Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A Gothic Romance for Summer Reading

We are in the heart of summer reading now, and I've finished some very fun and engaging romances and mystery titles and I'm always looking for more. I hope you've found some treasures out there too. Among my favorite books are those with Gothic elements, and that fits the bill for today's guest in My Writing Corner: Sarah Andre, author of the new book, Tall , Dark and Damaged.


  Did you always want to be a writer?


Since 2nd grade, when my teacher showed my parents a story I’d written and said, “She understands what makes up a story and that’s very unusual for this age. She’s going to be a writer.” As a middle child (3 of us in 4 years) I distinctly remember thinking “Ah ha. This makes me different. This makes me special to my parents.”


Where do you get story ideas?


I only know generalities. I knew in the first book I wanted the hero to be a disgraced Olympic skier hiding out in a tiny log cabin in CO (for some reason.) My latest romantic suspense I only knew I wanted to set it in the breathtakingly grand Chicago house my grandparents lived in when I was small. There were places in and around it that frightened me, so the story had to take on a Gothic undertone.


Love those gothics! Tell us about your writing process. Do you plot carefully or wing it?


I am the Supreme Goddess of Pantsers (bow down!) I never know what the next sentence will be, so I’m surprised a LOT! Seriously. Characters, plots, conflict…who’s the villain?? No clue. For example, the page I’m on right now (first chapter, new romantic suspense.) My art restoration hero is walking home from a bar at midnight. Black Escalade screeches up on the curb blocking him. Two FBI agents jump out, guns drawn. One barks, “Get in.” Hero shakes his head and says, “Not this time.” This time?! There was a last time? Why would the FBI want a mild-mannered restoration artist not only once but again?! What’s going to happen in the car? At headquarters? Later in the story? (If anyone has ideas, please email me!) It takes an enormous amount of faith to keep writing the next outlandish sentence, and the next, until the story ends. It’s a faith I still struggle with.


How do you normally come up with characters?


Their personality, depth and flaws appear in the revision process, I’m sorry to say. And it’s typical for my heroine to be a cardboard prop for my hottie alpha hero for many revisions until I can finally flesh her out and spice up their interactions. Although the more years I write, the more I’m constantly with my characters in ‘down’ times. Like swimming laps, I’ll think: “Sean would react like this to his brothers…” Or my husband will often say (in that tone), “Sarah, I’ve told you all this before,” and I’ll know I was in my writer daze and must have nodded, said ‘yep,” and didn’t hear a word. 


Tell us about your latest book and what made you want to write it?


As I mentioned above, it was in honor of my grandparents and their lovely mansion. I have many hidden personal pieces in there, like the hero’s great-grandfather invented Orange Crush. MY great-grandfather invented Orange Crush (and unfortunately sold off the patent right away or I’d be walking the rows of my Tuscan vineyards right now.) Hidden staircases and passageways, names of people in my life, the koi pond and apple orchard out front…it’s all from the seven-year-old inside.


How did you come up with your characters for this book?


I knew I wanted the hero to be the black sheep son of a billionaire (originally written in 2008, before the billionaire craze.) The plot surrounds what happens when he returns home twelve years after being disinherited and kicked out. Let’s just say a grenade going off would have done less damage! And I love movies like The Thomas Crowne Affair or Dan Brown’s novel The DaVinci Code…anything to do with art theft or hidden meanings and clues, so that was the original basis for my heroine’s job. Devon, my hero was SO flawed and emotionally damaged he slowly took over most of the subplots. Therefore, the cool art stuff will be in my next Damaged Heroes book. (The one I’m writing now…the one with the FBI kidnapping my hero….does anybody know why yet?)


What do you like best about your current hero?


How he never gives up. From the second he steps into his childhood home I hurl conflicts, heartbreak, betrayal on an epic scale…and he keeps getting back up and doing what’s right. Although sometimes it takes him awhile!


What about your heroine?


I like her grace. Her ability to juggle multiple disasters and yet take care of her family and employees no matter the cost to her. I like her growth at the end—being able to confront conflict instead of swallowing her anger and slinking away.


How about a blurb?


His Life Changed in a Heartbeat
Disinherited as a teen, Devon Ashby returns home twelve years later as a ruthless CEO, brilliant at negotiating deals, but emotionally stunted. In an instant all he’s struggled to build implodes. Amid the turmoil of saving his company from a hostile takeover, his engagement to a business partner’s high-society daughter hits the rocks. Compounding his troubles, he encounters his high school sweetheart, whose heart he smashed. The vulnerability she awakens leaves him at greater risk than all the crises he faces.


Her Dream Job May Get Her Killed
While restoring art in a billionaire’s private gallery, Hannah Moore is unwittingly drawn into the dysfunctional family’s confidences. When she discovers the rich developer behind her and her sick aunt’s eviction is the family’s black-sheep son—the lover she’s never gotten over—her desire turns to fury. Always one to avoid conflict, Hannah must stand up to Devon and the growing menace of someone who thinks she knows too much.


A Decades-Old Secret Turns Deadly
When a family member is murdered, Devon and Hannah become ensnared in sibling greed, festering jealousy, and a tragic secret that’s divided the family. Amid their reigniting passion they race to expose the killer before they become the next victims in this cat-and-mouse game of survival.


How can readers reach you or find you online?




