Today, I’m happy to welcome Sara Walter Ellwood to my blog during her Second Honeymoon Book Tour. Sara is one of my sister authors with Kensington Books/ Lyrical Press imprint. She’s dropped by for a friendly Q&A interview and has an awesome giveaway going on! So grab some virtual coffee or tea, sit back and enjoy! And before you leave, don’t forget to sign up for Sara’s giveaway (details at bottom).
Sara, please tell us a bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing.
I live in an area South Central Pennsylvania that has the best of both worlds. I live about half-way between the state capitol of Harrisburg, which is a decent sized city, and Gettysburg. There are small towns that surround the entire area, but between those towns and housing developments are tons of dairy farms and corn fields. I grew up on a small farm west of where I live now. Because life on the farm wasn’t very exciting, I wrote my first novel in 11th grade as a journaling exercise I had to do in school.
I’ve started many novels over the course of the next 20 years, but never finished any of them. Then I got interested in Star Wars fan fiction and wrote about 40 stories (both novels and short stories). In 2008, I decided to try my hand at something publishable and wrote A Hunter’s Angel which was published in 2012 by The Wild Rose Press. The other four books that I’d written in the years after 2008 were quickly acquired by publishers in the following year.
That’s fantastic! And as a Central Pennsylvania native myself, I’m always pleased to welcome another Keystoner. Are you a draft writer or someone who invests a lot of time in editing and polishing as you write? Why does your method work best for you?
Oh, to my eternal frustration I polish as I go. I often can’t move on until what I’ve already written is perfect. It slows me down and makes me crazy, but I don’t know how to even write “fast” where I just get ideas down and not worry about editing. The one time I tried this it paralyzed me. I couldn’t write a thing! I just can’t write like that… So even though my internal editor makes me positively nuts at times, I don’t know how to write without it.
I completely understand that. With the exception of trying NaNoWriMo last year, I am a polish-as-I-go-writer and, like you, can’t move forward until I have my existing material as close to perfect as it can be. Obviously, that method works for you, given how prolific you are! You actually brought three books to talk about today, so how about sharing the first three sentences from each?
From Gambling On A Secret:
“You’re twenty minutes late, Mr. Quinn. It wouldn’t hurt to show a little punctuality if you wanted a job.” Charli Monroe stopped at the gate in the broken picket fence of her newly purchased, broken-down ranch.
From Gambling On A Heart:
“Have either of you seen Bobby?” Tracy Parker all but barked, and immediately lassoed the irritation. She might have a ton to do, but taking her crappy mood out on her brother and father wasn’t fair. “Lucinda needs him next for pictures.”
Seth Kendall parked his Escalade and stared out at the people who had known him all his life. What the hell was he doing here?
With a sigh, he opened the door, and all eyes turned in his direction as he got out.
Great beginnings. They all sound equally intriguing! When you’re not writing (or reading) what do you do to unwind?
I like movies and I have several TV shows that I’m hooked on. I also crochet while I’m watching. Once the weather gets nice, I’m out in my garden. I have a huge country/English garden that my hubby calls “the jungle” and in it I have just under 200 different kinds of plants.
It sounds gorgeous. I’m horrible gardener, but I’ve always wanted to have that English/country look in my yard. I just haven’t found a magic wand that does the trick yet! :)
Do you have any guilty pleasures you’d like to share?
I would have to say it’s TV. If it’s paranormal, science fiction or western/southern themed drama, I’m all over it. Some of my favorite shows are the new Dallas, Nashville, Being Human (I’m so sad that show is ending), The Originals, Bitten, Sleepy Hollow, Falling Skies, Deliverance, Continuum… See? I’m all over the place when it comes to what I like on TV.
LOL! I know a lot of people who follow Being Human. I didn’t realize it was ending. I love Sleepy Hollow and can’t wait for that one to return. Switching topics, do you have any pets? Pets and writers just seem to go together like peas in a pod.
I have a cat. Penny is my writing buddy. If she isn’t on my desk, she’s sitting on the chair beside me looking out the window at the birds that flock in my flower garden in the back.
I love hearing that! My cat used to do the same. I miss him a lot. Speaking of flower gardens, what’s your favorite season?
Late Spring/Early Summer
Favorite type of music?
Country—I like everything from sounds of the old stuff like Patsy Cline and Willy Nelson to the new stuff from Florida-Georgia Line and Taylor Swift.
Favorite ice cream flavor?
Favorite social media platform?
Mountains or beach?
