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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Chris E. Saros here today on tour with her first novel Semblance. Welcome, Chris.
Hello! Chris E. here to say “hi!” and introduce myself. Semblance is my first published work and I am very proud of it, had a wonderful time writing it, and can’t wait to share it with all of you! Thank you to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for this wonderful opportunity.
How much of yourself goes into a character?
Basically, all of my characters are at least a little piece of me. How could they not be? They came from the depths of my imagination. However, it is amazing how much a character can take on its own life. You can write a scene and the character will do something or say something that totally shocks you. That is the true test to prove the character has become their own person.
Character development is hard though, and maintaining individuality is a practiced art. I remember one of the first short stories I wrote, all the characters were just different versions of me. The main character was me but then the secondary character was the me that said all the things I wanted to say but the real me was too cautious or shy to say it. Then the supporting characters were all me in places I wanted to be. After I reread it, I decided there was not enough diversity to take the story further. Every character was essentially the same! It was a learning experience and one I needed to be able to grow into the author I am today.
Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write? Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?
Basically, I write what I want to read. I have a true love for men with guns (fictional guns – I’d probably faint in real life), a whole lot of confidence, derisive wit, and just a touch of vulnerability. I mean, doesn’t that just seem hot? However, I have zero knowledge about guns. They scare me in real life and I have never shot one. I did a bit of research into them and have a standing appointment with a friend to take me shooting so I can experience the kick and power first hand. I am pretty apprehensive about that research.
The problem with research, or I guess I should clarify, the problem with online research, is that it can, many times, take you down a rabbit hole. I will start researching what kind of drug they use to sedate a patient in a hospital, next thing you know I am signing up to become a wildlife rehabilitator and learning Hindi. Main thodi thodi Hindi samajti hoon. So, I can’t imagine what my writing schedule would be like if I had to rely on research to write, say a historical drama. I try to stick to what I know as much as possible and then research the small questions, this helps keep me on task.
Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?
I think everyone to an extent likes happy ever afters and happy for nows to a degree. We like to end with a positive feeling because so many of us read to escape because we don’t want to focus on the bad or end in the sad. However, one of the things I love about books that don’t have HFNs or HEAs is that it comes unexpectedly. We are so used to the happy ending, we go into the story and even though the possibility is there, we don’t expect the main character to die or the love to simply fall apart to some unfulfilling end. We expect the best to happen. Part of the anticipation is the speculation on how the story will work out in the end because there is no way you can see it having a happy ending the way it’s currently progressing. But, what a shockingly wonderful surprise when things end on a completely unexpected note. And sometimes you need a good tragedy to help you truly appreciate the happy endings.
Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?
I have always been a fan of romance, only not usually for romance’s sake. I like romance, but I am much more interested in the surrounding story. I am more of an action girl myself but throw in a sweet love story to go with it and I am hooked.
As a teenager I was reading everything from RL Stein, Christopher Pike, Stephen King, VC Andrews, Norah Roberts, and David Morrell. It is quite the variety. As an adult I have very similar tastes maybe a little more expanded. As an adult I go through romance kicks more often than I used to. That goes for books and movies. Every once in a while, you just have to get a Nicholas-Sparks-style cry on (I can’t be the only one he reduces to blubbering tears…right?).
How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?
I was incredibly skeptical of the ebook format when it came out. My dad had bought me a Kindle for Christmas when it was the big new thing and I returned it. I couldn’t imagine reading something that didn’t smell like paper. I liked to touch the pages in my hands and hold the book, it just felt more personal. But then there were a couple of books that I wanted to read that were only in ebook format. I reluctantly downloaded the kindle and nook apps on my phone and started reading.
What a change. Suddenly paper books felt like 50-pound weights. They are clunky and awkward and don’t have the convenience of a library at my fingertips.
I still have a precious few books that I can’t imagine reading in ebook format because I have such fond memories of reading it for the first time. And, while I still have a large library of paper books but a lot of the time I opt for the easy route and do the ebook. I am also a big fan of the buy the paper book get the ebook free. I think that is a wonderful way to enjoy the reading experience in both formats. You can have the convenience if you want it, but you can also feel the book in your hands and enjoy the words on a complete organic level.
Drake isn’t looking for justice. He’s not interested in doing what’s right. He’s after one thing and one thing only: revenge. That means taking down the Boredega drug cartel—and the shadowy, seemingly invincible man who heads it—even if he goes down with them.
Drake plans to destroy the cartel from within, and he uses his nightclub, Semblance, as a front for money laundering and drug trafficking. He’s sacrificed almost everything to complete his mission, and just as he’s getting close, he’s derailed by flirtatious bartender Scotty, who offers Drake a glimpse of the happiness he’s missed by pursuing a personal vendetta. Scotty might be irresistible, but Drake has come too far to turn back now. He’ll have to find a way to keep Scotty safe, fend off persistent prostitute Natasha, feed tips to the authorities, and edge his way closer to the upper echelon of the cartel, where he can finally strike. He’ll need to do it all while keeping his intentions covert—and he’s not the only one at Semblance with secrets.
