I'll be blunt: writing a novella scares me to death. Creating characters readers will care about in just 10k words is one thing. Developing a solid plot that can be resolved in such a short space is yet another. Put them together and you've got … well, me in a panic.
concept of FAMILIAR LIGHT started with the "Timeless Desire" blog tour
theme. One angle I use often in writing is former lovers reuniting, so
the theme was very much in my comfort zone. In this story, my main
characters actually parted on good terms: after a hometown summer
romance, Laney leaves for college and promises Bridger she will return
the following spring. As it tends to do, life got in the way. Years
later—out of college and into the real world—she realizes she misses
what they had, so she goes back to him.
welcome her with open arms, and as an author, I wanted that bit of
rejection there. In a way, it keeps it real. What are the odds he sat
there waiting for her all those years? Nil! And in fact, as the blurb
says, he "tangled a lot of sheets" in the process of NOT waiting, LOL,
so there's definitely some bitterness there. I really enjoyed the
dynamics of that particular scene! (You can see what happened when they
meet again in the excerpt below).
Then, of course, comes the twist.
challenge I had with FAMILIAR LIGHT was creating the suspense
aspect—not because it was required, but because I love romantic suspense
and am apparently a glutton for punishment. (Yeah, seriously. Sometimes
I wonder what I'm thinking, LOL.) Putting together a suspense plot that
can be resolved for these characters in just 10k words was not the
easiest of tasks, but fortunately I have a secret weapon: my husband.
my guy—who has never read a romance book in his life—happens to be
fantastic for plotting, so this was the part I dragged him in. I had a
basic idea of what I wanted (not a bit of which I can divulge here, LOL)
and he helped me fill in the details. Within a couple of hours, I had a
plot. Leaving details aside, I can say this: although they got off to a
bad start, my characters didn't have a chance to dance around their
emotions. The intensity of what they went through and the very real
chance they had of losing one another permanently brought clarity to
what they wanted . . . and fast.
As for the title, at one
point during the process of writing I had an old song from the 80s in
my head. Singing under my breath as I wrote, I got the words wrong and
came up with "familiar light" where it should have been "different
light." And I thought, wow. Epic book title moment! Between the
lighthouse—which is centric to the story—and the theme, I had a winner:
Thank you so much for reading along. I hope you enjoy the excerpt!
Links WEB http://www.sarahballance.com/ BLOG
Seven years of longing comes down to just one night.
Kent returns to Barrier Shoals hoping to reunite with her first love,
Bridger. She anticipates his reception might be chilly, but what she
doesn't expect is to become the victim of a deadly obsession … or that
this night with Bridger could be her last.
Bridger Jansen tangled
a lot of sheets trying to forget about Laney, but his heart knew what
the rest of him refused to admit: he could love no one else. He's
determined not to forgive her for leaving him without explanation, but
when he fails to protect her from a viscous attack, the person he can't
forgive just might be himself. BUY LINK:
FAMILIAR LIGHT Excerpt
I help you?" The gruff question trickled through the cavernous space
like water leaking through pipes. He seemed to materialize from the
shadows as he strode toward her, the rise of heat from the concrete
floor keeping him just out of focus.
But her heart knew.
She swallowed a hard knob of regret. "Bridger?"
couldn't have heard her—not with the way she clung to his name, as if
saying it out loud would be to lose another piece of him. But his step
faltered, and the recognition in that interrupted cadence brought the
burn of tears to her eyes.
trembling, as the fifty feet between them dwindled to ten. When he was
close enough for her to make out the stubble lining his jaw, his legs
stopped moving, but his gaze tore over her. The impassioned glare was
without direction, a harsh reflection of the hard lines edging his face.
The warm brown eyes she remembered were now a bitter shade of espresso.
"What are you doing here?" he asked.
The words, tense
with fury, sent her backpedaling against the concrete wall. Too late,
she realized she no longer knew this man. They were kids when they'd
parted ways, too naïve to realize they'd never keep those breathless
promises. At least she'd been that way. His tone suggested otherwise.
were alone in the deeply shadowed belly of Barrier Shoals Light. And
for the first time within those walls, Laney tasted fear.
"Was I supposed to wait for you?" he asked.
Seven years had passed since her weak-kneed promise to return to him. She didn't have an answer for that.
took another step, boxing her against the curvature of the rock. He
stood close—so close, she had to tip her head to meet his eyes.
And she summoned courage to do it.
I?" he asked, his voice softer now. He leaned closer. The stifling heat
morphed into sexual innuendo, his skin slick with sweat, daring her to
She was one careless thought away from taking him up on
that unspoken suggestion. Her fingers itched to claw through his hair,
to draw him closer until the distance between them evaporated. Memories
of frantically grasping for purchase against the stone wall besieged
her, curling fear into boundless adrenaline.
Her words coaxed a slow grin from his sensual mouth. "Was I supposed to?"