Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Olde City, New Blood Spotlight: Sarah M Ross

This is the first in a four-part series featuring authors who will be attending Olde City, New Blood. Check out the bottom of this post for more info on the con and how you can win free registration! Today, we're featuring Sarah M. Ross with a short interview and an excerpt of one of her books, Awaken.

Sarah's Bio

I started my obsession with reading at an early age, getting in trouble for sneaking BabySitter Club and Nancy Drew books into math class in elementary school. I would read any fiction book I could get my hands on. I knew it was an addiction when instead of grounding me from TV or music, my mom would take away my books as punishment (The Horror!). My love of all things paranormal was inspired by my good friend Laurie, who convinced me that books with vampires, witches, and all things shifter were amazing. After a little reluctance, I gave it a shot with the Sookie Stackhouse books, realized she was right, and the rest was history.

I grew up in Pittsburgh, graduated from The University of Pittsburgh with my degree in English, and taught 8th graders to love reading as much as I do for several years. I will always be a proud member of the Steelers Nation, but I couldn’t take the cold and moved my frozen tush to Florida where I now live with my family and two cats. You will find me now with my trusty Kindle in hand and toes in the sand! 

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YAtopia: If you could have any author (dead or alive) as a mentor, who would you choose?

Sarah: If I could have any author as my mentor, I think I would choose JK Rowling. She is the master of young adult paranormal, and she came from nothing to become one of the most successful people on the planet. I’m sure I could learn oodles from her. 

Since I am also an indie author, I’d also have to pick Amanda Hawking. She gave hope to thousands of indie authors that it was possible to be successful without the backing of a major publisher. I would love to sit and talk with her about how she did it and fill notebooks with advice.

YAtopia: How many books did you write (or start writing) before you wrote the first published one?

Sarah: I have been writing forever. As a kid, I’d make up little plays for my sister and I to perform. When I was in college, I wrote the beginnings of my first novel (a mystery about two siblings who are orphaned and end up on the streets. It never got passed the first few chapters). 

After college, I needed a “real job”, so I became a teacher. But the writing bug never left. I would find myself jotting down lines to use in a book rather than grading papers. (seriously, grading papers is no fun at all!) During my second year as a teacher, I began to seriously write. I started a book that I really liked the idea for, but never followed through with finishing. (I hope to go back to it one day). 

It wasn’t until I started reading paranormal books instead of my murder mysteries that the lightbulb clicked and my brain said, “Oh, now this we can write!”

I sat down to start Awaken, and it just flowed out of me. 

YAtopia: Which one of your characters has the most of you in him/her?

Sarah: I would have to say Lucy from Awaken. In fact, my mom and sister say she fits me to a T and that they hear my voice when they read it. I think authors put a little of themselves in every character, so I’d say there’s a piece of me in everyone. 

YAtopia: Name three books you think everyone should read.

Sarah: Oh, this is hard! There are soo many books out there, I don’t know if I can narrow it down to only three. I’ll pick books in my genre to make this a bit easier. (But if anyone wants a bigger list of recommended books, just contact me and ask. I have TONS I could recommend) 

1) Mortal Obligation by Nichole Chase. This is book one in a trilogy, and the whole idea captivated me from the start. 

2) Significance by Shelly Crane. This is how a love story is done! 

3) A Hidden Fire by Elizabeth Hunter. She layers and weaves plot elements so well, her writing is inspiring!

About Awaken

Lucy Donovan was supposed to have a weekend of fun in the sun, celebrating her upcoming graduation from college. In a split second, everything changed. A drunk driver ended Lucy’s mortal life.

Lucy opens her eyes to a world she never imagined possible and a new destiny: as a Patronus, a guardian of spirits. Adjusting to her new role and abilities while negotiating this confusing realm will test her limits and push her further than she ever dreamed she would go. From wayward spirits who don’t want her help to soul stealing vampires, and even a stuck-up British royal, Lucy must brave them all to save one spirit she can’t bear to lose.

Further complicating her life is an inexplicable yet growing connection she feels to a member of her team, Max, whose mysterious behavior leaves her both confused and intrigued.Waking up dead was just the beginning of her problems. Lucy’s death is about to become the greatest adventure of her life.

Awaken Excerpt

I jogged back from where we came. When I rounded the corner to the entrance of the training complex, I skidded to a stop. Max was leaning against the entrance doors and if I wanted to go inside, I’d have to pass by him. I took a deep breath and squared my shoulders. I would simply walk by. It wouldn’t be painful at all. I tried to convince myself repeatedly while knowing full well I was failing. I marched toward the doors and avoided eye contact, knowing that one look into his perfect blue eyes would be my undoing. I was almost passed him when he reached out and took my arm. I yelped in surprise and stumbled over my feet, sending my body crashing to the ground. Max was instantly at my side trying to help me up. The feel of his warm skin on mine sent a series of goosebumps down my arms and I cursed my body’s betrayal.

“Are you okay Lucy?” He fretted, concern evident in his voice.

“Fine.” I said tersely. I wanted to go inside where it wouldn’t be so painful, but Max still had a hold of my arm and placed his other around my waist to help me up. I tried to break free of his hold but he didn’t allow it.

“I’m fine, you can let go now.” I tried as an attempt to break the physical contact even as my body screamed for me not to leave his side.

“Actually, I was waiting for you. I wanted to talk to you,” he explained. My eyes betrayed my curiosity and longing, and he smiled. “There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you, but haven’t found the right time before now. Can we go somewhere to talk?” he asked politely.I wanted nothing more than to scream yes, but was too fearful of what he had to say. I was convinced he would explain he found another team with someone better than me, and he was leaving forever. Who was I trying to kid? He was way too attractive to like someone as simple and plain as me. His hands were still holding me up and I involuntarily sucked a breath in and greedily swallowed his rich, musky scent–allowing myself to be engulfed in it. It was my undoing. I had no will power to say no as every molecule in my body craved to be near him. I could hear the rational part of my brain begging me to be cautious, but its voice was quiet against the overwhelming roar of satisfaction I received from him touching me.

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Con and Contest Info

Don't miss your chance to meet Sarah at the Olde City, New Blood mini-convention in St. Augustine, FL this coming February 8-10th. Need more of an incentive to come chill out with some awesome authors by the beach?? How about if you win free registration?? That's right... this week we're having a blog-hop-style contest and you could win your way in!!

To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter form, after you answer the blog question in the comments below. All of the featured bloggers for the event will be hosting special guests from Olde City, New Blood this week (September 30th – October 6th) and every post is another chance for you to enter to win. There will be additional chances to enter at some of the featured authors' websites, as well. There will be 3 winners, who will be chosen randomly from all entries, announced on October 7th. (Winners will be responsible for their travel and hotel costs, but their registration fees will be covered by the mini-con!!) For a complete list of blog posts and extra author entries, please see the official contest announcement on the website.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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