Happy Friday everyone! Casey Wyatt here. I’m very excited to introduce our guest author today – Sharon Buchbinder. Sharon is a multi-published author and a Romantic Times nominee for Best Erotic Fiction 2011. In addition, she is the president of the Maryland Romance Writers.
Before we get to the questions – Some people say that social media isolates us. Not true!! Sharon and I met on Twitter. We quickly learned that we had several things in common, including growing up a few towns away from each other. So to the naysayers – it’s really a small world!
Now onto the questions!
Have you thought about writing something that is completely different for you? Perhaps writing in a new genre or just taking a story someplace that you haven’t done before.
I have numerous non-fiction publications, including three textbooks. At age 52, I decided to go back to writing fiction, too. I “ran away” to our second home in Florida for a month and wrote the first draft of my first novel, a mystery. I also wrote literary short stories, as well as short stories in horror, mystery and science fiction genres. My first fiction award was in horror, an honorable mention in a Canadian magazine. A friend who is a romance author read my first novel and told me I had some romance in there and to bump it up. She also advised me to join Romance Writers of America and Maryland Romance Writers. So, now I have the best of all worlds. I get to incorporate my horror, mystery and romance in paranormal romantic suspense–and can spice it up with a dash of hot sex. Young Adult is the only genre that I haven’t tried that would be of interest to me. I enjoy reading YA, read all the Harry Potter books and now am devouring The Hunger Games.
What story haven’t you told yet that you want to tell? What is holding you back?
KISS OF THE VIRGIN QUEEN is the book that has been on my mind for over a year. This story takes place in the space between religion and the paranormal and will follow the epic romance between King Solomon and Queen Makeda (aka, the Queen of Sheba) that continue to ripple down the centuries to their descendants–including Special Agent Eliana Solomon who first appeared in KISS OF THE SILVER WOLF. For a peek at some of my research for KISS OF THE VIRGIN QUEEN go to http://historyundressed.blogspot.com/2011/02/royal-watching-with-guest-author-sharon.html
If you follow me on Goodreads, you can see that I am a bit of a research fanatic. For my most recent completed manuscript, DESIRE AND OBSESSION, I watched a dozen documentaries on drug cartels and religious cults. I read that many non-fiction books as well. Plus I spent the usual long days of Internet research and brain picking experts in a wide variety of fields. The research for KISS OF THE VIRGIN QUEEN has been a bit daunting. With three religious traditions (Judaism, Islam, and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church) claiming both King Solomon and Queen Makeda as their own, the amount of material to read is voluminous–and could be endless. My job right now is to decide when I’ve done enough research. I want KISS OF THE VIRGIN QUEEN to be accessible and entertaining. That’s my job as a story teller.
What is the most surprising thing that has happened in your writing career?
The nomination for the RT Reviews Book of the Year Award for Erotic Fiction, 2011.
Author Jane Haddam says that anyone who seriously annoys her gets bumped off in her next book. How do you incorporate your real-life experiences into your stories?
A former colleague gave me a sign that says, “Be careful, or you’ll wind up in her next novel.” When I worked at a university, I used to tell people I found characters by opening my door and looking out into the hallway. DESIRE AND DECEPTION is populated by a large number of characters from my real life. I combined some personalities and used the most outrageous ones as villains. Some of us (ahem) also look at our families for characters. My mother-in-law, Gertrude, may she rest in peace, was a short (four feet eight inches), feisty New Yorker who often rode the bipolar express. To say she was a challenge at times is an understatement. Between her ups and downs, she taught me some critical life-long skills. Included among these lessons were: how to stand up for myself at a hotel when they gave me the wrong room and refused to give me the right one (wait until a crowd forms, then start yelling), how not to dress (large orange polka dotted blouse and gold lamé pants) and how to make outstanding pot roast.
Pampered princess and daughter of a Mexican crime boss, Isabel (Izzy) Ramirez is a newly appointed assistant professor working toward tenure and promotion. Driven by voracious desires, including ambition for advancement in the legitimate world and lust for her boy toy, Izzy’s house of cards is threatened when the department chair confronts her about a major transgression. Izzy’s take no prisoners approach means she makes sure her boss can never expose her deceptions.
