Today Wednesday Writers is hosting Rachel Sharpe, author of Cold Ambition, a P.I. series due out this summer from Soul Mate Publishing.
Rachel will be sharing an excerpt of her book, so be sure to check out the bottom of the blog for that. Welcome, Rachel. Would you please tell the readers about the book that is being showcased today.
Cold Ambition is the first novel in the Jordan James, PI series, which is about a girl from New Orleans living in Boston after graduating college who decides to start up her own private investigation firm. Her first case is to solve the twenty-something-year-old murder of a prominent businessman the police couldn’t crack. While she believes she’s just seeking out a murderer, there is far more to this case than she could have ever imagined…
How did you come up with the concept for this book?
I like to think Jordan lives the life I may have led had I taken a different path. While we are completely different in many ways, there are similarities between us, too, one of them being our seemingly-insane need for independence (which some people equate to stubbornness, although I personally don’t see it), and our love for Magnum, PI, an amazing ‘80s show about a guy working as a private investigator in Hawaii and solving crimes with his friends. While Jordan doesn’t live in Hawaii, she does have a wise-cracking, egotistical assistant who keeps her on her toes.
What are you working on now? Do you have a release date for this book?
Back in February, I signed with Soul Mate Publishing for book two in the series, Lost Distinction, where Jordan is called on to find the missing son of a US Ambassador. Although I don’t have a release date yet, I believe it will be out in early 2015. Also, I am editing the third book in the series and have begun writing book four.
Tell the readers how you got started writing.
I have always loved writing. When I was little, I made up stories and as soon as I could write them down, I did. I also love reading. That’s probably why I went for an English degree. Reading and analyzing literature is a guilty pleasure of mine. Once I graduated and no longer had research papers to write, that’s when I began to seriously write fiction full-time.
I tend to write in stages: dialogue first, then go back and put in the different layers—sensory, visceral, emotional, settings. What is does your writing process look like?
First, I come up with an idea. It’s usually very basic and vague. I will mentally plot out how a story begins and ends then write up basic chapter outlines. Then, I let the characters take over. That’s one reason I write in first person. I feel like doing so gives the reader a more intimate relationship with the main character. To see what she sees, as she sees it, bonds you to that character. It also makes the character more real. So far, it’s worked. I love it when my characters say or do something I’m not expecting. Sometimes, the chapter outline goes out the window because my characters have different ideas than mine. That’s why I keep outlines basic. I feel like it makes a story more real when it flows like real life.
Are you a morning writer, afternoon, evening, or midnight oil writer?
I wouldn’t say there is a particular time of day I write the most. My goal when writing a novel is to write at least two thousand words a day. If I do that, I keep the momentum going and myself on track. But I don’t just sit in front of my computer and write. I have an app on my phone that allows me to write and then email the pages to myself. Sometimes I get the best writing done when I’m on the go. It all depends on the day. As long as I keep writing, that’s what’s important.
Do you have a favorite book? (Or books since it’s always hard to whittle it down to one.)
My all-time favorite book is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. It is an amazing, timeless tale about love and redemption. I also love reading mysteries and suspense thrillers. Dean Koontz is my favorite modern author, but I also like chick lit, especially Kristin Billerbeck, and supernatural novels like J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.
What’s the book you are reading now?
I’ve started reading Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series. It’s a fun read and the characters are great. Like my novels, it’s written in the first person, so you get a better understanding of the main character and what she’s experiencing.
Even if you don’t write with music, what’s in your CD player right now?
My music choice varies depending on the day, but the ‘80s pop station on Pandora is always near the top of my list.
What’s your favorite television show currently running? Favorite show of all time?
My favorite current television show is probably The Big Bang Theory, but my all-time favorite show is Magnum, PI. Everything about that series is phenomenal – the acting, the setting, and especially the writing. Magnum, PI has some of the greatest television writing I have ever seen.
We like to travel. What is the farthest place from your home that you have visited?
