This week I'm excited to have Sarah Cass in the "Author Spotlight." She's here to tell us a little about Derailed, her latest release from Secret Cravings Publishing. The book is the second in her "Dominion Falls" series...but more about that in a moment. First, our interview.
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Christina: Welcome, Sarah. Before we talk more about your writing, let's talk about you. Can you tell us a bit about yourself, please?
Sarah: I’m a native of Buffalo, NY and now call myself a reluctant “Hoosier”, as I’ve been in Indiana too long to be able to call myself still a resident of NY. I have been married for nearly 11 years to my husband, and we have three kids. I became a stay-at-home mom after my third child was born, and that’s when I really started working on my writing.
Christina: I'm the sort who likes a lot of peace and quiet when I'm writing, and I doubt that you get much of that in your busy household. Is your family supportive of your writing?
Sarah: My husband and kids support me so much. I wouldn’t be able to do this without them. My husband especially. He’s supported me through thick and thin…it means everything to me.
Christina: I'm intrigued by the cover of your latest release. I'd like to share a little "blurb" and an excerpt from Derailed, if you don't mind.
The sins of a past she can’t remember could destroy a present she’ll never forget.
The crimes of her forgotten past threaten the very life Jane Doe has learned to cherish.
Jane is out of time. With a warrant on her head, a maniac out for her blood, and a secret baby on the way, something has to give.
Without Cole Mitchell's help to find the answers, there may be no hope left.
Cole has nowhere left to hide. He unwittingly let Jane into his heart, and is ready to share the secret of his dark past.
Fate has a way of playing its hand, and tragedy strikes. With the world crumbling around them, it's easy to lose faith. If they can't forgive past sins, they have no hope for the future.
Because the noose waits for no man or woman.
She yelped when he grabbed her wrists and yanked her close. Like a startled deer, she froze in place. Then a small gasp of air and she sagged. “I’m sorry. My head. It’s racing. I don’t know what to think.”
“First off, stop worryin’ about Graham. He ain’t sendin’ no telegram.”
“You don’t know that.”
“Sure I do. After Michael broke his nose, he shut up real fast.” Cole laughed when her jaw dropped. When the amusement started to light up her features, it warmed him all the way to his toes. “Yeah. Graham was running his mouth, and Michael beat on him. He got knocked out cold.”
“Michael?” Through her tears, a laugh escaped. “He’s half Graham’s size. Goodness, he’s barely bigger than I am. How did he do that?”
“He said something about five brothers and a mean older sister.”
She shook her head with a sigh. “That is no guarantee, Cole. He could just be biding his time until he has something to get me on. He doesn’t care for me.”
“Let me worry about Graham.” He tugged her close, shoving the papers from his lap. Once she was settled there, he smirked. “Now ya got some stuff here that you gotta go through, and it’s all reading. That should excite ya.”
“You know what, Cole? I’m not excited. The more I learn about myself, the more trouble I seem to be in. I really am at a point where I don’t care anymore.”
“That don’t sound like the Jane I know.”
She snorted. “No one knows me. Not even me.”
“I’m not in the mood for arguing with you.”
“But arguin’ is what we do second best.”
He grinned at the small twitch he saw at the corner of her mouth. “And much as I’d love to remind ya what we do best…I don’t think you could handle it right now.”
“Besides, if we got ourselves hurt again because of our…best…Daisy would be awful mad.” He chuckled when she turned away as far as she could to hide her smile. “But that ain’t ever stopped me before.”
She let out a small squeal when his hand slipped under her skirt and along her thigh. Swatting at his hand, she playfully beat at his chest when he leaned in to capture her lips.
Her lips were warm and inviting. He hadn’t realized how much he’d missed her touch until she was there. He pulled her close and traced the seam of her lips with his tongue. She opened up to him so fast it took his breath away, and he shifted to lay her down on the floor.
She planted her hands on his chest and pushed him back. “Wait.”
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Christina: Great excerpt, Sarah! I love these characters already. What was the inspiration behind the story?
Sarah: I always say that Cole was the inspiration, that character was the first to show up and refuse to leave. I had to come up with the perfect woman…but more than that, his perfect woman brought along a hell of a story—amnesia, a criminal past, and an insatiable appetite for Cole. Jane Doe made the story sing.
Christina: Both Jane and Cole sound interesting. So, tell us...who is your favorite character from the book, and why?
Sarah: Oooh, that’s a tough call. Of course Cole and Jane, my hero/heroine are at the top of my favorites list. Cole is all Alpha, with such a soft spot for Jane. He’s flawed and makes mistakes, but when it comes down to it, he steps up to the plate and does what’s right. Jane is spunky, smart as a whip, and a beautiful contradiction (i.e. dresses like a schoolmarm, but is totally open with her sexuality...and she has amnesia, but also has an eidetic memory, she remembers everything she reads…everything). Like Cole, she has some deep flaws, but she learns from them like he does, and learns to trust when she’s afraid to do just that. Beyond them, there is Katherine Daugherty. A fiery red-head who once had a scandalous affair with Cole, and who becomes Jane’s best friend. She’s a perfect match for Jane, and she’s not afraid to tell Jane when she’s being stupid.