Graduate assistant and guy-on-the-side, Sean Richards wants Izzy to leave her sleazy husband. If she would only get away from that crook, he’s convinced that he can bring out the better woman who exists beneath Izzy’s tough sex siren exterior. He adores his hot blooded Latina and will do her bidding–up to a point. Despite the mind blowing sex, he can’t and won’t murder for her.
As Izzy’s nosy parker friend and colleague doggedly follows an obscure trail of clues about the department chair’s death, Izzy is forced to choose between reverting to the ways of her unredeemable father–or becoming the extraordinary woman she sees in Sean’s loving eyes.
Similar in heat levels to noir movies like Body Heat and The Postman Always Rings Twice, DESIRE AND DECEPTION differs from these notable noir examples because it ends on an upbeat note. In writing Desire and Deception, I wanted to tell a sexy suspenseful tale about smart, powerful women and the men who love them. I wrote about society’s expectations of what a woman should be versus what a woman wants to be. And since the standing advice to writers is to “write what you know,” I then placed these characters into the setting I knew well, the rigidly hierarchical academic world where tenure and promotion are the duo brass rings. With Isabel and Sarah chattering at me the entire time, Desire and Deception is a story that practically wrote itself.
Congratulations on your RT Best Erotic Fiction 2011 nomination! Please tell us what it was like to get that “call”.
I was shocked. When a reviewer congratulated me on the nomination, I didn’t know what she was talking about. I searched the RT website, found my name and the name of my book and handed the iPad to my husband saying, “Read this, tell me if my eyes are playing tricks.” After he confirmed what I saw, I had to put my head down because I was so light-headed. Then I started crying. And I almost never cry. It was a breath taking moment, literally. I felt as if I had won already.
What is your junk food of choice?
Milk Duds! When I go to a movie, I must have my box of milk chocolate covered caramel.
What’s the most dangerous or risky thing that you’ve done?
You mean aside from marrying a man I knew for only six months? Of course, I did dream about him a month before I met him…and that I married him. We have been together over 36 years, so it must have been the right thing. But that’s another story.
Driving wise, when I was in college, I had an ancient VW Bug. I commuted to classes and had to drive around a very windy road around a reservoir. One time, I took the curve too fast. The little bug went up on two wheels. I was convinced it was going to roll over. And I was going to die. My guardian angel was working overtime. The bug landed on all four wheels, and I stopped the car. Shaking all over, I made a vow never to drive like that again. Now I drive, per my son, “like a little old lady.”
DESIRE AND DECEPTION EXCERPT
Dan’s forearm corded as he cast his fishing line. Brow furrowed under his lucky Ravens fishing cap, he aimed his baited hook under the waxy leaves.
After all this time, was Dan really hers?
He turned his head, raised his sunglasses, winked at her, and blew her a kiss. Her breath caught in her throat and a host of butterflies flapped around in her stomach.
Of course he was hers. They were on their honeymoon. What could possibly go wrong?
He shook a finger at her. “You better be thinking about something other than your job.”
Sarah laughed out loud. “I am not thinking about work.”
“No, you obsess about it.”
“And you don’t about Randallstown Community Hosptial?”
He held the fishing pole with one hand like a jousting lance and cocked his head, considering her question. “As a vascular surgeon, I have to obsess over my work. The smallest of slip-ups can kill a patient.”
“My work saves lives, too. I don’t have the instant gratification–or risk–that you do. But, if I improve one kid’s life with my work, then it makes it all worthwhile.”
He nodded. “True. But no one dies if you don’t teach a class, go to a committee meeting, or publish a paper.”
“If I don’t make the third year tenure review cut, my career at BMU will die. And I can pretty much forget about going anywhere else in Baltimore or DC. I’ll be considered damaged goods.”
He frowned and flapped his hand at her. “Pffft. Not only is Bobbi your boss, she’s your friend. She put you on her five million dollar grant. With her in your corner, your tenure and promotion are a slam dunk.”
Easy for him to say.
“If I don’t get a paper published in the Journal of Child Abuse Prevention, I’m out on the curb.” Sarah should have gone to see Bobbi when her boss texted her at end of the Women in Science Conference on Sanibel three days ago. But Bobbi knew they planned to go across the water to Punta Gorda for their honeymoon. Sarah chewed on her lower lip. Typical Bobbi. Waiting until the very last minute of the conference to say she needed to talk in private, away from the other attendees.
