DEB: Sarah, tell us a little bit about yourself.
SC: I have always been a story teller. When I was young, I kept my younger siblings entertained for hours with fantastical stories in which they played the starring roles. It wasn’t long before I put pen to paper and gave my stories life of another kind. I won story and poetry contests through high school and university but when I hit law school, I lost my inspiration to write. The long hours kinda did me in. After a near fatal illness, I took a break from law and started to write again. I haven’t looked back!
DEB: What was your inspiration for this book?
SC: I got lost driving home one night and wound up in an industrial estate. The only building with lights turned out to be an MMA gym. The fighters (all smokin’ hot) were falling over themselves to help me. I think it was the alpha male reaction to “female” and “lost”. By the time I left (tank filled, phone charged, front seat filled with water bottles and protein bars courtesy of my courteous fighters), I had an idea of a story.
DEB: Is it single title or part of an on-going series?
SC: We have three books planned, all set in the same MMA world but each is a stand alone, single title. The second book, In Your Corner, tells the story of Amanda and Jake, two secondary characters in Against the Ropes, and is due for release in Spring 2014.
DEB: Were you always fascinated by martial arts or is this just an idea you got for the series?
SC: When I was growing up my family was very involved in martial arts. I practiced Karate from the age of 9 and earned my Brown-Black belt in the style, Shito-Ryu. And, of course, my little munchkins are now involved!
DEB: What is it about the alpha male heroes that you think draws romance readers?
SC: I think romance readers are drawn to an alpha male’s confidence and control. He never apologizes. Never explains himself. Never backtracks. He is a leader and expects people to follow. But more than that he is mysterious, and charismatic with a hint of danger thrumming beneath his skin and an aura of raw power around him. He is the bad boy who needs to be tamed, because we know as we peel away the layers, we will find the soft center underneath. This is Torment, my fighter. And he has more than a few layers Makayla has to peel away.
DEB: Do you have a favorite author or genre that you like to read for pleasure?
SC: I love me a good OTT Kristen Ashley book but I also read a lot of erotic romance!
DEB: How long have you been writing and what was your first experience with the publishing industry like?
SC: I have always been a writer but I only seriously started writing with the goal of finishing a book three years ago. My first experience with the publishing industry was very positive. I got great peer feedback on my first book, erotic legal thriller, Legal Heat, through RWA chapter contests and found my agent through a contest. I signed two contracts my first year with two different publishers, each of whom have been amazing to work with.
DEB: Do you have advice for new writers?
SC: The two things that helped me the most were joining a local writing group and entering RWA chapter contests. I met some wonderful people in my local romance writing group who were very generous with sharing their knowledge of the industry and very willing to give their time to help out a new writer. The chapter contests gave me an opportunity to get anonymous feedback on my work and I learned a lot about the craft just from the judge’s comments.
DEB: Tell us something about yourself that readers may not know.
SC: Hmmm. I eat chocolate, only if it’s frozen. Half my freezer is full of frozen chocolate bars. Often, I will make the munchkins eat frozen veg just so I can use the space for chocolate bars. This makes me a good Mom. Kids eat veg. Mom eats chocolate.
DEB: What are you working on right now?
SC: I am working on the third book in the Against the Ropes series. Still trying to come up with some new and nifty names for fighters, so if anyone has suggestions, I would love to hear them.
SC: Thank you very much to Debs Book Bag for hosting me today!
DEB: Check out my review of Against the Ropes by Sarah Castille later today!
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