Tuesday 8 January 2013

Author Interview: Sara Walter Ellwood


Sara Walter Ellwood is an award winning author whose novel Gambling On A Secret was named by bestselling author Carolyn Brown in the Happy Ever After Blog on USA Today as one of her favorite romances of 2012. Although Sara has long ago left the farm for the glamour of the big town, she draws on her experiences growing up on a small hobby farm in West Central Pennsylvania to write her stories. She’s been married to her college sweetheart for nearly 20 years, and they have two teenagers and one very spoiled rescue cat named Penny. She longs to visit the places she writes about and jokes she’s a cowgirl at heart stuck in Pennsylvania suburbia.

She also writes paranormal romantic suspense under the pen name Cera duBois.

Thank you for having me here today, Annette!

Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?

I consider myself a pantser, so I let the story unfold as I’m writing, but I don’t completely write blind. I have some parts planned (usually scenes that come to me when I first start thinking of a story) and write to those scenes… Ironically these flash scenes are usually the turning points.

Do your characters ever want to take over the story?

All the darned time!!

What is your favourite food?

Does cheesecake count as a food?

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I’m a morning person who is forced to be a night owl. I work full-time during the day, so getting up and writing isn’t feasible since I already get up at 6am to be on the road by 7. So, I write at night.

Where do you dream of travelling to and why?

I’d love to go to Ireland and Australia someday. There’s just something about those two places that fascinate me. Besides I love the accents!

Do distant places feature in your books?

In my Westerns, no. But in my paranormals, Ireland plays an important role as being the home base for my vampires.

Do you listen to music while writing?

Most of the time. Music is a huge inspiration for me.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?

Gambling On A Secret is the first book of The Colton Gamblers. A series of romantic suspenses set in Colton, Texas—a small town about 60 miles south of Dallas which was founded when three first cousins won the county land in a poker game after the Civil War. The stories told in this series, starting with Gambling On A Secret, are about the 8th generation fining love and ending feuds. But there are several bad guys in this bunch too, so there are enough bumps in the road to love.

What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?

That it’s a lot harder than most people think it is!!!

Is there anything you would do differently?

I would have learned more about the industry and marketing before I published… Not just craft and writing.

Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?

That is such a hard question! When I was teenager I read a lot of historical fiction—John Jakes, James Michener and Alex Haley to name a few. I think I still carry a lot of their storytelling with me. I also wrote Star Wars fan fiction for several years. So, the authors of the books set in Lucas’ universe have also influenced me. And I can’t discount my critique partners; I’ve learned a ton from them too.

Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?

Learn everything that you can, then decide what is important and what isn’t. Don’t try to follow all the “rules,” but know those rules so when you do break them you know exactly why you’re ignoring them.

What are three words that describe you?

Determined, stubborn and crazy. But doesn’t that describe every writer out there?

What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?

That is too hard to answer… So I’ll give you a list of a few my favorite writers—John Jakes, Matthew Stover, Aaron Alltson, Timothy Zahn, Linda Lael Miller, Kat Martin, Sandra Brown

Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book

When Charli bets everything on a secret, will she find the deck stacked against her?

Former runaway-turned heiress Charli Monroe is hiding her sordid past and planning a future in Colton, Texas. Attending the local college for a degree in social work, she intends to raise cattle on her newly purchased ranch, which she plans to open as a home for troubled teens. Only a few glitches—the Victorian mansion is crumbling, the barn needs a roof, and her oilman neighbor wants more than friendship. When she meets Dylan Quinn, Charli is willing to take a chance on the town drunk to help her rebuild the rundown ranch.

Dylan has his demons, too. The former Special Forces commander can’t get past his ex-wife’s betrayal and the botched mission that left him with much more than a bad limp. Certain the greedy oilman next door to Charli wants much more than just her heart, Dylan’s even willing to stop drinking in order to protect her.

When things get dangerous and secrets of the past are revealed, is he only looking out for his new employer, or is she the new start he so desperately needs?

CONTENT WARNING: Details abuse of a minor, drug abuse, alcoholism, swearing, spicy sex, murder.

COVER QUOTE: “Full of intrigue, tangled pasts, and raw emotions, this one is guaranteed to keep you turning pages from start to finish and then wishing for one more chapter!”

Carolyn Brown, New York Times bestselling author of Just a Cowboy and His Baby.

List of previous books if any

Under my pen name Cera duBois:

A Hunter’s Angel—The Wild Rose Press, July 2012
A Hunter’s Blade—The Wild Rose Press, first released to Amazon October 2012, released everywhere January 2, 2013

Any websites/places readers can find you on the web.

Author Links:

Website: http://www.sarawalterellwood.com
Blog: http://www.sarawalterellwood.com/blog/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sarawalterellwood.ceradubois/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/sara_w_ellwood

Buy Links:

Barnes and Noble
Lyrical Press

Thank you, Sara and good luck with your books!


~One poster from every stop will win a Gambling On A Secret ebook
~One commenter from each stop will win a piece of custom jewelry.
(The winners of these two prizes will be announced the day after the tour stop.)

I also have 2 Grand Prizes!

~First Grand Prize is a SWAG PACK, including a signed copy of Carolyn Brown’s Just a Cowboy and His Baby. Also included is a copy of D’Ann Lindun’s Shot Through the Heart, a pen, a notebook, a horse themed mini calendar, a patriotic themed day planner, and more all tucked away in a reusable tote bag at the end of my blog tour.

~Second Grand Prize is a $10 Gift Card to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble. If you follow the tour and comment as often as possible, you increase your chances of winning!

(The winners of the Swag Pack and Gift Card will be announced on March 1, 2013.) (Swag Pack is only eligible for US residents to win. The jewelry and gift card are eligible to US and Canada residents only. The ebook is eligible to anyone, unless prohibited by law.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Enjoyed the interview, Sara!

  2. Learn everything you can beforehand -- great advice, wish I had followed it. LOL great interview, thanks Sara!

    1. I know... NOW in the middle of a book tour I'm trying to learn Goodreads...Urg! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Lovely interview, Sara. Congratulations on your book!! I'm looking for the twitter button.

    1. Thanks, Ella, you are so great about reTweeting. You deserve a star!!

  4. Determined, stubborn and crazy - yep, I agree that could almost fit every writer out there :)

    1. LOL... Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Annette!

  5. I love cheesecake too, Sara. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of your book. Romantic suspense is one of my favourite genres. A lovely interview.

    1. Thank you, Joanne, for coming by. I KNOW how busy you are now too.

  6. Congratulations!

    Annette, you won the copy of Gambling On A Secret!

    Jerri, You won the piece of custom jewelry!