Interview With Author Willow Sanders

 

What is your book’s genre or category?

My books kind of defy a specific genre or category 🙂 … It’s Romantic Comedy, but it has also been categorized as New Adult because of the age of my characters, and Contemporary Romance. Basically, its a sweet story that will make you smile!

Can you describe the story in one or two sentences for our readers?

Here’s the slug from Amazon: Hillary hadn’t meant to sleep with Bert “DJ XTC” Morder. She blamed the lack of public bathrooms, and one too many Jaeger bombs for her even contacting DJ XTC in the first place. Now, thanks to the Internet, and the unfortunate incident of the studio live stream, all of Chicago was wondering exactly who the girl with the red-soled shoe had been. How long can she keep her identity a secret, and what will happen once her secret is out?

 Tell us the story behind story. What influenced you to write it and how long did it take you?

This first story Dirty Little Secret, was actually written for NaNoWrimo waaaaay back in 2004. I found myself unemployed back in 2012 and decided to try my hand at self-publishing. So I dusted off this manuscript, cleaned it up and made it a bit more current and off I went. The book originally took me 30 days to write (I wrote it during National Novel Writing Month wherein you need to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November). Then when I dusted it off and polished it up in 2012 probably another two months of rewrites and edits. So, maybe three in total.

The story behind the story. Well, in my other life, when I’m not writing, I’ve worked in numerous radio stations. So, this book was kind of a product of that. It’s not a true story. I don’t know anyone who ever got caught doing the naughty in front of a live streaming camera, but there are a few different stories from various stations that I worked at where there was some naughty being done… just not as it is presented in this book!

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Is there a part of you in any of the characters?

Hmm. This changes every time I write a new book in this series. There are probably some parts of Hillary in me… but then I wrote the second book in that series, Secrets of the Heart and I was sure that I was more Ivy than Hillary. So I guess the answer is, there are parts of me in every character I write.

Do you have more books planned?

I’m about 25,000 words away from my next novel- which I haven’t yet decided on a title. This one is going to be Romantic Suspense and has a really HOT main man named Agent Benjamin Vaughn, who I personally swoon over every time I make a date with my keyboard.

The final installment of the Secrets series- Our Little Secret is up next to be written and hopefully released over the summer (fingers crossed) and I have a Chick-Lit book slated for the end of the year… the working title on that one is Notorious.

Do you have a favorite book that inspires you?

I’m a huge fan of Dickens. I realize that in all my books those that have been published and those that will never see the light of day- all of my characters experience some form of redemption. I’m a huge fan of the redemptive tale.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I don’t know if I ever “decided’ per se to be a writer. I remember always liking to write. My mom tells me that I used to write stories to my younger sister when she was in utero so that she wouldn’t get bored while she was in there. Ha ha. In third grade my teacher used to dedicate Friday mornings to writing stories… he’d even “bind” them between two pieces of pumpkin colored cardboard and help us print fancy titles on the computer in the library (this was like early 80’s so computers didn’t do fancy things yet).

In high school, I remember saying that I wanted to write the Great American Novel one day. I majored in English in college. So I think that it’s always been there as a dream of mine.

How do you find the time to write?

A lot of my writing actually is done during NaNoWriMo. It seems without that firm end of month deadline I find a hard time getting anything done. So a lot of my books are started in November- I reach 50K by the end of the month–and then get to “the end” in January sometime. (My books tend to float around 100k words). Right now, I write in fits and spurts. I like to wake up really early on the weekends and head over to my favorite Starbucks. Its really quiet there at 7 on a Saturday morning. I try to write about four hours on the weekends. If I’m really being carried by my plot I’ll write late Saturday night into Sunday morning as well since I know I can sleep in a bit on Sunday. At the moment most of my writing is being done on weekends. I wish it was different- I’d love to be a professional writer without having a 9 to 5 so I could write whenever I wanted. Maybe one day 🙂

How can readers find you online?

My Website is kind of stinky. I am so right brained that the struggle is real doing anything that requires any kind of analysis at all. 🙂 So my site is a janky Wix site that is bare bones.

willowsanders7.wix.com/willowsanders

I hang out on the Twitter and Facebook a LOT.

facebook.com/willowsandersauthor

Twitter.com/willow_writing

I absolutely love talking to people on Goodreads.

