Six months after starting their hunt for a serial killer who is still at large, FBI agents Jerry Lee Parker and John Flynn are partners in every sense. But Jerry has serious doubts about their relationship and whether they would even be together if not for the way Flynn changed after touching a mysterious artifact in a museum.
Flynn hates the extraordinary power bestowed on him by the artifact and wants nothing more than to have a normal life again. Jerry fears that without the unusual connection they forged, Flynn will no longer want or need him. Chasing after a similar artifact takes them back to Flynn’s old stomping grounds in Washington D.C., where his newfound abilities uncover long-buried secrets, the kind people would kill to protect. But they aren’t the only ones looking for these powerful relics, and what they discover will threaten their relationship—and their lives.
~ Pride Promotions
1. If you were to describe your e-book/book in only one word, what would it be?
2. What would you say inspired you to write it?
Most of the time my stories stem from a “what if…?” question. What if a vampire wanted to live a normal life? What if an alien race brought gifts of great knowledge and advancements in technology, but it came with a terrible secret price? Or if touching a mysterious artifact accidentally bestowed unexpected powers on you? Unspeakable Words began with just such a premise, and it occurred to me then that someone might be willing to do almost anything to rid themselves of such a ‘gift’. Walk a Mile is the story of what happens to Special Agents John Flynn and Jerry Parker as they try to reverse the effects of the artifact.
3. Have you ever been hit by the infamous “writer’s block”? What did you do to escape it?
Oh, yes! The very first time I tried NaNo, it sent me into the worst case of writer’s block! Which is silly because the daily word count for NaNo is what I manage most of the time when actively working on a story. The problem came in the concept of not going back to do any revisions, just simply write. That is very alien compared to my normal writing style and I simply froze up. I ended up quitting NaNo and working on something fun instead.
A more difficult time to overcome occurred when I was working sixty-plus hours a week, transitioning between jobs while dealing with some health issues. It’s very difficult to find your creative energy under those circumstances and that entire year was pretty much a wash-out when it came to writing. It was one of the factors in my deciding to cut back on my work hours, even if that meant taking a significant pay cut.
4. Your all time favorite book?
Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers
5. What made you pick that one above all others?
I read all the Lord Peter Wimsey novels as a pre-teen. I confess, he seemed like the ideal man to me. Witty, urbane, not only intelligent but clever, with that particular quality of mind that allowed him to run conversational circles around everyone else. It didn’t hurt that he was rich, an aristocrat, and solved murders for fun, either.
In Gaudy Night, however, we come to see the real Peter behind the slick façade. We see the toll that his intelligence and his interference takes on him. It wasn’t until I re-read the series as an adult that I realized that Sayers depicts one of the best examples I’ve ever seen of a healthy adult relationship between a man and a woman. His wooing and winning of mystery writer Harriet Vane is one of the great love stories of all time.
6. What’s the longest time you’ve spent working on a project?
When I am actively working on a story, the average length of time it takes me to finish is somewhere between three to six months. I have one story that has been a work in progress for several years now. It’s about compassion/job burnout, and I think the subject is hitting too close to home for me to complete it just now.
7. Was there ever a time, during your work on the e-book/book, when you felt like giving up? What made you change your mind?
When I wrote Unspeakable Words, I had a three story arc in mind. However, it was my first major story and after it was released, I began to have doubts about the direction I was planning to go. What if it was too ludicrous? What if people didn’t like it or thought it was just plain silly? While Unspeakable Words was on the bestseller list at Dreamspinner Press for over a month and received lovely reviews, there were a few people who seemed disappointed that it wasn’t your traditional straightforward crime drama. I let the lukewarm reaction of a few people shake my confidence and I set the series aside to work on other projects.
I toyed with removing the paranormal element of the series, even though that was really the heart of the story arc. After far too long of spinning my wheels, I woke up one day with the realization that these were my stories and I could write them any darn way I wanted! I think, however, it took becoming a more seasoned writer to come to this conclusion!
8. What does your day-to-day life consist of? What else do you do, aside writing?
By day, I’m a veterinarian. My family consists of horses, dogs, and cats, which keep me busy. Up until recently, I used to compete in the equine sport known as eventing, which is a kind of triathlon event for horse and rider, with three components that must be completed: dressage, cross-country, and stadium jumping. I had to retire my mare from competing, though, and now we mostly trail ride. I love hiking in the national forest with my dog, and I am a bit of an amateur photographer, too. So if you visit my website, you’ll find lots of pictures of animals and landscapes!
9. How do you deal with bad reviews or acid criticism? What would you advise other authors to that effect?
Well, I definitely took such things to heart initially, and I wasn’t even getting bad reviews! In the beginning, however, even a lukewarm review had the ability to make me forget twenty glowing ones. I do think there is a trend these days to leaving particularly nasty reviews, complete with mocking gifs and raspberry blowing. I suspect that people who do this sort of thing get a following, which is why they do it. But oddly enough, the really nasty review has lost all power of affecting me. I think because it is often so over-the-top ridiculous that I can’t take it seriously—not as seriously as I took the ‘yeah, it just didn’t work for me’ kind of feedback.
I used to scour the internet every day looking for reviews. I don’t anymore. I don’t need stellar reviews to validate my work to myself. I love getting them, mind you! And sadly, reviews are closely tied into visibility on Amazon’s website, so they are valuable in terms of increasing the odds of someone else finding your story. The most important thing readers can do for an author they like or a story they love is leave a review. But here’s the thing: when I feel really bad about my own writing, I check out the reviews on my favorite books. I’m frequently astonished that the stories I think are amazing are often given terrible reviews by people who think they are boring or move too slowly! So if some of the best stories of all time are getting panned by readers, then I don’t feel too badly about my own work.
