An Interview with Sara Walter Ellwood

Please help me welcome Sara Walter Ellwood to my blog today. Sara is giving away a prize to one lucky commenter. Be sure and leave your email address in the message to qualify. See below for complete requirements.

gamblingonaheart_500x750_2Have you had other careers before becoming a writer?

Oh, goodness yes! I actually have a teaching degree—secondary social studies. In my area of Pennsylvania 20 years ago, teaching jobs were almost impossible to come by. I substituted for a few years, but decided to change careers. I was lost, had no idea what I waned to do, but thought about either nursing or lab tech. The problem—I really didn’t want to incur another large school loan… So, I went to a tech school for an eight month medical assisting program. After graduating in 1996, I got a job working in an urgent care unit. I was there for five years, until I was hired by a local Army clinic. I’ve been there for almost twelve years. For the last ten of those years, I’ve worked as a medical clerk, which really is a hodgepodge of different duties. My latest training included audiology testing.

Do you have other talents? Or is there a talent you don’t have that you wish you did?

I wish I could sing. But I’m also a gardener… People tell me my gardens are beautiful.

How did you get started writing?

I started writing while in high school, but quit for almost 20 years… Until I started writing Star Wars fan fiction in 2005.

What genre(s) do you write in and why?

I write paranormal and contemporary western romance. Both with suspense twist…Right now my paranormals are under the pen name Cera duBois, but I’ve decided to not write any other books under that name. My westerns (and any new paranormals) will be under my real name. Lord only knows why I chose these genres! I tell people they chose me…LOL I wrote A Hunter’s Angel after reading my first vampire series—the Twilight books. I started writing westerns when I came up with my hero in Heartstrings, a country singer. It just seemed logical he’d be from Texas. I started reading westerns after I stared writing my story. I actually have an idea for a science fiction romance that I’d love to write someday. So who knows how many genres I’ll end up writing.

How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite?

Bloodwine by Cera duBois (self-pub short story 2012)
A Hunter’s Angel by Cera duBois (The Wild Rose Press 2012)
A Hunter’s Blade by Cera duBois (The Wild Rose Press 2012)
Gambling On A Secret by Sara Walter Ellwood (Lyrical Press 2013)
Heartstrings by Sara Walter Ellwood (Lyrical Press 2013)
The Birthday Fantasy by Sara Water Ellwood (self-pub novella 2013)
Gambling On A Heart by Sara Walter Ellwood (Lyrical Press 2013)

I also wrote a Civil War romance novel in high school and about seven Star Wars fan fiction novels and about 35 short stories.

Oh wow! Asking which one is my favorite is like asking which child love more…LOL
Well, let’s just say my favorite fan fiction was a very long saga titled The Path of Dreams. It won an award for best romance in 2006 by readers and that convinced me to give actual romance writing a go. As for my published books… They are all my favorites!

Tell us about your current series/WIP.

My current WIP, which I’m REALLY hoping to have finished SOON, is book 3 of the Colton Gamblers—Gambling On A Dream. It’s sexy Texas Ranger Wyatt McPherson and Sheriff Dawn Madison’s story—they both appear in Gambling On A Heart. I’m also working on 2 other westerns, but I have no idea when I’ll get them finished.

What is your favorite part of writing?

The revision/editing process… I love polishing my story until it shines.

What is your least favorite part of writing?

Writing the first draft! Sometimes I really hate this part. Which probably would be resolved some if I could just learn to plot…LOL Yeah, I’m a pantser.

How does your family feel about your writing career?

They are supportive, though sometimes the hubby gets a little perturbed by the amount of time I spend on the computer after coming home from work.

Do you write under a pen name? Why or why not? How did you choose it?

I do. Although Sara Walter Ellwood is my real name, Walter isn’t my legal middle name. It’s my maiden name. I think it was a no-brainer for me to write under this name. I’ve always wanted to be a write (well, since about ninth grade anyway) and my dream has been to see my name on a cover of a book. And since most married woman out there still considers herself by her maiden name as much as she does her married name, adding the Walter pays homage to this. I’m still Sara Walter as much as I am Sara Ellwood.

I also have a short story and two paranormal romances published under the pen name Cera duBois, which is a play on my real name. Cera is just a different spelling of Sara, and duBois is French for “the woods”, while Ellwood means “noble woods” in Old English. I originally chose this name to keep my two genres separate. But all it has done is confuse readers and cause twice the amount of promo for me. So, I’ve decided to not use this pen name again. My Hunter’s Dagger series does have a third book, but I’m waiting to write it. After I get all my rights back to the two books published by The Wild Rose Press, I plan to re-edit and self-publish the entire series under my Sara Walter Ellwood name.

What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?

I’ve really done a lot of everything. Mostly I do blog tours. Some of them have been scheduled by a PR person, some by me and a few have been a combination of both. I’m not really sure how many sells actually come from tours, but I think they help in other ways, like with my SEO of my website, which I’ll not get into here. I’ve also joined sites like The Romance Reviews and participate in their parties. I’m a featured member of The Romance Studio and have advertised on other book sites. Again I don’t know how much this has helped. But the will say the few times I held release parties on The Romance Studio, I did see an increase of sales of all my books.

