Today, I have award-winning author Sasha Marshall in the interview chair. We’re discussing her latest release False Start, book one in the Second Down series, a sports romance. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.
Sasha: Hi, I’m Sasha Marshall! I am originally from the rocker world where I was a touring concert photographer for rock bands. It inspired my first rock star romance series, the Guitar Face Series. I self-published the series in 2014, and it was picked up by Belle Bridge Books in 2017. I’m a hybrid author now, self-publishing other works such as False Start, a sports romance, and an upcoming paranormal romance, The Fire Witch.
2. Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Sasha: Emotional. Passionate. Compassionate.
3. When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Sasha: Am I? LOL The imposter syndrome is fierce.
4. Do you have a favourite movie?
Sasha: I don’t watch a lot of television, but I do have a list of favorite movies.
- Fight Club
- Interview with the Vampire
- Dirty Dancing
- Boondocks Saints
- Anything with Ryan Reynolds or Cillian Murphy or Jason Momoa
5. Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
Sasha: I’d love for all of them to be made into movies. It would be a dream come true to see my characters and their stories brought to life. Fingers crossed.
6. What inspired you to write this book?
Sasha: Oh, man, I wrote the first chapter of False Start about a year ago, and I had no idea what to write past it. I didn’t know the rest of the story, but I had to get the first chapter out of my head. Zhanna’s character really spoke to me.
I asked a few friends to read it, and they encouraged me to finish it when I was struggling with what to write next.
7. What can we expect from you in the future?
Sasha: My next release will be a paranormal romance that really borders the urban fantasy genre line. I also have another rocker series coming this year, and a rocker anthology, Rockstars’ Ball will be released as well. I have a serial small-town romance I’m writing for subscribers to my newsletter.
8. If you could spend time with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during that day?
Sasha: I’d definitely spend the day with Leslie from False Start. I’d have him take me shopping to redecorate my home.
9. Are your characters based on real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
Sasha: They come entirely from my imagination.
10. What book do you think everyone should read?
Sasha: Flowers for Algernon is one of my favorite books ever written.
11. How long have you been writing?
Sasha: Since I was a kid. I was a junior newspaper writer in middle school for a time. In college, the English professors asked me to switch majors from History. In hindsight, I wish I would’ve switched.
12. Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
Sasha: Some characters come to me as I write, and some come rushing in with no respect for line rules—the rules we learned in kindergarten about standing in a line and waiting for a turn.
13. Do you read yourself and if so what is your favourite genre?
Sasha: Rock star romance and paranormal romance.
14. Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
Sasha: I have to write with music playing in the background. Music is how emotions sounds. I usually find a song to inspire a specific feeling, and then I put it on repeat and write.
15. Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
Sasha: I have several going at one time, but usually only two. I have about eighty gazillion WIP.
16. What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Sasha: Writing what everyone else is writing. Aspire to be original.
17. How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Sasha: Between six-eight weeks.
18. Do you believe in writer’s block?
Sasha: Yes, I’ve experienced writer’s block for several years. It’s a terribly real thing.
Football, a kitten, and 14 dates.
My father is a legend. Some call me football royalty, and in my hometown of Louisiana, I suppose I am. His legacy didn’t prepare me for Bryant Hudson. The quarterback. I swore I’d never date football players. Permanently. Yet Bryant had other plans.
Three dates and a handful of conversations, I handed him my heart without realizing it. But, Bryant shatters my soul. I’m left picking up the pieces. If only erasing him from my heart was as easy.
I lost at the only game that matters. And it wasn’t even a game. It was and is my forever with Zhanna. I am the best quarterback out there. That should be enough, right? Achieving my dreams. But none of that matters without my woman beside me. When she left, she took my heart with her.
Now I’m back. To remind her of what we had. To see me—the man whose heart she owns, not the quarterback.
Our love is fate. Our lives are forever intertwined. I refuse to let a false start signal our end. I’m ready to repeat the play and show Zhanna she is my everything.
“You’re not quitting,” Bryant tells me.
I’m about to tell him what I do is none of his business anymore, but Coach interrupts before the feuding can well and truly begin. “Why don’t you two take the rest of the day and talk this out? It would be good for you to establish boundaries for working with one another. I don’t want any marital shit hindering this football team or my quarterback, and Zhanna, I need you on your toes to make sure my boys stay healthy. I need you both on top of your games. I believe in both of you, it’s why you’re here.”
When the famous Otto Bullock tells you he believes in you, it’s really something. “Yes, sir,” we say in unison.
