I'm (Jaime) SUPER STOKED to have Sarah Varland on the blog today!! She's my writing seeeeeeester and a great writer of Love Inspired Romantic Suspense. So meet Sarah and enter to win a copy of her just released novel!
Thank you so much for visiting us today here at the CCC blog! Can you tell us about your latest release and what inspired you to write the story?
I’ve been writing books set in Treasure Point for years and so when I was planning to write this last book in the series there were a lot of thoughts that went into that. I wanted the museum to be opening up—that old house has played a role in every book in the series, some larger or smaller than others, but it’s always been important. I also wanted one of the Hamilton’s, sort of one of the town’s founding families, to be a lead in the story.
Of all your characters in this story, which one did you enjoy writing the most and why?
I really enjoyed Kelsey Jackson, the heroine of the story. She is one of the most-unlike-me characters I’ve written so there was an interesting element to writing her and getting inside her head. She’s much more practical and levelheaded than I am, and braver for sure. At some of the times in the book where I’d have been running she’s just standing there taking it. I’m a big fan of Kelsey. She’s pretty cool.
If you could cast your characters in a Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play them?
Chris Evans and Hilarie Burton. I could picture Hilarie Burton right away, but Chris Evans took me awhile to settle on. An author friend of mine suggested him to me.
How did you decide on the setting/location for this novel?
This is the fourth book in sort of a series set in Treasure Point, Georgia, so for this particular book it was sort of decided already. But I started setting books in this imaginary town after a trip to the beach a few years ago. We were driving through some coastal towns and something about the way the coastal landscape blends with the thick pine trees of south Georgia made me think I could totally set a book there…So I did.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it and why?
Hm. It’s not exactly a subject but I’m not going to kill any dogs, does that count? I’ve read literally one suspense book where I felt the dog dying worked (no spoilers on which book, but it was by Tim Downs), and it amazed me that while I was sad I was okay with it. I’ve read other books and not read another book by that author again because I felt a dog’s death was a poor attempt to make me more scared of the villain. It’s just not my preference.
Moving on from your story, tell us a little about yourself. We’ll help! What literary character is most like you and why?
Oh, I love this question! Like most people, I’m sort of a combination I would say. I look at the world a lot like Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird and relate to people a lot like Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. It’s a bit of an odd combination, I suppose, but that’s how people are right? Odd combinations of different personality types with little twists that make us all unique.
What strange writing habits do you have? Like standing on your head while you write with a pen between your teeth?
Just that one. ;) Hahaha. I think my strangest writing habit is the occasional need to close my eyes.
Okay, yeah, it’s as weird as it sounds isn’t it? Hahaha.
Do you have a writing mentor, or another author who has inspired/encouraged you in some way?
My author friends inspire and encourage me all the time. I’m not sure I have one writing mentor I can thank more than others though.
We talk a lot about faith and how it weaves throughout our fiction, here at the blog. How has your faith affected/or not affected your writing?
My faith affects my writing a lot, and it’s funny, I’m never sure exactly how it will until it’s already affecting it. For example, I can’t write a synopsis and fully articulate the spiritual thread because I don’t know it yet. I might know hints based on my character, but until I figure out what I’m learning and what God is teaching me (which I usually figure out mid-story, like “heyyyy, that’s what I’m learning! What a coincidence ;) ) I’m not sure exactly what my character is learning either. I do think though that faith ends up really woven into my stories, even if it’s more overt in some than others.
Because Jaime has some darker elements to her split-time historical and contemporary romantic suspense coming out this year, she likes to ask weird questions. So, if you were responsible to write your own epitaph for your tombstone, what would it say?
Well, my name. And the dates. Those would be good. Besides that, I don’t know, it’s not something I often ponder. (Jamie knows me and is now laughing at the idea of me trying to find an answer to this.) I could see a Bible verse, probably. How’s that?
Anne is an insatiable romantic with a serious vintage aura in all she writes. Do you have fabulous love story in your family history that you could share with us in a few words? If not, what about your own?
Well, I do know that my family loves food (seriously, our vacations have been known to center around food) and I’m able to better understand the depths of my parents’ love when I remember that when my parents were first meeting, my mom was heading to get breakfast before a scuba diving class they were both participating in (though they didn’t know each other yet. She saw my handsome dad pull up in his Datsun 280ZX and said to herself “no breakfast for me” and went to where he was instead. Maybe not the most romantic start for some people, but giving up breakfast? In my family that’s basically love at first sight.
Erica and Gabrielle both write sweet historical romances. How does romance influence your own writing?
I tell people sometimes I don’t think I could write romance without the suspense (though I love reading it), but you know what else? I don’t think I could write suspense or anything else without romance. I love the chemistry between characters, especially when they’re both good and stubborn and trying to keep from falling in love, and I love watching two characters overcome obstacles to live happily ever after.
We’d love you have you share a snippet from your novel to entice us and hook us! J Please share something below:
Here’s the teaser/snippet in the front of the book:
Brave. That was how Kelsey looked to Sawyer right now.
Sawyer watched her draw in a breath, look behind her again and hurry toward him. When she finally reached his side she stopped.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
She shook her head. Then nodded. “I’m not sure. I’m alive, but…”
“But someone tried to kill you again.”
Whoever this was meant business. Those notes weren’t meant to intimidate, weren’t just bluffs. The killer had told her if she didn’t leave town he’d kill her. Clearly he meant to follow through on his promise.
He glanced around. “You don’t see anyone out there anymore, do you?”
“No, but that doesn’t mean he’s not hiding somewhere. I still don’t know where he came from.”
“Let’s sit, then.” Sawyer said.
Sawyer tried to keep his distance, or at least do the best he could when he was determined not to get farther than a couple of feet from her since she was in danger. But he wasn’t touching her, wasn’t even close.
Until he noticed her hand was shaking. The he reached out and took it in his.
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