Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Interview with Author Sarah Kades

Great cover, Sarah!
Sarah, thank you for joining me today to talk about your writing and your newly re-released novella, Claiming Love.  (Now available at Amazon)


To celebrate Sarah's release, we'll be giving away a copy of Claiming Love to a randomly selected commenter.  Leave a comment on Wednesday or Thursday to be eligible.  The draw will be held on October 12, 2012!  Check back Friday to see who won! The winner's name will be posted on this blog.


First, Sarah, tell me a bit about yourself.

Hi Lorraine, thanks for having me! A bit about myself; I was born and raised in the U.S. When in university I fell core-rocking, no-holds-bar in love with a Canadian. We’ve lived all over central and western Canada for both school and archaeology. Had a blast, and have now settled in Calgary.

Sounds like a whirlwind!  Welcome to Calgary!  When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always been a voracious reader, and used to create stories in my head when I was a kid, but didn’t really think anything of it. Four years ago I was talking on the phone with an author friend who was telling me about a series idea she had. For the next two months a story started kicking around in my head. She told me to go for it, to try writing it. She’s so awesome. So I did and the story was accepted. I realized I loved writing. . . and that I had a lot more to learn! But that experience started my love affair and active participation in storytelling.

What an exciting experience!  Congratulations on your quick success. So, tell me about your process - is there a particular food or drink you keep handy when writing or editing?

Water. Always water. Sometimes I’ll have a coffee, too. Once in awhile a beer, but water is the staple. I never eat when I write. I’ve tried, but I realized I had just consumed whatever it was and had no conscious recollection of it.

LOL - so that's what happens when I find crumbs on my desk.  

Since you are a writer, I'm guessing you are also an avid reader.  What is your favorite book?  What do you love about it?

I have so many books and authors I adore! I enjoy several sub-genres; contemporary, paranormal, historical, western. The ones I tend to consistently re-read the most, though, are my favorite historical and western ones. “Ransom” and “Honor’s Splendour” by Julie Garwood, and “Savage Thunder” by Johanna Lindsay are quite dog-eared.

Anything by Elizabeth Lowell, historical or contemporary, are good for a re-read. In the last couple years I found Christie Craig, Lori Foster and Sabrina Jeffries. Three completely different styles, but I dig them. I need characters I would want to hang out with; witty dialogue, smart women, and alpha males. And of course the story has to move me.

Hmmm... I haven't read some of those.  I'll have to track them down.  Now, let’s talk about your novella, Claiming Love.  Tell me about it.

The story is set in the present day and is about a 1000 year old ex warrior, current angel-in-training who doesn’t believe in love and thinks people are largely assholes, himself included. Gaia and ArchAngel Michael are his handlers and assign him to an archaeologist who asked for divine help to release her fear of flying. As an afterthought she also requested to meet the perfect man for her. The two find love a powerful healer, but did it come too late?

It was a blast to write. I realized just how characters take on their own life and let the author know what they are going to do next, how the story is going to go. That was an interesting learning experience. I had heard other authors say similar things, but it is pretty cool to experience it.

That's happening to me right now - *sigh* - obstinate characters

So, what inspired you to write this story? 

The author friend I mentioned above had the idea for several authors to look at the same picture and write a story about it. She described the photo over the phone to me and the story that started kicking around in my head was from her description. After all four novellas were released, I actually saw the photo. I would have written a completely different story had I seen the photo first hand.

I choose angels because the theme was a winged dude and I have always been fascinated with those helpful, loving, divine beings that pre-date religion. I wanted to write a love story and it seemed including a winged dude would naturally be an angel-ish being. The rest of the story just flowed out, it was pretty cool.

Sounds like a fun writing exercise.  I haven't read too many books with angels - and I have to say he's a very sexy angel! 

I've never read another romance set in the Alberta oil sands either.  I find your setting very intriguing.  Why did you choose that location?

I’ve done a lot of archaeology field work in the Oil Sands and it is a remarkable landscape. The Oil Sands, or Tar Sands, are an incredibly contentious place, but when you focus on the land itself, besides being gorgeous boreal forest and muskeg, there is an energy about it that defies normal comprehension. It is straight-up magical there. A perfect setting for the magic of two people falling in love.

Archaeology field work must be fascinating. What is the most exciting thing you’ve discovered in the field? 

These were in Manitoba, but a projectile point (arrowhead) embedded in a bison rib kicked up the heart rate; the “smoking gun” so to speak. An arguably 6000-8000 year old knife made me cry in a good way. And anytime I found pottery that had the fingerprints or fingernail impression of the person who made it felt like a collective hug from the universe. Archaeology taught me we are all connected.

