David McIntyre has been enjoying the heck out of his current assignment: touring the Hawaiian Islands in search of the ideal shooting locations for a series of film-company projects. What’s not to like? Stunning scenery, great food, sunny beaches… and Rick Sutton, the hot, ex-Air Force pilot who is flying him around.
Everything changes when a tropical storm and engine failure force a crash landing on a deserted atoll with a WWII listening post. Rick’s injuries and a lack of food and water mean David has to step up to the plate and play hero. While his days are spent fighting for survival, and his nights are filled with worrying about Rick, the two men grow closer. David’s research for his next movie becomes intertwined with his worst fears, and events on the island result in a vivid dream about the Battle of Britain. On waking, David realizes Rick is more than just a pilot to him. The obstacles that prevented a happy ending in 1940 aren’t present today, and David vows that if they survive this stranding, he will tell Rick how he feels.
Molly: What music, if any do you listen to when you write?
Sarah: I don’t usually listen to music when I write because I find it distracting. Oddly enough, however, I find it very beneficial during the brainstorming phase. I used to have a long daily commute and I had favorite playlists I’d listen to over and over again. The very familiarity of the songs made it easy for my brain to slide into a zone where ideas and plotlines would come charging at me from out of the blue. My commute is much shorter now, and while I appreciate the extra hours in my schedule, I sometimes miss that lovely plotting time!
A dear friend of mine made me an awesome playlist for Unspeakable Words, and I listen to it every time I’m plotting out the next installments in the Sixth Sense series. When I was sketching out The Boys of Summer, I frequently listened to WW2-era music, like Rosemary Clooney’s For the Duration CD. But when it comes to actual writing, I prefer silence!
Molly: Are you a full time writer, or part time writer?
Sarah: Unfortunately, I work full time roughly 50-60 hours a week, which leaves very little time for writing.
Molly: Do you hope to one day be a full time writer?
Sarah: I would love to be a full time writer—like many other authors, it’s a dream of mine. However, I’m seeing more and more full time writers going back to picking up day jobs. Why? Because in order to make writing pay the bills for most people, they have to produce a new story every quarter. That’s a lot of time writing and not being involved with your family, or doing anything else you might love, like hiking or photography.
For me to transition into full time writing, I would have to write a lot more than I am capable of doing at the moment. I plan to step up production in 2016—there’s a lot I can do to work toward that which would not involve cutting back on family time any more than I have—like less social media time and less self-promotional type stuff. What I suspect will happen is that I will continue to write, hopefully polishing and perfecting my craft, until I retire, after which I’ll have the time to devote to it fully.
Molly: Do you have a word count per day you try to hit?
Sarah: No, I don’t. I would probably benefit from being more structured in my writing, but to tell you the truth the rest of my life is so structured writing feels like the only place I can play. I don’t even outline too much as that can be a story-killer for me. I have friends who are far more detail-oriented and organized, and I envy them that, but I fear I’d spend my little available time on setting things up and not actually ever write anything!
I tend to try to picture the scene I want to write before sitting down to do so, and I try very much to write one scene per sitting. Some people recommend leaving off in the middle of something so you have a place to pick back up again, but that doesn’t work very well for me. I get my head back into the story by re-reading the last thing I wrote, tweaking it as I go, and then I’m ready to dive back in again.
Molly: When you finish writing a book, how long before you begin writing the next one?
Sarah: This used to be a major sticking factor for me. I’d finish a story, submit it for publication, and then wait anxiously for the six to eight weeks to find out if it was going to be accepted or not. I wasted a LOT of time doing that! Once I realized that ninety-eight percent of whatever I submitted was going to be accepted, I stopped stewing quite so much over that waiting time.
I also figured out that from the time I conceive of a story, to the time I write, submit, publish, and can expect to see royalties from it is about a year. Sure, I could cut this time down by self-publishing, but then I’d have to wear ALL the hats I don’t have time to wear: paying for an excellent cover, editing, formatting, distribution… The self-publishing model simply doesn’t work as well for me at this point in my life, though that may well change in the future.