Beach! Especially after the winter we’ve had around here.
I’m sooo with you on that one. Central PA weather has been dreadful (and reluctant to leave) this year! Thanks for visiting my blog, Sara. It was a delight to have you!
If you’d like to know more about Sara Walter Ellwood, connect with her on the following haunts:
Although Sara Walter Ellwood has long ago left the farm for the glamour of the big town, she draws on her experiences growing up on a small hobby farm in West Central Pennsylvania to write her contemporary westerns. She’s been married to her college sweetheart for over 20 years, and they have two teenagers and one very spoiled rescue cat named Penny. She longs to visit the places she writes about and jokes she’s a cowgirl at heart stuck in Pennsylvania suburbia. She also has paranormal romantic suspense published under the pen name Cera duBois.
When Charli bets everything on a secret, will she find the deck stacked against her?
Former runaway-turned heiress Charli Monroe is hiding her sordid past and planning a future in Colton, Texas. Attending the local college for a degree in social work, she intends to raise cattle on her newly purchased ranch, which she plans to open as a home for troubled teens. Only a few glitches—the Victorian mansion is crumbling, the barn needs a roof, and her oilman neighbor wants more than friendship. When she meets Dylan Quinn, Charli is willing to take a chance on the town drunk to help her rebuild the rundown ranch.
Dylan has his demons, too. The former Special Forces commander can’t get past his ex-wife’s betrayal and the botched mission that left him with much more than a bad limp. Certain the greedy oilman next door to Charli wants much more than just her heart, Dylan’s even willing to stop drinking in order to protect her.
When things get dangerous and secrets of the past are revealed, is he only looking out for his new employer, or is she the new start he so desperately needs?
She once lost his heart on a bluff. Will she risk everything to win it back?
Beautician Tracy Quinn spends her days making the women of Colton, Texas beautiful, while living down the nickname of Olive Oyl, given to her by the only man she has ever loved—Zack Cartwright. She spends her nights alone, despite what her ex husband wants their friends and neighbors to think.
Ex-rodeo cowboy. Ex-bad-boy. Ex-Marine. Widower and single dad Sheriff Zack Cartwright can describe his life in exes. One ex in particular reminds him of what’s missing in his workaholic life: Tracy Quinn. For years since she broke his heart, he’s practically made avoiding her a second job. He still wants her, but can never go after her.
When cattle rustlers target her brother’s ranch, Tracy and Zack are stuck working together. Her son could use a positive male role model, and his daughter is wild for a chance at a “substitute” mom. But Tracy’s ex threatens to sue if she lets Zack near her son, and the Colton grapevine is abuzz with rumors about their past relationship. Is it worth the gamble to see if what they have is more than lust?
He’s determined to set things right, no matter the cost.
The last person Abby Crawford wants to face down is country music superstar Seth Kendall. Last time she did, she flat-out lied so he’d go to Nashville without her. She’s never understood why their mutual best friend proposed, but she went with it so her baby wouldn’t be fatherless. Now she’s a divorced mother of a teenager, and secretly Seth’s biggest fan.
Seth is home in McAllister, Texas for his father’s funeral…and a chance to meet the daughter he’s never known. He’s willing to face the music of his own making and admit he’s known about his little girl all along. For fifteen years he’s kept his distance because Abby told him to follow his dreams without her, insisting she didn’t love him. But now he won’t leave until he knows his daughter and she knows him, even if it means facing the woman who broke his heart for good.
Confessing she’s lied about her daughter’s paternity all these years won’t be easy for Abby, especially with her ex blackmailing her to keep the secret. And Seth doesn’t know the hardest truth of all: Every love song he plays on his guitar still plucks her heartstrings.
Follow the Second Honeymoon Blog Tour HERE
Sara is giving away a beautiful treasure box full of goodies:
1. A thumb drive containing Sara’s novella The Birthday Fantasyand her paranormals A Hunter’s Angel and A Hunter’s Blade
2. A signed paperback copy of Carolyn Brown’s Just a Cowboy and His Baby
3. A retractable black ink pen
4. A decorative diary style notebook
5. A mouse pad
6. Sara’s own custom designed jewelry (necklace and earring set)
7. $10 Starbucks gift card and more.
A total prize package valued at $100.
The giveaway ends April 30 and the winner of the Swag Pack will be announced on May 1, 2014. Must be 18 years old or older and a resident of the USA to qualify. Void where prohibited by law. See http://sarawalterellwood.wordpress.com/giveaway-rules/ for complete list of terms and rules.