Sharon Hamilton loves all things paranormal: Angels, Dark Angels, Watchers, Guardians, Upogenie and Vampires. She also has developed a series of hot romantic suspense Navy SEAL stories that have ranked her in the top 100 at Amazon in that genre. Her characters follow a spicy road to redemption through passion and true love—not exactly what they taught you in Sunday School!
An avid organic vegetable and flower gardener, Sharon and her husband live in the Wine Country in Northern California, where most of her stories take place.
Today Sharon is having a giveaway on my blog to celebrate her latest book, Fallen SEAL Legacy (SEAL Brotherhood #2).
What could I win?
Also one person who comments on this article will win Fallen SEAL Legacy, and a dog tag with the book cover on it. She tells me the dog tags are really cool, so let’s see those comments AFTER you read the article. Good luck everyone!
My interview with Sharon…
I became a writer after years of running a successful real estate and marketing/coaching firm. With drastic issues in the California market, we were still doing well, until we lost our house in a fire, and the world shifted.
Partly to save my sanity, and partly because I’d always wanted to be a writer, I started writing from some of the dreams I was having. At the time, I was dreaming about Guardian Angels, and what would happen if one of them fell in love with a human she was charged with saving. I discovered a whole world of guardians that are still with me today. That was my first book, Heavenly Lover.
Do you have a specific writing style or approach to writing your books?
I follow Alex Sokoloff’s 4-Act Play structure (modified 3-Act Play) for the key components, covering the Setup, the Conflict, Assembling The Team, Black Moment, Resolution, etc. (left lots our here). That starts, and then I work on the characters until I get a feel for whom they are and what they are about. I look at their conflict, then how they could resolve the issues so the couple can get together in the end. But I make them break up a whole bunch in the process. I love that when I find an author who does that well.
I also write mainly in the AMs or late at night. I try to write 3k words a day.
How did you come up with the title?
In Fallen SEAL Legacy, the hero’s (SO Calvin Cooper) family has just been wiped out in a tornado. He is sent to learn about a Fallen SEAL. Every SEAL is given a KA-BAR knife engraved with the name of a Fallen, usually someone who was doing something similar to the SEAL’s own qualifications. That’s so they remember who has gone before them, and so that they honor and never forget the sacrifice others have made. Of course in my story, since it is a romance, out of that tragedy comes the love story. Something good comes of something that was bad.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Love heals in the gardens of the heart. This is the message throughout all my novels. Whatever it is, love can heal it. True love, that is.
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
I did more research on the SEAL books, read several accounts of SEALs, both past and present. While others might read for technical details, I read these to get the idea of the spirit of these fine men, so I could portray them properly on paper.
What motivates you to write?
Honestly think I was meant to do it. I have never been happier. I like telling stories about people who have overcome obstacles.
Did you learn anything from writing your book? If so, what was it?
I was surprised when Diana Gabaldon said in a blog post that she wrote Outlander before ever coming to England or Scotland. I’d always loved reading military heroes, but thought, since I’d never served, I couldn’t do it. I’ve found that is not true. You write well what you love best, and I love heroes, all types of them. So then, it’s a matter of just doing the research.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Tina Folsom has been a great friend. She’s encouraged me all along the way. Her success means I can do it too. I love that about her. Other writers have inspired me too, way more than I can list. But Tina has gone above and beyond being just a friend I enjoy spending time with.
Who is your most popular character? Why do your readers like or dislike this character?
In Fallen SEAL, Calvin Cooper is 6’7” – the tallest SEAL to ever graduate from BUD/S. Because they have to be extremely agile and fast, it is sometimes difficult for a big guy to make the teams. He’d been raised on a farm in Nebraska, knew how to fix anything and absolutely loves gadgets. He’s cheap, too. Saves packets of sugar and matches, and lives in a motor home at the beach, pocketing his housing allowance. It’s also very convenient to pick up girls that way, so it serves him. He’s a gentle giant, not prone to anger, but is definitely an Alpha male.