These days, while I’m very much aware I need a little down time between stories to recharge my batteries, I’m better off starting the next project within a couple of weeks. Not only in terms of output, but also for my own mental health. Likewise with the release of a new story—I used to waste several months before and after a scheduled release in excited anticipation and doing lots and lots of promo. I think for 2016, I’m going to let my stories do most of the talking for me, and see how that works out. 🙂
“I don’t think we’ve got much choice.” Sutton’s voice was grim. “We’re lucky to have that much. Hold on, these trees are coming up faster than I’d like.”
Still fighting to keep the nose of the plane up, Sutton guided the recalcitrant aircraft toward the so-called clearing, the ground rising up to meet them far faster than was comfortable. David found himself leaning back in his seat, bracing his hands on the console as the tops of trees scraped the underside of the plane. Branches swiped at the windshield, and David had the sudden impression of being in a car wash scene as written by Stephen King.
“Duck your head!” Sutton barked. “Wrap your arms around your legs!”
“And kiss my ass goodbye?” David shouted, raising his voice over the increasing noise as he obeyed Sutton’s orders.
Incredibly, Sutton laughed. It was an oddly comforting sound. Like everything was somehow going to be all right because Sutton was at the controls.
The moment of humor was gone in a flash. The plane screamed with the sound of tearing metal and the sharp, explosive crack of tree limbs and breaking glass. David kept his head down and his eyes closed, praying to a God he was pretty sure had more important things to do than to keep up with the well-being of one David McIntyre. Despite being strapped in his seat, his head and shoulder thumped painfully against the passenger side door as the plane thrashed wildly. There was a moment of eerie, blessed silence, and for an instant, the assault on the plane seemed as though it had lifted. Eye of the storm, David thought, just before the plane hit the ground.
Someone had left the window open and it was raining on him. How incredibly annoying. He shifted, intent on reaching for the offending window, when a jolt of pain ran through his shoulder and he gasped. When he opened his eyes, nothing made any sense at first. Then he remembered the crash, and realized that his side of the plane was pointing up at the sky. The rain was coming down in a steady stream through the broken windshield. The sound of the rain on the metal hull of the plane was nearly deafening.
He winced at the pain in his neck when he turned to look over at the pilot’s seat. Sutton was slumped to one side in his chair, unmoving. His sunglasses were hanging off one ear.
“Oh God, oh God, oh God,” David murmured, hastily undoing his seatbelt so he could reach across to Sutton. His skin was cold and damp where David touched it, and adrenaline pounded through David’s veins as though he could jumpstart Sutton’s heart by sending his own pulse beating through his fingertips. “Sutton! Rick!”
David fought to free himself of his seat, twisting for greater access to the other side of the cockpit. When the seatbelt came open, he fell half across Sutton. Sprawled practically in his lap, David could now see the nasty cut on the left side of Sutton’s temple. The pilot’s side of the plane had taken a lot of damage, and David yelped as he encountered a sliver of glass. Bits of the windshield and console were scattered like confetti over Sutton’s jacket. “Sutton!” The lack of response was unnerving. He tossed aside the sunglasses and worked a hand down into Sutton’s collar, feeling frantically for a pulse.
He could have kissed the man when Sutton suddenly groaned.
Sarah Madison is a veterinarian with a large dog, an even bigger horse, too many cats, and a very patient boyfriend. An amateur photographer and a former competitor in the horse sport known as eventing, when she’s not out hiking with the dog or down at the stables, she’s at the laptop working on her next story. When she’s in the middle of a chapter, she relies on the smoke detector to tell her dinner is ready. She writes because it’s cheaper than therapy.
Sarah Madison was a finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards and is the winner of Best M/M Romance in the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards.
If you want to make her day, e-mail her and tell you how much you like her stories.
January 4: The Novel Approach :: Gay Media Reviews
January 5: Elisa – My reviews and Ramblings
January 6: Louise Lyons
January 7: Diverse Reader
January 8: Prism Book Alliance :: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
January 9: Susan Mac Nicol
January 10: Loving Without Limits
January 11: Kathy Mac Reviews :: Love Bytes Reviews
January 12: Divine Magazine
January 13: BFD Book Blog
January 14: The Purple Rose Tea House :: Man2ManTastic
January 15: Molly Lolly: Reader, Reviewer, Lover of Words
January 16: TTC Books and More :: Sue Brown
January 17: Bayou Book Junkie
January 18: Drops of Ink
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