Find out more about Willow Sanders and her books here:

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Excerpt of Dirty Little Secret

Hillary had a fabulous dream that night. She dreamt she was auditioning as the next co-host on The View, replacing the outgoing Elisabeth Hasselbeck. She and Babs got along splendidly, reminiscing about the days back at SLC and the professors they’d knew and loved. Hillary had even joked that she was surprised, given their age difference, that they would have any professors in common at all, to which the audience had broken into laughter and Barbara had wagged her finger at her in mock offense. Even though they sat at opposite sides of the political spectrum, Babs would appreciate her open-mindedness, her ability to see both sides of every situation, the way she rationalized every angle. Barbara had been about to call her into her office to offer her a permanent seat at the table when her cell phone rang, ripping her out of her dream.

“Hullo?” She could barely lift her head off her pillow, let alone carry on a conversation. The room was spinning and her mouth felt like she had swallowed the Sahara Desert in her sleep.

“Hill, it’s Ivy. Where are you? Are you at home?” Ivy’s rapid-fire questioning made Hillary’s head throb. Why had she picked up her phone?

“I’m in bed, Ivy. Why are you calling me so early on a Sunday morning?”

“Early? It’s eleven o’clock. You’re still in bed? I’m downstairs, let me in.”

The phone disconnected and the shrill buzz of her doorbell sent pain careening through her brain. She wasn’t in any mood for company. She had fallen drunkenly into bed the previous night—well, Sunday morning, actually—content in the knowledge that she could spend the day in bed nursing her hangover with bad reality television.

“You are not going to believe what I just heard this morning.” Ivy pushed past Hillary into her apartment without so much as a good morning. “My God, woman, you need a new apartment. Give me a minute, I’m about to collapse from exhaustion. Five freaking floors you make me walk up just to talk to you.”

Ivy collapsed onto Hillary’s less-than-firm couch, which had been a hand-me-down from her father’s office. After twenty years at the same place, Hillary’s mother had convinced her dad to redecorate from the hunter-green and gold that had been his previous theme into something more this millennium. His office was now black and charcoal, and Hillary was the proud owner of a green-and-gold plaid sofa and loveseat. The sofa sank a bit in the middle, and wasn’t comfortable to do much on but sit with your feet on the coffee table and watch television—it wasn’t deep enough to really lie on—but it had been free and that was Hillary’s favorite word.

“I don’t remember asking you over, and you could have just told me over the phone.” Hillary crossed her arms over her chest, knowing that since she was sans bra, she most likely had a serious case of headlights.

Ivy followed her into her kitchen, continuing to rattle off her story at a speed that auctioneers would envy. “Remember how last week at the club you were talking about Bert and how you wondered what he was doing?”

Hillary fought the roll in her stomach, willing the evidence of last night’s booze-athon with Tiffany to stay put. She had a sinking feeling where Ivy was going with her monologue, along with the slow realization that last night had not been a figment of her imagination—she really, truly had slept with Bert.

“So I guess it’s all over YouTube now, people think that Bert might be let go.”

A chill rocketed down her spine as her blood went cold with panic. The ringing in her ears made it hard to make out the rest of what Ivy was saying, and the room began to spin. She stumbled back to her couch, forgetting about the coffee, and flopped into a seat, fighting the bile rising in her throat.

“Wait, slow down, you’re talking too fast. Repeat what you said.”

The bits and pieces she had heard from Ivy had been enough for Hillary to puzzle the story together, but she needed confirmation that she wasn’t hallucinating, or maybe she was still sleeping—perhaps this was just a manifestation of fears in dream form. Hillary dug her nails into her wrist, wincing when her nail drew blood. Nope, not dreaming.

“Bert had some ho-bag in his studio last night. Apparently he forgot he was livestreaming his broadcast, and it went out over the Internet. Someone decided to record it, threw it up on YouTube, radio gossip sites got wind of it, and now the story has blown up. Everyone is talking about it. Bill called me this morning to tell me about it.”

Hillary swallowed, stalling for a second because she knew Ivy would expect her to have the same kind of reaction that Ivy had had.

“Broadcast over the internet, huh? Damn. Who was she, anyone we know? I mean Bert works the graveyard shift, right? It had to have been a staffer, who else would come to a studio in the middle of the night?”

“How much did you have to drink last night, Hillary? You look gray. Seriously, you should be careful when you go out with Tiffany, the girl is a lush.”

Ivy shuffled into the kitchen; cabinets opened and closed as she continued her story.

“No one knows who she is. Apparently, from what was on YouTube, you can’t see her face. I haven’t seen the video yet, because the one version that was up has been taken down. I’m sure something will surface eventually; it is the Internet, after all.”

