Monday, June 13, 2011

One Year: Looking Back, Moving Ahead

Oh, to have been me one year ago. Talk about upheaval! I'd just given birth to my sixth child—one who came as quite a surprise to the H and myself, as I'd had a nifty surgical sterilization which was rumored (ha!) to render me reproductively useless—when IT happened. On June 7, 2010 Noble Romance Publishing released my debut novel, DOWN IN FLAMES.

Yeah, I know. Not exactly earth shattering, but it's not something I saw coming. Oh, sure, I had the signed contract and I'd drooled over the cover enough to fear for the lifespan of my keyboard. I'd even survived "the edits"—something of great myth and lore to us first-timers. But I still didn't believe they'd actually go through with it. This was, after all, my book. My first book at that, and my first shot of fiction since grade school. I can honestly say there were approximately ZERO points in the writing process I ever expected the story to see the light of day…let alone with a buy link attached.

It was quite a moment—one to be followed by many more such moments of disbelief.

You see, I never meant to do this author thing for real. I wrote DOWN IN FLAMES Linkbecause I told someone there was no way, no how, ya-can't-make-me-because-I-ain't gonna write fiction. It took less than a day for my own words to hit me, and from that point I became determined to write "a" book—more specifically, a manuscript—and not because I held any great aspirations toward being published. I just wanted to prove myself wrong. Suffice to say I succeeded—and loved it—but my own refusal to believe the success left me scrambling at the last minute to put something on my website—and by "something" I mean "anything"—and to do the same kind of "something" with my blog. (The latter I didn't truly accomplish until the first weeks of 2011). But even that was nothing compared to conquering my greatest fear.

The Interview.

I am quite possibly the most introverted person you've ever met. Put me in a crowded room—and by "crowded" I mean at least two other people, give or take—and I'd be content to hide under a table if it wouldn't serve only to draw more attention to my quaking self. I'm terrified people will look at me. I have NO IDEA how I managed to get married with a captive audience in attendance, other than to say whoever came up with the idea for the veil is pretty cool in my book. I can tell you all, with zero exaggeration, that the idea of getting my name and myself out there PETRIFIED me. You'd think I had to deliver a speech naked on live TV for all the trauma the mere thought of an interview caused. And if not for fellow Noble author Nichelle Gregory reaching out and inviting me to her blog, I'd probably still be cowering; for her kindness, I'll be long-grateful.

That first interview was nearly a year ago. Since then, I've made fifty-six guest appearances over the internet and have amassed eleven reviews from bloggers and review sites—two for DOWN IN FLAMES and nine for my second release, the romantic suspense RUN TO YOU. (To see the full list of reviews and interviews, click here.) That might not sound like much, but I still feel that pull in my gut when I think about that first interview and how frightened I was to take that step. And now, with my first whirlwind year behind me, I'm about to take another one.

To celebrate my first anniversary among the ranks of published authors, I'm going to do something absolutely crazy.Link

I'm going to take a step back and write.

Sarah's work-in-progress UNFORGIVEN is the first of a series of at least four romantic suspense titles she plans to finish in the next few months. If you'd like to see the status of her WIPs, click here.


jswayne said...

Hi, Sarah!
The simple fact is, you're just plain good. I was honored to be on the April blog tour with you and I'm equally proud to call you my friend. I can't wait to see what the future holds for you...and for November! ;)
In the meantime: biscuit? :D

Sarah Ballance said...

I had this all wrong. I won't be writing. I will be writhing on the floor in absolute HYSTERICS. I'm pretty sure J.S. needs a leash and/or visiting hours, but no matter WHAT he says, folks, do not eat the gravy!

Seriously, J.S., you never fail to make me smile AND you're an incredible writer. Thank you so much for your kind words and for the offer of, um, biscuits.

Angie and Heather said...

Hi Sarah,
I can't thank you enough for all you've done to help me. Not just for the reviews and blog (which were wonderful) but for all those frantic emails filled with newbie questions. You were ever so patient answering each and everyone of them and helping to intitiate me into the world of being an author. I will be forever greatful for your kindness. You deserve all the success that is coming your way.


C. Zampa said...

This made me cry, because I realized I've been there with you since the beginning.

I was there for Down in Flames' first words, its growth 'in the womb' and then its birth. And I saw Run to You in its process also.

Congratulations and wishes for many more births! Books that is!


Sarah Ballance said...

Aw, geez, guys! Y'all want me to cry, don't you? ;c)

Angie, it was my absolute pleasure to answer your questions. I remember that "What's going on and who do I ask?" feeling SO well. I'm glad I was able to help, even though I still have one foot in "clueless" myself, LOL. (((Thank you so much)))!

Zampa, I shudder to think what those early edits were like for you. You probably wondered what in the holy heck you'd gotten yourself into, and I swear you have the patience of a saint. I think I had a record number of HAD and THAT and WAS in need of eradicating! LOL. My GOSH, I've come a long way since then. *blush* Thanks so much for the support, girl. I wouldn't be here without it. ;c)

Krystal Wade said...

Oh, Sarah after I got past JS's comment and recovered from the laughing I nearly forgot what I was going to write.

I've picked myself up off the floor and the words have returned. You are an awesome writer, teacher and most important friend. I've said it before and I'll say it again--that failed tubal is my best friend. We may have never met without it.

Good luck to you in everything you do...and you know I'll be right there with you because I can't survive without our daily bantering. <3

Sarah Ballance said...

Aw, shucks Krystal! Thank you so much! I'm excited about where you'll be in a year, and honored I'll be able to say I knew you "when." It's amazing how everything happens just as it should, and I'm looking forward to your first release day and all of the milestones that come with it. (((Hugs))) and thanks for being there!

melissamackinnon said...

s been an honor to follow you throughout this past long, long year... Through ups and downs, and "really, did that just happen?" I am looking forward to your future releases... keep them coming. And pass the gravy, please.

Nichelle Gregory said...


I'm so sorry I didn't see this when it posted. Your kind words touched my heart! I was terrified of doing my first interview too! I know how scary those first steps can be and I'm glad I was able to make them a little easier for you.

Now look at you, doing this blog-o-sphere-thingy like a real pro!

Congratulations on surviving and I'm sure surpassing the goals you set for yourself as a writer! May this year bring more triumphs and finished WIP's!!!

<3 Nichelle