The furthest I’ve been is England and Scotland. They’re both beautiful countries with lots of culture and history.
The most fun place?
I would say that’s a toss up between Orlando and Los Angeles. Both are fun and exciting places with so much to do it’s unreal.
The most relaxing place?
Hands down, Martha’s Vineyard. I stayed in Edgartown with a cousin of mine and her family a few summers back. There was a moment when I was alone outside on the deck of this gorgeous, gabled house and all I could hear was the soft sound of the cool breeze as the sun’s warm rays shone down upon me and I found myself wondering if this is what heaven was like.
The most historic place?
I love visiting historic places, so I don’t know if I could label one as the most historic. My favorite historic place to visit is a region, not a particular locale, and that’s New England. I love everything about New England – the culture, the food, the history, and the people. That’s why I chose to set my novels there.
It’s been a pleasure having you here today. As you say goodbye, can you leave the readers with an encapsulation of your life’s philosophy?
It’s hard to say at this point in my life I have an actual, defined philosophy. I feel like life is a marathon and I’m just trying to keep up. As to writing, all I really want out of any of my novels is to create a good story that is well told. If I can do that, I’ve done my job.
“COLD AMBITION” Blurb
“It was my life-long dream to become a private eye. Little did I know that with my very first case, that dream would become a life-threatening nightmare…” When Jordan James decided to embark on a career as a private investigator, she never could have imagined that a chance encounter would lead to her staring down the barrel of a gun on the roof’s edge of a high-rise building. As she begins to investigate her first case, the puzzling murder of a prominent businessman that has left Boston’s finest mystified for more than two decades, she finds herself suddenly immersed in a treacherous underworld brimming with betrayal, raw greed, and political subterfuge of international proportions. In the midst of this, she discovers she is falling for her mysterious client despite the hints of his dark past. Can this feisty Southern girl with a penchant for trouble solve this baffling case or is she doomed to become another tragic chapter in an international conspiracy?” COLD AMBITION” coming Summer 2014 from Soul Mate Publishing!
“COLD AMBITION” Excerpt
We sat there in silence and heard Ace stumble towards the door and fumble with the lock.
“Is Jordan James here?” a muffled voice inquired. I strained to hear, but the distance between the rooms and the closed door made it nearly impossible.
“Who?” Ace laughed. Suddenly, there was a strange sound. It sounded like a firecracker had gone off. This sound was followed by a loud thud which echoed through the apartment. In an instant, Rick and I were on our feet. Rick turned off the light and grabbed the tape from the VCR. I searched the room vainly for a place to hide. Outside the room, I heard shoes echoing on the floor and the sound of doors being opened. Before I had another moment to think, Rick grabbed me and practically carried me to the far corner of the room by the soundboard. Next to the soundboard was a thin wall covered in soundproof foam. Three of the walls had this soundproof foam but the wall contiguous with the door did not. It appeared Ace was still installing it. He pulled it back to reveal a small closet- sized room.
He brought me inside and replaced the wall, closing us in. We huddled together in the corner. Looking around I realized that this was the room in which Ace occasionally recorded. Suddenly, faintly, I heard the door to the media room open. I heard footsteps making their way around the room. After what seemed like an eternity, the intruder spoke.
“She’s not here,” the muffled voice stated. “Yes, she came into the building with Michaels’ kid. No, they can’t be far. Don’t worry. We know where their car is parked.
If not before, we’ll get them when they go back for it.”
Rachel Sharpe is the author of Cold Ambition, the first novel in the Jordan James, PI series. Although born and raised in the South, “Yankee” relatives first led Rachel to historic New England, which she has come to consider her second home and is the setting for the series.
After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in English, Rachel began dedicating her free time to her childhood passion, writing, and in the fall of 2013, she signed her first book deal with Soul Mate Publishing. An active member of Sisters in Crime, Rachel currently resides with her husband in the Greater New Orleans area.
You can connect with Rachel at: