Sarah Madison is here today to talk about her latest release, Walk A Mile. After the interview, check out the book’s excerpt and enter the contest for a chance to win a eBook copy of Walk A Mile!
• Unspeakable Words is part of your new Sixth Sense series. Do you believe in extrasensory perceptions?
I think there’s a lot out there we don’t know about. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dreamt of someone that I haven’t seen in years and I hear from them out of the blue the next day, or I am thinking of someone and they call. I strongly suspect that some people are more attuned to certain things than others. Call it intuition, or a subconscious response to information we didn’t realize we’d processed, but that’s my impression, anyway. Migratory birds can sense magnetic poles. A bloodhound has such an advanced sense of smell it can detect skin cells shed from a missing person through the ventilation system of a car—and track it. Animals are often agitated hours before an earthquake strikes. I think we’re no different from other animals in what we can pick up from our surroundings but we’ve deadened ourselves to what we’d call ESP and other perceptions through loss of contact with the physical world and replacing it with the electronic/tech one.
There’s lovely sci-fi story I read once titled “Mimsy were the Borogoves.” The premise was that the poem “Jabberwocky” was actually an alien language for building a portal to another dimension, but that only children could understand it, and they older they got, the less the directions made sense. I think we train ourselves out of so much in order to grow up. We lose our connections with the planet, our ability to communicate with animals, and much of our creativity.
All I know is that I require a certain amount of time outdoors in nature every week or I don’t feel right.
• Why a paranormal story? What was the inspiration for it?
I like to think I write stories with a twist in them, so you’ll rarely get a straightforward contemporary romance from me. It’s the twist I find fascinating, be it a paranormal gift, a murder mystery, or a sci-fi story. Most of my ideas start from a ‘what if…?’ premise: what if gargoyles came to life every night? What if a vampire wanted to live a normal life? What if werewolves ran into a type of shifter they’d never met before—or if touching a strange object in a museum gave you special powers? Once the premise is in place, I begin imaging what the ramifications of such a thing would be, and the story builds around that idea.
I just find more scope for the imagination in the stories with a twist!
• One of the special agents is gay, the other supposedly straight. Would this fall under a Straight for You story?
That is one of the central dilemmas for Jerry Parker. He can’t help but wonder if the artificial bond created between him and John Flynn hasn’t forced the two of them together in ways that never would have happened if not for Flynn encountering the mysterious artifact. Certainly at first glance, this would appear to be a Gay for You story, but there is more to Flynn’s backstory than Jerry knows—and Flynn holds his cards very close to his chest!
• Or more of a closeted or gender fluid character who falls in love with a person?
You know what they say about Denial, right? It’s a very long river in Egypt.
• You note some of the most famous mystery writers as influences. If you could pick one, who would it be?
Oh my. It would be hard to narrow it down to one, but if I had to pick only one author, I’d have to say Dorothy L. Sayers. Her Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries not only rank among some of the most cleverly plotted and wittily enacted stories I’ve ever read, but Lord Peter remains my hallmark for showing me at an early age just what an adult relationship between a man and woman who met as equals looked like.
• Why mysteries?
I love the puzzle. I love the way the mystery drives the plot. Give me a romantic relationship as well, and you’ve given me icing on my favorite cake, but I tend to get bored if the relationship is the main point of the story. Give me the relationship being tested in the face of a plane crash, or when one character has a dark and deadly secret, or when the protagonists are facing a world-wide invasion of their planet by aliens. That’s the whole idea behind my tag line: Hot Men in Hot Water. I like to put my guys in hot water to see how strong they are. Like tea bags, only sexier.
• Do you know how many books will be in this series?
It was originally intended to be a three book series, but as I am working on book three right now, it has become apparent that there are too many loose ends to tie up in the third book! There will have to be a fourth to deal with the fallout of the third book, tentatively titled Truth and Consequences.
• When it comes to mysteries, cosy or hardcore? Or neither?
Oh, I do enjoy both. I love film noir, The Big Sleep and Laura being among my favorites. I’ve read Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, and I was a huge fan of the Earl Stanly Gardner Perry Mason series growing up, having found a box of books at a yard sale for ten cents a copy. But give me an English country house and body in the library every time. I re-read the great mysteries from the Golden Age of the thirties and forties over and over again. Dorothy Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Josephine Tey, Agatha Christie, Patricia Wentworth. There is a depth and richness to the writing that supersedes the ‘simple’ murder mystery in these old stories, though to be sure, it was much easier for the amateur detective to get away with more in those days.
• What childhood book made the greatest impact on you as a child? And does it impact your writing today?
I thought a LOT about this question last night. I’ve read so many books, and so many of them had a huge impact on me, shaping my ideas about the kind of relationships I think are healthy and admirable, as well as molding my opinions as to how we should interact with our world and what kind of hero/heroine I’d like to be. I felt a little sad for the kids today who aren’t reading the books I read when I was young, and wondering what kind of message we’re sending when nearly every YA book today seems to be about terrible dystopian societies in which the future is bleak and grim. As a sidebar, one of the things I love most about Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the Star Trek future is that we’ve worked out many of our problems and we’ve succeeded as a species—but I digress.
