SHARON WRAY: EVERY DEEP DESIRE

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This week’s theme on my blog (accidentally, I swear…not quite sure how it happened!) is YA and adult re-tellings of ROMEO AND JULIET. Last Thursday, I had the honor of interviewing Tiffany Schmidt about her newest YA novel, BOOKISH BOYFRIENDS . . . and today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Sharon Wray about her debut novel, EVERY DEEP DESIRE, the first book in the (definitely adult) DEADLY FORCE series. Welcome to the blog, Sharon!

Congratulations on the release of your debut novel, EVERY DEEP DESIRE. What’s it all about, and what inspired you to write it?

The DEADLY FORCE series is about a team of ex-Green Berets and their sexy, smart heroines who redeem Shakespeare’s greatest love stories.

When a group of ex-special forces soldiers, under the leadership of Colonel Kells Torridan, are accused of vicious war crimes and dishonorably discharged, they find themselves in the middle of a war between a vicious arms dealer and the modern-day Fianna army.

Kells’s men now work in a cheesy, pirate-themed gym in Savannah, GA, desperate to prove their innocence before their enemies comes after them again. But as these men struggle to rebuild their lives and redeem their honor, it’s the women they love who teach these alpha males that Grace always defeats Reckoning.

EVERY DEEP DESIRE, the first book in the series, is a contemporary romantic suspense retelling of Romeo and Juliet that takes place in Savannah, GA. The story answers the question of what kind of marriage the lovers would’ve had if they’d won their happy ending.

My main characters, Rafe and Juliet, were married young until Rafe abandoned Juliet and deserted his Green Beret unit to work for a secretive army known as the Fianna. Now, eight years later, he’s been released from prison and needs to win Juliet’s trust if he’s to save everyone he loves. He knows she’ll never forgive him—or love him again—but he’ll do everything in his power to protect her.

After eight years away, Rafe returns and Juliet learns that Rafe went AWOL and abandoned her to work for the Fianna—a mysterious group of assassins who trace their lineage back to pagan Ireland. Now, one of Rafe’s old enemies wants something hidden on Juliet’s land or bad things will happen.

Rafe has been gone a long time and Juliet, who’s rebuilt her life, has no interest in having her heart broken again. No matter that he’s returned a fully-grown, sexy man who still loves her. What she doesn’t realize is that if she helps him, and if they succeed, they won’t just save those they love—they’ll be separated forever.

As far as the inspiration goes, I’m a long-time journal keeper, and in 2004 a character in this series (an Army Colonel named Jack Keeley) showed up and told me he had a story to tell. I started writing about his A-Team in prison, the Fianna army of assassins, and the scary arms dealer known as Remiel Marigny who everyone thought was dead. As long as Jack keeps talking to me, I’ll have stories in this world to tell.

What did your research look like for this book . . . did you have to do a lot of investigation into the inner workings of the military, or did you already have the knowledge you needed?

I did a TON of research for this book and the series, and it helped that I’m also a reference librarian.

First, I re-read the entire Fenian Cycle of Poetry and all of the stories about the mythic, pagan Irish warrior Fionn Mac Cumhaill who formed the Fianna army to fend off the Roman invasion of Ireland. Then I re-read Romeo and Juliet and read as much literary criticism as I could find.

My parents lived in Savannah, and my husband is from Charleston, so I did hundreds of hours of hands-on investigative work in these cities. I went to archives, took history tours, and ate in restaurants. 🙂 My brother-in-law is from one of the oldest families in the South, as well as a lawyer, and he was so helpful with the legal aspects in this story.

My husband went to West Point and was an Army officer for many, many years and now works for the DoD. He helped me with all of the military/weapon/action stuff and answered all of my crazy questions with patience and in terms I could understand. And if he didn’t know, he asked people who did know.

But for as much research as I did, I deliberately fictionalized certain things. I even made up my own island and my husband’s rendition of it made it into the book!

The books in the DEADLY FORCE series are, in your words, “retellings of Shakespeare’s greatest love stories.” What made you decide to take this approach to writing romantic suspense . . . and which love story is up next in Book 2?  

I was writing books in this series and getting rejected all over the place (for good reason). Then one day, I was journaling and a new story came to me (the one that would become EVERY DEEP DESIRE). I was on vacation, lying on the beach, and writing the story about Rafe and Juliet.

A few days later, I started outlining the book and was having trouble when a male hero (Alex Mitchell) from one of my previous stories entered my head and told me I wasn’t very smart because I wasn’t paying attention. (Alex had always been hard to deal with which is why he’s the hero of book 4 in the series, instead of book 1!) Anyway, Alex told me that I was missing the entire point of the series and maybe someone else should write these books. When I asked him what he meant, he told me that each story was either a retelling or redemption of one of Shakespeare’s love stories.

