Saturday, May 7, 2011

Interview of Sarah McNeal

I’m very pleased to introduce you guys to a good friend of mine, Sarah McNeal. Sarah is a great writer, better friend, speaks her mind and does her best to support and help all other around her. I hope you all will come to love her as much as I do. Read her interview to find out more about this great funny lady.

Tell us a little about your writing. What type of stories do you like to write? Any characters you like to write about? Any themes you find especially inspiring?

I write paranormal and time travel romance. Once in a while I write contemporary and only once did I write a straight up no chaser romance without a single paranormal feature. Most of my stories involve a quest or a mystery.

I like characters who aspire to become more than what they presently are, be it the desire for a more noble life, the resolution of a perceived flaw or to find peace with their own identity and circumstance.

Most of my themes involve the fight for good over evil and/or the discovery of inner strength and self-worth. For some reason unknown even to myself, music plays a role in every novel I have ever written. In some stories it’s intentional but others it just appears.

What is your favorite part of the writing process? What are your most dreaded tasks? Anything special you do to get through the tough parts?

I am guessing that you do not mean writing The End to a story. I love research. I love it so much in fact, that sometimes I go way overboard collecting data I will never use.

My most dreaded task is writing a synopsis. I solved that pesky little problem by writing the synopsis first and using it as an outline. If I change something in the story, I simply tweak it in the synopsis.

In truth, though it may not be considered as part of the writing process, I dislike promotion. I feel sometimes like a salesman trying to put my foot in a door and annoying the lady of the house with my sales pitch.

What’s a typical day look like for you? What’s your writing schedule? When you’re not writing what are you doing?

I often write bits and pieces of my story in long hand usually at night after the house is quiet and I’m in bed or when I’m sitting out on the deck in good weather.

After I get my thermos of coffee in the morning and my cup and saucer, I transfer what I’ve written into the computer. I usually read the previous day’s work to refine and polish before I begin to add the new work.

When I finish writing, I check in with the group I co-own with author, Tina Donahue, Sweet N Sexy Divas and spend time chatting and also promoting my work. Sometimes after I sign off for the night, I write on my WIP again.

I love to have time with my friends and family going to dinner or lunch or going out to concerts, museums or movies. I also play musical instruments: the violin, bagpipes, guitar and harmonica to relax and get centered.

What author is your work most like? What author would you like to be more like?

I would like to think that my work is unique. I do, however, admire the work of Samuel Clemmons, Tennessee Williams, Linda Lael Miller, Lisa Kleypas and Sir Author Canon Doyle.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

Aged cheese, homemade bread and Grand Mariner Brandy.

If you could have one wish, what would it be?

That global warming and the mistreatment of animals and resources would end.

What is your favorite TV show? Why?

Castle: I love that Rick Castle is a mystery writer and that, when he plays poker with his writer buddies, that they are the real deal writers.

I am addicted to Dancing With The Stars. I always say I’m not going to watch this season and end up doing it any way. This season I love Ralph Macchio.

What is the one thing you most want to do that you haven’t yet?

Ride on the ever so elegant Ghan train from one end of Australia to the other.

What book are you reading now?

I just finished Ghost Hunter by Paige Tyler and getting ready to read an Amish book Sarah’s Gift by Marta Perry

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write every day, read like an addiction and never, under any circumstances, ever give up.

Please tell us about your current projects and where we can purchase it. Where can we find you on the web?

Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride just released April 15th 2011. I am presently writing the sequel to it that involves a secondary character I fell in love with.


Joseph Wilding left his prosperous Virginia ranch and his grieving father to live in obscurity and guilt over his brother’s death until he marries Lola instead of Callie McGraw, the woman he abhors but whose life he was attempting to save.

Lola discovers a warp in time in an old trunk when she falls into 1910. She finds herself married to Joe, a stranger shadowed by secrets. Mistaken for Callie McGraw, a thief and a woman of ill repute, Lola finds her life is threatened by a scoundrel who believes she stole his money and only Joe stands between her and death.

