Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Welcome, Lauren N. Sharman

Lauren, thanks so much for visiting with us today. I am so happy to have this opportunity to chat with you. I know our readers are looking forward to getting to know you, so I'll get right to the questions. I hope you're prepared--I've got a bunch of them!

Can you tell us anything about what you’re working on now?

Sure! I’m a romantic suspense author…who loves to write rescue scenes. The final book in my four-book McCassey Brother’s Series was just released, and I have recently begun another romantic suspense series…with paranormal elements. This is completely different from anything I’ve ever done. The paranormal part of the book takes place in Sharpsburg, Maryland, in an old barn that has been in the hero’s family since the 1700’s. It’s haunted by two confederate soldiers, who are actually descendents of the hero. I don’t have an exact release date yet, but it will be out sometime in 2009 from Whiskey Creek Press.

That sounds intriguing! I’ll look forward to reading your new series.

What circumstances led you to writing?

I have been creating characters and writing short stories since I was a little girl. It always fascinated me that I could create a world to be able to escape to…that was inhabited by people I ‘invented’. They all had names I loved, families I loved, and did things I would love to do. I became serious about writing novels in 2002 when my husband, Joey, put a computer at the desk in my kitchen. I sat down one day and just started writing. Eight weeks later, I had my first complete novel. It was Joey who encouraged me to search for a publisher after he’d read just the first chapter of the book.

If you could be any one of your characters, which one would you choose? Why?

Wow, that’s a tough question. If I could be any one of my characters, I’d have to say Angel from The Devil’s Candy (The McCassey Brother’s Series: Book 2). Angel is a, leave-me-alone-I-can-take-care-of-myself type girl. I love her take-charge attitude, sarcastic sense of humor, and the fact that even though she thinks Blackie McCassey created the stars, she isn’t afraid to occasionally tell him where to stick them. She’s rough around the edges, but loves deeply. Plus, who wouldn’t want to sit on the back of Blackie’s Harley with their arms wrapped around his hard, muscular body? Truthfully, I think I would love to be any of the McCassey women. That family is as tight-knit as it gets. To be part of something like that…I’d be a lucky girl.

When did you know you’d “made it” as an author?

That’s easy. When I began submitting my first manuscript to agents and publishers, my goal was to see my words in print. When that very first print test copy arrived in my mailbox, I brought it inside, ripped open the package, and stared at my name on the front cover. That was it. That was when I thought to myself, ‘Yay, I did it!’

A wonderful moment, certainly. And you were right—you did it! What do you love most about being an author?

What I love most about being an author is what I fell in love with in the first place…being able to create characters and their stories. I have always believed that to create a believable character, you have to become them. And that’s exactly what I do. I put myself in their shoes…feel their feelings…experience their joys and heartaches…try to think as they would. So for a while, I get to play and be someone else. Other than actors, there aren’t many people who get paid to do that!

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

When I’m not writing, my favorite thing to do is spend time with my family and friends. My husband, Joey, is my best friend and my hero, and he’s a lot of fun to hang out with. He built me a ‘69 SS 396 Chevelle four years ago, so we have a good time cruising around in that. We also love live music, so we hit a lot of bars and clubs to watch our favorite bands. We also coach our daughter’s fastpitch softball team together (he’s head coach, and I run the bench!), which is a lot of fun. I love to watch my daughter and stepson play basketball, too. My very favorite thing, though, is to spend time in my happy place…which is my backyard. Enjoying a bonfire on a nice night is a peaceful, relaxing experience.

Who is your favorite author? Favorite book?

Cindy Holby, hands down. She’s an historical romance author I discovered by accident several years ago. My husband and I were getting ready to leave on a trip and we had stopped at Target for something. I ran into the book aisle, read the back cover blurb of a book I thought looked interesting, and was hooked. Chase the Wind is the first in a series of seven books with ‘Wind” in the title. It’s my favorite because it’s the beginning of a long story with fabulous characters. Each and every one of them draw you in, and you can’t help but love them.

Your life is about to hit the big screen. What’s the title, and who plays you?

The title of a movie about my life would definitely be, CRAZY TRAIN, starring Drew Barrymore!

What’s your most comfortable outfit? Are you a jeans-and-sweatshirt kind of person, or a dressier sort?

Jeans all the way! The most comfy pair I have is literally falling apart. They’re threadbare and full of so many holes that I have to wear long underwear or leggings underneath. Unfortunately, I had to say goodbye to my favorite sweatshirt last year. It was black when I bought it, but gray by the time I had to throw it away. That, too, was threadbare, full of holes, and stained with everything from grease to substances I couldn’t even identify.

I see you’ve brought a recipe today! I love recipes—could you tell us a something about this one?

I would like to share my recipe for a lemon sour cream pound cake. It’s always a hit, and appropriate for any occasion!

Lauren’s Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake
-3 Cups flour
-1/4 tsp. baking soda
-1/4 tsp. salt
-3 Cups sugar
-1 Cup margarine
-6 eggs
-1 Cup fat free sour cream
-1 tsp. lemon extract
-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

*Using a mixer, cream margarine,
lemon extract, vanilla extract,
sugar, eggs, and sour cream.
Beat well.

*In a separate bowl, mix salt
and baking soda with flour.

*Add four mixture to wet mixture
in mixer slowly, by the spoonful.

*Again, mix well…
batter will be on the thicker side.

Bake at 325 degrees for 90 minutes
if you are using a bundt or tube pan.
Loaf pans are smaller
and will take less time to bake…
check often so you don’t over cook it.

The sugar in the recipe creates
a ‘glaze’ on the cake.
It does NOT need to be iced.

This sounds wonderful, Lauren. I can’t wait to try it!
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us today?