Gambling On A Heart
Book 2 of The Colton Gamblers

She once lost his heart on a bluff. Will she risk everything to win it back?
Beautician Tracy Quinn spends her days making the women of Colton, Texas beautiful, while living down the nickname of Olive Oyl, given to her by the only man she has ever loved—Zack Cartwright. She spends her nights alone, despite what her ex husband wants their friends and neighbors to think.

Ex-rodeo cowboy. Ex-bad-boy. Ex-Marine. Widower and single dad Sheriff Zack Cartwright can describe his life in exes. One ex in particular reminds him of what’s missing in his workaholic life: Tracy Quinn. For years since she broke his heart, he’s practically made avoiding her a second job. He still wants her, but can never go after her.

When cattle rustlers target her brother’s ranch, Tracy and Zack are stuck working together. Her son could use a positive male role model, and his daughter is wild for a chance at a “substitute” mom. But Tracy’s ex threatens to sue if she lets Zack near her son, and the Colton grapevine is abuzz with rumors about their past relationship. Is it worth the gamble to see if what they have is more than lust?



“I was hoping you could keep me company this afternoon.” He skimmed his fingers over her cheek.

Her insides, heating up like lava under the surface of the earth, pooled in her low belly. Her lips parted.

Against her lips, he whispered, “Tracy, I want you.”

She had thought of little else since he’d left her standing on her porch Friday night. He was asking her to enter into a sexual relationship without any hope of a future–without love.

But she was already in love with Zack.

Both of their kids would benefit from them being together. Hadn’t that been what she’d decided while she tossed and turned in her big, empty bed?

With her gaze locked on his, she murmured, “I want you, too, but I have a stipulation.”

He leaned back. “What is it?”

“I’m no one’s bed-buddy, Zack. I know what my reputation is in this town, but it’s all wrong.” She swallowed her rapidly thumping heart back into place. “I’ll only go through with this, if you promise to treat me as a serious girlfriend. That means we date, we visit with our families and we share our kids.” When his expression hardened, she quickly added, “Mandy likes me. And I adore her. I’d like to bring her here, to the shop, for a few hours and play. And take her shopping. I know your mom tries, but she’s busy with her foundations and charities she does for the Junior League.”

The breath she sucked in was full of Zack’s scent of sage and leather. “Meanwhile, you can teach Bobby how to ride and maybe take him to the sheriff’s department and show him around. Jake won’t like it, but I’ll deal with him.” Having laid her demands out on the proverbial table, she held her breath, waiting for him to tell her what she could do with herself. After all, a man of Zack’s caliber could have any damned woman he wanted. Tracy was just handy, and according to the gossip of her ex-husband and mother-in-law, she was easy.

He studied her for a few moments. “That’s more than one stipulation.”

“Take it or leave it.”

“Tracy, it won’t change what I told you Friday night. I’m never getting married again.”

His words stung as much now as they had the other night, but she didn’t show him how much. She kept her face determined, as if she were haggling over one of his horses, rather than her body and soul.

“Fine. But I’m not a floozy. Yes, I’ve made mistakes. But I have my son to consider. And I’d hope you’d feel the same about Mandy. They’re bound to see us together. What do you plan on telling your six-year-old daughter when she asks about me? That I’m your friend with benefits? I know that isn’t what I want to be teaching my son.” Moreover, she didn’t want to give credence to Jake’s claim that she had no sexual morals.

“Okay,” he said at last. “We’ll play the game your way.” He pressed her against him. “Luck would have it I’m off this afternoon, too. I’ve already put in sixteen hours.”

When his lips captured hers, she knew she’d made a pact with the devil, but she couldn’t stop the elation surging through her. There was something he wanted from her. Sex was a big portion of it, but something else kept Zack from walking away and hooking up with any one of the many available women in town.

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 of Cera duBois.

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Tour Grand Prize is a swag pack full of goodies! A signed copy of Carolyn Brown’s Just a Cowboy and His Baby, an ebook copy of my last release Gambling On A Secret, a notebook, a pen, and a custom jewelry set—all tucked into a keepsake box. A $20 value.
*Swag pack is for the entire six-week tour. Winner will be announced on September 1, 2013
*Open to Continental US citizens 18 years and older and where not prohibited by law.
*For the complete list of rules click HERE

9 thoughts on “An Interview with Sara Walter Ellwood

  1. Hi Sara,

    I was offered a contract from Lyrical a couple of months ago and am now deep in edits. I think once the book is published it will be a well written book. I enjoyed reading about you and a friend of ours, Jessica Aspen, was the one who told me about Lyrical and how much you loved working with them so I can say you were the inspiration for me signing with them. Good luck on your series and wishing you success.

  2. I’ve always wondered how the pen name worked for you. I understand why you did that, and I love how much thought you put into it! Still, I can see the ‘double the work’ effort.

    Great post, SARA!

  3. Hi Sara! Funny how I see you on the GaimX5 loop all the time, but I had no idea what you really did for a living. I too have an unused teaching degree, bet there are lots of us are out there! So excited for your latest book, and that you have so many out now. Wow! You go girl!

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