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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Renegade and a Wild Woman

Happy Tuesday!

What is it about rebellious men and wild women?  Why do we love them?  From Cleopatra and Mark Antony to Bonnie and Clyde to Natalie Wood and James Dean, we have a fascination with them that stands the test of time and that fascination seems to continue with each new generation.  It's astounding.  Why are we so fascinated with them?

Because they are some of the true-to-life love stories, even though they didn't have their happily ever after.

Don't believe me?  Let's look at the opening lyrics of a popular country song from a couple of years ago:
I Wanna be Loved Like That by Shanendoah
Natalie Wood gave her heart to James Dean
The high school rebel and the teenage queen
Standin' together at an angry world
One boy fightin' for one girl
I wanna be loved like that, I wanna be loved like that
A promise you can't take back
If you're gonna love me
I wanna be loved like that
Sure, the song goes on, but it really nails it on the head right there, in those lyrics.  I want a promise you can't take back.  In fact, I'd almost have to say that this would be the song I would use to advertise the book Renegade by Sarah Parr. 


Well, throughout this book, I noticed that the heroine, Jaline, hesitated for quite some time from telling the hero, Jonathon, one thing: that she loved him.  To her the words were permanent, everlasting.  If she said them, she couldn't take it back.  She wanted to be sure that he knew the words were real to her and not just said out of a sense of obligation or lust and she seemed to struggle with finding the right time.  Of course, the inner demons she carried with her sure didn't help, and he had demons of his own that got in the way. 

Jonathon would be a Duke if he managed to regain the title that his father lost, and Jaline was anything but a proper lady and she certainly didn't have the breeding necessary for society's requirements of a Duchess and she knew the King would never approve of her.  How can you let someone care about you when you know they'll be forced to leave you in the end?  How can you tell someone that you love them knowing that your love can ruin the life they worked so hard to get back?

You'll have to read the book to find that out!  All and all, I found Renegade to be a pleasant story, especially for a debut novel.  I have had the pleasure to interview Sarah Parr.  She is a delightful person and a very talented author.  Be sure to stay tuned because there is a surprise for you at the end. I hope you enjoy the interview!

Sarah ParrQ. Why historical over other romance novel genres? What’s the draw for you? What influenced your decision to choose historical?

A. I’m a history buff, have traveled and studied history all my life, so it is dear to me.

Q. Is this the beginning of a career in historical novels or do you plan on branching out into other genres? If so, which genres? If not, do you plan on expanding into other historical time periods?

A. Anything is possible.

Q. What authors have you read since you were a child and did any of them influence life choices that you’ve made?

A. I’ve read so many books, it is hard to say if any one has influenced me.

Q. At what age did you start reading romance novels?

A. Do fairy tales count? J, if so, then I was three.

Q. Here’s a question just for fun, do you now or have you ever had a pet of some sort? If so, what kinds were they and what are (were) their names? (It seems that many authors have pets, specifically cats and I’m just curious.)

A. I have many pets and live on a small horse farm. My horse is a Morgan named Tahoma, then there is Piper – a half blind rescue Paint, and Hermione – a tiny Welsh B pony. In the barn is a cat named Saffron who tends to pest control. In the house lives my Collie (Erin), Sheltie (Skye) and Pomeranian (Stitch), a Tonkinese (Mushu) and another rescue cat (Kisses).

Q. Why Kensington Press? Why Zebra Books?

A. It was a great match!

Q. Were you lucky enough to have your first manuscript accepted? If so, what’s your secret? If not, how many different manuscripts have you sent out? How many times were you rejected before you found that acceptance letter?

A. Yes – my first and second manuscripts are being published as RENEGADE and, well the second title hasn’t been released yet. My secret? I’m not sure there is a secret. What I would say to anyone is to write the best story you can and try to get it in the right hands. That is the best way for things to happen.

Q. With this being your first book, you must be on pins and needles constantly wondering what the outcome will be. What do you do, other than write, to keep your mind off of the current progress of Renegade?

A. What a great question! I am a big believer in living in the present – although it isn’t easy. Animals are one way I help that happen. Horses live in the moment. When riding, there is no hour from now, only this moment, this place. Tahoma and I have spent many hours meandering. In search of nothing, we find peace.

Q. In terms of promoting your book, what percentage would you say is up to you and how much is up to Kensington?

A. It is a partnership. Among other things Kensington created the package for my book including title and cover, gave it to their sales force, marketed it, placed it on their website. My contributions have included bookmarks, mailings, individual booksellers and the Internet.