With danger threatening all around and secrets keeping them apart, can Joe and Lola find their destiny together or will time and circumstance forever divide them?


Terrible thoughts crossed her mind that she might be dying. The unbearable noise pierced her eardrums. She couldn’t catch her breath, her heart pounded against her ribs and her nerves shrieked against the unknown. She felt herself falling and falling into the great dark void, certain that she would lose consciousness, and wishing she could. Then, just as suddenly as it started, it all stopped.

She heard bursts of laughter and the clank of glasses bumping together as she tried to open her eyes. Someone played a piano in discord and feet stomped in time to the music. The smell of stale beer, old wood and body odor assailed her senses. Lightheaded and disoriented, it took a moment before her blurred vision focused. She straightened from her crouched position and stood on a wooden plank floor covered in sawdust, peanut shells and bits of refuse. The card that had dropped from her grasp lay on the floor at her feet. She reached down and clutched it in her hand as she heard a man speak in a ceremonious voice. “I now pronounce you man and wife. Harmonica Joe, you may kiss your bride.” Laughter resonated and cheers went up around the room.

Lola clasped the card tight in her fist and glanced up just in time to see an angular face with mesmerizing coffee brown eyes framed in sandy hair move toward her. A day’s growth of beard graced his jaw but it only enhanced his handsome features. She backed away a step only to have someone push her forward. She collided with the solid body of this imposing stranger. The stranger’s arm wrapped around her waist and pulled her close as his head dipped down, his mouth capturing hers. The bristles of his chin scraped her tender flesh that caused a thrill to scamper down her spine.

Available at Western Trail Blazer Novels

Also available at Barns & Noble and other online stores

Where you can reach me:

If you could be any paranormal creature, what would you be?

A beautiful, magical Unicorn


Sarah J. McNeal said...

Willa I so appreciate you having me on your blog and doing this interview. I really appreciate your kindness.

Tina Donahue said...

"I am guessing that you do not mean writing The End to a story."

LOL - good one, Sarah! Harmonica Joe's Reluctant Bride sounds awesome!

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Actually I do, Tina. I like it when I get to finish up a story that I;m satisfied with and write The End on it. Then I get the joy of starting another story and a new adventure.

Brenda said...

Great interview. I love getting to know fellow authors.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Brenda, you are such a doll to drop by and say howdy. Thank you.

Sheri Fredricks said...

Hi Sarah ~ You're a great interviewee! Writing in longhand, and outdoors to boot, has worked for me in the past too. Awesome to get to know you.

Janice said...

Great interview. Two things I like too, trains and Australia.


Pommawolf Emeraldwolfeyes said...

Love the interview!
And I loved YOUR BOOK!
I fell in love with Joe & Lola.

Thank you!


Brenda Hyde said...

Wow, you play all those instruments? I am SO impressed because I play nothing at all-- I did however sing in choir. I would love to play the harmonica:)

I just noticed there is another Brenda!

Michael said...

Great interview Sarah!

Its cool that you play instruments too. :)

S.lira aka Mike M/Rawiya

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Thanks Sheri. It is kinda different being the interviewee instead of the interviewer. Thanks for stopping by.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I've wanted to go on a train ride and see Australia since I was a kid. It's number one on my bucket list. Thank you for commenting, Janice.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

It's so good of you to frop by Darcy. Thank you.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Hey Brenda Hyde! The harmonica was the easiest instrument I ever played. It's also the only one that I play by ear. I never learned to read music for it. You should get one and give it a try. The nicest thing about it is I can carry it everywhere.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Rawiya, it's always sweet to have you come by wherever I am. Thank you.

Delaney Diamond said...

Hi Sarah!

I like research, too. I also like to read about historical events and stories based in the past. I'm looking forward to reading Harmonica Joe's Reluctant Bride this week.

Much success to you!

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Me, too, Delaney. research was half the fun. Thank you for stopping by and showing support as you always do.