Let’s kick the new year off with a bit of suspense, shall we? Please welcome Sally Brandle to the interview hot seat! Here’s a bit about her background and then we’ll talk about the inspiration for her latest story.
Multi-award winning author Sally Brandle weaves slow-burning romance into edgy suspense stories. Sally left a career as an industrial baking instructor to bring to life stories motivating readers to trust their instincts. Her two rescue pups and kitty are her companions during long spells of writing. Afternoons are spent trail riding on her thirty-year-old Quarter Horse. The Hitman’s Mistake opens her Love Thrives in Emma Springs series of stories (without intimate scenes). Torn By Vengeance, Book 2, continues showcasing friendship, courageous women, and the men who deserve their love. The Targeted Pawn, Book 3, features a second chance for a life filled with love for humans and their furry friends.
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Betty: What type of writing did you start with?
Sally: I began writing romantic suspense stories, which are my favorite books to read. After penning seven novels in my small-town Montana series, Love Thrives in Emma Springs, I wrote a couple of romantic suspense books with a science twist. Note to self: romances involving science breakthroughs aren’t topping the charts.
Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?
Sally: I enjoy crafting a female heroine facing challenges she can overcome by trusting her own gifts. Throw in rescue animals who help along the way and a motivated villain, and I’ll be busy pitting them against one another for months. I’m no shrinking violet. I succeeded for thirty years in a career dominated by men. I like to believe that my male characters are realistic. In the day job I learned a bit about how men think, react, and feel. I live with a husband and two adult sons, so the education continues.
Currently I’m finalizing edits on a book in a new genre—historical fiction or fictional memoir, with an authentic heroine. It begins in 1939 and is based on the incredible and romantic story of my Dutch American friend, Iris, who recently turned 97. She’s my nomination for the female poster child of the Greatest Generation. On Iris’s eighteenth birthday, 12/8/1941, Queen Wilhelmina of Holland declared war on Japan, setting in motion a series of events affecting her in a wonderful and then horrible manner. A movie scout once told me to connect a novel to a film, and what came to mind was a true version of a Jumanji film. Iris rode her horse in the jungle with a pet monkey, had a French Countess grandmother, and bicycled from a WWII Indonesian POW camp every day to give a high-ranking Japanese colonel a shot. Survival depended on her abilities to think fast and keep a positive outlook. Next year is the 80th Remembrance Day of Pearl Harbor and my plan is to publish The Sapphire Promise in 2021.
Betty: How did you learn to write? A mentor, classes, conferences, craft books, or something else?
Sally: I’m continuing to learn the craft of writing through my editor, Sharon Roe. Eight years of conferences, classes, and wonderful beta readers and critique partners gave me a great start before I contracted my first book. Years ago, I paid for a workshop given by a successful author. He looked out at the hundred or so of us in attendance and made a declaration that stuck. To paraphrase, he mentioned that most of us were diligently taking notes. Ninety percent of us would never review the notes or put into practice the tips we would learn. I edit my books with my weaknesses in mind. My beta readers tell me each book I finish is better, and that keeps me striving to learn more.
Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today?
Sally: All my books can be read independently. I’d written other books in the series when my dental hygienist insisted that I needed to finish the story of two characters who met in The Hitman’s Mistake. She was correct, so I got started. The incident affecting the heroine’s initial view of men in this story is based on what happened to a best friend and I when we were fifteen and naive. We often rode our bikes around an island where we’d see cute dudes parked in cars, looking to meet girls. A couple of slightly older guys invited us onto their jet boat, moored nearby, for a ride. The day was hot, and it sounded like fun. Decades later my friend and I can still recall the shock and horror when they cut the engine on the boat in the middle of the polluted river. In real life and the story, their vile intentions didn’t play out, but the emotional impact stuck. Writing it proved to be cathartic to me, and it set up a great dynamic with my heroine and a compassionate doctor.
Look over your shoulder. He’s watching.
Corrin Patten is solidly on a path to make partner in a prestigious Seattle law firm when an ominous threat from her past turns deadly. She can handle circumstances necessitating a temporary move to the backwater town of Emma Springs, but its charming physician is another matter, as she’s issued a permanent moratorium on men.
Dr. Kyle Werner revels in trust from patients he regularly treats in a community he’s never wished to leave. Yet, Emma Springs lacks one thing, a woman to share his perfectly bucolic life. He’s read about pheromone attraction, but never experienced desire until meeting Corrin. They make an unbeatable team, but convincing her that his interest is sincere while they dissect layers of deceit requires the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel. Can they defeat the wealthy stalker bent on mistaken revenge against Corrin and destruction of the peaceful Montana setting?
If you thrive on tenacious heroines, sizzling attraction, and a shadowy villain with a grudge, you’ll love this prescription for thrills.
Set up: Corrin’s arrived in Montana to find she’s just missed the friend she’d come to help. Kyle’s more than happy to assist her.
She dragged down the hem of her skirt, and stared out her side window. A silver car sped toward them from the right, traveling well over sixty.
The same kind of car from earlier. Corrin lowered the visor as a precaution and watched the lone driver as he sped past. Her pulse spiked.
Bloody hell. Paunch Guy from the airport again. She clutched her shaking hands in her lap.
“Where’s the fire?” Kyle shook his head, then met her eyes.
Those baby blues could sway any jury, on any count, any day.
“Miranda told me you became her rock, the friend who kept cool and collected. Are you certain you’re okay?” he asked.
The car faded into the distance. Only a stupid coincidence, but Kyle readily spotted her unease. She tore her eyes away. “You’re witnessing my frustration. I can’t believe I travelled here and missed Miranda. She must be terrified. I won’t relax until she’s safe.”
He glanced at her hands. “She’s being protected by a top FBI agent and my best friend. We grew up together like brothers. I’d trust Grant with my life.” He accelerated onto a two-lane paved road.
Relax your fingers and breathe, she instructed herself, and concentrated on empty pastures out the window.
She’d known country naivety, too. Her nose wrinkled at the memory of smelling cow manure on the trek home from school. ‘You’re not scheduled to testify against a mob boss. The agent better protect her or he answers to me.”
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Thanks so much for sharing the inspiration for Torn by Vengeance, Sally! It looks like a compelling story, too.
Thanks for reading, folks! Happy New Year!
Best-selling Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories
Visit www.bettybolte.com for a complete list of my books and appearances.
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Thank you for interviewing me, Betty. I appreciate your support of authors.
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