Sarah Ballance lives a charmed life as the mother of six incredible homeschooled children, all of whom are completely adorable when they're asleep. Her husband of many years (long, long years, he calls them) is the kind of guy who could teach those heroes from the books a thing or two about romance, not that he'd readily admit it. Completely supportive of her newfound love of writing fiction, he's generously offered to help with any necessary research for "the good parts." She's never had to ask twice.
The whole boisterous lot of them live within boating distance of the beautiful Outer Banks of North Carolina, suspiciously close to the setting of Sarah’s second novel – a romantic suspense which gives a whole new meaning to the idea of escaping to the beach.
She joins us today to announce the exciting news of her new release, Down in Flames!
What inspired you to start writing fiction?
After writing little more than a grocery list throughout my entire adult life, I jumped into freelancing on a blind whim. I ended up making quite a bit of money through contract clients and scored a couple of national print credits to boot. One of my friends then suggested I write a novel, to which I replied “I can’t do that.” It’s one thing to write nonfiction … it can be impersonal. Fiction dives into the heart and mind of the writer and leaves pieces of the author’s soul on the page. As THE introvert, just the thought of putting myself out there like that scared me. But at the same time, I don’t like being told I can’t do anything – not even by ME – so I gave it a shot. Almost exactly a year after I typed the first words of Down in Flames, Noble Romance Publishing released it. I’m still an introvert, but I’m hooked!
As a homeschooling mom of 6, how do you find time to write? Have you created a schedule or do you work better when life is flexible?
In theory, I get up around five in the morning and spend four blissful, uninterrupted hours writing. In reality, 7:00 a.m. hits me like a boulder to the forehead and I wake up feeling totally behind and frazzled, which is a lousy way to start the day. I do my best writing in the morning, though, so it’s my goal to write early. The kids sleep in and begin their day around nine or ten and from there I’m in mom mode. I usually don’t get another chance to write until after dinner. I think overall our schedule IS “flexible,” LOL!
How did you decide on Noble for a publisher?
I did my research on a few publishers and found the buzz on Noble to be fantastic. No one had anything negative to say about them, I noticed many of their authors repeated, and the covers are stunning. You may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but covers do sell books! I didn’t think for a moment they’d accept my story, but they were definitely my top choice. And my experience has far exceeded any expectations I managed to form through the shock of the contract offer. The Noble team is friendly, professional, and both supportive of and available to their authors. I’m so blessed to have wandered through their front door with my homeless manuscript!
Promotion is such a big part of being an author. What are you doing to advertise Down in Flames?
This is something I’m still experimenting with. I’ve been fortunate with the number of blog interviews I’ve been offered, and eventually I worked up enough nerve to do a couple of guest blogs (to a fantastic response!). My focus now, aside of writing more books, is to get my name out there. Pretending to be an extrovert is tough at times, LOL, but the friends and connections I’ve made are amazing. And I’ve been told my book cover has been seen “all over the place” by more than one of these friends and readers, so I feel as if my small steps are good ones. The biggest response thus far has been in site hits originating from my paid ad, but it’s too soon to know if those hits will translate to sales.
Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?
Thanks so much for hanging out and reading through to the end! To check out the latest news, read my favorite excerpt from Down in Flames, or take a peek at my news archives – including two guest blogs readers loved – please visit my website at SarahBallance.com. All of my contact info is on the home page, so if you’d like to connect that’s the place to go to make it happen!
Sarah, thank you for visiting us at Writers in Business. We wish you all the best with your new book, Down in Flames.
Sarah can be reached at Down in Flames @ Noble Romance, Blog and Facebook.