That is awesome.  I was on a dig (only once, mind you), and found pottery.  It was humbling and exciting.  

Coming back to your novella, what is your favorite line in (or excerpt from) Claiming Love? 

This line was a favorite of a reader:
“Passengers were not supposed to go licking their pilots midair, and she was going to have one hell of a time keeping her tongue and hands to herself.”

There is another one I want to share. You know when it feels more like you are channeling lines than writing them? That was this one. It quite clearly came straight from Bodin, in reference to Elle:
“Bodin felt like a moon or more appropriately a hapless piece of space debris pulled into the orbit of a bright star, much bigger, stronger, and way more exciting than he was.”

I love that one of your readers contacted you to let you know which line they enjoyed. 

Okay, on a completely different note, what is your favorite wild animal?  (This question was inspired by the wilderness locations in your story.)

Like books, there are a lot of animals I resonate with, but I’ll share a particularly special  animal sighting story. I had a very brief archaeology survey in Nunavut (northern territory in Canada). It was the first time I had the opportunity to work on the tundra and it was incredible. The vegetation and landscape were absolutely stunning; I had no idea fall on the tundra was so vibrant!

But I really wanted to see caribou. I’ve always thought they were pretty cool animals. We completed the survey and although we saw caribou sheds (antlers on the ground), tracks and scat, no caribou. I will admit I was disappointed as I was sitting in the wee 6-seater plane on the “runway” to take us back to Yellowknife, the engine loud, the small plane vibrating. But I looked out my window and thanked the landscape for the opportunity and that even though I didn’t see caribou, the place, and my experience, was perfect. At that second, I saw a small herd of caribou run along a ridge adjacent to the “runway”. I remember thinking they looked like a ribbon dancing, their movements were so fluid, so graceful and co-ordinated. We took off within seconds and I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world. I will always remember the experience.

I've always wanted to go to the territories.  I envy you!  :) 

Since you are one of my lovely critique partners, I have inside news: I know you are working on another book.  Is there anything you’d like to share with your readers about your latest project?

This one is a novel, also set in the Oil Sands, but it is a contemporary, not a paranormal. It does focus on how together, people can heal and learn to love and trust. I love those themes. Often we have a lot of baggage we choose to keep hanging on to, I like to write stories that inspire us to set it down and let it go. And if the stories have incredibly gorgeous men in them, all the better!

Incredibly gorgeous men - Yes!  More! 

You’ve published with a publisher and now you’ve just self-published, do you have any tips for other writers about both processes?

Of course, regardless of how you publish, the number one tip; write a great story well.

My first publisher gave me the boost that someone else valued my work. I had never tried writing and did not know if I had a clue or not. So that part at my start helped me a great deal. A tip I was told before I submitted was to have a promo plan to include in the submission. That felt weird, creating an online author presence before I had anything out. Get past those nerves and jump in. And of course, follow submission guidelines.

Now with indie publishing, there is an incredibly freedom to it, and a huge frontier  of possibility to explore. Some indie writers, just like some indie musicians, are creating some seriously awesome works and they are doing it on their own terms. It is exciting and inspiring. After you’ve written a great story well, with indie publishing, just like with a publisher, you need a great editor, a rocking cover, formatting for the various distributors, and a solid promo plan. Only it is all up to you to bring it all together, and tweak as you see fit.

Through it all, there is also that staight-forward direction; Read. Keep reading. Then read some more. This was one bit of wisdom I heard again and again at conferences, festivals and workshops. It is true; reading helps your writing. I also joined two local writing groups, as well as a critique group, and my writing has grown exponentially. Let yourself grow as a writer. Let every story you put out be your new favorite.

Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know?

Sarah Kades, Author
I love writing, playing outside, and hanging out with great friends. Horseback riding and helicopters make me smile. Oceans and mountains move me. And if I could tell the world something it would be; be gentle with yourself and others, feel love, share it, repeat.

***You can buy Claiming Love here.***

If you want to drop Sarah a line, you can find her at:

Twitter: @SarahKades

Goodreads: Goodreads Author Page




Michael quickly rapped his knuckles on the oak door and entered the lush suite. Gaia was seated crossed legged on the plush green couch hunched over an ethereal laptop, frowning. She glanced up when he entered and shot him a quick smile, casting the already bright room into a radiating glow.

“Tell me good news,” she said in greeting.

“The sun came up this morning.”

“I know that.” Gaia rolled her eyes good-natured.

Michael shrugged. “Not a lot of good news out there.”

“I know that too,” the Goddess answered glumly.

He tried again. “Bodin’s finally coming along, that’s something.”

Gaia perked up at the archangel’s words. She moved the laptop aside and directed her full attention to the Archangel.

