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 dog, 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.
A Man of His Word
Attorney Rosebud Donnelly has a case to win. And she never lets anyone see her sweat. But her first meeting with Dan Armstrong doesn’t go according to script. No one warned her that the COO of the company she’s fighting would be so…manly. From his storm-colored eyes to his well-worn boots, Dan is an honest-to-goodness cowboy. But is he honest? Her yearning for the Texas tycoon goes against reason, against family loyalty, against everything she thought she believed in. And yet, in Dan’s strong arms, Rosebud feels she might be ready to risk everything for one more kiss….
I'm excited to be interviewing talented debut Harlequin Desire author Sarah M. Anderson. We met for the first time last summer in New York City at the Romance Writers of America national conference where we were both attending for the first time as Desire authors. Her first book with Desire is terrific. I hope you enjoy meeting her.
CAT: How often to you get lost in a story?
SARAH: Every time I get in the car. Between the release of A Man of His Word, the holidays, and my upcoming deadline (January 6th!), I haven’t had a lot of time to read for fun. However, I listen to middle-grade audio books any time I am in the car with my 6-year-old son. We just started the Harry Potter books!
CAT: What’s your favorite cartoon character?
SARAH: Phineas and Ferb are my current favorites. I like how they make it fun and cool to be smart. That fondness for smart cartoons goes way back. I came of age with the Animated Batman series, Pinky and the Brain, and a cartoon called Hysteria, which was a humorous take on history (i.e. a bit about “Alexander the Pretty Good”). Humor doesn’t have to be a race to the bottom. It is possible to be funny and smart—and I hope that shows through in my characters and stories.
CAT: What turns you off like nothing else?
SARAH: I detest meanness and its many ugly forms. I hate a hero who says something horrid to the heroine and later apologizes by saying, “I was upset and only said that to hurt you.” I will stop reading a book right then, because that’s not a hero. That’s a manipulative bully. Even if the hero and the heroine are having the argument of the century, they prove that they were meant to be together by caring about each other no matter how heated the fight gets. My heroes are always kind to animals and treat waiters well, because to me, those are bellweather indicators of what a person is really like.
CAT: If you couldn’t be a writer anymore, what profession would you take up?
SARAH: I taught college composition classes while in grad school, and then I taught English as a Second Language for five years. Currently, I work part time as a writer and editor at a small educational publisher, Mark Twain Media. I have a wonderful coworker who puts up with my babbling about imaginary people and some bosses that are the living definition of ‘family-friendly.’ If I wasn’t writing, I’d be doing exactly what I’m doing now and maybe picking up a few classes at a community college.
CAT: What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?
SARAH: This is so sad, but I look at my to-do list. I usually have several irons in the fire, and there’s always another iron to strike! Mentally, though, I usually try to read a book or watch a few movies to give my imagination a chance to recharge. Frequently, a nice glass of wine is involved.
CAT: What is something that not a lot of people know about you but you WISH more people COULD know?
SARAH: I am not a sociable person. Parties stress me out because I’m just not that good at casual socializing. This is not to say that I’m a silent, brooding loner—far from it. I write at home two days a week, and when I go to my day job the next day, I usually have to release the chit-chat pressure (read: talk my coworker’s ears off!). I’m the kind of person who needs two or three really close friends instead of dozens or more good acquaintances. For me, true friends aren’t measured by daily contact. My true friends are people that I can lose touch with for long periods of time and then pick right back up where we left off. Last year, thanks to Facebook, I reconnected with my best friend from high school. Even though I hadn’t talked to her in 13 years—hadn’t seen her for 17—it feels like we were never really apart.
CAT: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
SARAH: I had always thought I’d be an author. I loved to read, so writing seemed like the next logical step. The problem was, every time I took a stab at it, the writing sucked. Eventually, I stopped trying—for decades. It was only when my son started sleeping through the night (he was about 2 ½ at the time; he’s 6 ½) did I feel that urge to write again. I now know that my previous attempts were always mired down in backstory—lots and lots of backstory. Seeing my name on my book is a dream come true in and of itself. Somehow it’s even sweeter knowing that it was a dream that I had given up on, but came back to, learned from my mistakes, and put the time and effort into making it come true.
CAT: Tea or Coffee? And how do you take it?
SARAH: Tea. Lots and lots of tea. I’m such a hard-core tea drinker that I have a regiment: two cups of black tea in the morning, then green tea, followed by white tea, and then herbal/caffeine-free for the rest of the day. I’ve been using the same thermal travel mug I’ve had for almost twenty years. It originally said “Sky City Casino, Acoma, New Mexico,” but the print has long since worn away. I’m highly sensitive to caffeine, so I can’t have any in the afternoon—not even the small amount in white tea—or I’m up. And no artificial sweeteners!
CAT: What’s your favorite kid joke?
SARAH: This one is big in our house right now, because my son just learned how to spell “Mississippi” in school: “Who’s married to Mississippi?” “MISTERSSIPPI!” Cue hilarious laughter!
CAT’S GOTTA ASK:
If you were a t-shirt, what color would you be and why?
SARAH’S GOTTA ANSWER:
Green is my favorite color—matches my eyes!
GOT A QUESTION YOU’D LIKE TO ASK YOUR FANS?
Have you used social media to reconnect with old friends, or do you mostly remember why you drifted apart in the first place?
SARAH’S giving away one signed copy of A Man of His Word to one commenter. Additionally, everyone who comments will also be entered to win this custom-made Locket of Love (worth $185!). U.S. residents only. For a complete tour schedule and rules, visit www.sarahmanderson.com.
Jewelry Grand Prize announced on January 1st, 2012 to one randomly drawn name on the list. Next tour stop is the Joyfully Reviewed on December 11th.