Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sandra Sookoo and Marking Time

Welcome Sandra, thanks for being her today. Why don't you tell us a little about Marking Time. And by the way, I love the cover.

Well, this story is a bit of a time travel and paranormal wrapped into one. My heroine is a modern girl who thinks she's got her life figured out. My hero is a Phoenix at the end of his life--and hope. The heroine is sent back in time to fulfill her life and his.


Ava Lesarris has her life figured out. She has a great job, has accepted her latent wolf shifter identity and is looking forward to climbing the corporate ladder. When a faulty GPS unit leads her to a town called Strange Hollow, she’s in a quandary, even more so when she’s suddenly transported back to the year 1900.
Sam Tremaine is the last of his kind. He’s a phoenix, living in Strange Hollow during what should have been its greatest time—the founding year, but he can’t enjoy it. He’s dying which leaves him with one regret. He’s never found a woman whose spirit is as strong as his own. He wants be remembered but time is running out, not to mention he hasn’t been able to get “it” up for months.
Worlds collide as the past and present come together in Strange Hollow. Ava will need to figure out her purpose while Sam struggles to come to terms with his fate. If they’re lucky, the special town will offer the answers they’re both seeking before the next phase of life begins.

Where were you when you got your first book contract? Who did you tell?

Oh, wow, that was back in November of 2008, three days before Thanksgiving. I was at home, planning for cooking when I received the email from Lyrical Press saying they'd like to publish A Foodie's Guide to Kitchen Magic. I immediately called my husband then texted my sister.

What draws you to write your genre and sub genre?

Well, since Romance is my genre, the lure of the happy ending gets me every time. As for sub-genre, since I write in many different ones, it's the added conflict each one brings. I love being able to solve the puzzle while writing.

Do you have any tips for new writers?

Never give up no matter what anyone tells you. Keep learning the craft. You always want to be moving forward.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Hmm, I guess it's Bare Minerals makeup. I spend way too much money on it. That or movie theatre popcorn.

Where can your readers reach you?

My website: http://www.sandrasookoo.com. From there you can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook or my Believing is Seeing blog

Are you working on another book?

LOL I'm always working on another book! At the time of this interview, I'm writing a historical as well as a reworked fairy tale.

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?