As I thought through everything I’d written about this world up to that point, I realized he was right and could suddenly see which book redeemed which love story. I know it seems strange to be having conversations with imaginary people in your head, but I don’t know how else to explain it all. After that revelation, the story flowed. It was still a difficult story to craft, but so many of the elements made so much more sense.

ONE DARK WISH (book 2 in the series) is a redemption of Othello where Othello and Desdemona get the happy ending they should have had. ONE DARK WISH comes out in January 2019 and should have a cover soon.

Book 3 (my poor untitled draft) is a what-if story of Hamlet and Ophelia if they’d been allowed to live and have their own HEA.

Tell us about your journey to publication. Did you always know you wanted to write . . . and were there a lot of twists and turns along the way?

There’ve been so many twists and turns that I could write a full-length book about this journey. LOL. But here are the highlights:

I started writing in 2004 and finished my first manuscript, a category-length romance, in 2005. I went on to write seven more full manuscripts and two partials, and final eight times in RWA’s Golden Heart contest, before my agent sold EVERY DEEP DESIRE.  I joined RWA (Romance Writers of America) on March 2, 2004 and EVERY DEEP DESIRE came out on March 6, 2018. Almost fourteen years to the day! And I’m proof that if you never, ever give up, your dreams will come true. 🙂

Last but hardly least, I understand that you’ve got a bit of a Buffy addiction. Tell us what you love so much about the show—and how it helped to launch your own writing career.

I didn’t even know Buffy existed until 2001. I’d been working two full-time jobs (as a corporate librarian and a wedding gown designer) until I had my twins in 1999. From 1991 – 2001 I don’t remember watching anything on TV. Between working and having babies, those years are a blur (which is why photos and videos are so important!). But one night, after the kids went to bed, I stumbled upon Buffy. It was the episode titled “Fool for Love” and it was followed by the Angel episode “Darla.”

I’d never even heard of Buffy or Angel, but that night I was transfixed. Then shocked to learn that there were other seasons and tons of episodes to watch. Streaming wasn’t around yet, but we’d just gotten a TIVO and the WB channel (thank God!) aired reruns. Once I had all of the old episodes recorded, I started watching both shows from the beginning.

I’d never seen a TV show like Buffy before, and I fell in love with both Angel and Spike and wanted to be Buffy. The show made me laugh and cry, sometimes in the same episode. Then my good friend told me she wrote Buffy fan fiction. As a librarian, I knew about fan fiction but had never read any. So I started reading hers. She wrote funny, light, romcom-type stories and I adored them. She suggested I write my own, but I’d never considered myself a writer. I was a librarian. Instead, I started journaling again, thinking that maybe I’d try to write fan fiction.

Buffy was (and still is) a perfect example of how storytelling can both evoke and manipulate an audience’s emotions. As I was watching Buffy, journaling about it and thinking about my own fan fiction, I remembered how much I used to love romance novels. Writers like Jude Devereaux, Judith McNaught, Lavryle Spencer, and Kathleen Woodiwiss are/were masters at emotion. And as I watched through all of the episodes over a three-year period (there is no bingeing with twins!) I also started reading romances again.

A few years later, after my father died of a prolonged illness (I was caring for him), I was journaling when Jack Keeley appeared in my mind and told me his story. That’s when I decided to write romance novels instead of fan fiction. I don’t think I would’ve started writing novels if I hadn’t started journaling and reading romances again which I never would’ve done if I’d never seen Buffy. 🙂

Thank you so much for hosting me today, Emily. I’m so appreciative and love being here!

ABOUT THE BOOK

He’s taking it all back
His honor, his freedom, and the woman he loves

Rafe Montfort was a decorated Green Beret, the best of the best, until a disastrous mission and an unforgivable betrayal destroyed his life. Now, this deadly soldier has returned to the sultry Georgia swamps to reunite with his brothers, and take back all he lost. But Juliet must never know the truth behind what he’s done…or the dangerous secret that threatens to take him from her forever.

It took Juliet Capel eight long years to put her life back together after her husband was taken from her. Now Rafe is back, determined to protect her at any cost, and it’s not just her heart that’s in danger. The swamps hold a secret long buried and far deadlier than either of them could have imagined…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sharon is a librarian who once studied dress design in the couture houses of Paris and now writes of novels of suspense, adventure, and love. A wife, mother of twins, and caretaker of Donut the one-eyed dog, she’s addicted to snapping photos and eating Oreos.

She writes about the men in her Deadly Force romantic suspense series where ex-Green Berets and their smart, sexy heroines retell Shakespeare’s greatest love stories.