Sarah patted her pants pockets and realized in her rush to get out the door, she’d left her cell at home. The sun’s glare pierced the side of her shades and she closed her eyes. What did Bobbi text? “Investigating a faculty member. Need your help. Trust no one. Tell no one.” Though the air was hot and humid, Sarah shivered with an unexpected chill and crossed her arms to battle sudden goose bumps. Dan was right. She had to stop obsessing about work.
She opened her eyes and watched as two huge turkey vultures looped in eccentric circles and dove into the dense mangroves.
“Buzzards in paradise?” Sarah asked, not realizing she’d spoken aloud.
“Bet they’re after a wild pig that got stuck in the mangroves and died,” the fishing captain said. “Don’t be surprised if we smell it soon.”
Sarah wrinkled her nose in disgust. “Yuck. How would a pig get in there? Can you walk across the mangrove roots?”
Captain Fred made a perfect cast, removed his cap to scratch his shining scalp, and considered the question. A retired firefighter, only his balding head didn’t boast a Florida fisherman’s permanent tan.
“Nah, it’s tough going. You’d fall through. I tried it once. Didn’t get very far. Banged up my knees pretty good, but pigs don’t know that.”
Dan hooked a mangrove branch and his bait fish dangled over the water.
Sarah teased, “Hey, Bushmaster, you trying to teach the snook to jump?”
“Captain Fred told me they can leap three feet in the air.” A flash of silver popped out of the water. “See?”
She poked his arm. “That’s mullet–not snook.”
“Ahh, bickering so soon?” The captain smiled. “You guys should be making love, not fighting.”
Sarah stifled a giggle, but Dan was less successful at controlling his laughter. Captain Fred blushed up to the tips of his ears.
Sarah still found it hard to believe their small wedding was a scant two months ago. A Labor Day perfect ceremony. They were lucky in so many ways. Perfect weather. And there were no drunken brawls, thanks to Bobbi sponsoring her Mom at AA
“We don’t fight,” Dan said. “We have discussions.”
“Yeah. Loud ones.” Sarah laughed. “Followed by great make up–umm–sessions.” She began to reel in her line. Dan leaned over and gave her a salty kiss. Momentarily distracted by the touch of his tongue on her bottom lip, she was startled by a sudden heavy tug. She laughed and called out, “Here fishy, fishy, fishy.” She pulled hard on unyielding weight. “I think I caught a mangrove root.”
“Could be a nurse shark or a big manta ray. Keep the tip of your pole up,” Captain Fred yelled from the front of the twenty-two foot Ranger. “Slow down. Dip and reel.”
Twenty minutes later, her shoulders and arms ached, cork and metal rod slipped in her hands, and sun block-soaked sweat stung her eyes. She stopped for a moment, wiped her brow, and looked over her shoulder at Dan. “Want to reel for a while?”
“It’s not your fish if you don’t get it to the boat,” the Captain warned.
Right about then not a huge selling point in Sarah’s mind.
Grunting at the effort, she pulled back on the pole as hard as she could. Finally, her catch broke the surface of the water. Eyes still burning, she stepped back to pull it closer to the boat–and saw a bloated corpse in a neon orange bikini.
Sharon Buchbinder got into a lot of trouble for when she was a child for “making things up.” She’s been writing fiction since she was in high school and has the rejection slips to prove it. After she graduated with a BA in Psychology and no job, she realized her dreams of working in the attic writing great prose would have to take a back seat to the simple pleasures of eating, drinking, and having a roof over her head. After working in health care delivery for years, she became a researcher, then an academic. But that itch to write kept beckoning her to “come on back” to writing fiction. Since romance has over a dozen sub-genres, she was able to turn her fascination with horror and mystery into paranormal romance, romantic suspense and erotic thrillers. She is President of Maryland Romance Writers and when not writing she can be found reading, fishing, teaching online, working out, golfing or enjoying a good meal and laughter with friends and family. Please visit her website at http://www.sharonbuchbinder.com and her blog at http://www.sharonbuchbinder.com/blog/ She can also be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sharon.buchbinder.romanceauthor and on Twitter as @sbuchbinder
Thanks for being our guest today, Sharon! Scribes fans, don’t by shy. Ask questions, leave a comment or just say “hello.”