Guest Susan Ann Wall
Please welcome our guest, Susan Ann Wall!
To celebrate my December 3 release of The Sound of Circumstance, book #5 in my Puget Sound ~ Alive With Love contemporary romance series, I thought it would be fun to share 9 Little Known Facts about the story, characters, and series.
- Stacie Nightingale was given her last name after a friend suggested it would be a great name in a romance novel. That is also how Shannon Mercer got her first name.
- The character Owen Landry was inspired by an old boyfriend.
- I was writing children’s books when I first started writing about Owen and Stacie, so made Stacie an aspiring author.
- Stacie and I both believe chai fixes everything.
- The condo building and location where Owen, Stacie, Jenny, and Ty live is inspired by a condo building my sister-in-law once lived in.
- The Sound of Circumstance was originally planned to be book #3 in a three book series, until the ideas for The Sound of Betrayal and The Sound of Deception sprouted.
- There are currently 7 more novels planned in the series, each story featuring characters who have already appeared in the first five novels.
- My brother-in-law is a lawyer in Seattle and provides guidance on all the legal mumbo-jumbo that appears in my stories. I also have an obstetrics nurse friend who provided input on the medical hoopla.
- I wrote The Sound of Circumstance for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and finished the first draft in just 12 days.
“Stace, there's some stuff I need to tell you.” The dread in her brother’s voice made Stacie Nightingale’s heart drop into her stomach. “Stuff about Greg. He just got fired from the school for sleeping with a student. Other girls are coming forward. Allegedly, this has been going on for years.”
Her phone bounced off the floor and disappeared under the couch as the nausea she’d been battling all day returned, a vengeful stab that made Stacie dizzy with fury.
Taking a deep breath, she attempted to get her stomach and breathing under control. On the exhale, she closed her eyes and imagined herself on the ferry, taking in the sea air on a sunny day.
Keith’s voice bellowed in the distance, calling her name and asking if she was okay, but Stacie tried to focus on her breathing.
Once it finally settled, she opened her eyes. Though her stomach still threatened to unleash lunch, she couldn’t keep ignoring her brother.
Dropping onto her hands and knees, Stacie searched for the stupid phone, hearing her brother continue to call her name and ask if she was there.
There was no way Keith could have just said what she heard. Maybe he was messing with her. Except Keith was the nicest guy in the world. He never messed with his sisters.
“The phone slipped out of my hand,” she yelled. Her hand swept across it, causing it to spin. When she finally managed to get a hold of it, she brought it back to her ear with ice cold, slippery hands. A chill raced across her body as she wiped the sweat from her forehead.
“I'm here. Sorry.”
“Don't apologize. I was shocked too. I can't imagine that was easy news for you to hear.” Keith's voice was steady, as usual. As an attorney who specialized in family law, he'd faced off with countless angry parents, disgruntled spouses, and rival lawyers, as well as ornery old judges, so he'd learned how to keep his voice level in the most stressful of situations. A skill Stacie never developed.
“Basically, you just told me my fiancé of six years, the man I was in a relationship with for ten years, was cheating on me with our students. Our students.” She'd intended to take a breath during that sentence, but since she lacked the training and experience of her lawyer brother, she failed miserably. With her lungs nearly imploding, she forced herself to take some of the precious element in.
A key flashed through Stacie's mind. Squeezing her eyes shut, she tried to hold on to the image, to figure out why it seemed so familiar.
But as usual, her amnesia wouldn’t let any memories surface.
“I'm sorry, Stace,” Keith sighed, losing that level tone in his voice and making the vision of the key disappear.
Opening her eyes, she paced slowly, not wanting to wear a path in the new flooring. “How long have you known?”
“I heard about it yesterday. Son of a bitch had the audacity to ask me to represent him.”
“Represent him? For what?”
“He's filing a suit of wrongful termination against the school.”
Stacie would have laughed except for the seriousness of the situation. Of course Greg wouldn't accept responsibility. Nothing was ever his fault. She wouldn't be surprised if he tried to blame it on her somehow.
Settling on the couch next to a napping Daisy, Stacie absently stroked the soft fur. She hadn’t expected the kitten to sleep so much. Didn’t they like to get into mischief? “You're not going to represent him, are you?”
“You really need to ask me that?” If she'd been in the room with her brother, she'd have bet he raised his brow and cocked his head.
“Anyway, I wanted to get more information before I told you, so I called Glenn this morning. He confirmed everything.”
Principal Glenn Richards had been Stacie's boss before she left her job as an English teacher at the high school she'd graduated from.
“Stace, he wants you to call him.”
“Keith …” Stacie fell back against the couch and tucked her feet under her butt, careful not to kick Daisy. She wanted to curl up into the fetal position and forget about her past life, but even moving across the country couldn’t keep it at a reasonable distance.
“Listen. This is important. I know it's unpleasant, but–”
“Unpleasant? It's horrible.” Her voice went up so many octaves, she almost sounded like her mother. “How could he do that? I mean, he didn't even like having sex with me.”
“Sorry,” she groaned, cutting him off. “I know you're probably one of those brothers who doesn't want to know about his sister's sex life.”
“It's not that. I know you're no prude.”
“I was. At least that's what Greg said.” Stacie shook her head, remembering how things had been with Greg. She had tried so hard to put some passion into their relationship, but Greg wouldn’t allow it. “But that's how he wanted me. Holy Hemingway, all those things he didn't want to do. Is that because he was living out his fantasies with high school girls?”
“I can't answer that,” Keith said quietly. He sounded uncomfortable, and Stacie realized she probably shouldn't share her sex life, former or not, with her brother.
“I gotta go.”
“Do not hang up on me,” Keith demanded. Since he never took that tone with her, Stacie kept the phone firmly pressed to her ear and sighed.
Keith sighed too.
Stacie closed her eyes, reaching for a memory she had stopped trying to conjure months ago. It had been thirteen months since her brain surgery, fifteen months since the car accident that killed her friend Audrey and left Stacie with a traumatic brain injury. She didn’t remember the accident, had no memories of that day. After so many failed attempts with her therapist to trigger the memories, Stacie had given up. Audrey would have wanted her to move forward. When Stacie had moved to Seattle, it was to do just that. Remembering the past wouldn’t change anything.
“I didn't know,” she sighed, lurching forward to try and tamp the waves of nausea that just kept rolling. “What kind of a fool doesn't know her fiancé is cheating on her?”
“You're not a fool, Stace.” As Keith said the words, Stacie felt the tingle on her neck that always signaled Owen was near. The condo door clicked shut and Stacie turned to find Owen staring at her.
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1j5yGPa
Big dreamer and certifiable overachiever Susan Ann Wall embraces life at full speed and volume. She’s a beer and tea snob, can be bribed with dark chocolate, and the #1 thing on her bucket list is to be the center of a Bon Jovi flash mob.
Susan is a nationally bestselling, multi-genre author of racy, rule-breaking romance and women’s fiction. Her bragging rights include nine books in three different series, three perfect children, adopting an amazing rescue dog, and a happily ever after that started while serving in the U.S. Army and has spanned nearly two decades (which is crazy since she’s not a day over 29).
In her next life, Susan plans to be a 5 foot 10, size 8 rock star married to a chiropractor and will not be terrified of large bridges, spiders, or quiet people (shiver).
Thank you, Susan!