The second thing is this: I’m never going to be on the NYTBS list. I’m not going to make millions doing this. I’m not going to get to quit my day job, or travel the world, or buy my dream home. I love writing, though. I love telling stories and sharing those stories with other people. I love getting emails from people who tell me that reading a book of mine helped make a crappy day a bit better, by taking them out of their lives for a little while by providing some entertainment. I’m going to write no matter what. To stop would be like not breathing. So negative reviews simply have less impact on me.
10. Is this title part of a series? Without giving us spoilers, of course, what can we expect from the next e-books/books in the series?
Yes, Walk a Mile is book two in the Sixth Sense series. I introduced a lot of threads into Unspeakable Words: the mysterious artifact and the powers it bestowed on Flynn, the unsolved murder of his sister, and the Grimm Fairy Tale murders. Flynn and Jerry have to work out their relationship under the stresses of these events, while trying to resolve them—as well as discovering they aren’t the only ones interested in the artifacts. Things go from frying pan to fire as the series progresses, and the boys will have to work hard to get their happy ending!
11. What do you have stored for us in the future? What are you working on/planning on next, aside this title/series?
I always have too many ideas and not enough time to work on them! I want to write sequels to my vampire/shifter story, Crying for the Moon, as well as explore further what happens to Rodney, the philosophical gargoyle from Raincheck. I’m also launching a line of M/F romances under the name of Madison Dean, which will cover everything from sci-fi to paranormal investigation—I’m planning a series set in post-war 1950s, where the main characters must pose as Ward and June Cleaver types by day and fight alien invasions by night. I’m really having fun doing the research on that one! In my fantasy, however, I can quit the day job to write full time. That’s the only way I can finish all the stories clamoring to be told!
1.If you could wish for any one thing, and it would immediately come true, what would you wish for?
That’s easy. That the writing would support me, and I could write full time.
2. Name your favorite fruit.
Strawberries. Preferably dipped in chocolate.
3. Coffee or tea?
Neither. I can’t have caffeine any more. But if I could, I’d drink tea. I love hot tea with milk, just like the Brits take it.
4. Favorite season?
Hands down, autumn. I love the scratchy sound of dead leaves skittering across the sidewalk, and the crisp, clear mornings where every breath is like biting into an apple. I love the smell of wood smoke, and the earthy odor of damp ground underfoot, and the exhilaration with which the dog explodes through the forest. I love when the humidity breaks and the mountains are clearly visible again, and the thin glass-like sheets of ice on the pond, and pumpkin pie, and hot chocolate…oh, just everything!
5. How about fav time of 24 hours?
That’s an interesting question! I’d have to say it varies depending on whether I’m working or not. I’m my most productive writing between 10-12 or 2-4 each day, but on days when I work, my favorite part of the day is after dinner, hanging out on the couch with the BF, either watching television or side by side with our laptops and tablets.
6. Were you a boyscout/girlscout?
Neither. I wanted desperately to be a Girl Scout, but I was ill too much as a child. I stayed home from school and read books. A LOT of books. By the time I was twelve I was reading at a college level. I got a perfect score on the English part of the SATs and GREs. It was the math I almost failed.
7. Favorite food for breakfast?
Welsh rarebit or the equivalent. Make a cheese sauce, pour it over toast, and I am your slave for life.
8. Latest book you’ve bought and read?
I had to laugh here because those two aren’t mutually inclusive, are they? I have a lot of books I’ve bought I haven’t read and a lot of books I’ve read that I haven’t bought recently. I’m currently on a re-reading kick right now, visiting old favorites from the 20s and 30s. But I recently read Trial By Fire by Margarita Gakis, which was truly delightful. I can’t wait for the second book in the series—the main character discovers she can spontaneously start fires with her mind—and the journey this takes her on is both inventive and thrilling!
9. Do you collect things, like stamps, or key chains, or shoes?
Do books count? I used to collect model animals when I was young, and still have boxes of them somewhere.
10. Favorite color, you know you want to tell us!
It’s a toss-up between blue and green. The ocean or the forest.
11. Drama or comedy?
Oh, I like it best when dramas have bright splashes of humor!
12. Have a fav quote or personal motto?
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
~ Calvin Coolidge
13. Cats or dogs?
Both. But if I was forced to choose between the two, I couldn’t imagine a house without a dog. (And lots of cats. And some horses…)
14. Dinner by candlelight or a night out clubbing?
Candlelight all the way! I dance like a dying giraffe. Whereas I am a scintillating conversationalist over dinner.
15-A snapped like a wire stretched beyond its tensile strength. Whipping off his sunglasses, he reached into the pocket of his hoodie and pulled out a glass vial. Holding it up high over his head for everyone to see, he shouted, “Everybody stay where you are!”
People glanced up and turned around in their seats, startled and immediately alarmed. 15-A looked around sharply, making sure that no one was trying to rush him. Several people had started halfway up out of their seats to see what was going on; Jerry knew they were remembering United Flight 93.
15-a moved his hand in a broad semi-circle so that everyone could see the vial tucked in his palm. “I have Sarin!” he announced. “If anyone moves, I break the vial. Someone make that child shut up!”
About the Author & Links:
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.