He found him in the back room leaning over a shelf, reading the labels on a couple of bottles. Drake took a second to admire the scene, drinking in the long powerful legs and the nice tight ass showcased by the black pair of slacks that pulled snugly in all the right places. It took everything he had in him not to reach out and touch Scotty. The lure to do so was strong, but he squelched his temptation. There wasn’t time for such distractions.
Clearing his throat, he stepped into the room and leaned back against the wall, crossing his arms over his chest. Scotty quickly stood at the sound and picked one of the bottles he had been reading.
“Yes, my liege?” Drake asked. He couldn’t keep the amusement from his voice.
Scotty’s brow shot up into his hairline. “Are you really going to act like there isn’t a big problem hanging out behind the bar?”
“Big problem?” Drake said, playing dumb.
Scotty’s glum look didn’t lighten at all with Drake’s humor but instead darkened a degree. He took a step toward Drake and pointed the bottle at him like a large scolding finger. “That kid shouldn’t be behind the bar! He doesn’t have the first clue about what’s going on. He’s never mixed a drink before in his life, and he thinks he’s Jerry Thomas.”
“Jerry Thomas! Blue Blazer? He used to…. No, never mind. It doesn’t matter. The point is, the kid shouldn’t be behind the bar. He should be out waiting tables or something.”
“Aw, give the kid a shot. He’s only been at it a few days. I’m sure he’ll catch on. Besides, I don’t foresee him staying on the job for a long time.”
“Great! So he’s another one that I get the pleasure of training and as soon as they start to catch on, they up and leave? Really?”
Drake shrugged. They always did fine even with Tony’s boys cluttering up space. He made sure to schedule an extra hand while they were working to pick up any slack.
Scotty sighed at Drake’s shrug. “If you were just going to hire whatever crazy wackadoos that wanted a job, why did you take all the time and effort to interview me?”
“Wait,” Drake said, holding up a hand, “can we take a minute to appreciate the fact that you used the term ‘wackadoo’ in a sentence?”
“Okay! I’m sorry. I am. But I told Frankie that I would give the kid a shot. Besides, he has been helpful on the busy nights at least busing. He’s only broken about six bottles and four glasses. And I took half his tips to pay for those. So, I’m sure he will start to get the picture.”
Scotty let out another drawn-out sigh and grabbed another bottle to go with the first.
“I took so long interviewing you for a couple of reasons, but mostly because I wanted someone who had excellent skills behind the bar and would be able to handle any crazy ‘wackadoos’ that may end up back there with them. I needed someone with both a great disposition and work ethic to handle whatever problems may transpire. You fit the bill. I have faith that you can handle any piece of work that comes trotting into this club.”
Scotty’s face slowly lost the tight lines creasing his forehead as Drake spoke, his glare lessening into more of a frown than a full-on glower.
“Fine, I’ll put up with him for a while longer.”
“Okay, good, because I wasn’t really giving you a choice,” Drake said, a teasing lilt to his voice. He started to head back out front to make sure everything was set for the day but turned when Scotty said his name. “Yes?”
Scotty was looking down, kicking at a piece of paper or some other speck on the floor. He looked like a small schoolboy playing innocent. After a moment of silence, Scotty lifted his head just enough to peer through his bangs with a face that belied any innocence Drake might have seen in him. The look was pure seduction.
“Don’t think that I don’t remember about our unfinished business.”
“Un-uh.” Drake had to clear his throat before continuing. Man, he had the most beautiful eyes. He could get lost in them. Scratch that—he was already lost in them.
What was going on? Oh, right. “Unfinished business?”
Walking close enough to put a hand on Drake’s chest, Scotty smiled. “You know exactly what I’m talking about. You said you had a lot on your plate, so I’m giving you time to work through it, but we’ll finish what we started.”
About the Author
Chris E. Saros lives in the beautiful Mitten State, surrounded by the exhilaration of the Great Lakes. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, reading, ministering to her cats’ needs, and watching TV. An avid traveler, she loves immersing herself in different cultures, discovering new foods, and meeting new people. Always game for a new adventure, she covets stimulating experiences such as working on locally filmed movies, coaching students in after-school activities, and spending time spoiling and sugaring-up her nieces and nephew to keep her status as “the fun aunt.” Though ideally an optimist, Chris E. is intrigued by the darkness life has to offer. Using writing as an outlet for her darker nature, she loves constructing characters and tossing them into dangerous situations, just to see what happens.
ebook giveaway for Semblance the author’s first book. Leave a comment about, “What was the wildest rabbit hole you followed while researching something specific on the web?”. Make sure you leave your email address where you can be reached if chosen.