Website: www.sharonwray.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sharon-Wray-Author-644867762246756/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sharonbwray

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sbwray/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sharonbwray/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5368413-sharon

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/sharon-wray

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Wray/e/B074JBP8FH

This week’s theme on my blog (accidentally, I swear…not quite sure how it happened!) is YA and adult re-tellings of ROMEO AND JULIET. Last Thursday, I had the honor of interviewing Tiffany Schmidt about her newest YA novel, BOOKISH BOYFRIENDS . . . and today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Sharon Wray about her debut novel, EVERY DEEP DESIRE, the first book in the (definitely adult) DEADLY FORCE series. Welcome to the blog, Sharon!

Congratulations on the release of your debut novel, EVERY DEEP DESIRE. What’s it all about, and what inspired you to write it?

The DEADLY FORCE series is about a team of ex-Green Berets and their sexy, smart heroines who redeem Shakespeare’s greatest love stories.

When a group of ex-special forces soldiers, under the leadership of Colonel Kells Torridan, are accused of vicious war crimes and dishonorably discharged, they find themselves in the middle of a war between a vicious arms dealer and the modern-day Fianna army.

Kells’s men now work in a cheesy, pirate-themed gym in Savannah, GA, desperate to prove their innocence before their enemies comes after them again. But as these men struggle to rebuild their lives and redeem their honor, it’s the women they love who teach these alpha males that Grace always defeats Reckoning.

EVERY DEEP DESIRE, the first book in the series, is a contemporary romantic suspense retelling of Romeo and Juliet that takes place in Savannah, GA. The story answers the question of what kind of marriage the lovers would’ve had if they’d won their happy ending.

My main characters, Rafe and Juliet, were married young until Rafe abandoned Juliet and deserted his Green Beret unit to work for a secretive army known as the Fianna. Now, eight years later, he’s been released from prison and needs to win Juliet’s trust if he’s to save everyone he loves. He knows she’ll never forgive him—or love him again—but he’ll do everything in his power to protect her.

After eight years away, Rafe returns and Juliet learns that Rafe went AWOL and abandoned her to work for the Fianna—a mysterious group of assassins who trace their lineage back to pagan Ireland. Now, one of Rafe’s old enemies wants something hidden on Juliet’s land or bad things will happen.

Rafe has been gone a long time and Juliet, who’s rebuilt her life, has no interest in having her heart broken again. No matter that he’s returned a fully-grown, sexy man who still loves her. What she doesn’t realize is that if she helps him, and if they succeed, they won’t just save those they love—they’ll be separated forever.

As far as the inspiration goes, I’m a long-time journal keeper, and in 2004 a character in this series (an Army Colonel named Jack Keeley) showed up and told me he had a story to tell. I started writing about his A-Team in prison, the Fianna army of assassins, and the scary arms dealer known as Remiel Marigny who everyone thought was dead. As long as Jack keeps talking to me, I’ll have stories in this world to tell.

What did your research look like for this book . . . did you have to do a lot of investigation into the inner workings of the military, or did you already have the knowledge you needed?

I did a TON of research for this book and the series, and it helped that I’m also a reference librarian.

First, I re-read the entire Fenian Cycle of Poetry and all of the stories about the mythic, pagan Irish warrior Fionn Mac Cumhaill who formed the Fianna army to fend off the Roman invasion of Ireland. Then I re-read Romeo and Juliet and read as much literary criticism as I could find.

My parents lived in Savannah, and my husband is from Charleston, so I did hundreds of hours of hands-on investigative work in these cities. I went to archives, took history tours, and ate in restaurants. 🙂 My brother-in-law is from one of the oldest families in the South, as well as a lawyer, and he was so helpful with the legal aspects in this story.

My husband went to West Point and was an Army officer for many, many years and now works for the DoD. He helped me with all of the military/weapon/action stuff and answered all of my crazy questions with patience and in terms I could understand. And if he didn’t know, he asked people who did know.

But for as much research as I did, I deliberately fictionalized certain things. I even made up my own island and my husband’s rendition of it made it into the book!

The books in the DEADLY FORCE series are, in your words, “retellings of Shakespeare’s greatest love stories.” What made you decide to take this approach to writing romantic suspense . . . and which love story is up next in Book 2?  

I was writing books in this series and getting rejected all over the place (for good reason). Then one day, I was journaling and a new story came to me (the one that would become EVERY DEEP DESIRE). I was on vacation, lying on the beach, and writing the story about Rafe and Juliet.

A few days later, I started outlining the book and was having trouble when a male hero (Alex Mitchell) from one of my previous stories entered my head and told me I wasn’t very smart because I wasn’t paying attention. (Alex had always been hard to deal with which is why he’s the hero of book 4 in the series, instead of book 1!) Anyway, Alex told me that I was missing the entire point of the series and maybe someone else should write these books. When I asked him what he meant, he told me that each story was either a retelling or redemption of one of Shakespeare’s love stories.

