Monday, December 12, 2016

In the Spotlight with Bayou Book Junkie ~ Author Sara York (Review)

In the Spotlight with Bayou Book Junkie ~ Author Sara York (Review)



Hi Sara and welcome to Bayou Book Junkie. Normally, Sara, at this point I’d be rather proud of my nosing and would be telling BBJ readers about how many books you’ve published, anthologies you’ve participated in and what you have cooking, etc. etc. etc. but my nose let me down. 😞 Yes, BBJ readers, Sara’s written so many books that I lost count at around number 47, and that doesn’t include anthos. But, it’s all the more reason for Sara to blab to her heart’s content, right?

What I did manage to find out is that Sara is a fellow coffee-addict, not that UK instant morning coffee compares to US freshly-brewed stuff, but hey, we Brits don’t have the time to wait (though I live by the all things come to those who wait thing in relation to books. Barely. Hint, hint, authors!). Oh, and she just happens to design her own book covers, and those of select fellow authors.

BBJ: Hi Sara and welcome. Please proceed to spill ALL the (☕coffee) beans, yup, every single last one of them. I’m so, so ashamed at having dug up nothing but the bare bones about you, and even then, not really that conclusively. How many books is it, btw? And how many novellas and anthos? 

SARA: Honestly, I’ve lost count of how many books there are. I have taken a few off sale to rework and update so they are current and I’m not counting those, but I decided to count how many I have for you. I have 3 short stories that are standalone, 37 novellas, 4 anthologies I’m involved in, and 33 full length novels. Troubled in Texas will make it 34 novels. I’m tired just from counting those.

BBJ: Can you describe a typical work day, please, both a writing day and a book-designing day? 

SARA: Coffee first. That’s what matters most. Usually I can start work around ten in the morning. If I’m writing, I dive in and only take breaks every forty-five minutes. I try to stay away from social media except for those few minutes during my breaks. I use Microsoft Word, usually typing straight through without any chapter breaks. I can’t stand to have mistakes while I’m typing, so I stop and correct as I go. It works for me, which is the most important part of writing, finding something that works for you. When I receive a commission for a cover, I try to do those at night or after I’ve written for a few days in a row. Doing art is relaxing and it allows me to think about the stories I’m writing and work through any problems. I try not to work past five in the evening and I don’t work on the weekends.

BBJ: Which is your best-selling book or series to date, Sara? And which is *your* favourite series or book and why?

SARA: The Texas Soul series is my best-selling series of all time. My favourite book is Not That Type of Guy. I love Aiden from that book. The story is loosely framed around the beauty and beast archetype. Aiden is the beastly one, who is untamed and Trace is the one who smooths out Aiden’s rough patches. However, with so many books, there are a lot of favourites. I love Cops, Cakes, and Coffee because those guys were very special to me. The Texas Soul series has Lane and Gresh as the main characters and Lane made me fall in love with him. Then the Colorado Heart series is a very indulgent set of stories for me because they are cowboy assassins. In the series, I get to write wrongs and set the world back on a path of good. Of course, none of it is real but it is nice to pretend. Then my Southern Thing series is special because so many gay men and women have written me and told me how that set of books helped them heal. 



BBJ: What comes first – characters who pop into your mind and make you tell their stories, or a storyline around which you create your characters? Or does it differ book by book?

SARA: Every book is different. Sometimes the character and the storyline come at the same time. Aiden from Not That Type of Guy came first and then I had to build a story that would fit him. In Colorado Wild, the story came first and I had to hunt for characters to fill the pages.

BBJ: Can you tell us how Pray The Gay Away (the stunning book which first put you on my horizon) came to you, and how blatant were you in the message that you were trying to get across? Given the way the US presidential election has gone, do you think it’s even more important to imbue your books with messages?

SARA: That book was supposed to be light hearted and fun and then I started writing the story. So many young people are told they can pray the gay from their lives and I was going to make fun of the system and how it’s wrong, but then Jack and Andrew were on the pages and they wanted me to tell what I’d seen with my own eyes. The stories in this series are things I’ve seen, heard of, and witnessed from people I’ve met in church or through home schooling. It’s a desperate world out there for young men and women who are trapped with abusive parents who think they are doing the right thing, but really are destroying their children. With the way the election went, and Mike Pence’s stance on gay conversion therapies, it is very important to never water down what actually happens in those camps. It’s very difficult get people who are dead set against gays to change their mind, but I have heard from mothers and grandmothers that after reading my books they have decided that maybe their children being gay wasn’t the worst thing that could happen. Getting people to take small steps towards acceptance is the biggest reward I could ever achieve.



BBJ: What about the US makes you proudest/happiest, Sara?

SARA: The US is made up of immigrants. Parts of my family came over before the revolution. Some of my relatives were on French pirate ships, and others came from Europe later. It truly is a melting pot and hopefully that sense of open community and acceptance will never changes.

BBJ: Which do you enjoy more, Sara, designing covers or writing? Which is the more lucrative? 😉

SARA: I love both, however, I don’t have enough design clients to make enough money doing covers. I would like to design more covers, but I have to be careful. I had one client ask me to do a cover and I designed it but when I went back to them to discuss what I had designed, they blocked me on all social media and wouldn’t respond. Basically, I was stiffed on a cover.

BBJ: How does it feel to be an American right now, Sara, with the new administration that is reputed to be so anti Everything Minority, when you’re such a huge champion of the LGBTQIA community? Does it make you feel you have even more of a social responsibility?

SARA: It’s a scary time in the USA. Harassment is at an all-time high. Never giving up, never backing down is the only choice. When human rights are being violated, we have to stand up and speak for those being harmed. Many have turned a blind eye to the problems, but hopefully they will wake up and see that hate is unacceptable.

