Author Spotlight and giveway with Sarah Belle

 Sarah BelleHi Sarah and welcome to the Author Spotlight! Congratulations on the release of HINDSIGHT. Can you tell us a little about it?

Hi Imelda  and thanks for having me! I certainly can, here’s the blurb:

Humour, wit, and just a touch of humility: the swinging 60s as you’ve never seen them before!

The universe has sent Juliette a sign. She wishes it had been an email instead…

Juliette’s career is on fire, her marriage and family are in melt-down, and a red-hot goddess wants her husband. But those are the least of her worries when she wakes up on her lounge room floor in the year 1961.

Without any of her modern conveniences — nanny, housekeeper, surgically attached mobile phone, designer wardrobe, and intravenous lattes — Juliette is over fifty years out of her comfort zone. But as she takes on the role of a 1961 housewife, with gritted liberated teeth, she discovers an unexpected truth: slower doesn’t mean boring, at home doesn’t mean dull, and priorities don’t mean sacrifices.

As she finds unexpected friendships, a resuscitated love life, tragedy and triumph, Juliette begins to wonder if she really wants to return home after all.

How did you come up with the idea for HINDSIGHT?

I was lucky enough to get a sleep in one Sunday morning and as I walked downstairs to greet my boys, the thought struck me – what if when I get downstairs, I find that we have all  time travelled back the 1960’s, but I am  the only one in the family who knows  it?  What a crazy situation that would be! Then I had to create a character for whom this situation would create absolute havoc – a career maniac, technology dependent, financially independent modern mum. Juliette Wilde came to life!

Are you a Plotter or a Panster?

Definitely a plotter. I draw out the entire story and even what I need to achieve in each scene to keep the story moving, otherwise I have a tendency to flail. Once I start to write it takes on a life of its own, and the characters take over,  but I need to keep myself on track with a plot.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

I read that if I wanted to be taken seriously, then I needed to learn the craft of writing and so I joined the Qld Writers Centre. I’ve done numerous long and short courses with them and have learnt squillions and made amazing friends, who are very talented writers. It was via QWC that I found the RWA – I did a day course presented by Anne Gracie and she told me I needed to join – and so I did! Excellent advice!

Of the characters in HINDSIGHT,  do you have a particular favourite? What appeals to you the most about this character?

I have a real soft spot for Gran Leticia from 1961. She’s actually based on my own Great Grandmother. I saw a photo of her when I was a kid and that image has always stayed with me because she looked so strong and courageous.

When I needed to create a strong, rock of a woman – the one that everyone turns to in times of crises – she was the inspiration. Leticia is caring and loving, fiercely protective and has weathered the difficult times of both world wars, in which she lost brothers and sons, and the depression. As a mother of four boys myself, I can’t imagine sending my sons off to war and not  having all of them come home. She’s a representative of women of that era – they just had to be tough, they had to go on; there was no choice.

What is a typical day like for you?

Absolutely nuts! With four boys between the ages of 4 and 10 there’s never a dull moment! I work for my husband, doing admin at home, chase kids, nag kids, pick up after kids, bliss out at Bikram yoga when I can and write as often as possible! By 8.30 at night I am flopped on the couch trying to remain conscious to watch some TV with my husband. I usually fall asleep, on the couch, by 9.15! But I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Favourite authors/books?

I love romantic comedies – Jenny Colgan, Shari Low, Marian Keyes, Melanie Rose. I also love suspense and crime – Jo Nesbo, Steig Larssen, Val McDermid and our own Jaye Forde. I have just started  Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites , which is about the last woman hanged in Iceland (1834).

What’s the next project you’re working on, and how many other manuscripts do you have in the pipeline?

I have about five novels sitting in my head – it’s getting very cramped in there. The next one I am working on right now is another romantic comedy, currently named  ‘DeJa Vu Lou’, which is about a young woman who buys a spell over the internet in order to erase the memory of her from her ex-boyfriend’s mind. Of course, it goes horribly wrong!

HindsightCan you give us a sneaky peek at ‘Hindsight’, maybe something from your favourite scene?

I’d love to. This is from the first chapter, where Juliette wakes to find she has time travelled…

The newspaper on the table in front of me catches my attention and my one working eye is instantly drawn to the date under the main headline. Within a nanosecond the desire to faint again, swear profusely and lose control of my bladder simultaneously is overwhelming. No, that cannot be right! No possible way is that date correct. April 1st, 1961? This has to be a joke, a well-organised, perfectly executed practical joke. This paper is clearly a reprint — like the ones you can give as a birthday gift, because that is not today’s date.

