S.L. ROSS: I DREAMED TO BE THE NEXT ANNE RICE
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Land of Books published almost 200 interviews with famous and not so famous authors. Probably the most interesting question for our guests is “Who are you”. Some of the writers answer with one sentence. Others are more generous in their description. For the first time I was really touched by the answer of that question in our next interview with S.L. Ross. She is the author of Immortal Island series. Land of Books is the first stop of Making connections blog tour of her book Spellbound.
– Sabrina, What is your book Immortal Island: Spellbound about?
– My book Spellbound is the first book in the series of Immortal Island, and it is about Sarah Daniels a young woman who doesn’t know the secrets to her or her families past. She soon discovers these secrets when she runs into Chase Gavenport, her soul mate for the past few centuries. He is a vampire but she doesn’t know that right away. He brings her into a world that her real family has been trying to protect her from every time she is reborn. Confused and alone she learns to adapt to this new life she is forced into.
– How did you decide to write the story?
– I have been writing since I can remember. I have always loved it. It has been a passion since I was a kid. Towards the end of high school I continued to write and hope one day I would be the next Anne Rice or Steven King. Even if I didn’t go to college and major in English Lit. Then in the back of my mind, and the words of some people, ‘writing was a dream’ just like being a famous actor or singer, it was a great hobby but a pipe dream. No one in my family wrote or became a writer so I had no way in. So at that time this story was put in a box never to be seen again. I never threw out anything I wrote, I still have stories that I had written in pencil back in high school, tucked in a box. With Immortal Island, I had actually written a version of the story ten years prior to re-writing it in 2009. I am a huge fan of vampire’s and werewolves and when I got inspired (A photograph of Kate Winslet was the inspiration) after having many years of writers block, I pulled this story out and re-worked it to my new idea, keeping the old idea as well. Originally the series was untitled and was set up to have a second part. Then as I rewrote it, it was then titled Coffman’s Isle. I didn’t like it but I couldn’t think of what else to call it at that time. In the end when the idea’s kept coming for book 2, 3, and then 4 and now the beginning of a mini series, the title and subtitle changed becoming Immortal Island – Spellbound.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– Honestly coming up with the ideas was the easiest part and sometimes it just flowed as I wrote. It was the editing part that I struggled with the most. Hiring an editor, on a part time salary, was not in the cards, so asking friends and family to edit and help was what I had to do and somethings were drastically missed and I received my fair share of criticism because of the grammar and punctuation. But hearing that they loved the story despite the errors and wanted to read more made me happy. Even when I asked the agents to give me a little feedback as to why they said no a few replied out of the 100. I sent letters and emails too and said the story was great but it needed a lot of work, ie grammar, punctuation, sentence structure. Now granted I had been out of high school since 1994 and did not go to college, nor wrote anything but orders down because I just went to work everyday. I never practiced like I did when I was in high school, and we all use slang when we talk. Then when I decided after so long to start writing again I thought I can get back into this no problem. When I started studying what I had put behind me since high school I realized I needed a lot of work. But ti wasn’t until I tried to pitch Spellbound did I realize how much work I needed. It’s hard to edit your own work because you don’t catch all the mistakes like you should.
– Tell us something more about your main character Sarah? Is she close to someone from your real life?
– Sarah is a college student in her last year of psychology and up until meeting Chase her life has been normal. She never met a supernatural being ever, as far as she knew and life was perfect. She had her first real love which was Jeff her college boyfriend/roommate which is complicated through out the story. Sarah is a strong young woman but everyone has their limits and when she is forced into this new world she finds a way to adapt in order to survive. Sarah doesn’t reflect any one person in my real life. I think more that her situations stem from situations of the people I know. With a little supernatural added to it. 🙂
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– When I took it out of the box and started to re-write it, it took me about two years to get it done and ready along with book 2. When it came time to publish, I thought it was ready, but clearly it wasn’t. So it took another year to edit and edit again and then get it critiqued before I tried again.
– Tell us something more about the other books in Immortal Island series?
– In book two The Vampire Masquerade which was the original story line when it was written 10 years prior to publication date. It’s about a sadistic vampire elder who enjoys watching humans suffer. He invites Sarah knowing she will meet her demise. He is also in cahoots with Chase’s maker Celeste who also wants Sarah dead and she erased Chase’s memory to ensure there is no one to protect her. Sarah knows she is headed to the lions den in book two but she feels ready to take on whatever they throw at her and with a little angel help she may even survive. Of course other things happen which lead to book 3. Sarah has a child that is more immortal then they all realize. Sarah is a hunter, so is her daughter, however her father is a werewolf so her blood is already special then as Sarah is dying Ambrose once a villain tries to safe Sarah for his own selfish reasons not thinking about the child and the child dies with vampire blood in its system same with Sarah and the both live. Now Sarah and her daughter Alaina are sired to Ambrose her enemy who she can’t help but love. Eventually as the years go on and the book comes to an end Sarah is alone. A few new characters are introduced and then She meets her demise but not at the hand of her enemy. Book four starts in Chase’s point of view during his search for Sarah leading up to her death. Then it begins again with a new heroine, Serena and her story. Book 4 was a lot of fun to write, because Serena was that bad ass Sarah should have been, but she was sheltered from that life for too long. Serena was raised a hunter and well prepared and equipped. However, Implementing Serena and her family was hard considering it was all about Sarah and her family first. Serena is not Sarah reborn but Callie her daughter is, and Serena will protect her no matter the cost. Especially after she learns of Sarah and Chase’s history.
