The lovely Sarah Madison returns to us today for her THIRD Hat Party Interview! <3 Thank you so much doll for joining us again for another round of zaniness. Please don your new favorite hat and let’s get this party started!
Describe your muse to us!
Oh, I’m a tough nut on this one because I don’t really think I have one. When we talk about muses, it tends to project my inspiration and mental workings to some force outside myself, when I really think the process is more like an archeological dig. We gradually uncover the bones of a story, finding clues to the bigger picture in the underlying strata surrounding them. Or put another way, writing taps into the deep internal well of the subconscious. You never know what you’re going to dredge up!
Many years ago, I thought being a grown-up meant I had to stop being creative. I took that part of me and locked it up tight, thinking I’d never open that door again. One day I discovered the key I’d thought lost for good, and cracked the door. On the other side, I found a garden that had grown over and run wild with neglect. I thought there was no way to get the weeds and thorns under control, but to my surprise, I could make out the bare bones outline of the garden it had once been. It took a lot of work, and a lot of down-on-your-knees-grubbing-in-the-dirt to make things grow again, but it was worth it. J
If you could take a writing vacation, where would you go and what project would you dedicate yourself to?
Oooooh. I would love to go back to the UK and spend more time there. I’d love to see Cornwall, the Lake District, and Yorkshire. I want to see Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, too. I’d write more about the WWII time period, or ‘an American abroad’ story, or maybe a fantasy inspired by Middle Earth. I might even tackle a period mystery like the Lord Peter Wimsey series. Ooooh! I can almost taste it!
What do you think exists at the heart of the universe?
The TARDIS. I’m being completely serious. And inside, are all the pets you’ve ever loved.
Your lives now hang on winning a game of darts. Are you going to survive?
Nope. Not a chance. It would look like I might make it for a while, but in the end, I’m a goner.
What do you think it means to be an author?
I think it means you’re a storyteller. You hear about something in the news, and your brain ponders of the story behind the headlines. You guess the bad guy/murderer in the first five minutes of every show. You’re seldom bored because your daydreams are so fantastic. Even when something awful is happening in your life, this Quiet Observer is taking notes, thinking, “Yeah, I’m so using this in a book one day.”
For 20 years, I kept my authorial self in a deep freeze. But the stories were still there, trying to come out. When I finally opened that freezer again, it was like waking from a coma. I could no more imagine not writing as not breathing.
That’s what it means to be an author. It’s a compulsion. Even if you only have an audience of one, you have to tell the story.
What one word is most beautiful to your ears or eyes?
Home. It is the refuge at the end of the day. It is the place where your loved ones are. It is the bed you wake up in to the sound of rain on the roof, and it is the porch where you fire up the grill on a hot summer’s evening. It is the country you’ve never been to before that speaks to you the moment you step off the plane. It is your books, and your couch, and your favorite mug filled with hot chocolate as you sit in front of the fire. It is being surrounded by everything and everyone that you love most in the world.
Tell us about a time you were brave.
I tend to discount physical acts of bravery because for the most part, they aren’t that hard for me. I once trapped a copperhead in a trash can and waded across a frigid river to get it out of our campsite in order to protect the dogs. I’ve faced down angry bulls and talked my way out more than one dangerous situations. I don’t think of myself as brave though. I just do what needs to be done at the time it needs doing.
There was one time though when I was very much aware of how close to serious injury I was while in the middle of a situation. A client brought in a young male pit bull that they’d found as a stray. I was kneeling beside him, and he was all wiggly and happy; his whole body curling into a “U” as he wagged his tail furiously. Then, without warning, it was as though someone flicked a light switch. The dog put one foot on my knee and another on my stomach and got right up in my face, peeling back his lips to show all his teeth.
Had I moved reactively, he would have taken off my face. Had I shoved him or stood up, or shifted position at all, he would have attacked. The hardest thing I’ve ever done was to sit perfectly still in that moment. As he snarled at me, I said quietly, “Dude, not cool.”
Slowly he got down off of me, grumbling the entire time. His owners sat in horrified silence, mouths open in shock. I confess, it rattled me. Fortunately, I’m very good at reading animals.
How have you changed as a writer since the first time you visited The Hat Party?
I like to think that I’m a little wiser, and a little less sensitive. I know that I’m never going to be a big name and that I’m never going to be able to quit the day job and live off my earnings as an author. I recognize that no one is going to be reading my stories 50 or 100 years from now (my ultimate criteria for being a ‘success’). While I miss the kind of feedback you get as an author of fanfic, I no longer use feedback or reviews as the yardstick by whether I deem a story good or not.
Many of us live kind of crappy lives. I write escapist stories, plain and simple. If I help one person put aside their problems, forget their health issues, take them away from their role as caretaker or otherwise transport them to another world for a few hours, then I consider that I’ve done my job well. It’s why I believe in happy endings. I think more and more these days, we need those HEAs.
