Before we get into the questions, let me tell you a little bit about our subject...
Sarah and her husband of what he calls “many long, long years” live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they’re asleep. She never dreamed of becoming an author, but as a homeschooling mom, she often jokes she writes fiction because if she wants anyone to listen to her, she has to make them up. (As it turns out, her characters aren’t much better than the kids). When not buried under piles of laundry, she may be found adrift in the Atlantic (preferably on a boat) or seeking that ever-elusive perfect writing spot where not even the kids can find her.
She loves creating unforgettable stories while putting her characters through an unkind amount of torture—a hobby that has nothing to do with living with six children. (Really.) Though she adores nail-biting mystery and edge-of-your-seat thrillers, Sarah writes in many genres including contemporary and ghostly paranormal romance. Her ever-growing roster of releases may be found at http://sarahballance.com.
And now, let's bring out our guest. Ladies and gentlemen please welcome Sarah Ballance!
KW: Hello Sarah, it's great to have you with us today.
SB: I’m so happy to be here, Kate! Thank you so very much for allowing me to share your space for the day. ;c)
KW: You're quite welcome. Now before our audience wanders over to the gift shop, let's get to the questions, shall we? Question 1. What is your favorite book from childhood?
SB: I used to spend hours and hours with Nancy Drew Case Files, and I remember so vividly being determined to stop at the end of each chapter (so I could, you know, sleep) only to find it impossible. But even though I read them over and over, I think my favorite book was Ruffian: Burning from the Start. It’s a true story about a filly who stunned the racing world and changed everyone who knew her. Never have I gotten so emotionally involved with a story, and I sobbed so hard I had to put down the book until I could see again. The author’s ability to connect me with her words is just … well, I still think of that book to this day, though I last read it over 20 years ago.
KW: You are marooned on an island with an animal companion. What kind of animal do you choose, and why?
SB: I guess my husband isn’t animal enough, huh? (Well, he is, but I don’t think that’s what you had in mind, LOL.) I think I’d go with a horse. I’ve loved, been owned by, and have ridden horses most of my life and absolutely nothing is so peaceful and freeing as time spent on horseback. Horses have fussy digestive systems so mine might not be the most practical choice, but let’s go with it anyway. ;c)
KW: When did you realize that you wanted to be a writer?
SB: I SO did not want to be a writer! I was 32 a little over three years ago when a friend suggested I write a book. My first reaction was nope, can’t do it. But that started to bother me. I may not have wanted to be a writer, but I was even more against saying I couldn’t. So I wrote a book with no intention of submitting it. Then my crit partner drove me nuts until I sent it to precisely one publisher. Imagine my surprise when I was offered a contract. Now I have the dubious honor of having my first story ever *out there* (the horror! LOL!) and a fantastic—if unintentional—career as an author.
KW: What was the inspiration for your latest book, Last Call?
SB: The original plot was to be the second book in a series, but I elected to make it a single title. Most of my plotting, then, was in getting rid of the connection between the two stories. In retrospect that shouldn’t have been a big deal, but I had it in my head a certain way for so long, having to switch things up was ridiculously hard, lol.
KW: You and I are going to the movies and it's your turn to choose what we'll see. What kind of movie would you choose?
SB: Something terrifying—either horror or a psychological thriller.
KW: (note to self--never go to the movies with Sarah) If you were given the power to solve one, and only one, of life's minor annoyances, which one would you solve?
SB: You’d never think it minor by the way I blow up sometimes, but I’d love to have clean floors. We have six kids and live on a farm (read: dirt, not concrete) and there’s always dirt tracked through the back door. We don’t wear our shoes in the house (past the mud room, that is), but it ends up everywhere anyway and it DRIVES ME NUTS. I would love to go one day without scrubbing a floor. Just one.
KW: Which are cuter, baby penguins or baby elephants?
SB: Baby penguins. They look more like babies than baby elephants, and I’m a sucker for babies. (You know … before they start walking and tracking dirt through my house).