Actually, there is. I am very proud of being voted BEST AUTHOR in the 2006 Preditor’s & Editor’s Reader’s Poll. I’m also proud of my award-winning, romantic suspense, McCassey Brother’s Series, and would like to share the books’ accomplishments with you!

No Worries (The McCassey Brother’s Series: Book 1) (October 2006)
-#1 BESTSELLER at Whiskey Creek Press, December 2006
-2006 Preditors & Editors Reader’s Poll #1 BEST ROMANCE NOVEL
-Recipient of the 2006 eCataromance REVIEWER’S CHOICE AWARD

The Devil’s Candy (The McCassey Brother’s Series: Book 2) (May 2007)
-#2 BESTSELLER at Whiskey Creek Press, May & June 2007
-Recipient of the 2007 eCataromance REVIEWER’S CHOICE AWARD
-2007 Preditors & Editors Reader’s Poll Top Ten Finisher
-Voted eCataromance BEST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE NOVEL of 2007

Dusty Rose (The McCassey Brother’s Series: Book 3) (January 2008)
-#1 BESTSELLER at Whiskey Creek Press, January 2008

The Long Road Home (The Final McCassey Book) (September 2008)
-#1 BESTSELLER at Whiskey Creek Press, November 2008

Please feel free to stop by my web site, where you can read the first chapters of all my books. There are reviews for them there, as well.
If you’re interested, I also have a free monthly newsletter you can sign up for, which I send by email on the first day of every month. It’ll keep you updated on what’s going on with me and my books…informs you of contests I’m running, and gives you the first look at information on my new releases!

I absolutely love to hear from readers, too. I welcome any and all questions and comments about my books!!!

It’s been a pleasure having you here today, Lauren. I am so glad we got this chance to chat!
Readers, Lauren has generously offered a copy of No Worries, the first book in The McCassey Brother’s Series, to one lucky person. All you’ve got to do to be in the running for this fabulous book is leave a comment. I’ll pick one completely at random—check back tomorrow to see if your name has been chosen. I read—and loved!—No Worries. I think you will, too.

NO WORRIES by Lauren N. Sharman
The blurb for No Worries:

Witnessing her mother's murder put a label on Gypsy Lance that few people overlooked. Raised in foster homes, she spent her childhood yearning for love and acceptance. Nearly penniless, she arrives in Hagerstown, Maryland looking to put down roots and outrun a past she fears is about to catch up to her. . .
Blue collar bad boy Rebel McCassey knows what it's like to try and escape your past. No longer the hellion he once was, he's never been able to shake his family's bad reputation. When he finds Gypsy lost in the woods, her unconditional trust and refusal to judge him by his infamous last name touch Rebel in a place he didn't know existed. . .his heart.
When the demons chasing Gypsy are caught lurking in the shadows, Rebel vows to keep her safe; even if it means slipping back into his old ways. . .
And an excerpt:
A fresh start.
A chance at happiness.
Was it really possible?
The heavy door squeaked shut and a thousand pair of eyes seemed to be watching as she made her way down the narrow aisle, clutching two knapsacks stuffed with everything she owned.
Gypsy Lance claimed the last remaining empty seat on the Greyhound bus, questioning her decision right up until the moment the driver released the air brakes and the bus began to inch forward. As they pulled away from the Baltimore Travel Plaza and merged into traffic on Interstate 95, Gypsy sunk down into the worn, cloth seat and willed herself to relax.
Her mind racing, Gypsy reminded herself repeatedly that this was exactly what she’d planned to do. Did it really matter that she was doing it a few years ahead of schedule? And so what if she only had six hundred and fifty dollars to her name and no place to live? Wasn’t her life worth sleeping in a shelter until she could get a job and get herself settled?
Gypsy knew the answers to the first two questions were no. She also knew that it didn’t matter if she moved a hundred more times during her life; because wherever she was, she’d never be completely safe. She was, however, much safer today than yesterday, when an old friend called with the information that prompted Gypsy to immediately begin searching for bus schedules the minute she hung up the phone.
And she’d slept in worse places than a shelter.
As thunder rumbled and droplets of water began beating loudly against the metal roof of the bus, Gypsy turned to stare out the window at the gray storm clouds rolling toward them from the west.
Was this storm a sign?
Had the rain been sent to wash away her old life in order to make room for the new one?
A quick, bright flash of lightning seemed to spark a revelation in Gypsy’s mind. Suddenly, the answers she’d been searching for were there.
Everything was crystal clear.
There was no reason she shouldn’t embrace the opportunity to start a new life. After all, the one she left behind meant nothing to her. The past eleven years had been filled with feelings of loneliness, a desire to belong and be accepted, and her painful reputation as an outcast; all stemming from a tragic childhood.
But where Gypsy was going, no one knew her. And no one had heard the rumors or cruel gossip that had kept other children from being allowed to play with her. To everyone she met, she would just be Gypsy Lance, the new girl in town. Sure, she still had her problems and fears, but nobody knew about them, either. This was her chance to finally fit in and be normal.
Confident now that she’d made the right decision; Gypsy smiled to herself and closed her eyes.
Even if she never was completely safe, she was bound and determined to experience some happiness.
She deserved it.
And she would succeed.
As long as her past stayed where it belonged…


sharon said...

Great interview! I can't wait to try the cake!!

Lauren Sharman said...

Hello Sharon!

Thank you for the compliment on the interview. Talking with Sarita was a lot of fun :) I hope you enjoyed the excerpt from No Worries. It is, to this day, one of my very favorite books.

I have to admit that the cake is one that I could just dive into with a fork and eat the entire thing! The recipe is one that was handed down to me from my mom, and I have tweaked it just a little. When it's cooking, the smell is so heavenly that you're going to want to bottle it and save some for later!

Lauren Sharman

Dru said...

Your series sounds interesting. I'll have to check it out.