Christina: We all need friends like that. Sometimes it's difficult to speak up and tell others things they need to hear. I'm curious about one other thing. How did you choose the title for the story?
Sarah: I had a train theme going with the first book in the series, Changing Tracks. Considering all the chaos that happens in this book, Derailed seemed like the perfect title. It kept with the theme and describes what the book is about—everything falling apart.
Christina: It fits perfectly! I know Derailed is part of a series. What can you tell us about the Dominion Falls books? Will there be more?
Sarah: Derailed is a sequel to Changing Tracks, and yes, there will be a third book, and with any luck, a fourth and a fifth, but those will be in 2014. Changing Tracks, Book 1 in the series, introduced us to Jane and Cole and to the town of Dominion Falls. We learned of Jane's amnesia and met a few people from her past. Now, things fall apart in Derailed when Jane's apparently criminal past catches up with her. Unfortunately I can't reveal anything about Book 3 yet -- it's a secret that could ruin the ending of Derailed if I tell it now. J
Christina: I love secrets! No, I won't push for more information right now, but I'll definitely be watching for Book 3. Obviously you enjoy writing suspense, and you're obviously very good at it. But what about other genres? Are there others you enjoy writing?
Sarah: I like most every genre, actually. I have a special place in my heart for historical western romance – but I also write paranormal, urban fantasy, steampunk, and horror. I like to read them all, so I also like to write them all.
Christina: Glad you mentioned historical western romances...LOL. I'm finishing up a project in that genre right now. Writing can be fulfilling, but at times, it's also difficult. For you, Sarah, what's been the hardest thing on your journey as a writer?
Sarah: Having discipline. Far too often I’m distracted by the pretty-shinies everywhere. The interwebs is my weakness and I’m really very addicted. So forcing myself to have discipline and write when I should be writing is tough.
Christina: I hear you! There are so many distractions and temptations all around us, it's not always easy to stay focused. What's been the most enjoyable part of the journey?
Sarah: Having my story out there, having people read it and talk to it as they travel through my world. Begging for book 2 as soon as they finish reading. It’s so rewarding to see the world shared and loved.
Christina: Since Derailed has been out for a week now, you probably already have readers begging for the next book. I know you have a very busy life with a lot going on. How do you manage to balance your writing with all your other responsibilities, if you don't mind me asking?
Sarah: I wouldn’t call it “managing” so much as I would call it “floundering”. I get by most of the time. I try to fit in writing first thing in the AM during the summer, or during the day around chores during the school year. Every night after the family is in bed I work some more. Sometimes on blogging, sometimes on writing. When edits come in, it’s usually a good week of getting in a few hours a day, but no more or I’ll burn out.
Christina: I won't keep you much longer because I'm sure you have lots to do today, but one last question. What aspects of your life -- such as your hobbies or places you've traveled -- have you included in your writing?
Sarah: Until recently, not much. With my historical westerns it’s all been fun and imagination in places I’ve never been in a time I could never visit. In an original draft I had Jane knitting (a hobby of mine), but I took it out in later drafts. It wasn’t necessary.
What I have included in them is homages to my favorite stories or shows from the time period. You’ll find name-references from Dr. Quinn, Deadwood, and Little House scattered throughout the pages of all of my books (not just the historical westerns). It’s like a game of find and seek. J
In the past few months I’ve started a contemporary series that does include places I’ve been and lived. I created a small town outside of Rochester that appears very similar to the town I live in now in shape and size. It’s a lovely little town I’ve named Lake Point, and there is a lot of me and the places I’ve been and who I am in every nook and cranny of those stories and characters. It’s fun to include myself in the story. J
Christina: One of my daughters is a huge "Little House" fan. I'll recommend your books to her, and I'm sure she'll have fun finding little references. She's an avid reader. And...speaking of readers, where can we find Derailed?
Sarah: Derailed is available at Secret Cravings Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance Ebooks, and Bookstrand.
Christina: Thanks so much for dropping by today to visit with me and my friends. I've enjoyed it, Sarah, and here's wishing you much success with Derailed and the future stories of Dominion Falls.
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About Sarah Cass:
Sarah Cass’s world is regularly turned upside down by her three special-needs kids and loving mate, so she breaks genre barriers, dabbling in horror, straight fiction, and urban fantasy. An ADD tendency leaves her with a variety of interests that include singing, dancing, crafting, cooking, and being a photographer. She fights through the struggles of the day, knowing the battles are her crucible and though she may emerge scarred, she’s also stronger. While busy creating worlds and characters as real to her as her own family, she leads an active online life with her blog, Redefining Perfect, which gives a real and sometimes raw glimpse
into her life and art.
into her life and art.