I’m delighted to have my fellow Noble Romance author, Sarah Ballance as a guest today. You can visit her website to learn more about her publications and drop by her blog for news, or find her on Twitter or friend and fan her on Facebook.
What inspired RUN TO YOU?
I’d just submitted my first novel (a romance) and really wanted to write a romantic suspense. I had no clue what to write until hubby and I snuck away for what should have been a romantic – or at least pleasant – walk on the beach. But we caught the edge of a heckuva storm and the darkness was bitter and scary. Between the roar of the wind and the crash of the waves, I was terrified someone would sneak up behind me and I’d never hear them. It was there, in the throes of paranoia on an actual “dark and stormy night” that RUN TO YOU was born. I still feel that night in my bones, and readers will get a good dose in the story.
Wow, that’s a very vivid scene! In what genres do you write?
I’ve only written two stories – the first a romance, the second a romantic suspense, and both published with Noble. I’m currently working on a similar pairing, although this time even the romance has suspenseful elements. I love the hint of danger or mystery in a story!
So what started you writing romance?
Not long after I began writing nonfiction for clients in 2008, a friend suggested I give fiction a go. I said no way, I couldn’t do it – it’s too personal. It took a while for my own words to hit me, but when they did, I realized I do NOT like being told I can’t do something (not even by me!) so I went for it. That first story is DOWN IN FLAMES (a June 2010 release from Noble Romance). The rest is history in the making. ;c)
How did you develop your craft?
I haven’t taken any formal steps. In fact, I had no plans of becoming a writer and went for well over a decade without writing a word. I will say, however, the early draft of my first novel was horrendous. I’m pretty sure my crit partner laughed herself to sleep, or at the very least threw virtual darts at me for the 1,001 times she told me not to use “had” or “that” in a single chapter. I do read, though, and I read a LOT.
It’s the best preparation for any writer. What makes you laugh?
It doesn’t take much. ;c) I rarely keep a straight face, but I think if I didn’t manage to find the humor in pretty much anything, I’d go nuts around here. I do love, love, love a book infused with humor. Rosalie Stanton’s RIPPLES THROUGH TIME is so packed with clever quips and one-liners, I actually laughed out loud. Spur a guffaw out of me, and I’m a fan for life.
Do you ever incorporate real people or events into your stories?
I’ve yet to do so intentionally, but personalities I’ve known have definitely crept into my work. Even more interesting, my work has crept into real life. My first novel involves an unexpected pregnancy, and just four days after I subbed it, my husband and I found out we were pregnant … after a tubal. As for RUN TO YOU, my murderer has a specific location and technique. I’ve never known it to happen where I live, but eight days after I finished my edits the EXACT thing happened to a woman on a local beach. Thank goodness she survived!
This seems like a given what with your name (!) but how do you balance writing with the rest of your life?
We are a homeschooling family with six kids 12 and under. I don’t know if I ever really balance it, but writing is something I absolutely have to do. I have “me” hours between 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 a.m. – if you’re dying, hurt, or found a huge wad of cash, we’ll talk. Otherwise, I will glare at you until you go away. I am so, so blessed to be able to spend all of every day with my kids, but I need to recharge, period. And I’m so much happier and nicer when I take my time, so they’re great about giving it. When I write, I smile all the time. ;c)
Wow, that’s a huge responsibility. It’s wonderful that writing provides an outlet for you. What’s the most common mistake people make about you?
They think I’m outgoing! Oh, no, I am SO not outgoing. I’m more than a wallflower … I’m the wallflower looking for the least conspicuous spot on the wall. Thank goodness I can hide behind my computer, but that built-in web cam taunts me a little, LOL.
I think most writers prefer to have their characters do the talking. What ambitions do you have ahead of you?
As a writer, I want to improve with every book. The growth I experienced from my first novel to my second is an incredible source of pride for me – a priceless sense of accomplishment I wouldn’t trade for accolades OR royalty checks. They’re just a nice bonus. ;c)
What’s the best advice you ever received?
I don’t know who originally said this, but “The days are long and the years are short” gets me through every day of my life – in particular the cringe-worthy moments. Some of my best memories are of things I saw with NO sense of humor at the time, like when my toddler son gathered eggs from the hen house and didn’t bother telling me they were in the pockets of his jeans. When I start to lose my patience, those words flash through my mind and put things in perspective. When you know you won’t ever get a moment back, it’s much easier to go with the flow. (And I do mean FLOW … those eggs were so gross!)
Ha ha ha! Oh dear! Well, to turn to pleasanter thoughts, what would be your ideal vacation?
Anywhere I can find peace of mind! If the never-ending “to do” list would disappear and I could manage not to worry about anything for more than five minutes, that’s awesome at any venue! And if I could do it on a boat … BLISS. We live on the coast and spend a lot of time on the water, and I can’t think of anything that relaxes me more.
I find water soothing, too, though I’m more often found on rivers than on coasts. What’s next for you?
I’m working on two novels and not sure which will finish first. One is a romance with a secondary bit of suspense. The other is a guns-a-blazing romantic suspense I’m totally digging right now. I didn’t mean to write it, at least not yet. It swooped in and demanded equal billing, and I have to say it’s a thrilling ride!
Here’s a treat — an excerpt from RUN TO YOU:
“So do you want to be on the top or on the bottom?” Hutch asked, throwing himself on a well-appointed king-sized bed with unreasonable exuberance.
He grinned and pointed to the ceiling. “Upstairs or downstairs master?”
“I’ll take the one downstairs.” She opted for privacy. If she took the room on the main floor, Hutch would drive her crazy with his constant pillaging of the kitchen. And wouldn’t the top half of the house blow away before the bottom? She didn’t ask.
“We could share.” Hutch sprawled over the bed, rumpling the deep blue coverlet in a way that suggested sex even more than his words did. Lovemaking without mercy, slow and lazy, like his grin, wild and out of control, like he did just about everything else. She didn’t need her imagination to ponder the power of his body in bed or the tenderness behind his savagery. Her memory worked just fine.
“Hutch . . . .” She began, but the denial stuck in her throat when he rose from the disheveled bed, facing her. Forcing her to face her past.
He let the silence linger until the storm inside her rivaled the one outside. The moment toiled between them, dangerous and forbidden. Then he grabbed her and jerked her against the hard plane of his chest, taking her mouth in a rough kiss. He broke away with her bottom lip caught between his teeth—a playful nibble with nothing playful about it. Her chest heaved as they exchanged breaths of hot air. Then with agonizing leisure, he dipped his tongue in her mouth and tasted her, tangling his hands in the length of her hair to pull her head back. She gasped when he wedged his muscular thigh between her legs and claimed her open mouth without apology.
And just as quickly as he grabbed her, he released her to face the torrent of her emotions alone. When he stepped away, she knew he took what he wanted with him, and she silently cursed the pieces of her soul she couldn’t seem to recapture.
His big brother may have gotten the girl, but it was Hutch she’d clung to under a veil of darkness and sweat. It was Hutch who tasted her and loved her and writhed with her beneath tangled sheets. And it was Mark’s ring she wore while she clawed at his brother’s back.
Hutch paused in the doorway, his form a deep shadow against the dim light from the hall. He turned to face her with a soft look, a gentle understanding to temper her guilty thoughts. But the words he tossed casually over his shoulder were treacherous. Not because she’d never heard them before, but because the raw look in his eye suggested he believed them.
“It’s not Belinda or anyone else, Mattie. It’s you. You’ve always been the one.”