Monday, May 5, 2014

Interview with Sarah M. Anderson + Giveaway!

As you know, we've had Sarah on the blog before (guest post 1 and 2), and reviewed her books a few times (ahem: here, here, here, and here). You could say we're fans of her books! :) 

Today Kame and I both asked her nosy questions about Nobody Bodine, the sexy hero of her newest release, NOBODY! It is a long interview, I know, but I hope that you find it as interesting as I did. We get ALL her secrets, trust me! :)

 Plus, I'm giving away an ecopy of the book at the end of this post. 

Enjoy!


WELCOME BACK TO THE BLOG, SARAH! :)

Award-winning author Sarah M. Anderson may live east of the Mississippi River, but her heart lies out west on the Great Plains. With a lifelong love of horses and two history teachers for parents, it wasn’t long before her characters found themselves out in South Dakota among the Lakota Sioux.  She loves to put people from two different worlds into new situations and to see how their backgrounds and cultures take them someplace they never thought they’d go.


When not helping out at school or walking her rescue dogs, Sarah spends her days having conversations with imaginary cowboys and American Indians, all of which is surprisingly well-tolerated by her wonderful husband and son. You can learn more about Sarah at www.sarahmanderson.com.

Where to Find Sarah:



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TheBookQueen: Hi Sarah, welcome back to the blog! Kame and I have both enjoyed your books, and we so loved Nobody!


Please, help yourself to something on the table – I have a variety of drinks (including some wine . . . hey, it's 5 o'clock somewhere!), as well as a batch of brownie bites, still warm from the oven.


Sarah: You’re killing me! I’m on a new Dr. supervised diet where I get none of those yummies. More for you, right?



TBQ: Oh dear -- sorry, hun! 

Let's start out with a simple question – tell us a little bit about yourself.

Sarah: Hi, I’m Sarah and I write books. I like daffodils, sunny days where it’s at least fifty degrees out, and long walks. I’d love to find that special reader to settle down with one of my books . . . No weirdos, please.

Kidding! Although all of that is true, I’m also a happily married mother of one (known online as The Kid). I write modern-day cowboys-and-American-Indians for Harlequin Desire and Superromance, and in addition to Samhain, I’m also self-published. I have eight—count them, 8—books out this year, which is probably why I’m a little slap-happy!



TBQ: Wow -- eight books in one year? How are you NOT curled up in a fetal position somewhere? High five for all the hard work and great books!

Nobody is the third book if your Men of the White Sandy series. Kame and I both loved this book (see our reviews/discussion). Quick, you have one minute to sell the book to the readers – what is it about and why will they love it?

Sarah: Nobody is tall, dark, and handsome—as well as dangerous, scarred and mysterious. He’d take a knife in the gut to protect you. Plus, you’ll never guess what he keeps in his trailer!


TBQ: Hehe -- I know, I know! And trust me, ladies, it is NOT creepy! :) 

In 5 words or less, describe Melinda for us. And let's not forget the tortured Nobody—what's he like?

Sarah: Melinda is: flightly, arty, caring, persistent and sexy, of course! And as for Nobody—well, in addition to the list up above, I’d have to add that he’s quiet, intelligent and brooding. Naturally. He might be slightly paranoid as well, but an extra measure of caution is what keeps him safe.



TBQ: Perhaps just a bit paranoid, yes, but that's okay, I loved him all the more for it! 

Do you have a favorite part from Nobody?

Sarah: Oh, the first kiss gets me every time. Every single time. Nobody isn’t used to trusting people and that means that he holds himself apart from, well, everyone. The decision to give into his desire and kiss Melinda is not one he takes lightly. Plus, for a guy who’s as intimidating and brutal as he can be, he’s just so cute when he’s nervous.



TBQ:  Gah, I loved that scene! 

How did Nobody come into the story? That is, did you see him before you planned book 1, or did he sneak up on you as the story unfolded?

