopped smiling. Every part of her wanted to flee, but she stood frozen to the spot.
“What do you mean?” Riley wondered if the words, whispered and weak, had the strength to make it across the room. Hadn’t she always known she’d shatter the next time she saw him? Hadn’t she dreamed of it anyway?
“You have to ask?” Gage laughed, cold and hollow. “Billy’s dead. Hell of a thing to come home to, Riley. My brother blown to bits on my back porch.”
“Oh, God.” Riley swayed, bile rising in her throat. The room filled with a distant buzzing. She took one unsteady step to the side and stumbled.
When she found his gaze, it was over the business end of a revolver.
He leveled the gun in her direction. Everything else in her world trembled, but his aim held rock steady. Unyielding.
His eyes burned blue and bright. “What I want to know, sweetheart, is why you did it.”
He worked his finger over the trigger, and a veil of blackness threatened her last discerning thought.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sarah and her husband of over fourteen years live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they’re asleep. She often jokes that she writes to be around people who will listen to her, but her characters aren’t much better than her kids. Fortunately, her husband is quite supportive, having generously offered to help her research “the good parts.” She’s never had to ask twice.
Thank you so much for having me today! If I may, I’d like to offer a PDF copy of UNFORGIVEN to one randomly chosen reader who comments with their email address.