Saturday, March 5, 2011

All Things Romantic Suspense: Sarah Ballance

So. Has this been a chaotic few weeks or what? For me? Yes. Anyway. Now that I've got all the whatnot out of my hair, without further delay, please welcome Sarah Ballance, who's here to talk about her book, Run To You.

1. Howdy! Please introduce yourself, tell us an interesting fact about you, and if you were an animal, what would it be?

Howdy? Oh, yum, that sounds like cowboy talk to me! Oh, *ahem,* I'm Sarah and I like cowboys (my hubby wears cowboy boots – I'm totally talking about him). I started writing fiction a couple of years ago after I told someone I couldn't do it, and my first novel was picked up by the first publisher I queried. I still don't know how that happened, but I'll take it. *grin* My hubby and I have been married for 13 "long, long" years (says him) and we have six adorable children – five on purpose, with the sixth getting it out there early that she doesn't listen. (She totally ignored my tubal ligation and got here anyway.) On that note, I have to say if I was an animal I'd be a lizard. That's what my husband called me for "regrowing missing body parts."

2. Tell us a bit about your book--something you wouldn't find in the blurb.

There's almost nothing about the plot I can reveal outside of the blurb that won't be a spoiler, LOL. But I will say the setting of RUN TO YOU is home to me. We don't live on the islands, but we can hop in the boat and be there in minutes. My H and I spent a lot of time out there when we were dating, and it means a lot to have so many great compliments from reviewers on the "feel" of the beach in the book because it is so special to me. One reviewer referred to my description as "atmospheric" – I love that!

3. What was your inspiration for this story?

I actually wrote a blog post about this very topic (you can read it here). The short version is this: My H and I went for a walk on the beach. It was pitch black and we were on the edge of a storm – the wind kicking, sand blasting, waves boiling, foam flying. I was TERRIFIED. I just KNEW someone could walk up behind us and kill us and we'd never hear them coming. That fear – still tangible two years later – is what brought the story to life. As afraid as I was at the time, looking back on it makes it downright hilarious.

4. Do you consider yourself a plotter or a pantser?

I probably answer this question differently every time I'm asked it, LOL, because I don't know how to define myself. I start with a 5-10 sentence summary of I think will happen, and usually by the end of the first chapter I've changed it twice. I definitely lean toward panster, but I at least try to start with a plot.

5. When diving into a new work, how much research do you do and how do you go about doing it?

My first two books required very little research – just a random Google now and then. I'm working on one now where I was so clueless I didn't even know what to Google, so I hit my H up for preliminary information. Frankly, I'm shocked we're still married after that experience. (You can read about it here). Another WIP – currently on hold until I finish the marriage killing ms – comes from local knowledge of history, but I found a fantastic book on ebay to help with the details. There was only one and it was marked down that day. Talk about perfect timing!

6. If you could be one character from your book, who would it be and why?

I'd have to choose Mattie from RUN TO YOU. She was a bit lost in a world she didn't love, and when she meets Wyatt she finds herself at peace. It's unexpected and not a perfect fit, but that feeling is just amazing. Many heroines lose their innocence … Mattie FINDS hers.

7. And if you had to be stuck in an elevator for 42 hours with one of your characters…?

Readers everywhere will throw sharp, pointy objects at their computers, but I HAVE to say Mattie's BFF Hutch. He's a total pig, but he's hilarious. I think it would be impossible to be bored around him, so he's my top pick for elevator companion.

8. What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Keeping my facts legit. I wanted the pieces to fit, of course, but wanted them to do so with good sense and accuracy. I'm sort of easing into those waters one toe at a time. ;c)

9. Why romantic suspense? Do you write any other subgenres of romance?

My first book, DOWN IN FLAMES, was a contemporary romance. When I started it, it was just to prove a point to myself and I had no idea it would take me anywhere (least of all to publication). I made the switch to romantic suspense because I love the elements of risk and danger. I like writing the bad guy, and I'm a total math brain. I LOVE math, so weaving the clues into the plot just entertains me to no end.

10. What books have most influenced your writing or your outlook on life in general?

I grabbed CRIME SCENE AT CARDWELL RANCH (B.J. Daniels, Harlequin Intrigue) as a free download and it changed my life. That book made me fall in love with romantic suspense. I think the shorter length was less intimating to me as a wanna-be suspense writer than those big hardcovers in the book stores, and B.J. Daniels is just fantastic. That book was my turning point.

11. Quick! The Departed, Shutter Island, or Inception?

Let me duck under a table, because I don't know what you're talking about and I suspect that is the WRONG answer.

12. Anything I didn't ask you about that you want to shout out to the world?

Interesting factoid about RUN TO YOU. Not long after I finished editing the story, the exact crime happened on a local beach. EVERY detail was the same but one: the real life victim survived. Considering I've never known that to happen around here EVER, it freaked me out to say the least. I even saved the link to the news story – gruesome keepsake, I admit, but definitely one for the books.

Thanks so much for having me here today. You asked quite a few questions I've never been asked before. MUCH FUN!

RUN TO YOU BLURB: Mattie James can't pinpoint exactly when she lost control of her life, but the moment she decided to take it back made the front page of the local paper. Desperate to dodge the fallout— and the tabloids—she jumps at the chance to spend an off-season week in a tiny resort community by the sea. Making the trip with her ex-lover is a complication she can live with; coming face to face with a dead woman is not.

The last thing Sheriff Wyatt Reed expected to find on the storm-ravaged beach was a beautiful blonde with a jealous sidekick, but one look at Mattie left him wanting more. Their first date takes an ominous turn when he gets the call that a woman was found murdered. With a killer on the loose and a troubling lack of suspects or motive, Wyatt has to put his feelings aside to focus on the case. But his vow not to become personally involved is shattered when he discovers Mattie's life is on the line, and this time the truth leaves her with a deadly choice . . . and nowhere to run.

BUY LINKS: Multiple e-formats or Kindle

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for letting me hang out! I love the look of the place. No worries about coasters here! LOL. ;c)