As I thought through everything I’d written about this world up to that point, I realized he was right and could suddenly see which book redeemed which love story. I know it seems strange to be having conversations with imaginary people in your head, but I don’t know how else to explain it all. After that revelation, the story flowed. It was still a difficult story to craft, but so many of the elements made so much more sense.

ONE DARK WISH (book 2 in the series) is a redemption of Othello where Othello and Desdemona get the happy ending they should have had. ONE DARK WISH comes out in January 2019 and should have a cover soon.

Book 3 (my poor untitled draft) is a what-if story of Hamlet and Ophelia if they’d been allowed to live and have their own HEA.

Tell us about your journey to publication. Did you always know you wanted to write . . . and were there a lot of twists and turns along the way?

There’ve been so many twists and turns that I could write a full-length book about this journey. LOL. But here are the highlights:

I started writing in 2004 and finished my first manuscript, a category-length romance, in 2005. I went on to write seven more full manuscripts and two partials, and final eight times in RWA’s Golden Heart contest, before my agent sold EVERY DEEP DESIRE.  I joined RWA (Romance Writers of America) on March 2, 2004 and EVERY DEEP DESIRE came out on March 6, 2018. Almost fourteen years to the day! And I’m proof that if you never, ever give up, your dreams will come true. 🙂

Last but hardly least, I understand that you’ve got a bit of a Buffy addiction. Tell us what you love so much about the show—and how it helped to launch your own writing career.

I didn’t even know Buffy existed until 2001. I’d been working two full-time jobs (as a corporate librarian and a wedding gown designer) until I had my twins in 1999. From 1991 – 2001 I don’t remember watching anything on TV. Between working and having babies, those years are a blur (which is why photos and videos are so important!). But one night, after the kids went to bed, I stumbled upon Buffy. It was the episode titled “Fool for Love” and it was followed by the Angel episode “Darla.”

I’d never even heard of Buffy or Angel, but that night I was transfixed. Then shocked to learn that there were other seasons and tons of episodes to watch. Streaming wasn’t around yet, but we’d just gotten a TIVO and the WB channel (thank God!) aired reruns. Once I had all of the old episodes recorded, I started watching both shows from the beginning.

I’d never seen a TV show like Buffy before, and I fell in love with both Angel and Spike and wanted to be Buffy. The show made me laugh and cry, sometimes in the same episode. Then my good friend told me she wrote Buffy fan fiction. As a librarian, I knew about fan fiction but had never read any. So I started reading hers. She wrote funny, light, romcom-type stories and I adored them. She suggested I write my own, but I’d never considered myself a writer. I was a librarian. Instead, I started journaling again, thinking that maybe I’d try to write fan fiction.

Buffy was (and still is) a perfect example of how storytelling can both evoke and manipulate an audience’s emotions. As I was watching Buffy, journaling about it and thinking about my own fan fiction, I remembered how much I used to love romance novels. Writers like Jude Devereaux, Judith McNaught, Lavryle Spencer, and Kathleen Woodiwiss are/were masters at emotion. And as I watched through all of the episodes over a three-year period (there is no bingeing with twins!) I also started reading romances again.

A few years later, after my father died of a prolonged illness (I was caring for him), I was journaling when Jack Keeley appeared in my mind and told me his story. That’s when I decided to write romance novels instead of fan fiction. I don’t think I would’ve started writing novels if I hadn’t started journaling and reading romances again which I never would’ve done if I’d never seen Buffy. 🙂

Thank you so much for hosting me today, Emily. I’m so appreciative and love being here!

ABOUT THE BOOK

He’s taking it all back
His honor, his freedom, and the woman he loves

Rafe Montfort was a decorated Green Beret, the best of the best, until a disastrous mission and an unforgivable betrayal destroyed his life. Now, this deadly soldier has returned to the sultry Georgia swamps to reunite with his brothers, and take back all he lost. But Juliet must never know the truth behind what he’s done…or the dangerous secret that threatens to take him from her forever.

It took Juliet Capel eight long years to put her life back together after her husband was taken from her. Now Rafe is back, determined to protect her at any cost, and it’s not just her heart that’s in danger. The swamps hold a secret long buried and far deadlier than either of them could have imagined…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sharon is a librarian who once studied dress design in the couture houses of Paris and now writes of novels of suspense, adventure, and love. A wife, mother of twins, and caretaker of Donut the one-eyed dog, she’s addicted to snapping photos and eating Oreos.

She writes about the men in her Deadly Force romantic suspense series where ex-Green Berets and their smart, sexy heroines retell Shakespeare’s greatest love stories.

Website: www.sharonwray.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sharon-Wray-Author-644867762246756/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sharonbwray

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sbwray/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sharonbwray/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5368413-sharon

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/sharon-wray

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Wray/e/B074JBP8FH

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