What are your current projects?
I’m adding to my vampire series, about the Golden Vampires of Tuscany (they don’t have to stay out of the sun or sleep in coffins). Then I’ll be going back to the SEALs for SO Armando’s story, and I have a 4th planned with a recent Naval Academy grad, and SEAL Malcolm Jones.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I started writing in a journal at age 5, as soon as I could write. I wrote prayers in Sunday School that made my teacher cry (I think the class thought otherwise, and later I found out she had some “issues”). Later, in Real Estate, I was asked by my manager to stop writing letters to the secretaries because I always made them cry (this wasn’t intended as a good thing).
Now, I get to make people cry, HOPE to make people cry with my love stories. Seems I can’t stop putting emotion into the words, no matter what I do. Selling books is a more productive way to do it, don’t you think?
I was an editor for our High School paper, and used to write news articles that were published in the local paper.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I have three series going now. This book is part of the SEAL Brotherhood series, starting with Accidental SEAL, Book 1, and Fallen SEAL Legacy, Book 2. I also have two Guardian Angel books: Heavenly Lover and Underworld Lover. Then I have my Golden Vampires of Tuscany series, the first being Honeymoon Bite, and the second one I’m working on now called Mortal Bite.
I have a big book, a time travel romance that I write snippets here and there when I need to cleanse my palate. It covers a British explorer studying ancient erotic texts in the Hindu Sind and a woman in today’s world who tries to bring him to her.
I also have a futuristic book that is about 1/3 completed about an android that is given his freedom by his owner, a descendent of the slave lineage of Thomas Jefferson. As you know, Thomas Jefferson never freed his slaves upon his death. His descendent tries to right that wrong.
But my main project is to see to it that my romance series are well established and on autopilot before I tackle something new. I could write up to 10 books in each series, and not get tired of them!
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I’m a very slow reader, although I’ve recently taken courses to increase speed. I mouth every word in my mind. That affects the speed at which I can edit. If I know the material by heart (I play the piano the same way) it goes fast.
Who designed the covers?
Are you an Indie Author? If so, what do you like about independent publishing?
Writing books that you have to wait a year to find out if it is going to be bought doesn’t work for me. I’d rather figure out on my own what sells and what doesn’t. I can change covers, prices, even content easily. Downside to that is I have to do or hire everything.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t quit. Keep writing until you make it.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Well, of course! Buy my books and then tell everyone you know about them!
An Excerpt from “Fallen SEAL Legacy”
A tall shadow fell through the glass and ornate metal front doors of the Brownlee house. The melodic doorbell chime came all the way from an abandoned abbey in the South of France. Whoever he was, Libby Brownlee thought, he’d not be able to get through the doorway without ducking, or smacking himself in the forehead.
“Yes?” She didn’t remove the brass chain connecting the door to the doorframe. It couldn’t really stop anyone, especially someone of his size. What she saw scared her, but not in the way she expected. He was a handsome, very, very tall and fair-haired young man about her age. His piercing blue eyes didn’t stray from hers as he coolly nodded his head, and took inventory of her character, without peeling his gaze from hers.
She felt undressed, yet powerless to cover up. But she didn’t look away.
“Ma’am, I’m looking for the Brownlee family.” He said this as he ducked his head and leaned forward. She observed he was trying to make himself smaller. The effort made him look huge.
“This is the Brownlee residence.” Her response was worthy of a domestic. No need to let him know she was a relative.
“My name is Special Operator Calvin Cooper. I’m…”
“I know what a Special Operator is.”
He smiled but continued, “—currently serving in the Navy. I’ve been asked to reach out to the family of Special Operator William Brownlee.”
“Uncle Will.” She bit her tongue. Too late to take it back. “My father’s brother. I never met him. He’s been dead for many years, before I was born.” Libby looked at the ground, but was soon distracted by the size of the young man’s canvas slip-ons. The light brown hair on his ankles and lower legs, punctuated by light purple scars, blazed in the afternoon sun.
