It's me again, Shiela Stewart, bringing you another Story Behind the Book. Today's guest author is Sarah Ballance and you are going to love her explanation of her novel, Down in Flames. It's not often you hear an author say their work stinks. Honesty is so nice.
She is also holding a contest. The information is at the end of the post.
I give you now, Sarah Ballance.
Down in Flames:
Buy link: https://www.nobleromance.com/ItemDisplay.aspx?i=136
My links: http://sarahballance.com/ , http://sarahballance.wordpress.com/
When Jack Gellar returns to Jefferson Heights after five long years and an unforgettable betrayal, is his appearance the last thing Molly Coleman needs in her tragedy-stricken life . . . or the first?
Molly just lost her entire family, and now her home and business are both on the line. An unexpected encounter with the one man who can put the pieces back together leaves her reeling, for he can just as easily destroy what little she has left. Jack has a lot to prove to win her back, but when a lapse in judgment turns into an ultimatum he can’t refuse, will his choice bring them together or tear them apart for good?
Where did the idea for this story come from?
The original plot for Down in Flames came out of thin air and it stunk! The conflict was weak and would have had most readers rolling their eyes and yelling "get over it!" The turning point came when my crit partner noticed a detail – a photo on a desk – and commented about the trouble that individual in the photo could cause. Well, she was right, and the story bloomed from there. And I mean took off.
A lot of the details come from real life, with many of them taking me back to my own childhood. There's a strong sense of family in this story – of standing up for the people you believe in and having faith even when it hurts – and that's important to me. These characters grew up together so there's a strong foundation, and even after so much goes wrong (boy does it ever!) they're still fighting to be together. That's very real and, at times, very raw.
As for the conflict, trust is something many folks have wondered or worried about at some point in a relationship. Almost anyone can sympathize with Molly after what happens, but this story is unique in that most readers will also be able to sympathize with Jack, and that's saying something! His mistake really does come down to an error in judgment, but that little vixen in the photo sees to it that it's one he won't soon forget.
How did your characters come to life?
In many ways, they are me. I've never experienced the kind of betrayal they struggle with, but I believe we've all been there to some degree, trying to put the past in the past so we can move on with the future. Sometimes we find the tiniest faults in people or situations and we hold on to them, not even sure why, and those feelings can erode at a good thing before we even realize it. These characters almost face the opposite - a big, potentially explosive scandal which threatens to take away that foundation they share - and there's no sidestepping here. They either move past it or they don't, and one of the most powerful pieces of this story to me is that Molly never does learn the whole truth. Jack can't give it to her. But even with the unanswered question – and it's a big one - she is able to put her doubts behind her as she realizes the future matters far more than a past they can't change. I don't know if I have that strength inside of me, but it's something I deeply admire in my character. And, frankly, I like the way she redefines "forgive and forget" by exacting a little bit of revenge on him in the final scene. If you don't like the shmaltzy ending of a typical romance, you'll love the last word of Down in Flames!
Could you forgive someone without knowing the whole truth? Leave a comment with your answer and you'll be automatically entered to win a $10 e-gift card to Amazon.com! A winner will be chosen Tuesday, August 22nd, so be sure to check back here for the lucky name. The winner MUST provide an e-mail address to receive the prize.