Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tidbit Tuesday: with Sarah Ballance!

Hey beautiful people!

I'm joined this week by fellow Noble Romance author, the lovely Sarah Ballance! Sarah and I have known each other for a short while only, but that small lapse of time was enough to notice what a wonderful person she is and how talented her writing happens to be. I catch Sarah's Six Sentence Sunday posts every week, and she never fails to amaze me at her turn of phrase and how easily she sucks a reader into her penned words.

I cannot wait to make you discover Sarah for yourself! Read on for her interview and a little more about her books.

So, Sarah, tell us a bit about you, and something we don't know/wouldn't expect about you.

I'm so excited to be here. I know it's cooling off in your corner of the world, but I always think of sun and sand when I'm "with" you so pass me one of those slushy drinks and clear out a lounge chair. I'm staying a while. *Ahem.* That said, I'm a full time author, which I get to say because I'm a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of six and therefore don't have a "real" job. My best shocker of a tidbit may be well known by now, but it's my favorite story so I'll share it anyway because it addresses one of the most asked questions I get, which is: Did you have those kids on purpose? And the answer is … most of them. You see, my husband and I always planned to have five kids. I spit out the fifth one and had my tubes (cut, burned, and) tied … then, surprise, along comes #6. Who is almost two now and, yes, is exactly that stubborn.

You're most welcome to stay, darling! Actually, the weather is cooling but just right. *passes the slushy Tropic Thunder cocktail jug* I have a feeling I'm gonna need a strengthener - just imagining six kids under one roof... Well, hats off to you, girl! J

What’s your favorite moment of the day, and why?

Generally speaking, it's after dinner. That's when I get to escape to my writing dungeon. By the time I sit through a day with six kids, ages 13 and under, teaching five different grades with a toddler underfoot—and darn if they don't want to eat, too—I'm really, really ready for that break.

Hey, I noticed that too - kids always want to eat!

You're a color – which one are you and why?

I wanna say blue because that's my favorite color, but if I say "I'm blue" that's all depressing. Which, yeah, does make blue fit. (How did that even happen? . . . Feels like trickery.)


Why become a writer?

Remember that part about the kids and the schooling and how they want to eat every single day? And then how I go streaking (but with clothes on) to my bedroom after dinner to escape? Yeah, it's that. Writing takes me anywhere I want to go. The kids might be killing one another on the other side of that door (under the careful supervision of my husband, of course), but I can write myself anywhere in the world when the door shuts. No airport pat downs, no lost luggage, and no jet lag. Writing is awesome!

Totally agree! *especially the part where we can leave the kids to kill themselves under the man's supervision!*

As writers, we are bombarded with ideas every minute of every day. How do you sort through these ideas, to stick to the 'viable' ones?

My stories just appear. I don't look for them (well, sometimes I do, but it's wasted time because it doesn't work that way). They just hit me, and *poof* they're there. I'm a bit of a pantster, though, so even my works-in-progress are, um, works-in-progress. (What are you looking at? That made total sense in my head!)

*clinks glasses with you* Made total sense to me too! J

How do you develop an idea into a book?

Once I start writing—which, I might add, is without any preparation whatsoever—I jot notes at the end of my file. They're literally under the line I'm typing (after a double space or so). And by notes I mean really short ones—usually no more than ten lines or so—just to give me a one or two word direction as to where I'm headed. If circumstances change, I alter my notes. I usually write with the end game in mind and every scene of every story moves the plot forward to that point.

Which is easier for you – narrative, or dialogue?

I guess I'd have to say dialogue. I write faster when I get to dialogue, anyway, so that must mean something, LOL.

POV of predilection? Which POV mixes with you like oil and water?

Fortunately I get along with the POVs I use just fine, LOL. I write in third person and I like writing from the hero's POV best (although I get really excited on the rare moments I throw in the villain, which isn't even in every book). As a reader, I have a really hard time with first person but there have been books in first person I've enjoyed, so I try to keep an open mind (or at least a quiet tantrum, lol).


Preferred genre to write?

Romantic suspense. I LOVE it! There's something utterly delicious about mixing the element of danger in with sexual attraction. The two types of tension play beautifully together, even when (or perhaps especially when!) the characters are at romantic odds.

There's a different kind of rush with romantic suspense, innit? I can't get enough of it either. J

How do you get into your characters' heads and shoes?

There's no process—it truly just happens. It's a beautiful thing . . . until my muse checks out on me. Meh. I will say, however, that my story never hits that madcap flow until I've written a scene from each main character's POV. Normally the first chapter is the ol' molasses in January ordeal (well, my January and your July, lol), and I've actually had to skip ahead to write the second POV before  I could even finish the first scene. I am unruly, I swear.

Yep, definitely my July, and I usually end up chucking Chapter 1 when I'm done with the draft.

Drafts, edits, polishing – love or loathe?

I usually long for the next step in the process. I want to finish my WIP, then I want to edit. Then I want to be finished with edits and prepping it to go. Then I want it GONE so I can have a shiny new file with which to work. Then, uh, rinse and repeat. At any given point, the process can be frustrating, but one of my favorite steps is in my own final edit. That's when I sometimes see lines and I can't believe I actually wrote them. *Beams!* I also love getting the editor's input because that fresh eye does spectacular things to my work.