Sarah: Nobody just showed up. That’s how he rolls. I was working on Mystic Cowboy and was looking for a way to throw the heroine, Dr. Madeline Mitchell, off her game on her first day out at the White Sandy Reservation. In walked a hulking man with a gunshot wound in his shoulder. He said nothing while she cleaned the wound and sewed him back up—not even a grunt of pain. Then, before she could do anything else, he just disappeared.

The moment he showed up, I was fascinated by him. Just fascinated. I mean, seriously? What kind of guy gets shot and feels no pain? Why’d he get shot anyway? And why did he disappear? And I knew his name was Nobody.

His last name was a lot more of a challenge—believe it or not, I picked Bodine (this was about five years ago) because I was considering renaming Nobody during the course of his book and wanted a last name that could be broken into a reasonable-sounding two names (Bo Dine). I knew that his mother had always told him that he was a nobody who came from a nobody and would always be a nobody and when I first started thinking of him, I wanted him to be a SOMEBODY. And within the Lakota Sioux culture, there is a tradition of getting a new name when you hit an important milestone or earn it (kind of like us getting our driver’s license). So it made sense at the time.

But the more that man walked out of the shadows, the more his name fit—and the more he fit it. By the time I was able to write his story, I had dropped the plans for Melinda to rechristen him Bo completely. She didn’t need him to change to love him. She loved him as he is, was, and will be—and that is the happy ending Nobody Bodine deserves.

I get a little teary just thinking about it, frankly.



TBQ: You're making ME a tear up a bit! Oh, man, he had a rough life . . . 

Did Nobody reveal all his secrets to you before you started on his book, or did he stay true to his character – quiet, hidden, waiting to strike (er, share)?

Sarah: There was such a lag time between when Nobody first walked into the White Sandy Clinic—I wrote scene that for Mystic Cowboy in 2009—and when I was able to carve out the time to actually write his story, that I basically had everything down pat about him. What did surprise me was when I was revising the book that would become Masked Cowboy. I had wanted to do Nobody’s story then, but I just did not have the time. It’s a good problem to have—four Desires a year!—but I didn’t want to forget about the White Sandy.

So I dug out what would become Masked Cowboy and was looking for ways to build up the story—and damned if Nobody didn’t walk out of the shadows again. I hadn’t planned on him being there, but there he was, nonetheless, once again riding to the rescue. The last we see of him in that book, he’s standing in front of a small, forgotten house where the bad guy has just met an unfortunate end. In my head, Nobody burns the whole thing down, but I’m not sure if that’s how readers saw it because that’s a pretty extreme action that involves destroying evidence. It feels like the right thing for him to do, but it’s not the moral or legal choice. Hence why Nobody is the one to do it. J

I’m curious—what did YOU think he did at the end of Masked Cowboy?



TBQ: I think I intentionally glossed over it in my mind. I knew he'd take care of it, of course he would, but I tried not to think too hard about it. But now that you mention it, yeah, I can easily see him doing that! 

I nearly cried when Nobody opened up to Melinda about his scars. Nobody is, hands down, one of the most tortured heroes I've encountered. How did you handle writing his story without bawling?

Sarah: Short answer: I didn’t. I cried a LOT. Some near-and-dear-to-me people grew up in less than ideal circumstances and although that’s all a long time past, we still had conversations about what it was like to grow up there, and how a kid might develop coping mechanisms to deal with the abuse and how they still deal with it now. When a kid is beaten, it leaves a lot more than just a physical scar. The emotional scars can run deep and they can be ugly.

Nobody is not afraid of his physical scars—he’s proud of them, in a way. They’re a little like war paint for him—because they are so many and so brutal, they intimidate the hell out of his enemies. You physically cannot take him down, no matter how hard you try. The scars have a real value to him.

But he’s terrified that someone—anyone—will realize that, on some emotional level, he’s still a terrified little kid, just trying to make it through tonight by keeping his head down and avoiding triggers. That, more than anything, is why he’s invisible. Because he’s avoiding those triggers that can cause an abusive parent to attack. He just extrapolated that skill—because it is a hard-won skill—onto the rest of humanity, which is a lonely place to be. But he doesn’t mind being alone because it’s a safe place, too.