Q. In terms of success, what measuring stick do you use? In other words, how will you determine the overall success of your book, or is it enough for you to be in print right now?

A. I view success when I have done best, pushed myself further, and worked as hard as I could.

Now let’s switch the focus to your book:

RenegadeQ. Why did you pick the year 1762? Is there something special about the Georgian Era or the Ottoman time periods for you?

A. 1762 was just prior to the end of the Seven Year War in Europe (the French-Indian War in the US). Often thought of as the first world war because it encircled the entire globe, this war changed power everywhere, eras were ended and fortunes made. Rules and borders were in flux. As always happens at the end of the war, there are great shifts, making Jonathon and Jaline’s situation even more precarious. For the Ottomans, it is almost the end of an era. Russia is poised to invade – Catherine’s attempt to secure Russia a warm water port.

Q. Why did you decide to begin with Jaline already being a slave to Jonathon rather than starting with the situation of him in the position to win her or leave her?

A. Because once he had met her, there was no doubt he would own her. The story began from there.

Q. What elements of Jaline or Jonathon can you relate to and why? What, if any, aspects of either character were taken from personal experience? Please elaborate as best you can.

A. I can relate to their needs to prove themselves and yet be true to themselves, to want to fit in and yet remain apart.

Q. In your book, the hero and the heroine seem to get along well with each other and don’t really seem to have any actual friction. What made you decide to focus on personal demons over external forces to create the drama? What experiences or ideas inspired their creation?

A. It wasn’t a conscious decision. Jaline and Jonathon’s true story was about two people who are both quite capable, quite wonderful and yet more so when together. But being together brought forth much of what neither wanted to address. In other words to find their strength they had to fight for it, and much of that was fighting the walls they had constructed themselves.

Q. How much research did you have to do for this book? How long did the research take? Who was the inspiration for Comte? Was he a historical figure? Where did you get the idea for the alchemy goblets that seem to be causing Jonathon so much trouble? Why alchemy and not simply religious or ancient relics?

A. I did/do a lot of research and have traveled all around the Mediterranean and Europe, living there for a year. Comte was crafted from many bits of history and imagination. The alchemy goblet was based on an actual goblet from the Hapsburgs treasury in Vienna on display at the old palaces (now museums). I created the stories around the pieces. Why alchemy and not religious or ancient relics… I found the figure of Rudolph II fascinating. He believed it morally imperative he divide his resources equally amongst Science, Nature and Art. Alchemists were the scientists at the time and he commissioned many of them to work in Prague. What was interesting was the amount of money given to incredible works that that advanced scientific knowledge both forwards (with accurate planetary clocks) and backwards (clockwork movement automotons). Naturalia was also reviewed in detail (ie plants, animals, geography, etc). I took the leap and imagined some of these alchemists and their discoveries taking a logical path of study towards plants, their properties and eventually Soma.

Q. Will Jonathon’s brother, Edmond, get his own story in the future? He would make an interesting lead character…

A. It’s possible!!

Q. What can you tell us about your next manuscript (status, etc.)? (yeah, everyone's always wondering what you've got up your sleeve!)

A. My next manuscript is at Kensington. It will be released in July 2010 and is the story of Jonathon and Jaline’s son – Warrick. They do make a cameo!

Okay, sound interesting? Want the book? You have a chance to win a copy here! That's right, leave a comment here and you are entered into the drawing for a free copy of Renegade!

6 Moonbeams (comments):

Anonymous said...

Great Inerview, very insightful !!
And congratulations Sarah on your release (first maniscript ! Wow).
I haven't read Renagade yet but I've been thinking about it for some time, I hope to do it soon ;-)
I'm glad that you decided to write about H/H's children. I love when authors do that but it's not very common (I remember Johanna Lindsey or Julie Garwood doing it but not so much with more recent releases).


Molly Daniels said...

Oooooh this sounds good! Congrats on your first release and I'm with Emmanuelle...I also like sequels when it involves the kids!

Carrie said...

Hi there *waving rapidly* to our visitors! I'm glad to see that you're enjoying the interview!

Sarah - thanks so much for joining us today!

Unknown said...

Thank you very much for the great interview!
All the best,

Sheila Deeth said...

Great interview, and congratulations Sarah! Very impressive. I'll look out for Renegade.

Gracen Miller said...

Thanks for being with us today, Sarah! It was a pleasure and a joy!