But then there’s the lounge and kitchen — how could it be redecorated while I lay asleep on the floor? Admittedly, a minor civil war could have raged in there without waking me. Chris always says that my level of unconsciousness during sleep surpasses that of death. But even so…

I have to ask the one question that will make Chris question my sanity. But there’s no other option. The terrifying thought that’s rushing through my head has to be confirmed.

I bring a glass of water to my mouth, like the Tin Man and his oilcan. Mouth partially paralysed from the hyperventilation, I manage to tip some water into the square three centimetres of gaping lips and spill the rest down my chin. Not a good look but it’s enough to create normal function.

“The date. What is the date?” I say clearly and slowly so that he understands me. The only thing that keeps me vertical is being able to rest my hands on the back of a chair.

“It’s April 1st. Juliette, are you OK?”

“No, no! The year, what year is it?” Pins and needles climb up my legs until my body ceases to exist from the waist down.

“Juliette, relax, we’re going to the doctor.” He sounds very assertive which, again, is unusual.

“What year is it, Chris?” The agitation in my voice is apparent, even to me.


“What year?” My arms and hands begin to tingle and lose their firm grip on the back of the chair.


Silence fills the intervals between peaks of panic.

“1961?” My voice is nothing but a whisper.

There, it’s been said now; the practical joke can end. I await with a level of anticipation that is aneurism-inducing. Now he can tell me that the joke is over and I can tell him how convincing it was, and that he really had me going because 1961 is over fifty years in the past and it is freaking impossible to travel back through time. But he doesn’t say anything. He just stands there and looks at me.

All mental activity ceases as the last reserves of energy are sucked out of my body. Then…nothing.

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 Thanks for sharing with us, Sarah.  Hindsight sounds like great fun and I love that cover!

Now, lucky readers, Sarah has provided a very special giveaway!  Not just one, but three books.  A copy of HINDSIGHT  and your choice of any two other Escape Publishing releases (ebooks only).  And it’s open worldwide!  To enter, answer the following question in the comments below.

If you could time travel back to any era, which one would it be and why?

Best of luck with the competition.  Sarah will draw the winner in a week, so get in quick!

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  1. Thanks Sarah and Imelda for a fab interview 🙂

    Sarah – congrats on the release of Hindsight, gorgeous cover, BTW. I’ll be recommending it when my romance book club meets next month 🙂

    I definitely like to check out the mod scene from London in 1960s but I want to come back…..I couldn’t cope without the Internet 😉

  2. oooh Sounds like a great read Sarah!

    So many wonderful eras to go back to – how to choose?! I think my first choice would be early Australian / colonial era. It’s always my favourite era to read about. Although I also love Ancient Egypt, medieval England, Ancient Rome… Can I just have a TARDIS please?! 🙂

    • Thanks Kerrie! I know what you mean – too many fascinating eras to choose from. A Tardis would certainly come in handy.

  3. Reblogged this on Sarah Belle.

  4. Great concept, Sarah! 1961 would certainly be an interesting year to fall into – all that social change in the air. Me, I’d like to slip back to London 1349 (just so long as someone gave me a vaccination for the Black Death!).
    Yay – another fan of Jo Nesbo! I heard him talk at the Perth Writers Festival a couple of years ago and fell in love (with him and his books). Have you seen the movie of Headhunters? Absolutely hilarious.

    • Hi Venetia! Yes, you’d definitely want that vaccination!
      I love the Harry Hole series – he’s such a great character. whenever I think I’ve figured out who the bad guy is, he gets killed! Keeps me guessing.
      I haven’t seen Headhunters yet, but I will definitely be looking for it!

  5. Bec

     /  July 11, 2013

    sounds like a great book – as for time travel it would be a toss up between Jane Austen’s era and early Australia when the outback was opening up – love to be out on one of those early stations

  6. And the winner is…drawn out of a hat because all of those eras would be fabulous to visit (and come home from), is…Kerrie Patterson! Congratulations Kerrie, and happy reading!

  7. kerriepaterson

     /  July 19, 2013

    Thanks Sarah! Now to decide… 🙂


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