Hillary sank back into the sofa and closed her eyes, trying to rub the pain out of her head. She had to get a hold of Bert. If anyone found out it was her in that video she would absolutely die. Not only that, but she’d probably be out of a job too. This was her fault, and now because of what she’d done, Bert probably wouldn’t have a job anymore. What on earth have I done?

***

After dropping her bags at her desk, and collecting the mail and faxes from the mailroom, she turned on her computer and did what she had sworn she wouldn’t since this whole scandal had begun. She pulled up YouTube and typed “DJ XTC” into the search. When nothing was returned, she tried DJ, Radio, and Bert Morder all to no avail. Only after typing “Radio DJ Sexcapade” did any results get returned—fifteen of them, in fact.

“Fifteen?” She didn’t realize until it echoed off the empty space that she had said it out loud. “I’m on here fifteen times?”

Unable to silence the curiosity bee buzzing in her head, she took a gulp of air, exhaled slowly to steel her nerves, and clicked on a video link.

Moments later, relief swept through her. Steph had been right, there was very little of Hillary on the tape. The angle of the studio camera had been just over Bert’s shoulder, so all that was seen was Bert’s very fine ass covered halfway by his T-shirt, and Hillary’s stiletto’d feet wrapped around his hips. Her face was blocked by Bert’s body. She clicked through the majority of the videos. Thankfully all of them started after the actual sex act had started, and all of them, thank all that was holy, ended as Bert pulled out and before he had pulled her up to a sitting position.

“What on earth is that?”

Hillary froze, unable to move, unable to close out the internet browser, turn the screen, anything to stop the reality train that was about to crash into her. The voice behind her sounded familiar—the voice belonged to someone important, someone she didn’t want seeing what was up on her screen—but in the haze of panic, it just wasn’t registering.

“Hillary, what is that?”

The voice finally registered as she slowly turned around, reluctant to give the person over her shoulder full view of her screen or the wide-eyed look of fear she knew was evident on her face. She was met by an indignant stare from blazing blue eyes and a mess of blonde hair. Ivy. Hillary willed her mind into hyperdrive, trying to find a way out of the mess she found herself in.

“Um, it’s that video. You know, the one that’s all over the Internet about Bert? Steph told me Friday how popular it was. I had forgotten about it until now, so I figured I’d check it out.”

Ivy hiked up her skirt and sat on Hillary’s desk, leaning in to share a look at the screen with her. “Ooh, I haven’t seen it either. Is it any good?”

Before Hillary could stop her, Ivy had taken control of her mouse and started the video again, giving Hillary a replay of her and Bert’s dirty deed.

“Boy, is that girl tragic-looking or what?” Ivy asked, as they watched Bert’s jeans slide down and Hillary’s legs tighten around his waist. “Look how thick her thighs are, it’s called a gym.”

My thighs aren’t that big. Hillary desperately wanted to defend herself. She didn’t think she looked that tragic.

“And really, who wears department-store dark-washed jeans with Louboutin shoes?”

Ivy went silent, the air growing thick between them. Hillary could actually hear the gears clicking and sliding into place.

“Hillary, can you pause the movie, please?”

A wave of nausea catapulted through Hillary. “You know, I’m super busy, Ivy. We saw the video, it’s not that big of a deal and I don’t know why people are still talking about it. But you know Carol, she’ll probably be up here any minute with some new task for me.” Hillary tried to make a show of shuffling papers around, opening up her email and the company calendar on the server.

“Oh, no, you are not getting out of this that easily.” Ivy stilled Hillary’s hand and found the video they had just been watching in her history. Hillary crossed her arms in front of her chest, not bothering to put up a fight, because at this point Ivy already knew. Though a part of Hillary deep down hoped upon the most outrageous of hopes that Ivy didn’t.

Ivy fast-forwarded to the piece of the video she had wanted to review, pausing it on a very clear shot of a pair of satin and sequined lipstick-red Christian Louboutin shoes.

“These shoes.” Ivy pointed at the screen. “They were just returned to me from the dry cleaner. I recognize them, because when I got them back from the cleaners, I thought to myself, Where on earth did these come from? I thought I gave these to Hillary. Then I remembered that you had taken care of me when I drank myself into a stupor a while back, and I remembered you telling me that I puked all over your shoes.”

Ivy didn’t bother to finish connecting the dots; she just let the accusation hang in the air.

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