Book DescriptionSahara Lee has spent the last ten years living with the guilt of a tragic accident and its aftermath. That night irrevocably changed the outgoing, fun-loving college freshman into an introverted, workaholic with no social life. Sahara isolates herself from everyone and everything that reminds her of home in an effort to forget what happened. Using art as a substitute for love, Sahara throws herself into music and art as a way to feel something other than the guilt that haunts her. She accepts her lonely existence as penance for the role she played in the accident. That is, until she meets Tyree Barker, the good looking entrepreneur with baggage of his own.
Blindsided by a legal loophole, Sahara is suddenly forced to confront the past she’s been running from. Juggling the guilty feelings of her past and the unexpected feelings of her present, Sahara’s future becomes complicated as she heads down a path of forgiveness, love, and heartbreak…and not in that particular order.
Back to Life reminds you that living and existing are two completely different ways to go through life. Grief will break you but guilt, guilt will destroy you. And once that happens, what can bring you back to life?
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always been a storyteller but in a moment of reflection a few years ago, writing a book kept coming to the forefront of my mind. I didn’t really take the idea seriously because I was focused on another business venture. But the idea wouldn’t go away.
What inspired you to write Back to Life?
Last year, when I was constructing my 30 by 30 bucket list, I added writing a novel. Once it was on my 30 by 30 list, I stopped dismissing the idea and I was motivated enough to actually take the time to write it. So I sat down one Saturday and said “let’s do this!”
How much of the book is based on your own personal experience? Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Back to Life is 100% fiction. The story just popped into my head and evolved from there. I wrote the prologue and from there the story just developed on its own. Some of my closest friends mistakenly think they are Sahara or Emily (and they are not!). The only thing that is really based on my life is Sahara’s love of art and music. That is all me.
When you are not writing, whose books do you like to read? Any fave authors or books that come to mind?
I have so many authors that I love, but if I were to choose just one, my favorite would be Jodi Picoult. She can really take a difficult situation and make you think about it in a whole new way. My all time favorite books include Keeping Faith (Jodi Picoult), Sula (Toni Morrison), and Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn). Off of the top of my head, the books that I absolutely, positively loved: Tarryn Fisher’s Love Me With Lies series, John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Rebecca Donovan’s Reason to Breath & Barely Breathing, and Colleen Hoover’s Slammed.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
For Back to Life, I would get off at 5pm from my day job and then from the time I walked into the house until the wee hours of the morning, I would write. Understandably, my husband was not feeling that schedule! So now for Back to Reality (Back to Life #2), I write for a few hours when I get off of work and then I spend the rest of the night curled up in bed talking to my husband about what I just wrote. Haha!
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have a soundtrack that plays in my head…and then I play the songs on repeat. I play the songs to the point that when I hear them, I think of moments in the book. For instance, when I was watching Monday Night Football (Go Eagles!), a beer commercial used the song that plays at the beginning of Back to Reality and I couldn’t think of anything else but that scene! J
About the Author
I am a married event planner and life coach. My awesome friends and family and my amazing husband make my life sweet. I love to have fun and enjoy the life I’ve been blessed with. I love shopping and football with equal fervor. I’m an amateur movie critic (i.e. my husband and I watch and critique a lot of movies for fun).
I love to read and I enjoy sharing my love of books with anyone who will listen. I love music. A good lyric with a good melody can paint a vivid picture and invoke such a range of emotions. I have a soft spot for most mediums of creative, artistic expression.
With degrees in psychology, human services, and marriage and family counseling, I have a unique perspective on life, love and the pursuit of happiness. As an author, I combine an active imagination and life experiences to create stories that are easily relatable and intentionally intriguing. I want to offer you a peek into someone else’s life and for you to get lost in their story, their trials, their triumphs. My ultimate goal is to create a character or a story that stays with you long after you’ve put the book down.
So in a nutshell: I plan. I teach. I read. I write. I watch. I critique. I shop. I play. I love.
To know me is to love me.