Thursday, February 13, 2014

Interview, Review and Giveaway: Sharon Sala

Please join me in welcoming Sharon Sala to Debbie's Book Bag today. Sharon is here promoting her book, The Curl Up and Dye. Enjoy the great interview with Sharon and be sure to check out the publisher sponsored giveaway details at the end of the post.

Q: How has writing this book changed from writing your first?

A: Writing this book is like walking into a new friend’s house. I am no longer afraid to get to know them. I’m not hesitant about asking questions and I have long since given up trying to MAKE things happen because my characters are always the ones in control.

Q: How do you get your ideas for books?

A: I don’t get ideas. I get dreams. I dream whole stories in plot, in color, and often with specific dialogue that I wake up and quickly write down so I won’t forget.

Q: What are differences between writing commercial fiction and what you have done in the past?

A: I don’t see that there is a difference, and I didn’t know there was a fiction that wasn’t commercial. All of my books are fiction. Some fall under different genres. I write romantic suspense, straight fiction, women’s fiction, Young adult, and Paranormal romantic suspense and the occasional Historical fiction set in the old west.

Q: In your opinion, what kinds of characters make a good leading couple?

A: I have a steadfast rule about leading characters. They can be suspected of crimes and immorality, but that aren’t guilty of either.  They have to be willing to sacrifice something of themselves for others. They have to be honest and above all, NOT those characters we call “too stupid to live.”  You know the ones… alone in an empty house at night without a light and hear a noise upstairs. Instead of running the heck out of the house, they go up to see what it is. Seriously?  Those are characters who deserve whatever happens to them up there.  That’s too stupid to live.

Q: Do you have a favorite author or genre you like to read for pleasure?

A: I read Robert Crais for straight mystery/suspense and John Hart for gut-wrenching prose and the best plot/storylines ever.

Q: Tell us something about yourself that readers may not know?

A: That I live in a haunted house.

Q: What are you working on right now?

A: I am finishing up a Native American paranormal book called THE DOVE, written under my pen name, Dinah McCall. It’s book two in The Prophecy series and one of my self-published efforts. I’ve been doing that and traditional publishing now going on three years and quite successfully.

Book Details:

The Curl Up & Dye by Sharon Sala

Publication Date: 02/04/2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Imprint: Landmark
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
ISBN-10: 1402283962
ISBN-13: 978-1402283963

(Received for an honest review from Sourcebooks Landmark)

Sharon Sala on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Excerpt from, The Curl Up & Dye, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.


Those were the best days of her life...
"Poor LilyAnn," the local ladies lament. "She sure is stuck in the past."
Eleven years ago, LilyAnn Bronte was the Peachy-Keen Queen of Blessings, Georgia—the prettiest, smartest, and most popular girl in town, going steady with the star quarterback, a high school career on the fast track to success. Then Randy Joe was killed in Iraq, and somehow LilyAnn just let herself go to seed.
Ruby, Mabel Jean, Vera, and Vesta of the Curl Up and Dye have been itching to give LilyAnn a makeover, but she knows it would make more than a new hairstyle for her to get her life back.
Until one fateful day, when a handsome stranger roars into town, and LilyAnn has a revelation.
Maybe the best is yet to come...


Sharon Sala brings readers a different kind of book with her latest release, The Curl Up and Dye. This is a romance based on the idea of not letting life pass you by, no matter what the circumstances are. Sala brings a lot of heart and Southern charm to the town of Blessings, Georgia and to this book. Readers who are looking for a sweet romance, with a little bit of edge will find this one irresistible. Sala has created a group of characters that readers won't soon forget. A great new book from a well respected author.

What I liked:

Blessings, Georgia is a charming and quaint little town where all the townspeople know each other and everyone's business. I live in a town that is very much like that myself and I thought it was interesting to see how this author portrayed the relationships that develop and how the town itself helps to change a characters life. Sala does a fantastic job with the town itself and with the townsfolk. There are some really colorful characters in this little town and each character that comes to the front has a reason, a story and place in the lives of the lead couple. Very well done.

I have always thought that Sharon Sala was extremely good at romantic suspense and this novel was somewhat of a departure for her. It was totally not what I expected. I thought there would probably be a lot more suspense than romance, when in fact it was quite the opposite. I found myself becoming really invested in these characters and their happiness. Sala took me by surprise and I liked that. 

LilyAnn was a great character. She had it all and then it was gone in a heartbeat. I felt her pain and emotion in the way that Sala wrote her. When her fiancee dies in Afghanistan, she is devastated, who wouldn't be? She has completely let her life pass her by. She just isn't engaging in life. She is just floating along. I could understand her reasons but still felt sorry for her in the beginning. Life is short and it's sad to see someone in so much pain. Sala did a fantastic job of showing those emotions and feelings that Lily was going through. 

