Good morning readers! It has been some time since I last posted, but I haven’t forgotten you all. Today I have a special treat. Author S.W. Andersen has stopped by to chat about her new book, “Somewhere Between Love and Justice as well as her own news. You are going to love her so read on.
“Our life is frittered away by details.” –Henry David Thoreau
“I think we’re two very good looking, very dangerous women, who’re very good together.” –Jo Porter to Sarah Sawyer in SBLJ
What is “Somewhere Between Love and Justice” about?
The simple version is to say it’s about Sarah Sawyer’s quest to avenge the murder of her parents when she was a thirteen years old. Truly though, it’s so much more. We follow Sarah and a cast of characters through a story about love, loss, anger and inner strength and how they affect a person. Not only our past, but how it shapes the way we choose to respond to future events. We are the sum of our experiences and decisions. The same event can build one person up and tear another down. Some people never recover. Some prosper. It’s a journey for each and it is never easy regardless of the end result.
Throughout the course of the story you get to meet several women with various backgrounds and see how they’ve chosen to go about their lives; one who has successfully overcome her challenge and one who needs a hand. A woman who opens her heart only to be denied and one who is stuck in the past, dead set on being alone.
The one thing that always holds true, is things always change. No matter what your plan is, no matter how perfect it is, no matter how much you say you’ll never let something happen again, life can throw you for a loop. In particular, you see Jo and Sarah, two very different women on the emotional spectrum, how they battle their demons and how they can help one another heal.
What or who inspired you to write “Somewhere Between Love and Justice?”
I had been playing with other romance stories and I wanted to do something different. I grew up around horses and my mother loved her westerns. Naturally, they rubbed off on me. Plus, she was quite the horsewoman herself. I have a great picture of her with the biggest smile on her face as she’s holding onto a rearing horse.
So when an old country song came on the radio as I cruised the channels, the inspiration for a western struck. Sharon Stone in “The Quick and the Dead” popped into mind and that was it for me. Everything took shape after that. I loved writing female characters in place of the male ones I grew up watching.
What traits were you looking for when you were creating the main character for your story?
A survivor. A woman with an undeniable inner strength to survive a horrendous past and is driven by the need to avenge her family. Despite her loss, she is not beaten, only a bit broken. She is smart, loyal to few and kind-hearted, even though she thinks otherwise. Sarah is a tortured soul who lost herself in tragedy and has no intentions of trying to rebuild. It takes a tremendous force of nature to change the stubborn cowgirl.
Did you do any types of writing while you were in school? If so, did you receive any awards or recognition for your work?
In high school I wrote a few sports articles for the paper and was the editor of the yearbook. The only other writing I did was school assigned projects, though I did keep a journal of my own. I have to admit that I was one who never saw the point in writing more than three pages and now I have 98,000 words in a novel. Funny how things change.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Just to give them my sincerest thank you for all of the support and feedback! I am overwhelmed by the warm reception and I hope to continue writing for years to come.
If you’re reading this interview and haven’t read the book yet, I hope you will give it a read. Westerns are not for everyone, but nothing makes me happier than someone saying, “I never thought I’d like a western, but I really enjoyed your book.”
Me: Author’s really appreciate reviews because it shows them that the reader cares. Here a few recent ones for this fine story:
Jyoti Kataria rated it 5 of 5 stars on Goodreads
The book takes you on this western journey filled with horses, cowgirl boots, gunslinging Stetson wearing beautiful hardcore cowgirls of the west. I loved how Sarah is portrayed as perfection personified yet you see cracks and flaws that make her human. Her passion and her willingness to risk her heart for Jo makes you have faith in love. May we all find a lover like Jo and someone worth loving like Sarah in our lives. Absolutely a riveting read. UNPUTDOWNABLE.
By terri hayeson August 3, 2015 5 out of 5 stars on Amazon
What an amazing story, every word makes you feel like your right there. I could not put it down, it has everything love, joy, passion, laughter, intense, sorrow, anger, heart pounding, S.W. Anderson it a very talented writer, she know how to draw in in by the words she writes, writing is passion of hers and it shows. Everyone should read this they will not be disappointed, look forward for more of her novels. Until then going to read this story again and again and look forward to it every time.
Can you elaborate on what has worked for you?
