Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Interview with Sarah Varland and #giveaway!!!

Today we welcome Sarah Varland to my blog. Sarah is graciously offering a copy of her new book Perilous Homecoming to one reader. Be sure to include contact information. 

Welcome, Sarah!  Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

I usually start with characters who intrigue me and the story comes from there—most of the time. This book was a little bit different because it’s the last in a series that I’ve been working on for years. Throughout that series an old house had played a large role in the story and so I wanted the series to wrap up in this book, with the house (which is now a museum) factoring into the story a lot. That influenced the plot of this book to a pretty big degree. 

Can you tell us about your new book?   

When former Treasure Point police officer Kelsey Jackson witnesses a murder while temporarily back in her hometown, the killer is dead set on silencing her. The antiques insurance agent didn't see enough to know who killed the museum's curator…but she plans to find out. And the only person offering to assist in her investigation is Sawyer Hamilton—the last man Kelsey ever thought she'd rely on. The handsome marine biologist was once Kelsey's biggest rival, but now he's determined to make up for the past by protecting her. And when the clues lead to shipwrecks and treasure, Sawyer will risk everything to keep Kelsey out of the hands of modern-day pirates.

What's your key environment that helps you get to writing? Do you have a writer’s nook, corner, getaway? Where do you do your most productive writing?

The only environment I really need in order to be able to write is one that lets me focus for at least thirty minutes at a time. I have author friends who write in little snippets of time—that is not me. I need time to warm up and really lose myself in the storyworld. I can write well on my couch, on the floor with the coffee table as a desk looking at the mountains, at my favorite local coffee shop, at my actual desk…I’m flexible. I almost always have music, though, and a large percentage of the time I also have coffee.

 What are you saying in your book(s) that will encourage Christians today?

I love everything about this question, because part of the fun of Christian fiction to me (both reading it and writing it) is being able to encourage and be encouraged in our own walks with God. As I’ve looked at my books, this one included, the key message I seem to want to get across is that we are supposed to be able to live bravely, without letting fear hinder us. That’s something that I keep having to learn over and over, the idea like the Bible says in 1 John 4:18 that “perfect love casts out fear.” I hope that if other people struggle with fear in any area of life, or just being too content in their status quo and not being brave enough to make changes, that my books will somehow be able to encourage them.

How do you pick names for your characters?

It really depends on the character. Kelsey’s name I picked just because I liked it and it’s a spunky sort of name and Kelsey is that kind of character. Confession—I also think it’s because my character is a redhead and I have a redheaded friend named Kelsey (Ha, if you happen to read this, Kelsey Boote, surprise, I used your name in a book!). Here’s a fun story I don’t think I’ve told on any other blogs—Sawyer, my hero in this book, wasn’t originally named Sawyer. In the original synopsis I submitted to my editor, his name was David Hamilton. There were a couple of problems with this. The first one is that I just couldn’t get into the name David for this guy. It just wasn’t right. The second is that I love the old movie Summer Magic with Haley Mills and I’m pretty sure David Hamilton was the name of one of the men in that movie. So once I realized that it was all I could think about…Anyway, it became apparent that my hero needed a new name so in this case I messaged a friend of mine (fellow author Hillary Manton Lodge—who has a new book coming out in July, everyone make a note of that) and said “Help me!” and she sent me suggestion after suggestion until Sawyer finally came up and I just fell in love with that for this character. It was completely perfect for him.

How important are reviews to you?

Ah, reviews. You know, I’ve heard people say authors shouldn’t read them, and that’s probably smart advice but I’ve never been able to resist. I love having reviews, but since reviews aren’t too important to me when I’m purchasing a book, I try not to get too bent out of shape if people leave reivews saying they didn’t love the book. We are all so different and we go through different times in our lives—what one person loves, another may just not be able to get into at all.

Who are some of your favorite authors? What genre is your favorite? What books have you enjoyed lately?

I love romance and romantic suspense, they’re probably tied for my favorite genre (though I’m honestly in the mood to read romance more often—probably because there’s usually already a running romantic suspense story in my head). Some of my favorites for romance are: Robin Jones Gunn, Kara Isaac, Hillary Manton Lodge, Denise Hunter, Melissa Tagg, Betsy St. Amant, and Becky Wade. For romantic suspense I love Colleen Coble, Dee Henderson, Lynette Eason, and Jaime Jo Wright (her debut romantic suspense, The House on Foster Hill releases in December—if you like romantic suspense, especially with a historical side, preorder it. Trust me.)

Sarah Varland lives with her husband and two sons in Alaska, with a view of the mountains that astounds her every day. She loves reading, writing, hiking, kayaking, and baking. Her first book, Treasure Point Secrets, released in 2014 and is set in coastal Georgia. Her second book, Tundra Threat, also released in 2014 and is set in Alaska. Her next few books will return to the coastal town of Treasure Point, Georgia, and the next releases in June 2016.

Contact: Facebook: facebook.com/sarahvarlandauthor
            Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sarahvarland


carlaganell said...

Sounds like a great read Sarah! I would love to visit Alaska you are so lucky to live there! Maybe oneday. I am definitely putting you on my top of TBR list! Happy Thanksgiving

Deanna Stevens said...

Sounds like a book I'd enjoy.. Enjoyed the interview.
Happy Valentines Day!!
dkstevensne AT outlook )dot)com

Cheryl Baranski said...

An excellent interview. I have never been to Alaska. I have always wanted to visit there. The book sounds like an excellent read.

J Dennis said...

I have never read any of Sarah's book before, so I really enjoyed this post getting to know her better and her books! Glad I stumbled upon a new author to read! jdennis298(at)gmail(dot)com

Jan Hall said...

I make it a point to post reviews of all of the books that I read. It is my way of saying Thank you to the author.

Sally Shupe said...

This sounds like a great book! Thanks for sharing!
sallyshupe1 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

This book sounds great for winter reading. Kelsey and Sawyer sound like an interesting couple. Sawyer is a great name for a male leading character!
Loved the interview and Alaska must be an interesting place to live!
marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com

Marilyn R. said...

Nice interview with Sarah Varland. She's a new author to me, but her book sounds like an intriguing read with suspense, llittle romance and Christian values. Thank yoiu for sharing and the giveaway from Sarah.

lollipops said...

congratulations to MaryAnn!