“Let’s go before he fires us,” Bryant says and grabs my hand, interlacing his fingers with mine.
“I already quit,” I remind him.
“See you tomorrow, Zhanna,” Coach says as I’m pulled from his office.
Zina’s standing outside, grinning when the two of us emerge hand-in-hand. “What’s up, bro?”
My ex releases my hand, picks up my little sister, and spins her around. “Hey, sis!”
Those two should’ve gotten married. They get along so much better than we do.
Zina pulls on the arm of his shirt. “What’s this shirt you’re wearing?”
“My new team’s shirt,” he proudly answers.
“Holy shit!” she yells. “You’re Voodoo now?” Then the reality of the situation dawns on her. “How in the hell are the two of you going to work together and live in the same city?”
“We’re going to be fine,” he assures her, and I’m glad someone has confidence that we won’t burn the city to the ground, because I sure don’t. While Zina and Bryant catch up, I start to sneak off to make a break for it when he reaches out and gently wraps a hand around my arm. “Not so fast, Z. You heard Coach.”
I roll my eyes. “We can make up rules in my office with Zina as mediator.”
“Nope. We’re going to the lot, you’re getting in my car, and we’re going to grab a bite to eat in public where you can’t commit another felony.”
“We’re not going anywhere. I can’t take off work, I have stuff to do. You can’t just waltz back in town and expect for me to drop everything. What are you even doing here?”
“I’m trying to win my wife back!” he shouts which causes a few people to look out of their offices.
“Shhh, keep your voice down!” I whisper.
His face grows serious as he leans down in my personal space. “Zhanna, you have two choices. You can walk to my car of your own volition, or I’m going to pick you up, carry you out there, and put you in the damn thing.”
“I’m wearing a skirt and heels,” I point out.
“Let’s just stay out of each other’s hair, okay?”
“No more sleeping together,” I tell him.
“Stop it, Bryant and listen to reason!”
Assistant Coach Jed Jones heads in our direction again and frowns when he sees Bryant in my face. “You okay, Zhanna?”
My ex doesn’t look away from me as he tells him through gritted teeth, “She’s fine. Just stubborn as hell.”
Jed chuckles. “That’s why we call them ‘the Hell Sisters’.”
“One and a half,” Bryant continues.
I start walking back to my office.
“One,” he says, turns me around, and scoops me up before throwing me over his shoulder.
I kick and yell like a banshee, attracting all sorts of attention, and don’t you know, not one person comes to help. They just stare in awe at Bryant freaking Hudson being in their building. Since I just found out, I doubt many people know he’s already traded to our team. Meanwhile, I’m hanging upside down with all the blood rushing to my head. I actually pray a little that he won’t drop me on the hard ground.
Once we’re outside, he stops at his black M5, and opens the passenger door. He slings me over his shoulder, sets my feet to rights, and keeps me from falling over from being dizzy. “You need to go back to California.”
“I need you to listen to me, and listen to me good, Zhanna,” he says. “I’m coming for you, and there’s nothing you can do to stop me until you’re wearing my ring, sleeping in my bed, and using my last name again. Wrap your mind around that, because I fucked up the first time with you. There won’t be a second.”
“In other words, you’re going to make my life a living hell until you finally realize I want nothing to do with you.”
He grins at me. “Nothing?”
Gah. Okay. I want his body, and his skills in the bedroom. “You know what I mean.” I slide into the car, and he follows moments later.
“Oh, I know what you mean. I’m taking that to mean you want to keep our little arrangement where we fuck each other senseless every time we’re near one another.”
He makes me sound like I use him, which I totally do, but there’s an underlying sadness in his eyes that he thinks he’s hiding from me. I choose to ignore it. “Sure. We can keep that arrangement. It’s working for me, and that’s what’s important— me and what I want for once. Don’t you think?”
“If that’s what you want,” he says, resigned to the fact that he’s probably not getting much more out of this conversation.
“That’s what I want. As a matter of fact, why don’t we go to the nearest hotel and get a round in before lunch?” I ask.
He shakes his head at me. “No, I’m not running around in hotels with you anymore. You’re my fucking wife! We both have residences that will suffice.” He pauses, looks out the front glass, and releases a sigh. “Your place or mine?”
I let the wife comment go. “Well, geez! Don’t sound so freaking excited about it!”
Bryant turns the ignition over and revs the engine before he backs out of his parking space and drives away. “We’re going to lunch,” he says five minutes later. “We’re going somewhere nice and expensive and quietly making up rules to make you feel better about this situation. We’re going to spend time together outside of the bedroom at my place.”
