WATCH OUT: Sarah Ballance Interview
SC: I want to welcome you all to another edition of Watch Out. This week I’m excited to bring you a very special guest author. Please give a warm welcome to Sarah Ballance.
Welcome to Watch Out, Sarah, it is so great to have you here.
Thank you so much for having me, Savannah! I promise to (mostly) behave myself. (No, really, I will.)
SC: For the readers out there who might not know about you or your work, can you please tell them a little about yourself.
I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of six precious children ages 13 and under. (Did I say that precious part with a straight face?) My husband and I have been married for what he calls “many long, long years” (translation: almost 15) and live on the Atlantic coast. We spend as much time boating as we can, preferably without the kids. Ha! LOL. I never wanted to be an author, but now I write because with so many kids around, if I want anyone to listen to me I *have* to make them up.
SC:Can you tell us a little about your current release?
TIDE OF LIES is a romantic suspense with some betrayal and secrets thrown in. My two main characters, Holden and Julia, have history together. She’s got a secret, and he can’t seem to let her go. When past meets present in a ruthless twist, he learns everything is not what it seemed. The fallout is devastating.
SC: The publishing industry is constantly changing; do you think that eBooks will one day make paperback books nonexistent?
I think I was the last known holdout on an e-reader in the entire universe (okay, maybe not) but now even *I* have a Kindle. And print books are still going strong. Snort. No, really, the market will change, but I don’t think print will be obsolete in my lifetime. There are (actual) worlds far varied from what many of us are used to. Not everyone has the latest electronic gadgets, and although I’m learning my Kindle cuddles pretty well late at night (and doesn’t snore as loudly as my husband does next to me), I still prefer having a book in my hands.
SC:What influences the topics, and genre’s that you pick to write a story in?
My primary influences are my plots, my characters, and my husband. My muse has a habit of only giving me half the story and my characters sometimes stare at me in petulant silence, at which point I go to my husband (who doesn’t read romantic anything but is awesome at plotting) and lay it all out. He can fill in the blanks like you wouldn’t believe.
SC: Being an author in an industry that is very competitive and fast paced how to you manage to try to stand out amongst the crowd?
I’m not sure I do, LOL. I blog tour and host authors at my blog—nothing original there—but I do make a real effort to interact with my readers. I respond to all blog comments, which seems like a small thing to do but it seems to make a big difference. The feedback through my blog has been fantastic!
SC: Something readers might be surprised to know about you?
My husband and I had our first five kids on purpose. Then, just as we’d always planned, I had my tubes cut, burned, and tied. Imagine our surprise when, two years later, we found out we were pregnant with baby #6. (My tubes have since been removed entirely.)
SC: When you first started out writing, what was the hardest part for you when it comes to publishing and the whole industry?
I never wanted to write, but I wrote my first book, DOWN IN FLAMES, just to prove to myself I could do it. I didn’t want to get it published, but my crit partner made it clear she wasn’t going to quit nagging until I submitted it, so I did. First book, one query, one publisher. And I got a contract. The hardest part was believing it! LOL.
SC: Your favourite part about being an author?
The readers. As much as I love seeing my name on a book cover, having a reader tell me they’ve connected to my book in some way is just awesome. I’ve met so many wonderful new friends through my writing venture, and I can’t imagine my life without them.
SC: Any interesting writing quirks you might have?
I listen to the same CD over and over and OVER while I write. In fact, I’ve written seven books and am working on more, and I’ve listened to two CDs the entire time, almost without exception. First it was Miranda Lambert’s KEROSENE, and now it’s Jason Aldean’s WIDE OPEN. I swear, I’m like one of Pavlov’s dogs. (Not drooling, so much, but same concept.) As soon as I hear the first note, I’m in the zone.
SC: Every author deals with rejection, do you have any advice on how to handle getting the dreaded rejection letter from a publisher?
Just keep moving. If a rejection pinpoints issues with your submission, learn from these what you can. If not, keep writing, keep learning, and keep submitting. A rejection is just one person’s opinion, and it might not be a reflection on *you* so much as it is them, their tastes, or how recently they acquired a story similar to yours.
SC: What are you currently reading?
I’m finishing up Christine Warner’s SOME LIKE IT IN HANDCUFFS, which is an amazing contemporary romantic suspense. Next I’ll start CALL SIGN: WRECKING CREW by Lynn Hallbrooks and David McCoy, then I’m going to dig into some romantic suspense novels by Sharon Sala that were sent to me by one of my readers.
SC: Being published and seeing everything that goes on in the publishing industry would you get into trying to get published if you had the chance to do it all over again?
I would, and I’d start sooner. Having an outlet other than “Mooooooooom!” freaking rocks, and with six kids the royalties don’t hurt either. *grin*
SC: What do you think sets your stories apart from other authors?
I think it’s my touch of humor (lots of people have said that, so I’m going to repeat it, lol) but I’ve heard a great deal about how quickly readers develop a connection to my characters and how they lose themselves in my stories. I couldn’t ask for a higher assemblage of compliments!
SC: As a published author is there a genre you would really want to be known for?
Romantic suspense. It’s my heart and soul.
SC: Is there anything you’re currently working on that you can give us a taste of?
I don’t have anything excerpt-ready from my WIP, but I can give you a six sentence taste of TIDE OF LIES. Here, Holden has just seen Julia for the first time in ten years. She’s in the hospital following a brutal attack.
He’d never wanted to completely forget the time he spent with Jules—the problem was he couldn’t forget how it ended. And after years of safekeeping in a corner of himself he seldom acknowledged, having those old feelings ripped raw unsettled him. Seeing her bruised, however, was far worse. Protective instincts prowled the fence he’d erected around his heart, the resurfaced feelings looking for a hole through which to charge.
Holden could not—would not—go there again. But his determination made her eyes no less green, the bruises no less real.
What is the best advice you ever got with regards to writing?
While in the middle of a my-self-confidence-sucks pity party, one of my crit partners offered this brilliant tidbit: “Shut up and write.”
SC: Any advice for new writers out there?
Learn to take criticism. Learn from criticism. You’ll be a better writer.
SC: Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
I offer weekly gift card giveaways on my blog for email subscribers (subscribe once, you’re automatically entered every week as long as you remain a subscriber) so I suggest you start with my blog, http://sarahballance.wordpress.com. For all of my other links, guest blogs, and a list of my books, head to my website at http://sarahballance.com. It’s pretty easy to navigate, if I do say so myself. *grin*
Thank you so very much for having me here today! I’m honored you didn’t lock the door when you saw me coming. (And if you want to lock the door when I leave, that’s okay. I won’t hear the snick of the lock over the noise from my kids. I promise. LOL.)