Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Personal Path To Publication - Sarah Ballance

I'm quite excited by my guest on the blog today.  Please help me welcome the author of some very sexy and heart-stoppingly romantic books under the Nobel Romance imprint, Sarah Ballance!  Known for her two titles, Down In Flames and Run To You, Sarah is happy to promote the release of her third book, Unforgiven, the cover and blurb of which will appear at the end of this post.  New to writing for just the last few years, Sarah came to it nearly on a dare!  Told by someone she couldn't write a novel, of course she had to set out and prove that she could...and she is one of those gifted writers who was born to do it!  Her first manuscript was snatched up by Noble Romance (who knew a damn good thing when they saw one) and she has been producing for them ever since.  She has some insightful and hilarious things to say and I thoroughly enjoyed reading her journey.  I know you will too.  Read on, and get to know my exceptional friend Sarah Ballance!

1. How long have you been writing?
About three years. I started my first novel in May 2008—not because I wanted to be an author, mind you, but because someone told me I should write a novel and I said I couldn't do it. When I thought about it later, it bothered me to have said "I can't." So I did.

2. Are you published and if so, how long have you been a published author? If not, what’s your plan?
I am a published author. This, too, happened by accident. By the time I finished my first novel, DOWN IN FLAMES, I'd scored an awesome crit partner.  I subbed the story just to keep from having to explain to her why I wasn't going to sub it (then justified this to myself with the thought that I'd have to get used to rejection). I was absolutely stunned when my first and only query led to a contract.

3. Which route did you choose for becoming published, the traditional route, with an agent, the “indie” route, going directly to the publishers yourself, or deciding to self-publish?
I submitted directly to Noble Romance. They e-pub and move novel-length stories to print.

4. Why did you choose that particular route?
As a brand new author on my first manuscript, I didn't think I was ready for an agent, nor was I ready for self-publishing. There was no way in the world I was going to try to attempt my own edits, nor did I want to deal with the business end and legalities of self-publishing. Today … I second that! LOL.

5. How long did it take you to write your first novel?
Start to finish, about six months including my edits. 

6. How long did it take you to publish it?
I submitted it in the fall of 2009 and it was released June 7, 2010

7. How many times did it get rejected before it got published?
Not a single time. I know, right?

8. Tell us about worst rejection letter.
I've never been rejected, unless you count a query declined by a NY house. They actually complimented my story and my synopsis, but they weren't interested in publishing it. I expected it, so not only was I not surprised, but it was actually a relief to move on and do something with the manuscript.

9. What was the best news you ever got in your writing life and how did it make you feel?
I think my best moment was when my second story, RUN TO YOU, was accepted by Noble Romance. With my first submission, I had absolutely no expectation it would be picked up—I wasn't even nervous waiting for a response—and when it was contracted I figured it was a fluke. All my nerves went into that second submission, and when it, too, landed a contract I finally felt like, hey, I might be able to do this writing thing!

10. What’s the worst piece of advice you ever got?
Writing sex is the bane of my existence, but it seemed like everything I read suggested sex had to be explicit and often. I couldn't quite get there, but the sex in my first story is more graphic than which I'm comfortable. I'm still feeling my way through that aspect of my writing, but I don't see myself ever preferring to write explicit over sensual.

11. Now, tell us the best!
Find a crit partner you trust—one who tell you like it is. No one likes to see their "baby" sliced and diced, but something a lot of new authors don't seem to understand is either a crit partner finds those problems in a critique, or one of two things generally happens. Either the manuscript will be rejected based on those mistakes and holes, or it will be published with them and readers will call an author out in a hurry! Personally, I'd rather take my criticism in private.

12. What’s the one thing you would want an aspiring writer to take away from your personal path to publication?
If you can look back on the first story you wrote and cringe a little, you're doing something right. You want to grow and learn and develop a voice, and when you can see improvements in your own work, you have—in one very important way—made it.

13. Where can we read your blog? Buy your books? Connect with you on facebook? On Twitter? Your website?
Every week one of my blog subscribers wins their choice of a $5 gift certificate to Amazon.com or a $10 gift certificate to Noble Romance! To enter, all you have to do is subscribe to my blog by *email.* Full details are available here: http://sarahballance.wordpress.com/weekly-giveaways/ 
Riley Beckett’s past just came back to haunt her … and this time, he’s got a gun.
When Gage Lawton finds his brother shot dead on his back porch, every shred of evidence points to one person: his former lover, Riley.   They didn’t part ways on good terms, and they’re not going to reconnect there, either—not when he’s got a revolver pointed at her head and a finger on the trigger.
A year after Riley swore she and Gage were over, he returns in a hail of gunfire.  One look into those achingly familiar blue eyes and she knows how wrong she was to let him go, but now far more than their heated past stands in the way.  A twist of fate puts them in the cross hairs of a killer, leaving Riley with two slim options:  trust her greatest betrayer, or face a murderer on her own.
I asked Sarah to tell us a little bit about her personal life and got back this fantastic snippet.  I am sharing it unedited.  She DOES write great!:

About the Author: Sarah lives a charmed life as the mother of six incredible home schooled 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 love for writing fiction, he's generously offered to help with any necessary research for "the good parts." She's never had to ask twice.
Although the idea of writing romance and romantic suspense initially intimidated Sarah, it has morphed into a favorite pastime since her characters, unlike her kids, actually listen to her. Er, sometimes. 

I literally have nothing more to add!  Except this:  Sarah is great, comment here or make contact with her!  And buy her books!


  1. Okay, seriously, you have a way with introductions. I'm going to have this one framed. *hearts circle my head* Thank you for some kickin' hospitality, my friend! GREAT party! I'll, uh, be here until the bill for the broken furniture arrives. ;c)

  2. Aww, I love Sarah, too. She's great. And definitely inspirational. I can't tell you how much she's helped me, Samantha. ;-)

    Every single one of her books are awesome. <3

  3. Hey Sarah, I calls 'em likes I sees 'em. Truthfully though, I am THIRLLED to have you on the blog and expect major traffic as a result. Glad you loved the intro. I had to wipe adoring drool from the keyboard. LOL!

  4. Wonderful interview for a wonderful person. Couldn't be more true!!! I make mental notes of everything she has to offer - she's just that amazing. :)

  5. Krystal, Melissa, Samantha --

    You guys are AWESOME. Thank you for the boost today. I cannot TELL you how much I needed it! And I'm, uh, sorry about the keyboard. And I hope the traffic stays off the lawn. *giggle*