KW: Do you have a favorite song?
SB: Right now my most-listened tune is “Oh My Highway” by Jason Aldean.
KW: Last Call is being turned into a movie and you get to cast the leads. Who will play Rhys and Nick?
SB: I am so freaking out of tune with Hollywood I don’t even know how to answer this question. Rhys has long blonde hair and Nick looks like the guy on the cover, so if anyone wants to answer this one for me … LOL.
KW: We'll post the cover a little further down so that the readers can make casting suggestions. Tell us about a place you'd love to visit but haven't yet. Can be work/research related or just for fun.
SB: I’d love to go to Scotland or Italy. My husband doesn’t want to fly and I respect that, but he is willing to go via boat. OUR boat. Which is big and made for the ocean, but it’s not transatlantic big. (Rogue waves, anyone?) So I’ll stick with nearby islands and the continental US/CAN, thankyouverymuch. (He has agreed to a cruise overseas, so when we can get away for, oh, three months I’m totally taking him up on that!)
Now for a little excerpt from Sarah's latest:
Grunts erupted nearby, followed by the sound of sneakers scuffling on concrete. Then two shots fired, and all sounds of struggle gave way to profane celebration.
In the same instant, a man fell to the sidewalk in front of Rhys. His eyes, sightless and familiar, bore into her.
She choked a gasp.
A man stepped into her line of sight, his weapon at the ready. Before she could stop herself, she locked eyes with him. Big mistake. The decision threw her into a cloud of emotional shrapnel, the past flying at her in shards. She’d been shot once before.
It hadn’t ended well.
The gunman opened his mouth and formed an ugly grin, his breath coming in visible puffs through yellowed teeth. “Looks like a double header tonight, T,” he said, never taking his gaze off Rhys.
“Whaddya mean?” came the reply. The voice . . . she blinked until the second man shifted into focus.
She knew him. From where? She couldn’t think.
She glanced to the dead man, and her vision wavered. Panic shifted her world into a screen of jarred pixels, the flashback jagged and severe.
“Rhys! Stay with me, Rhys. Do you hear me? Rhys!”
Blood. So much blood.
“Nick.” She touched his face, feeling stubble beneath her fingertips. Then the weight of her arm was too much; as gravity won he slipped away. The world twisted into a sickening spiral until all that was left was his voice, the desperation in his tone bringing warmth to the darkness.
Motion jarred her to the present.
The gunman gestured. “Our witness here is about to have an unfortunate accident.” He raised the weapon, aiming for the kill.
It was a short view down the barrel at point blank range. She expected that.
What she didn’t anticipate was the speed with which he pulled the trigger.
Or how quickly the pain hit.
What the story is about:
In a perilous game of trust, a shocking betrayal deals a dangerous hand.
An accidental witness to a murder-for-hire, ex-cop Rhys Clark becomes the target of ruthless killer—one determined to silence her at any cost. Playing dead seems to be the most likely way to stay alive, but when her protection comes in the form of mega-sexy former adversary Nick Massey, Rhys can think of a few fates worse than death.
Nick Massey may have walked away from his troubles, but he never got past wanting Rhys. Once paired undercover, they’d been nothing but fireworks until a botched assignment ended her career, sending his into a tailspin. Now a mysterious client threatens Nick’s life if he doesn’t keep Rhys safe, but it isn’t until fate takes a critical turn that he realizes the devastating truth: he’s been her greatest threat all along.
Title: LAST CALL
Author: Sarah Ballance
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: For the Muse Publishing, 2013
ISBN 13: 978-0-9889995-0-3
Audio ISBN: N/A
LAST CALL is available from: For the Muse Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords (formats: .mobi, .epub, HTML, PDF, RTF, LRF, PalmDoc, and Plain Text). Click here to add to Goodreads or herefor reviews.
Thank you, Sarah for being such a lovely interview subject. And thank you readers. See you on Sunday.