I am so proud to bring you my first blog interview with fellow author,
She was gracious enough to answer a few questions and to share a blurb and excerpt of her newest work, BURIED SECRETS, coming soon from The Wild Rose Press.
You can visit A.Y. at her website www.aystratton.com.
ME: Hi, A.Y. Thanks for being with us.
A.Y.: Thank you. I am every excited to be a guest on your blog today.
ME: I'll start out easy. Tell me three words that describe yourself starting with A,B, and C.
A.Y.: Three words that describe me:
A is for avid. I am an avid Milwaukee Brewers fan and an avid swimmer.
B is for buddy. I am a buddy to a batch of old friends. Some are from childhood, some are from college days, and many are moms of my children’s friends. Thanks to the internet, I can keep track of my old friends.
C is for chatterbox, the name my mother always called me when I was a kid.
ME: I can totally relate to C !!! What are your three favorite things?
A.Y.: My favorite things are: my family members (all of them), books, music from my teenage years, and SHOES.
M.E.: Music is a big influence on my writing. I have certain songs that inspire individual chapters, even whole books. What helps to inspire you?
A.Y.: I get many of my plot ideas when I’m on a long walk with my ipod crooning music in one ear. Yesterday I got so involved in a plot idea, I missed the turn for my street. Most of my ideas begin with an image of the opening scene. For example, I got an inkling of the plot for Buried Secrets after I imagined two people sneaking into someone’s house to retrieve something vital. I had no idea whose house it was, or what the something would be. But I could see the first chapter unfolding in my head.
My heroines are often sassy and compulsive. In Buried Secrets, Kate is the way I’d like to be: bold, clever, beautiful (but not knock-down-gorgeous). In contrast, I am chicken-hearted, gabby, and “cute.”
In my first book, Buried Heart, (available at TWRP and Amazon in paperback and on Kindle) my heroine is proud and sure of her life and her business, until she meets an archaeologist with a mysterious mission and a smile she can’t resist.
A church rummage sale suggested the plot for my next story, tentatively titled Buried Temptations (barely 100 pages long, so far). I was astonished at the scads of items people were getting rid of. On my way home I imagined a young woman helping her grandmother clean out her Florida home and taking items to a rummage sale. I thought what fun it would be to have a government agent get a tip that several rare Mayan artifacts were among those items. Of course some bad guys die, while the government agent and the granddaughter discover more than they expected, including passion.
ME: That sounds like it will make a great read. I can't wait until you finish.What is the ultimate goal in your career that you wish to achieve?
A.Y.: I would love to be on the NYTimes Best Seller list. But don’t tell anyone, okay?
ME: Your secret's safe with me ;). As the holidays near, are there certain traditions your household celebrates?
A.Y.: This year it’s my turn to host the family for Thanksgiving. (My kids are all married, so we alternate with the in-laws.) One of my daughters lives far away, so her family visits us for the holiday. She and I cook the turkey, make the gravy and the stuffing, filling the house with the best smells in the world. The other families bring veggies, desert, onions, pie. In the meantime, the children run around, and the dads ignore them.
ME: That sounds like such a fun time. And before we end, I just have to save, your cover for Buried Secrets is beautiful. What can you tell us as far as release dates?
A.Y.: My EXCLUSIVE Kindle release date is Sept 25, 2013!
Then Buried Secrets will be available for FREE between Nov 12 and Nov 16, 2013
And then on January 17, the book will be out in both formats to all disitributors worldwide. SO exciting!
Blurb for Buried Secrets by A. Y. Stratton
It’s just luck Kate Harvey and Nathan Crosby sneak into the same house on the same frigid evening in Suburban Milwaukee…
Bad Luck that lands them in the midst of a vendetta.
Each is on a mission: Kate to rescue documents for her grandmother, and Nathan to collect evidence of a dirty lawyers’ illegal activity.
Courthouse lawyers expect stunts form Attorney Crosby, but Kate’s friends would never imagine the professional fund-raiser would think of exceeding the speed limit, much less entering a stranger’s home. Or of having a hot affair after her fiancé dumped her for being an ice queen.
The documents Kate finds suggest a candidate for U.S. Senate is guilty of reckless homicide and bribery… Soon everyone Kate loves is in danger.
Excerpt for Buried Secrets by A.Y. Stratton
She gritted her teeth into a smile. “I just stopped by to pick up some papers for my poor old grandmother who’s in a nursing home.” A sliver of truth was always easier to defend and to remember—at least that’s what her father always said with a smirk.
The guy dropped his grip on her arm and wrinkled his nose. “Are you answering my question or telling me your tragic life story?”
“Answering your question, of course.”
“Your grandmother is in a nursing home? Which has what to do with breaking into this house?” His mouth twitched at the corners.