Don't you just love that feeling when you wonder about the lines you wrote? *grin*

What unique factor do you think you bring to the book/story market?

One reviewer said my words were "atmospheric" (which I loved so much I added to my five word exercise below, LOL) and that's a great way to describe what so many readers say, which is I draw them into the scene. I love hearing that! I've also been told my characters are real and readers can quickly relate to them.  This seems to especially be the case in my novella HAWTHORNE, which consistently leaves readers on the floor. (There are lots of reviews—check 'em out!) I am so flattered and PROUD my readers see my work in this way!

Best advice you've received, and that you'd want others to know?

For the love of all that is written, please get a good critique and listen to it! And by "good" I do mean someone who respects your voice and your talent and only works to bring the best of it to the page. (They shouldn't be mean, but it might hurt even if they're not, LOL). Also, make sure your work is thoroughly edited before you put it out there. It's not "the editor's job" to turn your mush into solid gold. You need to do your part first, and when you don't it shows.

Wisely stated!

All right, so tell us about your latest release

In retrospect, I think I decided to write UNFORGIVEN so I could drive my husband nuts. You see, I knew nothing about guns but I needed a rare one because when this murderer pulled the trigger, only one person could take the fall . . . and it wasn't him.

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.


In 5 words:

      Your book: shocking, humorous, suspenseful, sad, sexy
      Your heroine: feisty, sweet, hurt, strong, forgiving
      Your hero: determined, introspective, honorable, funny, genuine
      You as an author: droll (LOL), meticulous, vivid, atmospheric, twisted

Where can we find you and your books?

I'm not above bribery, y'all! I host a weekly gift card giveaway at my blog, and there's only one way to be eligible: subscribe by email! Yep, that's right … every email subscriber is automatically entered to win every week so long as he or she remains signed up. Even better, you'll be among the first to know about my blog hops and the many giveaways offered by my guests, so click on by and join us! (It's fun! And sometimes I even mind my manners.) I further invite you to join me at any of the following locations, where I will always return your stalking tendencies. J

WEBSITE  http://www.sarahballance.com/

I'd also like to let you all know my novella FAMILIAR LIGHT is on sale for a mere $1.50, which is probably not too much of a price to pay to get further acquainted, is it? *grin* The price has been cut in anticipation of my April 2 release, TIDE OF LIES, so grab it while you can! FAMILIAR LIGHT has been a Noble Romance and All Romance Ebooks best seller (the latter in the "thriller" category and it has a silver star to prove it!) so please consider adding it to your TBR pile. Or your Kindle. Or Nook . . . that works, too. ;c)

Thank you for having me, Zee!  Let's order another round of drinks and, hey, tell that waiter guy to stay out of my sun. J

Hmm, you're right - that waiter bloke might look like a buff Sam Worthington, but he's not worth that sun. I'll take him off your hands... *grin*

It's been a total pleasure to have you over, Sarah! You're welcome back anytime - we'll keep the cocktail jug flowing for the occasion. J

Peeps, make it a duty to check out Sarah's books - she's top of my TBR list right now. Join me?

From Mauritius with love,



christine warner said...

How lucky am I? 2 of my fav peeps in one place.....clear me off a lounger and pass me a slush drink too! I'd love nothing better to visit with you both.

Great interview...Sarah you are just too funny and I always enjoying learning more about you.

Congrats on your book. If it's 1/2 as good as Hawthorne, readers are in for a treat :)

Sarah Ballance said...

AW, shucks Christine! You can stand in my sun to say that anytime! *grin* Thank you so much for your lovely comment.

Zee, thanks for having me! It's a gray, rainy day here in my "sunny" coastal spot, so I'm sucking up what's left of your summer like a leech. (I don't actually know how exactly leeches suck, but when it comes to scuking analogies, that one keeps it clean. LMAO.)

Zee Monodee said...

Lol Christine! Come on over, girl *ask the Sam Worthington-clone cabana boy to serve you a slushy cocktail* :)

Zee Monodee said...

That's funny, Sarah - and clean too, of course, lol! Wish I could send some sun your way, it's blazing with a vengeance today! XOXO

Emma Paul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emma Paul said...

LOL! What a fun interview. Congrats on the release of Unforgiven, it sounds so intriguing....I'll have to get a copy and find out what happens between Cage and Riley....

Karen C said...

Loved the interview, Sarah & Zee! Christine, save me a spot so I can join the conversation (and liquid refreshment, too!).

My introduction to Sarah's writing was Hawthorne. I was floored with the story and didn't see the ending coming at all. I became an immediate fan and have every one of your books and have read them twice - in anticipation of the looong awaited Tide of Lies! ;o)

Sarah Ballance said...

Emma, thank you so very much for saying that! ;c) I'm glad the story has your interest. If you get a chance to read it, please let me know what you think!

Karen, you're INCREDIBLE. I can't believe you've read them more than once! LOL. I think that officially makes you my biggest fan. ;c) Thank you!

Ladies, drinks all around! *grin*

Zee Monodee said...

Hmm, drinks all around... :) Might have to bring in more cabana boys...

Thanks Emma & Karen for dropping by. Sarah's got amazing talent - it's no wonder she is winning fans at the drop of a hat *grin*


Sarah Ballance said...

Zee, you angel! Thank you so much. :c)

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