Sunday, June 29, 2014

Meet Romantic Suspense Author Rachel Sharpe

I'm very pleased to introduce another Soul Mate Publishing Author. Meet Rachel Sharpe. She writes romantic suspense and her debut novel is entitled COLD AMBITION.

Welcome, Rachel!

Q. Tell us about your new release—the inspiration, genre, characters or anything you want us to know.

"Cold Ambition" is the first book in the Jordan James, PI series, which is the story of a young woman from New Orleans living in Boston and trying to make it as a private investigator against some pretty serious odds. Her first case is a twenty-something-year old unsolved murder that not even Boston's finest could crack. Little did she know that with her very first case, Jordan would find herself unwittingly involved in an international conspiracy that puts her very life in jeopardy... 

The inspiration for Jordan James came from the fact that as a child, I loved watching re-runs of "Magnum, PI" so much that I literally wanted to become a PI myself. The lifestyle presented in that show was possibly the most thrilling life I could have imagined - living in Hawaii on an ocean front estate free of charge and getting to drive a Ferrari you don't own while solving sensational cases with your friends? Who wouldn't want a life like that? When I truly began to put pen to paper, however, I couldn't imagine a more exciting city to begin a career as a PI than in Boston which, along with New Orleans, is one of my all-time favorite cities. 
 
Now that you put it that way, I think I'd like to be a PI as well! That was a good show. I agree Boston and New Orleans are both great cities and wonderful fodder for novels.
 
Q. How long have you been writing and what is your typical writing day like?
 
I've been writing stories ever since I could write. Reading and writing have always been passions of mine, which is most likely why I became an English major in college. A typical writing day for me is atypical at best. At this point in my career, I still have a "day job," so I write whenever I can. Oftentimes, I get the most writing done on the go via my cell phone's writing app. If I'm writing a novel, my goal is to complete the first draft within a season. Editing takes more time, but as long as I get that first draft down, I'm good.
 
I've heard you talk about that phone app before. What is it called? Though, I can't imagine penning a novel (even part of one) on my phone. I love that idea to finish a draft in a season. Hmm. Maybe I'll try that.
 
Q. How many books have you written or is this your debut? 
 
This is my debut novel, but there are currently four books in the Jordan James, PI series. Soul Mate Publishing contracted book two, "Lost Distinction," and I am editing book three, working title "Retribution." I am also writing book four. I hope for this to be a continuous series like "Jack Reacher."
  
You are making me feel like a real slacker especially since I can no longer say my day job is anything but writing. But I did work outside the home for over 25 years. Congrats on selling book #2 and working on #'s 3 and 4. I'm impressed.
 
Q. Any suggestions on balancing writing and social media?
 
It's all about consistency. You have to remain active to keep your name and your work out there, but you don't want to over-saturate your market to the point you lose readers' interest. I try to keep semi-active on Facebook and Twitter as well as my blog, but I do not post daily. Marketing is easily a full-time job that could take away from your writing time if you let it. That's why it's important to be consistent, but keep things in balance.
 
Marketing can definitely be a full-time job. Achieving balance is key, I agree, but it's often hard to follow that advice.
 
Q. Tell us something quirky about you that we may not know.
 
It's not exactly quirky, but I love music and I play the guitar. I was in a band in high school called Outta the Blue. If I couldn't write novels, I would probably focus more time on my music.
  
You're cool! Love the name of the band and the fact that you can play a guitar!
 
Q. What is your favorite marketing tip/promotional advice?
 
When I first began my journey to publication, I was talking to a friend and fellow author and he said, "You're going to write? Then you need to Tweet." After a minimal argument, I agreed that whenever that wonderful day happened, the day when a publisher finally said, "Yes, we want to publish you," on that day I would give in and get Twitter. And I did. And my friend was right. Twitter allows you to reach, in my opinion, a wider audience than Facebook. Both are amazing marketing tools that anyone needing to promote themselves or their product/service should utilize, but so far, I've found it easier to engage readers on Twitter. 
 
Interesting. I've found more fans and networking opportunities on Facebook! But I'm also on Twitter.
 
Q. What’s your next project?
 
"Lost Distinction," book two in the Jordan James, PI series. In it, Jordan is called upon to find the missing son of a US Ambassador. With time running out and lives at stake, she must race to uncover the culprit of an elaborate plot while also uncovering a far more personal truth too intimate to ignore...
 
Sounds intriguing and complex.
 
Q. I love first lines. Post your first sentence. Hook us!

Perilously perched on the edge of a high-rise that offered a spectacular view of Faneuil Hall is most certainly not how I pictured my untimely demise...

Good one!!! I just love compelling first sentences. They're so important. Now, I wish I had asked you why you decided to write using first person. Maybe you can tell us in the comments.
 
Everyone, please read Rachel's excerpt below, then leave a comment and follow her on Facebook and Twitter. And, of course, check out her novel, COLD AMBITION. Thanks for stopping by, Rachel.
 