So he looks after Jamie, another little boy stuck in a shitty home with shittier parents. He is the guardian angel he dreamed of when he was that little boy. He breaks the cycle, which is why he’s the hero. And saving Jamie gives comfort to the terrified little kid buried deep in Nobody’s psyche.

No one else knows about his scars. He’s never told anyone. But Melinda forces him into the light, where he has acknowledge that, yeah, his past really screwed him up. And because she sees him, he comes to understand that lonely and alone are not the same thing.



TBQ: *cries* I knew that talking about Nobody would get to me -- damn it! I'm sure this was one of the most emotional books you've written, and it shows! 

Kame has a few questions for you real quick!

Kame: Will we see more of Nobody and Melinda – I see her helping him and Jamie heal.  I wonder how her acceptance of him will change other’s view of Nobody.

Sarah: If there are more Men of the White Sandy, there will be more Nobody. I explain that cryptic statement a little more below, but Nobody and the place are interchangeable to me. I do see him as coming more into the light—not because he wants to so much, but because he doesn’t want Jamie to be as alone as he was. He’s always going to disappear, though. He has his reasons. ;)



Kame: I find it very interesting these three strong white women came to the Rez and each found love.  If the tables were reversed would these couples have found each other?

Sarah: That’s hard to say. Nobody has never been off the rez, but both Rebel (Mystic Cowboy) and Jacob (Masked Cowboy) have left the rez to go to college. Rebel was actually married to a white woman for about eight months when he was starting out in New Mexico—one of those starter marriages that came and went. If he’d met Madeline back then, it wouldn’t have ended well because he hadn’t figured out who he was yet. When Rebel is in the white man’s world, he is an artist named Jonathan Runs Fast—and he has a complete persona that goes with that. He’s only himself when he’s home, and that’s where Madeline found him.

Both Madeline and Melinda Mitchell—please, don’t ever let me do alliterative names EVER AGAIN—came from a loving, happy, well-off family. They had a place in their world (Columbus, Ohio—because I lived there for a few years in grad school) but they weren’t happy. Mary Beth Hofstetter was much the same. Decent family life, intelligent woman with a career—but unfulfilled. I think that rings true for a lot of us—is there something missing? Something bigger or deeper than we can grasp?

And because they’re my books, the obvious answer is: Go West, Young Woman, And Meet A Shirtless Indian On Horseback! Because, obviously, right?

I was quite (QUITE) fascinated with the historic interaction between cowboys and Indians back in the day and a big part of that fascination was the innocent settler woman who is carried off by the ‘noble savage’ (although I hate that phrase more than life itself, but in those older books, that’s how they were portrayed) and chooses to stay with the hunky Indian instead of returning to the white world she came from.

I liked those books back then, but now that I’m an adult with a lot of Women’s Studies under my belt, I can see some problems with how everyone was portrayed. So this is my modern update. My White Sandy Men are not noble savage stereotypes. They may be noble in their own way, but they are not savage. Not even Nobody, really. They are intelligent, conflicted, and most importantly, real. And my women are not innocent virgins who have life happen to them—who let other people call the shots (i.e. kidnappings and rapey-sex). They are active, strong women who make real-world choices about everything from their careers to who they sleep with. They do not need to be rescued. They happen to life, not the other way around!



TBQ: Well said, Sarah! I'm glad that you are writing such strong stereotypical busting Native American romances -- we need more books that do that in the genre, trust me! :) 

Where did the idea for the Men of the White Sandy series come from and how has the series changed and evolved with each book?

Sarah: I had been working with an agent and she’d killed a book. And then she killed another one. And I was at a crossroads as to what to do next. So I thought about what I’d written that the agent liked and WHY those stories worked when these other ones didn’t. I decided the books that worked worked because the hero and heroine both wanted the same thing but had fundamentally different ways of going about it. Out of that realization came a medicine man and a medical doctor. They both want what’s best for the people they deal with, but they way they go about it? RADICALLY different. Plus, I’d recently watched Thunderheart (staring hunky-era Val Kilmer!) and there was a scene where a kid gets shot and they rush him to the rez’s clinic. I based the White Sandy Clinic pretty much right on that scene. Everything else flowed from there into Mystic Cowboy.