“Yes, ma’am. That’s the reason I’m here.”
“It’s a little late for a color guard. He get awarded a medal posthumously or something?”
The sailor stepped back and put his eyelids at half-mast after a flash of anger. He appeared way calmer than she knew he really was. The control was impressive. No matter how hard she looked, the anger did not surface again. He licked his lips and began to speak, softer this time.
“Look. I don’t want to be here any more than you want me, so let’s just get this over with, so I can tell my Chief I tried to reach out and you guys slammed the door in my face, okay?”
Well, this wasn’t the wrinkle she’d expected. “Fine.” She removed the chain, opened the door and the lumbering giant walked in. He smelled like he’d just figured out how to wear aftershave. Something told her he didn’t do it very often.
He scanned the large two-story living room with the carved wood ceiling done in Spanish florets. His eyes lit on the three-foot tall bouquet of fresh flowers her mother put on the coffee table every day—bounty from her extensive flower garden. Behind the table, a bright red velvet couch was covered with lime and fuchsia-colored silk flowered pillows. No one ever sat there, Libby mused. If they did, they’d be buried in the pillows, and hidden from view by the bouquet.
Rest in Peace.
“My mother takes pride in her flower garden.” She said. He had been staring at the blooms.
He tore his eyes off the display, and, without saying a word, continued to scan the archway that led to the kitchen, then back around to the walls of the foyer and a view of the grand metal staircase leading upstairs to the bedrooms.
His silence made her nervous. She crossed her arms over her chest and waited for him to say something.
“This is about a hundred times the size of my place.” He regarded her with a crooked smile she couldn’t read. “Kinda like living in a church, although not like a church I ever attended.”
Our house looks like a church?
“Where do you live? On base?” she asked.
“No ma’am. I have a motor home I keep parked at the Silverdale Beach.”
“Wow.” A homeless Navy SEAL?
“Exactly. Got the whole ocean as my back yard.”
“It’s all I need.”
“Okay. Well, what’s this about? Your visit, I mean.”
“Did he have a family, or someone close, other than your family?”
“He is our family. I just never knew him.” She realized she was being short. “My grandparents are both gone, and my father was his only brother, perhaps he would know.” Libby started tracing the grout line of the marble floor with her toe. “Look, I’m going to need some answers here. You have to kind of spell it out for me. We don’t speak military in this house.”
“I can tell.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You don’t speak military, and I didn’t bring an interpreter.”
“I think you should speak to my father.”
“That would be good.”
“Except he isn’t here. Maybe another time?”
She caught him eyeing the front of her cotton shirt, like he could see right through it without unbuttoning it. With an involuntary jerk, he was focused on her eyes again. It was very odd she didn’t feel afraid of him, like she had every other man who showed interest in her lately. Her heartbeat elevated and her breathing became shallow.
“When will he be here?” His voice sent a tingle down her spine.
“He gets home about four-thirty. But I wouldn’t waste your time unless you can tell me what you want.” She started for the door and he followed behind her. At the front, she stopped, and turned around. “I’m waiting.” She tapped her foot to an invisible drummer.
The giant nodded, but faced his own shoes as he responded to her command, “I’ve been asked to do a little research on S.O. Brownlee. It’s an order from my Chief.”
“And why would the Navy want to contact my family? What purpose would it serve?”
“It’s just what we do. I was given his name when I got my Trident. I’m supposed to know about him. I’m a SEAL as well.”
“After all these years? Why now? Why not let the dead remain dead? Why bother my father?”
The sailor shrugged, looked up at the ceiling, adjusting his stance. With a sigh, he turned his gaze back on Libby. She felt herself melt under the press of his intense study.
Cooper took a deep breath, and continued, “Because, I’ve just lost mine.”
I’d like to thank Sharon for being on my blog today with such a great interview, excerpt, and giveaway. I’ve invited her back to discuss the next book in her vampire series as well. Stay tune for an upcoming date! ~ally