I am SO excited for today's blog, because my dear friend, and critique partner, Sarah J. Bradley has just released her latest romantic suspense novel, "Fresh Ice"! Having already read this novel, I can tell you that it's got everything one is looking for in a great romance - longing, unrequitted love, suspense, excitement, tragedy, a handsome hero, a lovely heroine, conflict and a villain you don't want to meet up with on the street! If you haven't read anything by Sarah J. Bradley, you must start now! All her novels are available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, and Smashwords.com and its affiliates.
I'm also pleased to tell you that I've known Sarah for many years. She is one of the kindest, wittiest, cleverest, and talented women I know. And I'd like you to know her too! So, without further ado, here is the author interview she recently granted me regarding her new novel, "Fresh Ice"!
|Fresh Ice by Sarah J. Bradley|
1. Congratulations on the new book, "Fresh Ice". Tell us about it! Izzy Marks is recently widowed and finds out that her husband, unbeknownst to her, has bankrupted the family. With nothing to hold her in Wisconsin, she moves to Nashville where her daughter goes to college, and where Izzy grew up as a notaionally ranked pairs' figure skater. There she meets former NHL bad boy, Quinn Murray. Quinn's got a raft of issues all his own, but he's been in love with Izzy since the first day he saw her skate on television, and he's determined to rebuild his reputation so he's good enough for her.
2. What inspired your story? First it was my critique partner, Linda Schmalz. Hey, that's you! I had a completely different storyline in mind for this book, but after reading the first few chapters, as you probably recall, you hated everything except the names of the main characters. Then along comes my cousin, Jill. After reading my first novel, "Dream in Color," Jill said she liked the rock and roller romance, but she felt, with my love of hockey, that I should write a romance involving a hockey player. She even went so far as to connect me with her very good friend and NHL superstar, Jeremy Roenick. That phone call changed the course of my book, and literally built Quinn Murray's character. Writing Izzy was not as easy, and again I have you, Linda, to thank for her. We were walking your dog one night during the last winter Olympics and I was bemoaning the fact that Izzy bored me. "If she could be something interesting, like a figure skater..." I said. "So make her a figure skater," you said. And thus, the book was reborn.
3. This is your third romantic suspense novel. What draws you to this genre? Well I'm all about the tall, dark, and damaged heroes! I also grew up loving TV shows where people were constantly being rescued, and I think that has a lot to do with how I write. I also believe that everyone is connected in some way through our pasts, and that we wind up paying for past sins one way or another. My second novel, "Lies in Chance" was all about how our past connects us in a web. I sort of echo that theme, albeit a bit more obviously, with Fresh Ice. Throw in broken hearts, and evil villains, and I'm hooked. Since I like to write the type of stories I like to read or watch, I guess I'm hooked on the romantic suspense.
4. What is your writing process like? It's a mess. I would not recommend anyone take my approach to writing at all, ever. :) I work full time and have a side business on weekends, so I write by inspiration, when I have time. And I write like some people put together puzzles: I write scenes and then figure out where they all go as I go along. I depend heavily on my critique partners, who definitely have a challenge keeping my character continuity complete. (Say that three times fast!) Oh, and I get inspired by random songs, so the first thing I have to start before I get serious about writing, is a soundtrack, and that's something that builds as the story builds. I was adding songs to the soundtrack for "Fresh Ice" as I was writing the words "the end." But thank goodness for my iTunes account because every song I added helped me sort out a character one way or another. In fact, I have The New Minstrel Revue to thank for most of the book because their song "Thank you for Asking" was vital for both Quinn and for my other main male character, Collier. I should also thank the band "Toto" for their music which made every skating scene sing.
5. Do you get writer's block, and if so,how do you over come writer's block? I don't think of it as writer's block. I think of it as days I write and days I don't feel inspired. Again, if you are writing, do not write like I do! To over come a lack of inspiration, I play the songs on the soundtrack over and over, and I try and watch movies or TV shows where there's peril and a good looking male lead who has a checkered past. I watch a lot of "JAG" reruns. (Physically speaking, David James Elliot IS Quinn Murray.) Also, if I'm really not inspired, I crack open a bottle of pinot noir, and just start writing. I may toss everything out the next day, but I usually find something in there worth keeping.