– What the readers will find in your latest novel Hard to Love?
– Hard to Love is a contemporary romance. They will find a cheeky young woman Lauren Miller, with a tragic past. She is strong enough to pushes past the pain in order to move forward in her life. She still struggles occasionally and things happen along the way that keep her struggling. Until she meets a very attractive rich young man Mason Foster, who is dealing with his own demons. He is always second fiddle to the ever so amazing big brother Nick Porter. Mason and Lauren have a tense short affair until he leaves town because his feelings are too much for him to handle and he would rather run than admit to them. Mason is quick whited and some of my readers have mentioned laughing out loud at some of their conversations. I have also been told that they feel more like realistic conversations than scripted ones. There are some twists and turns and a second love affair for Lauren.
– Who are you?
– I am Sabrina Ross and I am a mom a wife and a writer. I work full time and take care of my family and in my spare time I write. I have been through a lot in my life, dealt with loss quite a bit. My husband and I met on the birthday of our nephew. His brother was dating my sister at the time and a month after our nephew was born we started dating. We have now been together for 14 years. Our first son Nicholas died at birth, so that was our first loss and it was extremely painful. Before our second son Austin was born I had had a few miscarriage’s and was ready to give up. He was induced early and was happy and healthy. Our third son Christopher was born 17 months later, was premature. I was 23.5 weeks pregnant when my water broke on Christmas eve 2006. Then on Jan 2 2007 he was born weighing only 1 lb 7 oz. it was a a long struggle but he made it and he is 8 now and nothing gets in his way which can be scary. 🙂 We had tried again about two years ago but the baby died after 15 weeks. That was the last for me. It was too stressful and to emotionally painful to go through another loss. 8 losses was enough.
– What are your writing habits?
– When I am writing i like to listen to music.Sometimes I will watch a bunch of movies in the genre I am writing and let the creative juices kick in. Mostly music and I will make a playlist with a particular genre and have them in the list according to what point of the story I am writing, and I will listen to a song over and over until I get that scene completed. Sometimes a little wine helps. 🙂 I also prefer to write when no one is home, that way I have no distractions, because I find that if I am in the middle of a scene and suddenly I have to tend to a child I lose my train a thought, and when I come back to it I’m lost. Then the story gets saved as is until I can think of what it was that I was going to write. lol
– Are you satisfied by the sales of the book?
– I wouldn’t say satisfied, but I am glad that I have sold some. I am hoping with networking and the social media it will pick up.
– What are you doing to promote your book by the best possible way?
– I have joined many sites like goodreads, twitter, facebook and I promote my work there. I also have a blog but I find I use it less than I have in the past.
– When we will see your next novel?
– Well, the series to Immortal Island is all out books 1-4 are available on amazon barnes&nobles etc. as is Hard to Love. I am currently working on a few stories at the moment. One is the mini series to the Immortal island series called the Chronicles of Callie as well as the Chronicles of Eric is to follow. But that is still in the works. I am editing two stories one paranormal and the other, a contemporary romance. I have dabbled with horror as well and that is a bit harder to write so it is an ongoing project at the moment. I have set up some beta readers for a fantasy that I have written and even though it doesn’t have an ending I think people will fall in love with this story and the sequels. I am hoping 2016 will be when the next novel is released.
– Do you have a daily work and how it helps in your writing creativity?
– Yes I do work daily and sometimes it makes it real hard to write because of the hours I work. My days are 9 – 9.5 hours long with a total of half hour travel time. With the kids in school I try to squeeze in writing before work. So most of my work has been partial projects that I haven’t been able to complete.
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be?
– I don’t know, gosh… If you could do it all again, would you? Yes I would. I love writing too much to not do it. And at first I wrote just for my friends they loved my stories and how I put them together. In high school I had a friend, we would just lie on the carpet in our rooms staring up at the ceiling, and she would say make up a story and put us in it and I would. My friends and co-workers are now beta readers, and can’t wait to get their hands on a copy when I do publish. So I am very happy about that. I feel like there is always an idea going on in my head, and I am also writing ideas down, even if its just a paragraph I get it down and maybe work on it later.