The biggest change was that I planned to write Nobody second and didn’t. I revised a much earlier work to make it a White Sandy book—and to pop Nobody in as needed!—because writing Nobody would take me months and the revision took four weeks. I think it shows, too. I love Masked Cowboy, but if you look at reader reviews, they all liked Masked Cowboy well enough, but it wasn’t what they wanted—which was Nobody. So! No more stalling! Here’s the real deal!



TBQ: How did you research the area – have you spent time out in South Dakota?

Sarah: I haven’t been through South Dakota in about 15 years, but we used to cross the state on a semi-regular basis for family vacations. I’ve invented the particular topography—as far as I know, there is NO white-sand beach in the middle of South Dakota—but the general gist of it is the same. Grass. Lots of it. Some trees, some rivers, hills.

The thing that citified people such as myself often have trouble grasping is how much space there is out there. I can look out my window and see people, houses, cars—roads, power lines, lights. Out there, it’s not that hard to get to a point where you cannot see the signs of another living soul.

There’s a couple of go-to videos on YouTube I have saved and, of course, any time I need a refresher, I watch Val Kilmer smolder in Thunderheart. Because I can.



TBQ: *sigh* Fine, destroy my dreams of heading off to South Dakota and finding Nobody, stealing him away from Melinda! :) 

What's next-- Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming releases or WIP? Will there be more in this series, or is Nobody the end of the line?

Sarah: That’s a tough question. I worked on Nobody over the course of a year and a half. I’d finish a Desire—contracted work always has to come first!—and then have 3 weeks before I had to start the next Desire, so I’d write 30,000 words in 3 weeks. I gave myself carpel tunnel syndrome last August because I wrote 18,000 in one week on him—and still didn’t get him finished.

Although it sounds crass, if Nobody sells really well, I’ll carve out a little more time for another Man of the White Sandy. I have potential stories for Sheriff Tim, Clarence, and Jack the Tracker—and maybe even Rebel’s younger brother, Jesse. If I do write any more Men of the White Sandy, they’ll probably be more novella length.

And if he doesn’t sell well . . . well, we’ll see what happens. Readers have been demanding a happily ever after for Clarence for a while. And I know just the woman for him . . . J

Beyond the White Sandy, I have four—count them, 4!—more books coming out this year. I’ll have my very first Superromance in August called Rodeo Dreams, then September starts off a brand new Desire series called the Beaumont Heirs. That’s three books back-to-back-to-back—Not the Boss’s Baby, Tempted by the Cowboy, and A Beaumont Christmas Wedding. Right now, I’m working on the next Texas Cattleman’s Club book, due out February 2015, called His Lost and Found Family. Hope readers like it! [We can't wait -- all of your upcoming books sound great, and you know we're hoping for more White Sandy books! :) ]



SPEED ROUND:


A day on a secluded island OR a day at the spa?
Um, I suck at relaxing, so…island! Maybe I can walk along the beach!

Which would you rather have an affair with: a sexy highlander OR a devilishly handsome English lord?
Oooh, I like them a little rough around the edges (obviously). Highlander it is!

Hot summer days OR cold winter nights?
Both suck. Next question!

Where would your dream house be: in the city, where all the action is OR nestled in the mountain where you can enjoy the quiet and the wilderness?
Mountain. Hands down. I’m not an ‘action’ kind of person. (insert your own joke here)

If you could live in any time period, past or future, which one would it be?
Now is pretty good. I always liked the 1840s to 1880s, when Cowboys and Indians were a real thing, but I just liked the sanitized version. The more I learned about what life was REALLY like, the less I wanted to go back there! I’ll stick with my indoor plumbing and jeans, thanks.

Cover Lover OR Blurb Fan?
Covers. I judge books by their covers! [Don't worry, I'm guilty of it, too!]

Steamy Novella OR Sweet Novel? (aka, Quickie or Slow Build Up?)
I’m busy. Let’s make this quick! Novellas for the win!

Quick—name the one food that you cannot live without?
I’m currently surviving on the dew of the universe so…tea.