6. If your novel were made into a movie, who would you cast in the roles? THAT would be easy! David James Elliott for Quinn. Kari Turner (also of JAG) for Izzy. Kevin James (King of Queens) for Benny. And I see Russell Crowe , for reasons all my own and because Collier is getting his own book at some point, for the role of Collier James. As for my villain, the red headed Serena, I see in my head who I always see in my head for my villains, the brilliant soap actress Elizabeth Keifer, (Blake Marler from "Guiding Light.") In her prime she was the very best at being beautiful and oh so bad. So we'd have to find someone like her to play pretty much all my lethal beauties.
7. What songs would be on the movie soundtrack? Besides "Thank you For Asking" and "Won't hold you Back" I have to add another Toto song, "Stop Loving you" Night Ranger's "Good bye" Enya's "Last Time by Moonlight" and "Stars and Midnight Blue." James Durbin's "Deeper" And Rick Springfield's version of "Broken Wings." (My apologies to Mr. Mister, but Rick's voice has a more broken quality to it.) Rick would also have "Blue Rose" and "Free" on the soundtrack. Oh, and of COURSE TOFOG would have "Other ways of Speaking" and "Inside her Eyes." So there's all that! :)
8. What do you like to read? My husband has been really good at finding great books for me to read. Currently I'm reading J.K. Rowling's "A Casual Vacancy" and loving it. I love anything Phillipa Gregory and Andrianna Trigiani put out. Oh, and I have this new author who's a special favorite...Linda Schmalz. :) Her first novel, "A Lonely Sky" is breathtaking. (Interviewer's note: Thank you!)
9. Any advice for new writers starting out? Keep writing. Write, write, and write some more. Have critique partners you trust. You don't even have to meet them ever, although it doesn't hurt. But have critique partners. Enter a couple contests, get feedback there. Get into a writing class, most tech schools or junior colleges offer them. Check your local park and rec department for a writers' group. Talk to writers, drink coffee, and talk to more writers. But you must keep writing.
10. What is the best writing advice you ever received? What is the worst? The best came from Author J. A. Konrath. He spoke at a conference and it was the first time I'd ever heard an established author talk about the joys and sense of e-publishing. Then I got to sit next to him at a book signing at that same conference. It was a gift because it was like my own private tutoring session.
The worst advice? "write what you know." Oh sure, if you're starting out, you probably shouldn't write a 900 page opus on World War I, unless, of course, you are a World War I scholar. And in all my books there's a lot of me, and my real life. But "Fresh Ice" is a huge step for me because there's less of me in this book than in my two previous, and I think this is my strongest story yet. I think if authors only write what they know, we'd have far fewer dramatic romances and a lot more stories about picking up kids and taking them to soccer practice. Reading is an escape. Writing should be also.
11. What part of the writing process do you find easy, and what part do you find difficult? Starting something new is hard. That completely blank screen is scary. The writing itself is easy and fun, even though I grumble sometimes because my characters aren't behaving. Editing is not so much fun, especially that final line edit when you're not really reading, you're just dotting i's and crossing t's.
12. Panster or planner? Pantster. Now and forever.
13. What can we expect next from author Sarah Bradley? 2013 is going to be the year of Elsie W. I've been promising friends and Sunday School students that I'd write my stories about a former co worker of mine. I have enough material for three books and that's my project for 2013. It's going to be a big departure because 1) It'll be nonfiction, 2) It'll be funny and 3) It'll be under a different name. (I have to protect the innocent on this one.)
14. And in the spirit of the holiday, what is your favorite Christmas song? Carol of the Bells. Any version of that song. It so embodies the holidays as we know them. A slow, peaceful start, the way we all intend the holidays to be. By the end, it's frantic and wild, like most of our holidays turn out.
15. Any last words? Don't buy the hype buy the story. Read independent authors. Often the stories are fresher, because publishing houses don't publish what they think they can't sell and they don't want something new, they want something that they know will sell. Which is why we still have a million vampire stories coming out. And if you do read a book that is published by a small press or published independently, please leave a positive review. New authors and e-authors have no advertising budget. All they have is word of mouth.
Thank you, Sarah! And now folks, here's where you can easily access and buy Sarah's book!