Sarah McNeal is the author of memorable characters you're sure to fall in love with. Let's give Sarah a warm welcome!
***Contest info at the end of the interview. Enjoy!
Tell the readers a little about yourself:
I'm a published writer of contemporary, fantasy and time travel/historical romances. I'm currently writing a series of musical instrument stories inspired by my love of music. You can find my novels at Amira Press and Victory Tales Press/Western Trail Blazer line.
Without giving too much away, tell the readers about your new release, Hamonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride. Is this a series? If so, how many books will there be?
It’s about a woman with a chaotic childhood longing for a better life, who falls into the past and finds a man full of secrets and a dark history—and she’s married to him.
I didn’t intend to write a sequel when I started out but I fell in love with the secondary character, a young man named Banjo, who was raised in a brothel and on his own by the age of ten. I am working on Banjo’s story right now. Then I’m going to let it go.
Joseph Wilding is the hero of your tale. What kind of man is he? When Lola takes Callie’s place, what is Joseph’s first impression of her? Does he notice the change right away?
Joe Wilding has had his share of knocks. He believes he is responsible for his younger brother’s death and feels that his father wishes it were him instead of his brother who died. He pretends to be a veterinarian instead of a medical doctor, afraid he will make the same mistakes.
Joe doesn’t believe that Lola is who she claims to be. He believes she is the disreputable, Callie McGraw. Lola likes animals, treats people fairly and doesn’t try to steal him blind so, yeah, he notices there are some differences but he doesn’t trust her worth spit. He thinks Callie is pretending to be nice because she’s up to no good. It will take something irrefutable for him believe that Lola is who she claims to be.
Tell us a little about Lola. How did she find herself in 1910? What is her first impression of Joseph?
Lola’s father died when she was young and her life went rapidly downhill after that. Her mother succumbs to grief by using drugs and alcohol. Moving from one ratty trailer park to another, often without electricity or food, her mother finally overdoses leaving Lola on her own barely out of high school. Determined to rise above the shame and deprivation of her life, Lola works her way through college bartending in the hope of becoming a lawyer. Just when she thinks she has finally caught a break upon inheriting a rundown plantation, she ends up falling into a mysterious old trunk right into 1910 and just married to a complete stranger.
Lola doesn’t like Joe one bit. Very frankly, she thinks he’s an arrogant jackass. But she also sees his underlying sorrow. When he saves his dog’s life and, later, Banjo’s life, she quickly sees there is a kinder, gentler Joe than she first imagined.
If you could time travel to any century, where would you go and why?
I have a complete fascination for the early years of the twentieth century from 1900-1940. Suddenly America went from frontier towns and horses to automobiles, electricity and motion pictures. It has been said by historians that the happiest time in American history was from 1910 to 1915.
Do you have a favorite reference book or favorite website?
Although I have several wonderful reference books, my favorite is Remember When a book about the many changes that took place in America and the world from 1900-1940. Every page is filled with illustrations and photographs of those years. It covers everything from big industrial changes to social evolution. Women went from long hair and dresses to short skirts and bobbed hair, smoking cigarettes and, I’d just like to mention the vote. Believe it or not, Wyoming was the first state in the Union to pass into law the right for women to vote. Now there’s a state to be proud of. That is why I decided to make it the state where Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride takes place.
What are your current projects and works in progress?
I am presently deep into writing Banjo’s story. Banjo, as I mentioned earlier, was the sixteen year old abandoned boy in Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride. He drank liquor, smoked cigars, cussed and learned everything the soiled doves in the brothel could teach him about the art of pleasing a woman. But Banjo also has a talent for inventing mechanical wonders and wants to prove himself worthy of his childhood friend, Matilda Rose O’Leary.
Tell the readers where they can find you:
Is there anything else you’d like to tell the readers?
Readers are the most important people on the planet for authors. I always appreciate their input, likes and dislikes. If readers don’t like your work, you’re doomed. Another thing I feel is important for readers to know is that they have power and should be respected. I hate to see it when a reader compliments an author and the author ignores them. Who do they think is buying their books? So readers, let your voices be heard.
*** Contest: Answer this question: If you could time travel, where would you want to visit?
Sarah will pick one lucky winner for the drawing. Winner's choice of either her time travel historical (1927), The Violin or her contemporary (the only one she's ever written), Bitter Notes.
Don't forget to leave your email address so Sarah may contact you if you should win! Good Luck!
Blurb for Hamonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride
A haunted house, a trunk and a date with destiny.
Lola Barton discovers a warp in time in an old trunk when she falls into 1910. She finds herself married to Joseph Wilding, a stranger shadowed by secrets. Mistaken for Callie McGraw, a thief and a woman of ill repute, Lola finds her life is threatened by a scoundrel. Joe stands between her and certain death. With danger threatening all around and secrets keeping them apart, can Joe and Lola find their destiny together? Or will time and circumstance forever divide them?
With a raised brow, he stared at her for a moment as if scrutinizing her thoughts. “You sure are talking peculiar.” He pulled her toward the door, speaking to her as she tried to keep up with his long strides and trying in vain to lock her knees and resist his grip on her. “Weston Taylor isn’t going to give up trying to get his money back, Callie. He’s mean and persistent. What did you take it for in the first place? You know how much his money means to him, like a bible to a preacher. I’m sure it means even more to the innocent, hard working people he took it from on the train.”
He gave her a stern look and added, “You know he killed a six-year-old girl and her mother who resisted when he demanded her wedding ring. Shot them dead on the spot, without a drop of remorse, just turned his back and walked away as they lay bleeding to death on the floor.”
The news that Weston Taylor was capable of killing a young woman and a child made the blood freeze in Lola’s veins. She knew now that her life stood in peril just as Harmonica Joe had said. What was she to do now? Where could she find refuge? Lola resisted against the darkening tide pulling her out to a vast and deep ocean of indescribable dangers. Where did he plan to take her? In her mind, she envisioned a remote forest where no one would hear her screams. She remembered Oprah Winfrey’s warning on her show about women and self-defense--Never let them take you to the second location.
Why did he keep calling her Callie? How many Callies were there in her time or this? Not many to be sure. Funny, Callie was her ancestral aunt’s name. A little thought pricked the back of her brain. Could she have fallen into her Great-great-aunt Callie’s life? How was that even possible? Well, here she was in some other time zone so that made most anything possible. Her mind went fuzzy. She would have to sort this out later.
In the meantime, she forced her thoughts into her present situation. Even though her nerves shrieked for her to resist as he pulled her closer and closer to the door and the great unknown, she summoned all her courage to pretend a boldness she did not feel. “That’s not my name. It’s Lola. Why would you want to marry me? I’ve never seen you before in my life. Who is Weston? And, by the way, Mister Know-It-All, I didn’t take anybody’s money. If I had, I would have bought a ticket out of this nightmare and gone back to L.A. on the first plane out of here.”
A quizzical brow lifted and a grin flickered across his sensual lips. “L.A.? Plane? I don’t know what you’re jawing about but I can tell you right now, that Weston isn’t going to let you go without getting his money back. I would think you would know that by now after all the times he’s beaten you and threatened to kill you. You’ll be safer if you stick with me.”
His smile displayed sparkling white teeth. “Besides, I won you from him in a poker game. That card in your hand, Queen of Diamonds, was the winning card. I’d treasure it forever if I were you.”
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