Mike has sat by and watched Lily from a distance their whole lives. He has watched over her but was unable to protect her from the pain of losing someone or from the pain of moving on. He is waiting for her to come to him and see him for more than just a friend. And when a new man shows up in town and turns her head, he once again sees her slipping away from him. I thought he was a sweet man, he was handsome and thoughtful, but not really a take charge kind of guy. Sala did a great job with him and showing the reader his love for Lily and why he was the right one for her.

The ladies of The Curl Up and Dye were a real hoot. They added a lot of humor and comic relief to the story that was needed. There were some suspenseful moments as well, but I think the comedy really helped to lighten the mood and keep the romance at the center of the story. Ruby Dee was my favorite. Her salon provided a place where the townsfolk congregated, plotted,planned and gossiped and now they had a mission... Get Lily and Mike together no matter what. I loved the whole busy body attitude of it and thought it definitely fit with the story.

What I didn't like:

I think I wanted Mike to be more of an alpha male. He sat back and waited for Lily to make a move when he should have been the one to go to her. He had eleven years after her tragic story unfolded to let her know how he felt and yet he didn't. When he finally did get his head on straight, it was caused by a bit of jealousy. Typical. LOL! 

Bottom Line:

This was a good book. A great departure from what I normally expect from this author. Her characters were engaging and people I wanted to root for. The Southern setting was very well done. Yet I still didn't feel over the moon about the book. It had some great elements but the lack of initiative on the part of the hero didn't sit well with me. It's probably just a personal preference. Read it... I think you'll enjoy it!

The Curl Up and Dye is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 books from my book bag!

About the Author:

Sharon Sala is a long time member of Romance Writers of America writing as Sharon Sala and Dinah McCall. She writes romantic suspense, Young Adult, and Women's Fiction. First published in 1991, she's a seven-time RITA finalist, winner of the Janet Dailey Award, four-time winner of the Career Achievement award from RT Magazine, five time winner of the National Reader's Choice Award and five time winner of the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence as well as the Bookseller Best Award. Her books are New York Times, USA Today, Publisher's Weekly mass market best-sellers. Writing changed her life, her world, and her fate.

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of The Curl Up & Dye by Sharon Sala.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, February 27th.

1. Please leave a comment describing funny or interesting beauty salon appointment.
2. Please fill out the FORM


traveler said...

A beauty salon always is interesting for the individuals, their stories and how they behave. They speak to the hairdresser an impart personal stories. This phenomenon is fascinating. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

The lady who does my hair was hugely pregnant and still wanted to squeeze me in as the last appt of the day. Well, you guessed, I was her last appt for several weeks as she went into labor that night after going home.

Annette N said...

I was working out of town, in a very small town. I made an appointment for a trim at the only salon in town. It ended up being as though I had been run over by a lawn mower. The worst part, I had to deal with it for quite some time until I could get to another a place to get a cut.

Anonymous said...

I can only think of one thing that was weird but not so funny. When I was about ten years old I went to a beauty salon in Houston Tx. and got my first perm. That was when they pulled this big contraption close to you with wires all over it hanging down. The wires were connected to curlers. They would take a curler and make a curl and put the clamp over it. When they were finished I was so happy and thought my hair was beautiful. You see I had real straight hair.
Well, I went home and enjoyed the compliments from my family. When I went to bed that night I was haappy and when I got up to comb my hair it was straight again. Horrible experience. I sure cried. I am a subscriber and thought this was a good review. I would love to win this book.
Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

CrystalGB said...

I had my hair dyed and it turned lemon yellow. It was so scary looking the hairdresser and I burst out laughing and started over.

Anonymous said...

I've never been to a hair salon, I usually do all of my dying and cutting myself. So I guess I will have to tell a funny story about when I was playing hairstylist to one of my best friends. I was curling her hair one day and she was going on and on about something, being real annoying so I might have pretended to accidentally touch the curling iron against her the tip of her ear for a quick second before going on about how it was an accident and I hadn't meant to. Needless to say, she stopped being annoying after that, and thankfully just laughed off the little incident. . . since it was an accident after all. ;)

(yeah yeah, I'm a horrible friend.)

Natasha said...

I had my hair colored with red streaks one time, they were supposed to be dark maroon colored and they turned out vivid bright red! It wasn't fun at all!
Thanks for the chance to win!

Bonnie said...

My grandmother had a salon in her home. My mom would take us there to visit her and get our hair cut. I used to love to watch her cut everyone's hair and style it. I loved the smells and playing with the curlers.
My grandmother made me swear never to become a hairstylist because she said it would make me have varicose veins.
Those were some of my most fondest memories.

Nancy said...

A Couple of times, I let my hair grow out and then had the hairdresser cut it for me before a short haircut. Her daughter in law looked up locks of love and the requirements.

bn100 said...

Haven't seen anything funny or interesting

lag123 said...

I love to sit and listen to all of the conversations going on in my salon. It can be quite funny sometimes.

lag110 at mchsi dot com