BBJ: Which would trust more when considering buying a book, SARA – a 5* review that’s quite bland/inoffensive/generic-ish or overly effusive or a 3* review that’s more detailed and critically constructive?

SARA: I don’t know. Reviews are so subjective. What one person hates another person loves. Read what you love and don’t worry about what other people love or hate. 



BBJ: Please share some of your best interactions with readers/fans. Which of your novels or series has elicited the most fan mail?

SARA: The Southern Thing series has brought the biggest reaction because I think it touched people so deeply. The stories of abuse suffered and hearts healed were so deeply personal and many made me cry. I loved getting mail from each reader and every single letter made me cry.

BBJ: What makes you happy/sad/angry/optimistic, Sara, and how would you mostly describe yourself?

SARA: I try to focus on the little things that make me happy, and that goes a long way in helping me stay positive. I have a few coffee mugs I really love. Drinking from one of my favourites lightens my mood. Chocolate is key to life, so I always keep around some dark chocolate. And I try to spend a little while out in nature. Being outside is an amazing healer for the soul.

BBJ: I’m desperate to see a longer version of it Six Nights (of course, you’d have to change the title!). Might that be on the cards? 😇

SARA: I do have plans on writing a follow up for Six Nights, it just might take me a while to get to it. I loved working on that story. There is a lot of room to expand and write another book for them that takes them on to their next thing.

BBJ: What’s coming next, Sara, and when, please? What’s the best way for fans to keep on top of your releases?

SARA: Troubled in Texas is next then I am expanding First and Last which was in an anthology which has now been unpublished. Colorado 8 is in the works, and Lafferty’s story from the Texas Soul Series. The best place to keep up with new releases is through my mailing list: http://sarayork.com/sarayork/about-sara-york/

You can also keep up on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSaraYork



BBJ: And now, the quick-fire round: 

What’s your favourite kind of coffee? Starbucks – my son works there and we get 1 bag free each week. 
What type of coffee maker do you have? Mr Coffee because our other one broke a month ago. 
Slave to cats, BFF to dogs or something else entirely? Dogs, we’re a dog house. 
Matt Bomer or Tom Hiddleston and why? Um, neither really. I’m just not into the polished Hollywood thing.
What’s your favourite scent on a guy and perfume on a woman? No scent, just showered and clean, that’s all. 
Last one, I promise – what’s your guilty pleasure? Chocolate!!!!!!

Thanks for popping in, Sara. We hope you had fun!


Troubled in Texas by Sara York



Blurb: 

Reed Belmont has lost his chance with the one man he’s loved for years when Trent marries Rusty. Angry and hurting, Reed allows lust to rule when he meets Edan Winslow. Sex between the pair is molten, but they live in different states and there’s nothing to tie them together, except sizzling attraction.

Edan has a secret that if revealed could mean he would lose everything. He wants to tell Reed the truth, but once Reed knows, Edan is sure the man will run.

They are from different worlds with nothing in common. Is love enough to surmount the odds pulling them apart?

Purchase it at: Amazon



3.5 Stars! 

A tale that started off with a couple of guys having a fling, but then both found meaning in each other.
This is a tale with an older lead - one guy's 50 and the other is 38. This is not a criticism of any form, simply me expressing that it's a tale that stands out a little because of the leads' ages, not that age comes into it when the guys get it on, lol! It actually made for a refreshing tale, as most romance novel leads, whether MF/ MM/other, tend to be under 40, or if classed as 'older' leads, no more perhaps than 43/44.

It's a tale that had some rather sad aspects of reality in it, such as mention of how MM life was in the days of excesses, when AIDS was starting to kill, and because both leads are guys who've lived hard, lived fast and have regrets. Not because they've necessarily done bad stuff, but because with age comes wisdom and loneliness makes you reflect. I liked the realism in the tale, the fact that it wasn't an 'all hearts and roses' romantic tale, because the leads started off as scratching a convenient itch - they were literally at the right place and the right time to do so, without a thought about tomorrow.

Both, to me, found something in the other, making them want more than what they'd been used to. Yes, the sex was what drove them and connected them initially, but they were realistic and kind of, 'a bit without too many huge expectations of what a relationship might entail'. It did help that one had money to enable their lives together, but Sara York didn't make a big issue of it and I believed that the rich lead truly was wanting to do good with his money, for people less privileged. If there were any critique to make about the tale, it was that the sex was perhaps too full-on and too frequent, and I found myself skimming a little to get to the bones of what was a decent read.

The tale has a small amount of drama and a brief mention of a church, its followers, a pastor who didn't practice what he preached, a DA who didn't do his/her job as it should be done, a kick-butt lawyer's assistant who I think I'd have loved to see in full pit bull mode in the courtroom (as long as she was on my side!), and a bit of prejudice/discrimination but to me, it's stuff that tied in with the tale and that I appreciated being mentioned. It wasn't done to spite anyone/any religion, it wasn't done to score any points (but I think it does highlight that churches can sometimes be skewed in their interpretation of religion vs Many, Many Things), it wasn't done to 'diss', but it highlighted some of the blatant hypocrisy that exists and how things are manipulated and apparently justified. I liked that the cops involved in the drama were decent and non-discriminatory and how the town in which the tale took place - in Texas, of course - was portrayed as having mainly decent people with the odd few oddities. SY is pretty vocal in her support for people who need voices, and she got her message across in a few words, without coming across as preachy.

It ends in the leads about to settle down into a peaceful life together, one in which both can feel they're doing meaningful stuff and where we see previous leads settling into their HEA too. I liked that it didn't end with icing on the top, as that added to the realism that SY imbued her tale with.

ARC courtesy of the author and Bayou Book Junkie, for my reading pleasure.








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