That gets my attention. “Did you already buy a place?”
“Bought it two months ago. Two blocks from your apartment, on Dauphine.”
“You could’ve bought any place you wanted in New Orleans and you bought a house two blocks from mine?”
He shrugs before he answers. “I wouldn’t want traffic to be an issue for you when you decide I’m of use.” He’s pouting, so I let him stew over there in his misery for a little while, and a little while ends up being over thirty minutes away in the heart of the French Quarter at a fancy French restaurant named Bourdon’s. At least that’s where I think we’re headed, but instead, he pulls into a drive five houses down from the eatery until he comes to an iron gate. He presses a button on his visor and the gate opens. Fancy. The area beyond the gate is only wide enough for one vehicle and at the end of it is a garage that looks newly upgraded to match the Victorian home. Once the car is parked in the garage, he gets out and I follow suit.
“I bought a home with furniture, but some of it’s hideous and the mattresses are lumpy. It would be a great help to me if you could get rid of the unwanted pieces and order furniture to replace them. You did a great job of decorating the home in L.A. Zina also mentioned that you know an interior designer.”
I have no idea when they could’ve had this conversation. “When did she say that?”
He shoots me an are you kidding me expression. “Outside of Bullock’s office.”
“Ah, I must’ve been ignoring you.”
He ignores that as we walk through the gate to a private, overgrown courtyard complete with a koi pond and dilapidated furniture. This place could use some weed killer, paint, string lights, and nice furniture. I had to clean up the shared courtyard of my apartment building when I first moved in two years ago as well. It’s nice to have a secluded place in the middle of the busy Quarter.
“So?” I look at him with a confused look on my face.
“Do you know an interior designer or not?” he asks.
“Yes, my neighbor, Leslie. I can put in a call to him and have him meet us here if you like.”
He looks over his shoulder at me. “I think we have more important things to discuss first.”
“I thought you were taking me to a public place?” I remind him.
“We’re going to Bourdon’s, but first, we set the rules in place here. I want to change anyway. See if your friend can meet us here in a couple of hours.” He walks through a kitchen that also needs some work, and then into a den. “I’m not sure how comfortable the furniture in here is, but please have a seat and make yourself at home.”
He takes off for what I assume is the master bedroom, and I take a look around the narrow room with an original brick fireplace as the centerpiece. A large rectangular ornate mirror is hung above it. The couches are a hideous orange, but they can be recovered because they’re beautiful antique pieces. I wander into the kitchen and look at all the potential the area possesses. It’s hard not to picture myself here in these rooms, living with Bryant. When we were at LSU, he talked about playing for the Voodoo and us living in the French Quarter or the Garden District in an old mansion together. This house is big and three stories, but not a mansion by most standards. Still, this was the dream. Fast forward to today and we’re living apart in the Quarter because we’re divorced. It makes me realize just how precious and fragile love is.
“Are you ready?” he asks, and I turn to find him standing in the doorway to my right.
“Before we go to a restaurant where there are steak knives, I would like to try to calmly discuss your rules and work on compromises.” He looks behind me to the kitchen counter and back at me again. Then he holds a finger up to signal me to wait as he steps around me, grabs the knife block nestled against the tile backsplash, and puts it on top of the refrigerator where I can’t reach it.
I put my hands on my hips. “You’ve got jokes?”
He shoots me a boyish grin complete with those damn dimples. “I don’t want a pesky thing like my violent, untimely death to ruin my chances of getting back with you.”
“Focus, Quarterback. Rules.”
“Rule number one: you should always take your clothes off when we’re alone,” he says.
“In your dreams. Look, the only thing I care about is my job. Please don’t jeopardize it.”
He grows serious. “I would never do that.”
Deep down I know he wouldn’t put my career at risk, but there’s a great deal I didn’t think he was capable of until two years ago when I saw it with my own eyes. If someone told me the college kid who was after my heart from the moment we met eight years ago would destroy it, I would’ve told them they didn’t know Bryant, not the sweet Bryant I met at college all those years ago.
Award-winning author Sasha Marshall, a concert photographer, toured with legendary bands such as The Allman Brothers Band. A self-proclaimed free spirit, she’s most often found outdoors, or painting a canvas, capturing a photograph, people watching, reading a book, or writing a new book.
Sasha makes her home in the beautiful state of Georgia and loves to hear from readers.
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