The man may not believe her, but at least his hand was away from the gun pocket. “I said it’s complicated. After my grandmother moved to a nursing home, my mother sold the furniture. My grandmother suddenly needed some papers, and she—”
“Wait.” He looked at his watch. “Papers? Or somebody’s jewels?”
“Papers, important papers.”
He squinted. “Right. Don’t we all burgle houses for papers?”
He wasn’t going to shoot her. He was going to let her stay. She was sure of it. “I don’t care whether you believe me or not.” She pulled her sleeve away from her watch. “Would you please take a hike so I can get to work here?”
He shook his head. “New plan. You waltz out of here, back where you came from, and I promise I won’t send Schmidt the photo I took of you spying outside in the yard.”
“That’s blackmail which, if you were thinking straight, could incriminate you, too.” If he’d really taken a picture of her, the game was over.
He didn’t jump on that statement. Just stood frowning at her. She sucked in more courage. “Give me five minutes to finish my job, and I’ll pretend I never saw you here. We’ll both be happy as… Wait, was that a car I heard?”
The man’s head whipped around, and he strode off to look out the window. Kate grabbed the chance to duck down the hall to the next bedroom. By the time he caught up with her, she was staring into the dark.
“Here…” He handed her the flashlight. “Make it quick.”
Stunned and relieved she’d somehow won the argument, she whirled in a circle, checking the room, and felt her chest cave again. The only furnishings in sight were twin beds covered in purple and gold spreads, a small dresser, and a puffy easy chair.
A pool table filled the room over the garage. No sideboard there either. Tears caught her breath. If that sideboard was somewhere in the house, she would have found it by now.
Could it be in a closet? She headed back into the first bedroom again, past the king-sized bed piled high with frilly peach-colored pillows and into a closet large enough to sleep a family of four.
No sideboard in sight.
“Where are you? In here?”
“Yeah,” she whispered.
He stood in the doorway. “Whoa! What a closet!”
Skirting him, she stepped back into the bedroom and flashed her light around. Where the heck would the Schmidts have put it?
“Jeez, how many times a day do you have to change clothes to use all these dresses?” The man was quiet for a few moments. “So, mystery woman, tell me a new version. What are you really looking for?”
“A large thing of drawers called a sideboard. It used to be my grandmother’s.”
“I’m thinking these papers must be pretty important if you have to steal them, like something you could use against someone.”
“Against someone? You mean blackmail?” He could be right. What was her grandmother up to?
“Did you see that?” The man looked out the front window and gripped her arm.
“Wait here. I’ll check.”
Kate followed him back to the top of the stairs, her pulse thudding in her ears again.
“Thought I saw headlights, but never mind. Okay, dutiful granddaughter, now what?”
“I need to look in the attic.”
The man stuffed his hands into his jeans’ pockets and nodded toward the stairs. “You got five minutes and then we’re gone, both of us.”
Kate tried several doors leading off the hall, hoping to find the attic stairs. One was locked and the other was a closet. “I give up.”
He motioned her to follow him. On the way to the stairs his flashlight beam bounced around the master bedroom.
Thanks to the intrusion of the jerk, she’d have to come back another night. And then she saw it…just inside the master bedroom and over to the right against the wall to the hall. Kate stifled a laugh. Someone had painted Granny Nell’s sideboard an ugly color her mother would call “spring-green.” She knelt on the deep carpet in front of the sideboard and aimed her light at the underside, hoping to find the latch Granny Nell had described.
She dropped the flashlight and used both hands to feel for an edge or a lever, something to pull or push.
“I’m done here, and you are too, Kate. Let’s go!” The man’s voice was hushed.
“You go.” Kate didn’t look back at him. “I’m not through yet.” She slid open the narrow right-hand drawer and felt around inside, pushing aside envelopes, paper clips, CDs, and loose earrings. She moaned.
The man was right. It was reckless to stay in the house any longer. She crawled to the other side; opened the left drawer; shoved aside gloves, scarves, and pink under-things; and stretched her hand to the back, fingering the top, sides, and bottom. And found nothing.
She closed the drawer and stepped back.
Wait! Had the man called her Kate? How did he know her name? Where had they met? No time for that. She didn’t want to believe her grandmother was senile, that the feisty woman had imagined the whole story.
No, the secret drawer had to be here. She slid the left drawer all the way out of the sideboard and set it down at her feet, careful not to spill any of the silky underwear. She reached in and danced her fingers over the surface of the cavity, hoping for a notch or a knob, anything that might release a panel.
A door slammed. A woman’s voice echoed from below! She had to hide. She shoved the drawer back in place, ducked into the closet, and buried herself in the deepest corner.
Thank you A.Y., it's been a pleasure having you. Best of luck.