Ava wanted to climb the corporate ladder, and if she performed well at this gig she had a shot at being promoted. Wasting time with pack politics didn’t leave much time for that. In a way, they’d done her a favor by deciding the next step her life would take. Corner office, executive assistant, expense account, company car, it could all be hers in a few years if she kept her nose to the grindstone. So what if her love life’s roots withered before they could take hold? Somehow, the idea of being some guy’s wife didn’t appeal to her like it had in her twenties. Now, a few days past her thirty-first birthday, she wanted to be on equal footing with a man in a relationship--as long as he wasn’t a wolf or would tell her what to do. Shared responsibilities. Shared domestic duties. Shared bliss.
No man in his right mind would take you up on that offer.
Ava snorted at the dorky way it sounded. Maybe so, but I can still think about it. Besides, I don’t need a man to justify my existence.
Tell me something I don’t know. You have no natural aptitude for choosing a mate. In her head, her wolf counterpart paced in a fair amount of agitation.
“That’s right, wolf-girl.” Ava grinned. Though it must suck to be a wolf with no way to express that side, she wouldn’t want it any other way. Having the wolf inside kept her company, told her that her decisions were sound. “I don’t believe in soul mates.”
And it beat talking to the GPS unit all the time.
You’ll never have offspring at this rate. You excel at wasting perfectly good eggs.
Thanks. “Doesn’t matter. I don’t need them to define me.” Choosing to have a good career over marriage had been a gamble, but it wasn’t like she’d ever wanted to have kids. Somehow the thought of wiping snotty noses and cleaning up messy diapers didn’t appeal to her. Yet, late at night, rolling over in an empty bed with no one to talk with and knowing she’d never hear anyone call her “mommy” held little charm as well. She’d chosen the job, and she loved it. She’d made peace with the fact she’d never shift into her animal. It didn’t make her a reject. It made her unique with a living conscience. “I’m happy with my life.” Meeting people, traveling, learning about new up and coming drugs that could potentially save millions of lives made the sacrifice worth it. If someone took issue with her life, that was their problem.
There’s more to life than a career, human.
“Maybe, but until I find something or someone to convince me of that, this is what we’re doing.” Deliberately shoving thoughts of the future from her mind, she concentrated on the gray strip of road. There were two stops to make, a few people to call on and give the speech for the new “wonder” drug her company was peddling, then she could kick back in her hotel room. It had already been a long day.
“Ten miles to destination on right.” The weird British-accented voice of her GPS device cut into her thoughts.
“What the hell? I’m not anywhere near my destination.” By her estimate, she had a good two hours of driving still to do. She’d pass through Barnard, then continue west, skirting the mountain range and hit the next town without incident. Poking at the navigation unit, she didn’t find anything wrong with the calculations.
Heavy silence reigned in the sedan for long moments. Her wolf even remained quiet, which would have been a relief if Ava hadn’t been concerned at the GPS’s odd behavior. Minutes later, the town of Barnard came and went. The great thing about this area of the country was the coziness of the settlements. If you blinked an eye, you’d miss it, but a new one would always be waiting down the line.
“Arriving at destination.” The electronic voice spoke the statement with firm authority.
“No, I’m not!” All around her, the scenery looked much the same--wooded areas on both sides, broken only by the empty gray ribbon of the roadway. Jabbing a forefinger at the GPS screen, she re-entered her original coordinates. “What part of take me here do you not understand?”
Inside, her wolf growled. Having trouble dominating an electronic device?
Nope, I think I’ve got it.
Ava grinned, but her victory was short-lived as the device said, “Recalculating. Destination ahead.”
Hot anger shot through her body. “I am so getting a refund on this piece of junk.” That was the last time she bought something because the sales guy had a cute smile.
Steep ravines lined both sides of the road, and making a U-turn would be tricky since the curve up ahead meant she’d be doing it blind. Not to mention she wasn’t familiar with the turning radius of the rental car. “Fine, you win. I’ll get my bearings in the next town. While I’m there, I’m throwing your malfunctioning ass in the trash.”
Slowing her speed, she guided the car around the sharp bends. At some point, she passed a tiny, wooden sign saying Welcome to Strange Hollow in blue-painted letters. She rolled her eyes. Really, that was the name of a legitimate town?
Sounds interesting.
“Oh no.” She shook her head even though her wolf couldn’t see. “Every time you say that, something bad happens in my life. The last time was in a bar when that pink drink caught your eye.” Once she’d finished the cocktail, she’d been so drunk off her ass she still wasn’t sure how she’d made it home. “Don’t get any ideas, wolf.” Ava wrapped her fingers tighter around the steering wheel. “We’re not staying.”
How did you come up with the title?

Since the story centers around time, it was relatively easy.

Are your characters a reflection on you or anyone you know?

Not in this book. Now, in others…maybe…

What do you do to get in the mood to write?

Really, there is no "getting in the mood". Writing is a job. I do it every day no matter if I "feel" like it or not. I treat writing like an 8-5 job.

What is your favorite thing about writing?

Hearing back from readers and knowing they've loved a book or characters I've created.

Do you have a favorite character from one of you own books? Who and Why?

Hmm, that's a bit difficult, but one of my favorites is Xavier from Vegetarian at Midnight. He's such a tease, but once he set eyes on his heroine, he dogged her until she said yes.

Do you find love scenes difficult to write?

Not anymore. When I first started I did. Now, they're just another scene that is an integral part of writing. I like how each one is different according to the characters involved.

Are any of your personal experiences reflected in your writing?

Some are. Especially if I'm writing contemporary. I always laugh at myself first, because after all, humor starts with me.

How long does it usually take you to write a book?

That depends on the book, how complicated the plot is, whether there's a sub-plot, how many characters, my schedule, etc. It's never the same.

Do you characters talk to you?

They do sometimes. Like right now, I've dreamed about my book for several nights in a row. I guess that means it's important LOL

Who controls the storyline, you or your characters?

I outline each chapter ahead of time as a roadmap for myself. The characters have a lead while writing, and if something major changes, I fix the outline accordingly.

Do you promo your backlists when you’re writing a new book, or dedicate your time solely to writing?

Not really. The best promo for a backlist is getting out there and interacting with folks. I promo new releases but my primary job is writing.

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