“He didn’t scare anyone, try to maim anyone or resort to any physical destruction on his last assignment.” Michael continued, “He did swear, threaten, and was his usual pain-in-the-ass self, though.”

She frowned again. “For the most part, the Changeling Program has been a success. Bodin’s an outlier, that’s for sure. I doubt he’ll ever claim his wings.”

“Outlier, that’s a nice way to put it. Yeah, angels don’t tend to try and browbeat people, bad for the whole free will thing.” Michael saw Gaia smile at his uncharacteristic description. He was rarely sarcastic, but Bodin had a way of bringing it out.

“I’m glad he’s starting to come around though, well, if you can call it coming around. Something special is about to come up,” Gaia said, her voice ringing with anticipation and delight.

Michael raised his eyebrow in question. Gaia just smiled, while she started putting possibilities and doorways in place, her divine face intent and concentrating. He recognized the look but asked anyway. “A hint?”

She shook her head and gave a small smile, but said nothing as she maintained her concentration and continued her divine aligning. Michael shrugged, unsurprised. Gaia was not in the habit of talking about that aspect of her work. Still, he wondered. As head of the Angel Realm, he was responsible for, and cared about, all the categories of angels. That included the gruff, reluctant Changeling. Although a pain in the butt, Bodin had really grown on him. He was curious what Gaia had in mind and wondered if Bodin would take the latest opportunity that was presented.


Suzanne Stengl said...

Wow! Love your cover Sarah! and I love that line about feeling a collective hug from the universe. Really enjoyed this interview about the Great North. Have you on my TBR list!

Deb Smith said...

Great questions-out of the usual-and as a result, great answers from Sarah to give a sense of her style and self. Looking forward to reading the book and more about the northern Alberta landscape!

Anonymous said...

Great interview, ladies, and I agree that cover is absolutely stunning. I've always been fascinated by archeology, maybe because it relates to the past and history which I love. What an interesting background you have, Sarah, and the book sounds like an awesome read. TBR pile for sure! :)

Roxy Boroughs said...

See that lovely photo of Sarah? Her smile lights up a room. Such a sweetheart. Congrats on your book.

Mary Magdeline said...

Thanks Lorraine and thanks Sarah. I have discovered a new author. I absolutely love your settings. Your angel story sounds so intriguing. I will get it immediately - with my new Kindle that maybe is a mistake to buy. Thanks Lorraine for giving us such a wonderful interview.

Sarah Kades said...

Thanks Suzanne!! Fantasia Frog Designs totally rocked the cover! Glad you enjoyed the interview, Lorraine asked awesome questions!! Delighted to be on your TBR list ;)

Sarah Kades said...

Lorraine's awesome, isn't she? Glad you enjoyed the interview and I LOVE writing about the great outdoors. Definitely stay tuned! Happy Day!

Sarah Kades said...

Hi!! Lorraine made the interview a joy!Fantasia Frog Design did a great job on the cover. Glad you like it!
Archaeology has given me so much; great experiences, beautiful memories and lots of inspiration. Hope you love the book, I loved writing it. Happy Day!

Sarah Kades said...

Thanks Roxy! There is a lot to smile about, life is gorgeous adventure. ;) I'm totally scooping another hug next time I see you!
Take care!! Happy Day!

Sarah Kades said...

Hi Mary! Love your name, btw!
One of the joys with writing is you can set the book wherever in the world you like, and share those places with readers.
Indeed, Lorraine did a marvelous job!
Happy reading!!

Anonymous said...

Lorraine, thank you for the super informative interview with Sarah.

Sarah, it was great fun reading all your candid answers. Claiming Love sounds like an adventure to read. Congratulations on your publication.


patonlorraine said...

Congratulations, Suzanne! You've won a copy of CLAIMING LOVE! :) Let me know where you'd like me to send the ebook gift link!

And, thanks for checking out the interview!

patonlorraine said...

Thanks for checking out the interview, Deb! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

patonlorraine said...

Thanks, Mae! Sarah's background is interesting, isn't it? It was fun to brainstorm questions to ask her. :)

patonlorraine said...

Thanks, Roxy, for stopping by and checking out our interview! :)

patonlorraine said...

LOL - Mary - I think I felt the same way about my Kobo when I first got it. It is WAY too easy to buy books (from the couch, from bed, from EVERYWHERE!). ;)

I'm glad you enjoyed our interview and learning more about Sarah!

patonlorraine said...

Thanks, Virginia! The interview was a lot of fun (and I think Sarah agrees). :)

Sarah Kades said...

Thanks Virginia! I had a blast and Lorraine had awesome questions. ;) We meet such incredible people in our writing communities!
Happy Weekend!