I asked my boyfriend what was the most influential book for him when growing up, and like me, as an avid reader, he had a hard time narrowing down his choices. For him it was the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and I can think of worse things for a young person to absorb whole-heartedly.
If I had to point to one book however, it would be Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty. I read it when I was six, only my copy was missing the final page. I went to the librarian to ask for help locating it (as I didn’t quite understand the Dewey decimal system at the time) and she steered me into the children’s section of the library, handing me a picture book version of the story.
“Thank you, but I don’t want this one,” I explained politely. “I want the unabridged copy.”
Yes, I used the word ‘unabridged’. That should have been her first clue.
She laughed at me. “My dear, you can’t read that book. It’s for sixth graders and above.”
“I’ve already read the rest of the book,” I said. “I just want to see the last page. My copy is missing that page and I want to know how it ends.”
She refused to help me find it or allow me to look at the final page.
So that story had a big impact on me in many ways. It fostered my life-long love of horse and dog stories. It taught me that if you are telling a gripping and entertaining story, you can also share your opinions and views in an attempt to change the world. In Anna Sewell’s case, she wanted to showcase the abuse of the carriage horses of her time. But it was the first time I discovered that a story could be used to share ideas, and what a powerful concept that was! I also learned that I was different from average children, and that different wasn’t necessarily a good thing, and that adults weren’t going to believe me when I told the truth. It was my first experience with people trying to limit me because they didn’t understand me or I didn’t fit certain preconceived notions. Sadly, it wasn’t the last.
• What’s next for Sarah Madison?
Well, I have a lot of ideas and Big Plans. I’m not certain how many will come to fruition; I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew! I’m currently working on the next in the Sixth Sense series, which is tentatively titled Truth and Consequences. I’ve got sequels in mind for Crying for the Moon, as well as the gargoyle story, Raincheck, which has proven to be very popular with fans.
I’m also in the process of launching a new series of M/F romances under the name Madison Dean. As much as I love my boys, I’d like to try my hand at creating a heroine I genuinely like and admire. I’m currently working on a sci-fi story that takes place across alternative universes titled Bishop takes Knight, as well as a series set in post-war 1950s, where my intrepid pair poses as a Ward and June Cleaver couple by day and investigate paranormal events by night. I’m having great fun doing the research on that one at the moment!
Book Name: Walk A Mile
Author Name: Sarah Madison
Author Bio: Sarah Madison is a veterinarian with a big dog, an even bigger horse, too many cats, and a very patient boyfriend. She is a terrible cook, and concedes that her life would be easier if Purina made People Chow. She writes because it is cheaper than therapy.
Title: Walk A Mile by Sarah Madison
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Walk A Mile Blurb:
Six months after starting their hunt for a serial killer who is still at large, FBI agents Jerry Lee Parker and John Flynn are partners in every sense. But Jerry has serious doubts about their relationship and whether they would even be together if not for the way Flynn changed after touching a mysterious artifact in a museum.
Flynn hates the extraordinary power bestowed on him by the artifact and wants nothing more than to have a normal life again. Jerry fears that without the unusual connection they forged, Flynn will no longer want or need him. Chasing after a similar artifact takes them back to Flynn’s old stomping grounds in Washington D.C., where his newfound abilities uncover long-buried secrets, the kind people would kill to protect. But they aren’t the only ones looking for these powerful relics, and what they discover will threaten their relationship—and their lives.
Walk A Mile Excerpt:
Jerry returned his attention to the tableau unfolding in the aisle. Flynn was making his way casually toward Jerry; he yawned, taking his time. 15-A hesitated; Jerry could see that he had stepped into the aisle, but was thinking of sitting back down again. Just then, the door to the toilet opened and the toddler came out into the aisle. Picking up on the air of tension, the child immediately started to wail.
15-A snapped like a wire stretched beyond its tensile strength. Whipping off his sunglasses, he reached into the pocket of his hoodie and pulled out a glass vial. Holding it up high over his head for everyone to see, he shouted, “Everybody stay where you are!”
People glanced up and turned around in their seats, startled and immediately alarmed. 15-A looked around sharply, making sure that no one was trying to rush him. Several people had started halfway up out of their seats to see what was going on; Jerry knew they were remembering United Flight 93.
15-a moved his hand in a broad semi-circle so that everyone could see the vial tucked in his palm. “I have Sarin!” he announced. “If anyone moves, I break the vial. Someone make that child shut up!”
October 3: Louise Lyons, Parker Williams
October 6: Multitasking Mommas
October 7: Prism Book Alliance, 3 Chicks After Dark
October 8: Amanda C. Stone, Emotion in Motion
October 9: Andrew Q. Gordon, Inked Rainbow Reads, Love Bytes
October 10: Romance the Night, Cate Ashwood
October 13: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Because Two Men Are Better Than One
October 14: Wake Up Your Wild Side, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves
October 15: Queer Town Abbey, The Blogger Girls, Butterfly-O-Meter
October 16: MM Good Book Reviews, Jade Crystal, Velvet Panic
Contest: Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of book #1 – Unspeakable Words. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Use the Rafflecopter link for the entry form and for all additional contest details.
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