People who know me would say that I am exactly how I present myself to be and I think I do the same in my writing. I have a dry, and some say cheesy, sense of humor. I love animals, the outdoors and strong female characters. I’m loyal to those who have earned it and while I choose the peaceful path, I have no problem speaking my mind when needed.
Sarah Sawyer encompasses much of that and in this story, her demons are a large part my own venting of my mom’s passing. So what works for me is finding a little of something within that lights that fire and then putting it into a character. Also, I’m lucky to have such great support from my wife and friends. That makes everything easier.
Can you share with the readers something that is special about your horses?
There has never been a second of my life where I have not had a horse. If you’ve ever had one, then you know what characters they can be. As I wrote recently in my blog, they can be your grumpiest teenager or your best friend. What’s special about my horses? The two I still have are wild Mustangs that my mom and I bought from one of those Wild Horse Adoption programs twenty years ago. We have a close bond, because they were completely untamed and we started from scratch. They are some of the most intelligent, most protective, most stubborn creatures I’ve ever been around, but so very loving too.
In the book, I tried to capture all of those things in Clover, who is a bit of a mix from different horses that I have had the privilege of knowing. Clover’s concerned looks and color come from my quarter horse (pictured below). She was such a great friend to me and that is what I wanted for Sarah, so I hope Clover comes across as every bit of an important person in Sarah’s life as Jo and Jessie.
What is a snapshot of your day?
That’s a tough one, because I work a lot. My schedule is always changing and my days are pretty full. Once I get up, that’s always the hardest part because I love to sleep, but as soon as I am out of bed, between six and seven in the morning, I am ready to go. I feed the cats, dogs and horses, do a few things around the house and write a bit if time allows. I try to get a workout in most days and hope my wife gets home from her night shift in time to say hello before I head out.
From there, I either go to my office or my class. I work in the medical field and I am a college professor, so depending on the day I start at one or the other and I could be at work until nine at night. I’m also a night owl and tend to stay up until midnight or later. That’s when I get most of my writing done. Then I hope my brain shuts off long enough to sleep so I can start all over again. I’ve always been a fast paced person with too many things to do and not enough hours in the day. Sadly, I am actually more efficient and happy that way.
What has been your favorite part of being an author? The least fave?
Well, I’m new at this, but I have two favorite things. First is creating the story, although sometimes that may be my least favorite when I get stuck, but I do love taking the journey. I’m a pantser, so the character’s journey is as surprising to me as it is to them and the readers later. The second would be reader feedback. While there is that fear of rejection, it’s so rewarding to hear that someone enjoyed the words you spent so much time crafting.
Many people dislike editing, but I actually love it. I’m not sure what that says about me, but I can’t say that I have a true least fav at this point. I will tell you that learning the ins and outs of self-publishing and marketing has been an adventure.
Me: I know that one thing authors love are interviews. Click on the link to read what S.W. shared with Author Spotlight:
Also The Girl’s Hour recently featured S.W. Andersen on their talk show. I have included the link below. At the same time, check out The Girl’s Hour website. Thank you Michele and Jennifer. @thegirlshour
What other authors do you follow?
I don’t get to read for pleasure as much now that I started writing. I enjoy Geri Hill and Radclyffe. Stephen King and Kurt Vonnegut have always been favs, though I tend to steer towards auto-biographies and some of the older classics when I do get a chance to read something besides work journals and research. There are some newer lesfic writers that I hope to check out soon though. There is some very good talent out there.
What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it?
I recently read Pat Summitt’s “Sum it Up” and I would definitely recommend it. She is such an amazing woman and a fantastic role model. I’ve read all of her books. I have been slowly making my way through Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead” as well.
Can you elaborate on one of your “jack of all trades?”
I have done many things so far in this life: car sales, door to door sales and a college softball coach. I’ve worked on an organic farm, a horse farm, the post office and in retail. I have a B.S. degree in Exercise Science, (Go Gators!) I had a plan set for after graduation, but life took over, so it took ten years for me to return to school. So now, as I mentioned earlier, I work in the medical field and I also teach Anatomy and Physiology part-time.
Now I have found my way into writing and it gives me plenty to draw from. Who knows what might be next. Life is a journey. I love the experiences and they have helped make me the person I am today. I enjoy learning new things, but I finally feel like I am right where I was meant to be.
Where is the most exotic place that you’ve travelled? Can you share a bit about your adventure?