And finally, tell us 3 unique/wacky/fun things about yourself:

  • Much like Nobody, I can’t wear a watch because I drain the battery.
  • When I get really stressed, I bend paperclips into shapes.
  • I don’t like balloons because the popping freaks me out!



TheBookQueen: Thanks so much for stopping by, Sarah|, and please know that you are welcome back anytime! Do you have any questions for our readers—something to spark a good discussion? :)

Sarah: Thank you SO much for having me!


I want to know what readers want to see next. Which Man of the White Sandy are you most interested in seeing in a novella? Sheriff Tim? Clarence Thunder, the male nurse? Jack the Tracker? Jesse, the irritating little brother? I can’t promise a novella would happen anytime soon, but…if it does, who do you most want to read about?



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Nobody by Sarah M. Anderson
Publisher: Sarah M. Anderson (April 4, 2014)
Series: Men of the White Sandy, 3
Genre: Contemporary Romance



Nobody Bodine came from a nobody and will always be a nobody. He can disappear into the shadows—no one can see him if he doesn’t want them to. He exists on the edge, in neither the white man’s world nor the tribe’s, dispensing vigilante justice when he sees fit. There’s no other place for a man like him in this world.

Until Melinda Mitchell shows up on the rez. From the first moment he lays eyes on her, he can tell there’s something different about her. For starters, she’s not afraid of him. She asks where his scars came from, and why he has so many. But more than that, she sees him. For the first time in his life, Nobody feels like a somebody in her eyes.

Melinda has come west to run the new day care on the White Sandy Reservation. She’s intrigued by this strange man and his tattered skin, and when she discovers that he’s a self-appointed guardian angel for the boy in her care, she realizes that there’s more to Nobody than meets the eyes. But how far will he go to keep the boy safe? And will she be able to draw him into the light?


Where to Buy*:
More Info:


Reviews of Anderson's Previous Books:


Straddling the Line (#1) -- TBQ
Bringing Home the Bachelor (#2) -- TBQ

Mystic Cowboy (#1) -- TBQ
Masked Cowboy (#2) -- Kame + TBQ
Nobody (#2) -- Kame + TBQ

What a Rancher Wants (#9) -- TBQ





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a Rafflecopter giveaway



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Thanks for stopping by today, Sarah! :) And thank you for answering all of our questions about Nobody. What can we say, there are just so many things we wanted to know about him! 

Readers, Sarah has a very important question for you! 

I want to know what readers want to see next. Which Man of the White Sandy are you most interested in seeing in a novella? Sheriff Tim? Clarence Thunder, the male nurse? Jack the Tracker? Jesse, the irritating little brother? I can’t promise a novella would happen anytime soon, but…if it does, who do you most want to read about?


Sarah, you know I'm greedy -- I want them ALL! 

Answer Sarah's question, fill out the Rafflecopter above, and you could win an ecopy of NOBODY to enjoy!




Enjoy!


Until Next Time,


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  *TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!

11 comments :

  1. I think Sheriff Tim will be a tough nut to crack, but he's probably got a good story. Clarence deserves a little love too!

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  2. Sarah M. AndersonMay 5, 2014 at 12:23 PM

    I think Clarence is going to get lucky, Mary. Tim...will have to wait. I have an idea for him, but he needs to percolate a bit more!

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  3. Pat Egan FordyceMay 5, 2014 at 5:44 PM

    Wow Kame and TBQ! I obviously need to get this book. You both loved. Thanks for the interview........ Great to learn so much about Ms. Anderson.

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  4. Such a great series

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  5. Sarah M. AndersonMay 5, 2014 at 6:25 PM

    Thanks for stopping by, Pat!

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  6. Sarah M. AndersonMay 5, 2014 at 6:26 PM

    Really glad you're enjoying it!

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  7. I've never read her but I will now look into her books.

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  8. I haven't read the books...yet...but Jesse, the brother sounds like a good read!

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  9. aww wow, wonderful interview, love seeing authors relate to their writing and their process!

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  10. I haven't read Sarah's books, but I know she has writing some Harlequin Desires.

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