Thank you for asking! And thank you SO much for the opportunity to be here today, Rebecca. Readers, please get in touch, I love chatting. (Especially if you are good at brainstorming!) JK…no, I’m not. 
Website  Author  FB Page Twitter



Thank you so much for being my guest today. Any comments or questions for Sarah?





34 comments:

  1. I am so buying your next book--that opening scene sounds awesome! Holy cow, Sarah, your process! I'm afraid I'm not that daring to just sit and let the story flow out of my fingertips. I'm not a full-on plotter, but I do need a road map. But my characters come to me the same way as yours, though--over many, many passes over the manuscript.

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    1. And I love your rock star series, Erika! Guess we're doing something right with all the revision passes. :) Thanks for commenting!

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  2. Wow, Sarah, you truly are the Goddess of Pantsers! You must be a great puzzle solver. I work from something very general, too, but usually have the scene generally figured out prior to writing it. I wish my brain could fill in the blanks as well as yours does!

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    1. I'm not sure about solving puzzles, but I ruin every TV show and movie for my husband. :)
      Appreciate the comment, Sheri!

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  3. Aw, this is such a great interview!!! Loved it. And I especially love what your second grade teacher said about you! Can't wait to see read this book!

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    1. It's weird how single memories like that stand out to kids. I'll never forget my excitement. I was going to BE somebody! :) Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment, given your back-to-back releases, Pintip!

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  4. We are soul sisters, Sarah! The surprise and shock is my favorite part about writing. Although, it's slightly terrifying as well:)

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    1. Yes, kind of like a roller coaster ride. Only every day for hours. :)
      Thanks for commenting, Soul Sister!

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  5. Sounds like another winner! Can't wait to read this one!

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    1. I can't fathom that you have time to read anything these days, what with the mega hits you're writing, Julie! Thanks for stopping over-

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  6. Can't wait to read your newest book! And I'm still noodling over why the FBI kidnapped your hero. 😊

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    1. Yes... a little help please! ;)
      (Actually I have the answer now, and it's pretty cool!)
      Thanks so much for commenting, Lena!

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  7. Wow! I can't believe you're a pantser! Your plots are so intricate! LL&L was great, and I'm looking forward to this one.

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    1. It's called a gazillion rewrites and revisions. I'm sure there's a faster way, but even simple plotting curls me into a fetal position. Thanks for stopping by, Jessica!

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  8. What a fascinating story about Orange Crush! I wonder what choices I've made that my kids will one day regret. LOL.
    I loved this book so much and now I can't wait to read the next one in this series. I adore gothics!

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    1. Thanks, Sharon. You're the one who pointed out it had a Gothic overtone!

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  9. I loved your 1st book Sarah and I know I will love this one! Congratulations!

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    1. Thanks so much, Nan! I've gotten quite a few comments that readers like this one better, which I did not expect. I feared the 'sophomore slump.' ;)

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  10. Hi Sarah!

    I swear we are Pantsing Twins. I'm just like you. I have no idea what's going happen in the next sentence and that surprise is part of what makes writing fun for me!

    I started this book, but only got a few pages in before I was slammed with Page Proofs, and then before I even got those done, I got slammed with edits on another book! I'm dying to read this!

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    1. I'm dying to read YOUR books, Abbie. Get back to those edits and keep my novel for a long vacation! ;)

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  11. Love this, Sarah!! I love the parts of yourself you've sprinkled in. Can't wait to read it!

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  12. I cannot even imagine HOW this pantsing thing must work! You might as well be performing magic tricks. Enjoyed reading about your process and your family history, too! Like you, I'm a big believer that the magic happens in revisions. Enjoyed LL&L so much-- looking forward to reading the new one!

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  13. Kudos, Sarah! TDD is such an entertaining story. I was fascinated by the relationship between Devon and his father--so gripping.

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    1. Thanks Krista! It was messy, huh? All I know is that Sean's relationship with his four older brothers (all have done multiple tours of duty) will be like that.
      :(
      Poor Sean.

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  14. Love the post Sarah. Love how your characters and stories surprise you. That happens to me occasionally. But I'm such a plotter that it's a real surprise when my characters go "off script".

    BTW, your cover is GORGEOUS! Can't wait to read TDD. <3

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    1. Thanks, McCall, hope you enjoy it. I look SO forward to reading your novel!

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  15. Sarah, I can't believe your books aren't plotted out - guess that says a lot about your revision process!:) I'm a hybrid...I plot a tiny bit, but the rest is the discovery. By the way, I ADORE brainstorming - much more on other people's work than my own. Just saying. ;) I can't wait to read your latest book!

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    1. YOU DO??? How did I not know that about you before, Shelly?! :)
      Thanks for commenting, and have fun at RWA!~

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  16. Loved your book, Sarah. It was fantastic!

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    1. Cyber bear hug, Diana. Thanks for all you've done to help promote it. :)

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  17. Great interview, Sarah! And I love your new cover!

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    1. Thanks, Asa...you inspired me. In fact I took a LOOOONG look at yours to make sure it wasn't the same guy. :)

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  18. Thank you SO much for hosting me, Rebecca! appreciate your generosity!

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  19. Great interview! Love your inspiration and, yes, I know you're a pantser after all these years. It's a hard way to write but you get there with the complex plots and compelling characters!

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