I really wasn’t meant to live in this Florida heat. I love the mountains and head west as often as possible to bike or ski. Idaho was one of my favorites, as people might notice from the book. Can you imagine what it was like to travel those trails on horseback in the 1880’s? Such beautiful, dangerous terrain. I would love to do one of those cattle drive vacations out there.
But back to your question…I’m not sure if Europe is considered exotic, but I love it and want to travel so much more of it. I’ve been to Paris and Amsterdam, both for softball tournaments. You’d think taking fifteen girls aged sixteen to twenty would be trouble when they can buy beer from a vending machine, but it was the parents who kept getting drunk. Good times though.
The one thing I am constantly reminded of by my wife was when we went to the train station. I wanted to take a ride and didn’t care where, so I asked how much it was for a ticket to Belgium? The lady responded, “We don’t sell tickets to countries, only cities.” Very wise words. Also, take note that in Paris when it’s time to close, they’ll shut the door on you even in the middle or ordering food. Prepare accordingly.
What is in the works next for you? If you can’t share, I totally understand and respect this.
I am planning another western as a part of this series. There could be a few over the years based on the different characters. I also have a modern day love story that’s a bit of a triangle and deals with how the women handle these feelings they’re forced to keep to themselves for various reasons. I’m considering trying a science fiction story, but we will see.
And if you’ve read the book, you’ve seen the fierce, gunslinger artwork on the last page by the very talented Rafi, @tsparklingblue. This picture is so very Sarah Sawyer.
Now for the best part – the excerpt.
“I couldn’t deny Jo was something special. We had a deeper connection, even if I kept resisting the urge to let her in like she wanted. I’d put the pieces together. They all added up to her having deep feelings for me. The blinders were off and I could finally see the longing in the way she smiled, the little glances she’d cast and in her touch, even in casual exchanges. The attention was nice. I could almost let myself explore more with her, but I knew what would happen.
Jo said she was happy to have me as long as possible. She was lying or perhaps trying to convince herself. My distance wasn’t fair to her, but was it right to build something knowing I’d be leaving? I would only break her heart and I had no idea how my story would end. I was doing us both a favor by not complicating our relationship. I appreciated what she did for me and we enjoyed an amazing afternoon in one another’s arms, but all I’d ever done was share my body and then ride off into the horizon.
As we sat on the porch swing staring at the night sky, Jo slipped her fingers between mine. Her skin was so warm. I didn’t look at her or our hands, but enjoyed the moment, never letting on how much her companionship meant to me. Seemed I missed being around people more than I thought. Maybe I wasn’t meant to be a loner forever. I could have a little farm like this. I had enough money to buy one, but I couldn’t start dreaming yet. No, I had to keep my eye on the prize and live to enjoy the old man’s judgment day.
An hour passed and my energy waned. The night was young, but the effects of a day’s work and the stress of keeping my distance from Jo kicked in. I gave her hand a squeeze, thanked her and went to my room. I lay in bed, my eyes closed; tired but unable to sleep. Too many thoughts ran through my head and too many emotions filled my heart. Such a tedious practice to resist temptation with her nearby. Even more so when she wanted me to touch her, to give in to her.
Deep, calming breaths relaxed my sore muscles. Soft footsteps at my door ceased the rambling of my tired mind. I focused on the form appearing before me as the door inched opened. Any other time I’d go for my gun.
The bed moved beneath me as she climbed on, but I remained still. “Jo,” I whispered and tensed in anticipation of her next move.
“Yes,” she answered softly as she snuggled in beside me. She made a slow path of kisses up my neck. Her lips on my skin jolted every nerve awake on contact.
My eyes rolled back. A sharp intake of air acted in defense of the moan wanting to escape. Instead I choked out, “What are you doing?”
My body trembled as her hand slipped under my shirt, brushed across my stomach and found its way to my breast. Her warm breath tickled my skin as she breathed out, “Complicating things.”
If I may add one last thing before we say goodbye, I am so lucky to be surrounded by such talented people. I’d like to thank Cindy Bamford, @Cindyb1017, for her amazing cover art and so many other things she helped with. She did a fantastic job capturing the feel of the story.
Thank you Lynn for having me as your guest.
I want to thank S.W. for stopping by, it was a pleasure speaking with you. In case you haven’t downloaded your copy of “Somewhere Between Love and Justice”, click on one of the links below:
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