by Jeanne Adams
Although she looks like any soccer mom on the block, I've decided that Kensington Debut author Sarah Parr is actually a secret agent. She manages more in a single day than most manage in a decade... At least at her keyboard...
Traveling through Georgian England, the Mediterranean, Bermuda, Europe, the Caribbean other exotic locations, Sarah spends her mornings bonding with beautiful, strong heroines and dynamic sexy heroes over her morning coffee. She claims that it is to her alone these dazzling men and spirited women whisper their secrets, spinning fantastic tales filled with adventure – and spiced with forbidden sensuality.
We should all be so lucky!
Taking the proverbial pen in hand and armed with only her imagination, Sarah filled her debut book, Renegade, with history, passion, travel, adventure and danger.
Her hero, Jonathan is a passionate soul, but still an honorable Englishman. Somehow he manages to get himself tangled up in slavery, bribery, and an international incident that rumbles all the way up to the Crown.
Jaline, her heroine, an enigma with a beautiful visage and a secretive heart, ends up being both slave, bondservant, fiancee and finally, wife in a tortuous, tempestuous and exceedingly dangerous tale of adventure, love and passion.
When you pick up Renegade, you've picked up a read that will take you away to far off climes and keep you hopping with the twists and turns.
Though many would assume her vast universe of characters and settings to be imaginary, they actually come from experience. Well, not the slavery part! Sarah, like our own KJ and AC, is a well traveled soul. Some of it started in childhood, since her family moved often - Miami, Seattle and Bermuda to name a few. To my delight, I learned that Sarah attended Wake Forest University in my own home state of North Carolina.
(GO Demon Deacons!!)
Hmmm...where was I? Oh, yes. Let's hear from Sarah.
Jeanne: Hi Sarah! We were talking about where you went to school when we met at the Kensington Party at National. I remember that you matriculated with degrees in History and Economics, what kinds of jobs did you get out of college?
Sarah: First, thank you for having me here at Romance Bandits!!
As to the degrees, that's a great question! Wake Forest is a strong liberal arts college. I majored in what I loved without career planning.
Jeanne: Yeah, well, I did the career planning and still didn't end up doing anything remotely akin to what I studied!
Sarah: Exactly! When I graduated, I moved to Miami near my Dad and took a job at Norwegian Cruise Lines. It was a paycheck, but quickly became a passion, unfortunately one that barely covered rent and groceries (Miami is expensive). From there, I became an business analyst for Dun and Bradstreet but found my way back into travel. I joined Carnival Cruise Lines where I became Manager of Sales for Western NY. There I stayed until my son was born and I started my horse farm.
Jeanne: Pretty cool! Another thing I wanted to ask about from Renegade was some of the history. In fact, historical artifacts play a part in Jaline and Jonathon's story, did you draw on your history background for that?
Sarah: Definitely, along with a lot of reading, study, and travel. I also took creative license, imagining artifacts that may have existed based on real facts and places. For example, in beginning of RENEGADE, after Jonathon and Jaline leave Constantinople, they visit a monastery. I based it on the real monasteries of Mt Athos in Greece http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Athos . Since women can’t go ashore, I could only take pictures as we sailed by. Then I used extensive research and visits to other similar communities to create the one in RENEGADE.
Jeanne: I know that, like me, you have two kids, but you also have a small horse farm. How the heck do you write with all that going on?
Sarah: Husband, two kids, three horses, three dogs (Collie, Sheltie, and a new Pomeranian puppy), two house cats and a barn cat. Then real life gets in the way. In December, my father died after a long fight against Muscular Dystrophy.
Jeanne: Oh, Sarah, I'm so sorry to hear this!
Sarah: Yes, thank you. It got wilder: My son broke his arm that month jumping on the playground and needed extra help because of the cast. A few months later it was my daughter’s turn. She crashed her bike into a friends, broke her arm and required surgery. The following month, my stepmother died of metastasized breast cancer. Last month, I had extensive foot surgery – the pins should come out this week.
Jeanne: Oh, my GOODNESS!!
Sarah: Yes, there is a lot going on! To be honest, I am not always sure how I do it. Life can be messy and crazed. I plan, I read books on time management (David Allen is one of my favorites), I am flexible when I need to be, and I try to live in the moment. Even so, I don’t believe that is always or entirely the answer.
If I was to try to encapsulate how I make it happen, it would be that I see myself as lucky and blessed. I am healthy as are my kids and husband. I have many gifts for which I am grateful, including my creativity. My animals teach and share their lives with me. And so for each aspect that seems a stress, I am thankful for the opportunity it presents. There are times I have to step back and catch my breath, but I couldn’t imagine my life any other way.
Jeanne: I know what you mean. Sometimes I despair of ever getting anything done with my crew around, but somehow, we make it happen, right? Like you heroine.
Jaline is something of a Horse Whisperer. I know you ride and do dressage so your knowledge of horsemanship is first hand. So, what kind of horses do you have? Do your kids and husband ride?
Sarah: My horse is Tahoma, a Morgan who is elegant and egotistical, ergo the perfect dressage horse. We trained up to second level, then retired to become trail warriors. Piper is a black and white paint I rescued from being put down at a riding school. Finally, there is Hermione, a tiny Welsh pony who was abandoned by her owner. In addition to my horses, I board three, part of my equine-addiction. I’ve been riding since I was nine months, when I would climb on our Saint Bernard – Winnie the Pooh. My husband and kids take the occasional ride with me, but their loves are elsewhere. My husband is a golfer, my daughter, a runner and my son – karate.
Jeanne: Last but not least, tell us your Call Story. We love those in the Lair almost as much as we love visitors! Tell, tell!?!
Sarah: I have a poor call story. I sold the first two manuscripts I wrote at the first convention I attended (Dallas), to the first editor I met – the one I wanted – Hilary Sares. She called me the day after she received my full. Book one – Renegade came out in June 2009 and the second one I wrote, HIS FOR THE TAKING, is being released in July 2010.
Jeanne: Hey, any call story's a good call story! Pretty fun. So to wrap up, we usually ask our guests a question or two then ask our posters what THEY think! I'm curious....If you found an ancient artifact would you keep it?
Sarah: That's a provacative question! While in college I visited Russia led by our Dean. Some students we met in Moscow gave our group Pro-Stalin, pre-1952 books. While not ancient, they were artifacts that the KGB had ordered destroyed. When we reached the Finish border and our train was boarded. Had the guard not raised his gun yes, we would have kept the books. They were history, whether or not they were politically correct. Another time, I found an arrowhead and turned it over to a park ranger. It may or may not have been old, but they would figure it out and assess. History belongs to everyone because it is a part of all of us.
Jeanne: Wow, that's so cool about the books. I can understand both taking them AND giving them up in that scenario. So, another question: Have you ever had a time in your life where you’ve been afraid to ride after a fall like Jaline?
Sarah: Oh yes, and the fear is very real. The worst part is that when you are afraid, the horse reacts. The horse tenses, you tense thinking the horse will do something, and it only gets worse. I had an excellent riding teacher who took away my saddle and bridle. She made me ride around her in circles (lunged) while she controlled the horse until I relaxed. It took over a month for me to get my seat back, but it worked. Actually, I think it is better now than it was before my fall.
So what about you? If you found an ancient artifact would you keep it?
If you ride, would you ever ride a horse bareback through London to save your hero's life?
Two lucky posters will be chosen at random for a signed copy of Sarah's debut book Renegade, along with a box of Turkish Delights!