COLD AMBITION Excerpt
 
My name is Jordan James, and I am a twenty-four- year-old woman. I just wanted to get that straight from the beginning. I am well aware that Jordan is commonly a boy’s name, but for some reason my parents decided that a normal name like Melissa or Amanda would not suit me. Regardless, my name has not caused me any trouble since an unfortunate teasing incident in the third grade. In fact, it has been quite useful in my line of work. But again, I digress.
I’m originally from a suburb of New Orleans but moved to the Northeast to attend Brown University. I spent four fabulous years in Providence and graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in psychology. Like most bright- eyed, eager graduates, I assumed jobs would be thrown at me as soon as I was handed my diploma. I assumed that I could take my pick. The world was my oyster. To make a long story short, my ideas and reality did not match. After several frustrating months of searching, I decided to move to Boston. I thought this city would provide me with all of the wonderful opportunities I had been unable to find in Providence. When it didn’t, I settled and took a job as a waitress at a small Italian restaurant along the Freedom Trail near the Old North Church to make ends meet. It wasn’t a bad job; the tips were good, and the owners were wonderful. In fact, they became quasi-parents to me when I didn’t know anyone else in Boston, but I wasn’t satisfied. This job wasn’t what I had spent four grueling years studying for.
After work each evening, I went home to my one- bedroom apartment on Sewall Avenue, counted my tips, and then spent many hours searching online for different career opportunities that might be available to someone with my credentials. Unfortunately, I had already looked into most of them and during an economic crisis, good jobs can be hard to attain. I started saving religiously and continued the search for my dream job.
After I saved up a decent amount of money and recruited the reluctant help of my parents, I decided to go into business for myself. What career did I decide on? What job could possibly stimulate me intellectually and help me provide for myself in a manner that I could finally be on my own, both physically and fiscally? Private investigation. Yes, I decided to set up shop as a P.I. Now, one might wonder, what could have possibly led me to believe that I could make it as a P.I.? Another valid question is: why did I want to become one in the first place? The answer to both questions can be summed up in one word: Magnum. I grew up watching re-runs of the classic 1980’s show and was enthralled by both his career and his lifestyle. It was exciting and thrilling. He lived in Hawaii, drove a Ferrari that he didn’t own, and lived on an expansive oceanfront estate free of charge. Who wouldn’t want a life like that? With the black belt in Tae Kwon Do that I had earned in college, I felt more than prepared to take on a potentially dangerous job. However, even with my black belt and my education, my choice of career received less than enthusiastic responses.
“No one is going to hire a woman to investigate anything,” my father stated when I called him with the news.
“Oh, that is such a dangerous job. You could be killed! What’s wrong with the restaurant? In fact, what’s wrong with moving back home?” my mother inquired. I must admit I shuddered at the thought.
“A private eye? Good luck with that one,” scoffed my older sister, Alicia, the pediatric neurosurgeon. She had graduated from an in-state university and set up her practice within thirty miles of my parents’ residence. She was always the good one.
Despite the negative feedback, I decided to forge my new life in the home of our country’s forefathers, where liberty was conceived and it was decided that freedom was considered worth dying for. Unfortunately, the cost of living had gone up substantially since Paul Revere had galloped into history with his famous midnight ride. Finding a reasonable apartment in an area that didn’t have the police on speed dial was difficult. Finding an office that didn’t put my unborn children into debt would be a miracle.
I learned, however, that perseverance pays off. My landlord owned an office building near Fenway Park with a tiny, unrentable office. It was smaller than all of the other offices in the building and, therefore, considered undesirable. I investigated this situation and found out that my landlord had been unable to rent it for over a year and a half. This was the perfect opportunity for me to put that minor in communications to work. Although it took nearly a month, I was able to logically convince Mr. Chambers that if he were to rent the office to me at five-eighths the normal price for six months, it would be beneficial to us both. Eventually, he saw it my way. He says it was actually because I nearly drove him to jump into the Charles River because of my incessant nagging. I like to believe it was due to my keen negotiating skills.
So, on November 3, nearly a year and a half after graduating, I unlocked the door to my office, turned on the light, and smiled at the black letters freshly inked to the opaque glass in my door—Jordan James, P.I. Now all that I needed were clients. As fate would have it, someone was looking for a P.I., someone whose case would affect not only my career but my very existence.

LINKS

16 comments:

  1. Thank you for hosting me! :) As to your question about the first person narrative, I feel like writing in first person bonds the reader to the character. To be able to see what she sees, as she sees it, makes a story feel more personal. I couldn't begin to imagine writing Jordan James in the third person because this is her story and I want her to tell it.

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    1. It's my pleasure, Rachel. I understand you're explanation about first person. I first started writing from that POV. But with my women's fiction and three main characters, I had to switch to third person.

      Congrats again on your debut and success!!

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    2. ...YOUR... Autocorrect drives me nuts.

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  2. Excellent post, Rachel! Loved hearing more about your journey. Enjoyed reading Cold Ambition and look forward to the rest of the series.

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    1. Thanks so much, Joanne! I'm glad you liked it. :)

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  3. Looking for to having the time to read Cold Ambition. Loved the post and learning more about you.

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    1. Thanks, Karen! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. ;)

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  4. Jordan sounds like a heroine after my own heart. Thanks for advise about social media.

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    1. You're so welcome! Thanks for stopping by! :)

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  5. Rachel, this sounds so intriguing!

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  6. Love the title & premise for Book #2. Can't wait to read it!

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    1. Thank you so much, Lauren! I'm so glad you liked it. :)

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  7. Let me just say again how much I enjoyed Cold Ambition!

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    1. Thank you, Larynn! I'm so glad you liked it. :)

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  8. I want to thank EVERYONE who took the time to stop by and welcome Rachel. I can't wait to read COLD AMBITION!!

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