Because we all know there is one, what’s the dark side of being a published author?
Sometimes I think about going back to writing fanfic. There’s a lot to be said for the freedom of writing whatever you want, without any pressure or expectations. I also miss the nearly instantaneous feedback and the general predisposition of readers to like your work. What I tend to forget is that feedback is the currency of fandom—it’s the way readers reward the fanfic writer. Because readers pay for original fiction with actual money, they rightly hold the story to a higher standard—and feedback is much more rare and not always inclined to be kind.
And finally, when they send the first dachshund into space, what will his/her awesome astronaut name be?
Lt. Colonel Happy Von Diggsalot
(Raine says: OMG! I love this!)
Book Name: Truth and Consequences
Series: Sixth Sense Bk #3
(Best read as a series)
Release Date: October 14, 2015
Pages or Words: 258 pages
Categories: M/M Romance, Mystery, Paranormal
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
When FBI agent Jerry Lee Parker wakes from a coma after a murderous attack on his life, he has no memory of his immediate past. In the blink of an eye, he has gone from having a nearly photographic memory to recalling nothing of the last six months of his life, including his partner and lover, John Flynn. While Lee tries to reboot his past and reconnect with John, there are events at play around him he doesn’t understand. John is keeping secrets from him, secrets which could get them both killed.
Matters come to a head when Lee is hounded to turn over a mysterious artifact, of which he has no knowledge. The two men wind up in a fight for their lives as they risk everything to keep the powerful relic out of the hands of a ruthless killer. In order to protect those he loves, however, John may be forced to make a deal with the devil.
I knew the moment John walked into the bar. It was like my sonar pinged, my radar lit up—you name it. I heard the door open, and without turning around, I knew it was him because the hair on the back of my neck stood up. Because something in my gut tightened, and my cock lifted in earnest. I watched him in the mirror as he scanned the room, locked in on my presence, and stalked toward me like a panther in a pen full of sheep. Everyone else in the room was aware of him as well. I practically preened when he came up beside me. He took a seat and signaled the bartender, who came over with flattering attention.
Available from Dreamspinner Press
What inspired Truth and Consequences?
I had this crazy idea about an FBI agent that inexplicably gained supernatural abilities and how this would affect his life, both good and bad. From the beginning, I had this huge story arc in mind, realizing it would span over 4-5 stories. It was the first major story I ever sold, and I didn’t really know what to expect. It was on the publisher’s best seller list for over a month, and readers seemed to really like the characters and the story, but I had a few lukewarm reviews too.
Somehow, I let those less-than-stellar reviews shake my confidence in the storyline. I froze up anytime I thought about continuing the series, and worked instead on other stories. I kept thinking I should take out the paranormal element, that I should make my guys simple FBI agents again. One day it hit me—this was my story to tell and no one else could tell it the way I could. Instead of taking out the supernatural bits, I would up the ante, taking it even further down that path. I regret taking so long to write the second installment, but never fear, I’m back on track now.
I don’t let any single review impact me like that anymore. Whenever I get down about a less-than-enthusiastic review, I go look up the reviews for some of my all-time favorite stories. If stories I think are magnificent can be flamed by some readers, that tells me that not everyone is going to love every story, and I’m not going to take it personally. In fact, if the review is particularly harsh, I shake my head at anyone spending that much time and energy to tell me they didn’t like something I wrote.
Is the negative review going to keep me from writing? No. Does it ultimately have any power over me? Well, it might have if I was trying to garner a high rating on various websites in the hope more people would read my stories. But ultimately, the review has no power over me because I’m not writing for fame and fortune. That’s not to say I don’t love enthusiastic reviews! There is nothing that makes my day brighter than to have someone tell me how much they enjoyed something I wrote. It is the crack cocaine that makes us write more, write faster, baby.
But I’m still going to write, even if I don’t get a single review. J
Is there anything special you’d like us to know about it?
For various reasons that will become clear once you read the story, I had to switch to first person POV for Truth and Consequences. I seldom write in first POV, so I was kind of leery at first. Thankfully, Jerry Lee’s voice came through loud and strong here, and I think it works very well for the story.
What are your hopes for this title?
I just hope people read it and enjoy it. That someone looking for a little light entertainment will get sucked into my world for a few hours. I hope it will keep readers turning pages, and that they will hold their breath in the right spots and laugh in others.
Meet the author:
Sarah Madison is a veterinarian with a big dog, an even bigger horse, too many cats, and a very patient boyfriend. She is a terrible cook, and concedes that her life would be easier if Purina made People Chow. She writes because it is cheaper than therapy.
Where to find the author:
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Sarah-Madison-Author/106445646104338
Tour Dates & Stops:
20-Oct: Wicked Faerie's Tales and Reviews, The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat, Emotion in Motion, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves
26-Oct: BFD Book Blog
Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of 'Unspeakable Words' – Book one in the series