Join me in welcoming Sara Ackerman today. Her latest release, Silence is Golden, is available now!
Tell us about you! Can you share some interesting tidbits we may not know?
I value punctuality, yet I am rarely where I need to be when I need to be there. Either I arrive at the right time but on the wrong date or I have the right date but I’m either too early or too late. In college I nearly missed a final exam in French Civics (in France no less) because I misread the time. I was sitting in the hallway outside the classroom (wondering where all my classmates were) when my adviser stopped and asked me why I wasn’t at the exam. Fortunately, she was able to sweet talk the professor into allowing me to take the exam even though it had already started. Also, after a six month study abroad, I nearly missed my train from Rennes to Paris to catch my flight home. My mild mannered host-mother drove like a maniac to get me to the train station on time, cursing my ineptitude the entire way. Then once I arrived at Charles de Gaulle, I mixed up the hotels, ended up at another one miles from my terminal and almost missed my flight home. Because of these mishaps, and many more like these, I try to be punctual no matter what because if I’m on time, people are more apt to be forgiving than if I am always late (even if I’m on time two weeks before I’m supposed to be there).
What inspired you to start writing?
Teaching is my day job, and one year I packed up my room at the end of the school year and was convinced I was not returning in the fall. Dwindling resources, increased demands and little support drained what joy I once found from teaching until I was ready to quit. That summer, I sat down at the computer and started writing. I wrote every day and by the time August rolled around, I had completed my first manuscript and was sufficiently rejuvenated to return to work.
Other than writing, what are some of your passions in life?
Teaching truly is my passion. I work with immigrant youth who are learning English. Some of these children have experienced terrible loss or trauma, yet they come to school everyday prepared to learn. They value education because they know what a good education provides. They also know the sacrifices their family has made for them to be at school. My students inspire me to be a better teacher and a kinder person. Everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about, these children especially, yet each day they have a smile on their faces and hope in their hearts.
What was your debut novel, and how has your writing process changed since your debut?
My debut novel, Little White Lies, was released in April 2016. With each book my writing becomes more focused and crisper. The story line flows better and the writing is more character driven. I am planning three novellas to complement the original trilogy, but to do so, I am having to outline my subsequent stories because there is overlap with the three principle story lines. Even though they are my creation, I can’t remember all the details from each story, so outlining will help me fill in the missing pieces.
What is your favorite part of the writing/publishing process and why?
The best part about the writing process is the actual writing. Letting my ideas pour out and seeing a story take shape from vague, half-formed ideas is what keeps me writing.
What is your most challenging part of the writing/publishing process and what do you do to make it easier?
The most challenging part about publishing books is marketing. I love connecting with readers and talking to other authors but promoting my work is not something I am good at. I network with other authors and try to do something new each year to promote my books.
What does a typical day look like for you? How do you find balance?
I teach two jobs, one in the early morning online to children in China and then my day job as an ESL teacher at the middle and high school. After a full day of teaching and translating and then coming home to a teenager, a preteen and a loving husband, I am exhausted and rarely find the energy to write. Writing is reserved for the weekends and vacations, which is why I am able to write one book a year. In addition to teaching, I am going back to school for my bilingual license and I am involved in my church’s choir. My family also volunteers with the women’s shelter and the homeless shelter. Sometimes balancing everything is difficult, but then I find a good book pour a glass of wine and escape for awhile.
What do you love about writing romance?
In romance, there is always a happy ending. Life doesn’t work out that way, but in romance it is guaranteed. There can be so much negativity and awfulness in the world, it’s uplifting to write a story revolving around love and happiness.
What kinds of things do you find romantic in real life? Can you share a story?
When I met my husband, I was a single mom with a 2-year-old girl. She did not like him at first. On our first date together with our daughter, she was misbehaving and causing quite the scene. We were getting ready to leave the restaurant and I was trying to juggle a screaming toddler and her princess themed diaper bag. I remember he said to me, “I’ll take the princess bag, and you take the princess.” I knew then he was it for me because even though she was treating him like a typical 2 y/o, he was trying to be a part of our lives by helping in any way he could. A year later we married and three years after that, he adopted our daughter.
Do you read your book reviews? If so, how do they affect your writing (if at all)?
I don’t read book reviews. Some truly have nice things to say, while others are more nasty than constructive. I can handle constructive criticism but one review (back when I read reviews) said I must have a mental illness because she didn’t like my story. That’s when I stopped reading reviews. If I am curious, I’ll ask my husband or my writing partners to look for me and give me the highlights.
What is the craziest, funniest, or most surprising thing that has happened to you since publishing your first book?
Writing romance as a secondary level public school teacher without a pseudonym has it’s moments. My own chidlren are constantly questioned about my books by other teachers, which, of course, they love, and then I get to hear about how my romance writing is embarrassing to them. Or, it’s teachers asking if my book is a children’s book and suitable for younger readers. Um, no. Even better is having 15-16 year-old students tell me they are going to read my book and when I tell them it’s not appropriate, I am subjected to all sorts of eyebrow wiggles and muffled giggles. Once a student told me he was going to read the book to his mom because my book is in English and she only reads in Spanish. I told him it was not an appropriate mother/son bonding experience, but he said they watched novellas together so it wouldn’t be any worse than that.
Since the publication of Little White Lies (Westby Trilogy 1) in 2016, I have published Silence is Golden, the second book in the trilogy, which was released in June 2017. The third book in the trilogy, Silver-Tongued Temptress, was recently contracted and will be published in 2018.
Silence is Golden follows the misadventures of Evelyn Westby, the youngest Westby sister as she travels to war-torn France in the hopes of finding the gypsies who cursed her and her sisters many years ago in order to win back the man she loves. On her way, she meets a mysterious gentleman who takes it upon himself to provide her protection until she reaches her destination.
This book (so far) is my favorite. It has action, adventure on the high seas, intrigue and two star-crossed lovers.
Is there any other news you would like to share?
Look for Silver-Tongued Temptress in 2018 and a trio of novellas to follow in 2019.
Five Facts Just for Fun!
1. What’s your favorite ’90s jam?
More than Words by Extreme
2. What was the last gift you gave someone?
The hubs celebrated his 42nd and I took him on a river cruise.
3. What were you like as a kid?
I was a quiet, shy kid who had her nose in a book most of the time
4. What was the last thing you binge-watched & what did you think of it?
The Good Place with Kristen Bell and Ted Danson is hilarious with surprising twists.
5. What is the one thing (other than your loved ones) that you cannot live without?
Sweatpants. If I have to wear pants, and many places say I do, then it’s sweatpants when not at work.
SILENCE IS GOLDEN
AMAZON / B&N / WILD ROSE PRESS
Ever since Evelyn Westby was cursed, she hasn’t been able to speak to anyone outside her family. That hasn’t stopped men from seeking her favor, especially the handsome and eligible Lord Alexander Newgate. But when her sister elopes and her betrothal is then canceled, Evie will do anything to win back her fiancé, even travel to war-torn France to find the gypsy who cursed her.
Alfred Coombes takes his fate into his own hands when he quits his employment to follow the call of adventure. On the road, he meets Lady Evelyn Westby and sees she needs a protector. Sacrificing his own journey, he becomes her guardian. Treacherous weather and a sinister smuggler throw them together, and he must decide whether to continue his journey or take a chance on a new adventure with a captivating beauty.