I’m happy to present my interview with Heather M. Sharpe. Her book is Reclaiming Flight.
(blurb and excerpt below)
* * *
Hi Heather, Thanks for stopping by to talk a little about your writing! Let’s jump right in.
When did you begin writing and why?
I started writing fan fiction in middle school before I knew what that was. I loved Anne McCaffrey’s DragonRiders of Pern series, and wrote several stories based in her world. Six years ago, though, I had a dream that haunted me and eventually became Cori’s dream in Finding Flight. My husband encouraged me to write my own stories down, and so in the wee hours of the night after he was asleep, I typed out my first full length novel.
What is your writing process like?
Generally I start with one scene in my head, and it is usually somewhere in the middle or climax of the story. Then I have to figure out which characters fit, and how to get them there, and make it a complete story. I’ve tried outlining, but usually I sit down and write everything in one large document from beginning to end. Then later I go through and make chapter breaks when I edit.
Writer’s block—real or hype?
Both. Definitely it exists, but I truly believe that the only way through it is to write. Often if I feel blocked I’ll open a new document and start typing the next part of the story. Something about having it apart from what I’m working on is freeing. That way if it is awful, it can’t contaminate the good stuff. If it’s good, I can just copy and paste it in! It’s like running for me. Sometimes running is easy, but about 8 minutes in I come to a big hill on my route. It is hard, and every step is slow and painful, but as long as I keep pushing through, I know I’ll get over it and it will be easy again.
How often does your muse distract you from day to day minutiae?
Not often. I have a 4yo for that. J Right now my writing time is crammed into nap time and after bed time (when I haven’t crashed into an exhausted heap beside him).
If you had to write your memoir in five words, what would you write?
Always Late, Always Happy, Loved
What do readers have to look forward to in the future Heather M. Sharpe?
Trusting Flight, Book 3 in the series, is already through edits and awaiting a release date. I have a rough outline for book four and an idea for book 5. I know who is going to end up with whom, I just have to get through all the mess to get them there! J My little one starts school next fall, so plan to have time during the daylight hours to write again!
Thanks again for stopping by Heather!
Title: Reclaiming Flight
Series: The Flight Series Book Two
Author Name: Heather M. Sharpe
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Word Count: 50,978
Page Count: 241
Release Date: 9-18-2015
He could lose his life, his love…or reclaim it all.
Twenty years ago, Cedric found his mate’s dead body in a heap at the base of a cliff. Ever since, he has dedicated what’s left of his life to serving the Council. But after a lifetime of being their Enforcer, he’s finally had enough and has asked to be released from his duties. One last job, one last innocent to protect, and then he can disappear.
Until a mysterious woman in the woods offers him something he never dreamed he’d get: a chance to reclaim the love he thought he’d lost forever.
Cedric is overjoyed at a chance to have Taryn back and jumps at the offer. But his last assignment won’t leave him alone to rekindle their relationship. With a warning that Taryn’s time could be limited, and with a dangerous stalker on the loose, Cedric must try to unravel the mystery behind Taryn’s accident twenty years ago. If he plays it wrong, he could lose his love, his career, and his life…or reclaim it all.
An Excerpt from Reclaiming Flight
Tucked in the shadows surrounding the revelers, Cedric kept his eyes trained intently on the mute bridesmaid sitting behind the cake table across from him. He ignored the curious and worried stares bombarding him from the other Enforcers and members of the Council. Last week he’d asked to be released from his oath as Enforcer for the Council and protector of his people, but until the Council reconvened, he was still accountable. So, here he was, watching over a girl who didn’t want to be protected and enduring the celebration as yet another of their men claimed his mate.
The breeze picked up, blowing from the woods at his back, and he held his breath until it passed. He’d considered talking to Caraline several times but couldn’t bring himself to do it. They’d both lost their mates, so it was logical that since he’d survived, he would have some gem of knowledge to help her cope. The problem was, he wasn’t good with people, so he’d probably only make things worse. And whereas his mate was gone forever, he knew Lynn would be back for her even though she was unaware of that fact. Besides, he had yet to discover some secret trick to coping with the loss. He had been shocked when Cori convinced Cara to come out of her grief long enough to join her in New York for this second wedding reception with his people.
A breeze tickled the nape of his neck, and this time he wasn’t fast enough to hold his breath. The light scent of honeysuckle and sage tickled his senses, causing every muscle within him to tense as he resisted the urge to turn and race after the elusive fragrance.
It was driving him insane. And he didn’t want to fight it anymore.
First, he needed to be released from his oath. He’d sworn to uphold the orders of the Council and protect his people, and he couldn’t do that if he disappeared chasing scents of the dead. Sweat beaded his brow as another breath of air gusted through the clearing. Inside him something wild unfurled its wings, waking to the promise carried on the wind.
The wind gusted again, sending napkins dancing in the candlelight and people rushing to catch them before they escaped into the darkness surrounding the clearing. In the center of the chaos, Corinne Arnau’s laughter tinkled like wind chimes as her new husband lifted her and twirled around, her long white dress billowing in the wind and colorful napkins dancing around them.
Cedric’s heart, instead of melting from the tenderness of the scene and joy for the happy couple, cracked slightly. He’d helped to bring the two together, but the happiness radiating from Ledger’s eyes would never be Cedric’s. While he was happy for them, watching the other Enforcers claim their mates, knowing his was gone forever, killed a little part of him each time. How much longer could he continue before there was nothing left?
Desperate, he caught the best man’s gaze and tilted his head back slightly. Gabe set down his glass and strode through the candlelight to Cedric’s side. The man had been watching him too closely since Cedric had asked to be released from his vow. Now he could make himself useful.
“Watch over Cara for me.” Cedric had never been one for long speeches. It used to annoy the other Enforcers. Cedric had worked with Gabe last year to help bring Corinne and Ledger together and cut corruption from the Council, so he’d become accustomed to Cedric’s terseness.
“Everything OK?” Gabe’s eyes strayed to one of the other bridesmaids, who was dancing with a teen boy. “How long do you need me to watch her?”
Cedric was fairly certain Gabe was hoping to hook up with the bridesmaid sometime during the night. Well, too bad.
“I need a break. Don’t know how long.” Cedric turned his gaze from Gabe to Caraline. His nostrils flared with each small gust of wind, straining to catch the elusive scent. Gabe was a trained Enforcer, he’d catch the small sign and know something was up.
“No problem. Mind if I catch a dance with someone first? One dance, then I’m yours for the rest of the night.”
Cedric snapped his head around, meeting Gabe’s gaze for the first time. Even in the dim light, he knew his glowing yellow eyes and tight features would betray his level of insanity. For once, he didn’t care if another knew how far gone he really was.
“I’m losing my mind, Gabe. I smell her, even though it’s impossible. Her scent haunts me every moment, with every breath of wind. I can’t fight it any longer. I have to go.”
Gabe took a step back from the intensity of his gaze and nodded tightly.
“Go. I’ve got Cara for as long as it takes, on one condition. Do what you have to do, but stay in touch. Call or text regularly, or I drop her and come after you.”
Cedric’s lips pressed together. “Don’t want to be responsible for letting a crazy man loose on the real world? I’d never betray our people, even if I completely lost my mind.”
“There is that. More importantly, though, we can’t afford to lose you.”
Cedric was taken aback. None of the other Enforcers had ever liked him, and Gabe had barely tolerated him last year as they worked together. He was surprised the man would do him a favor, much less worry about his safety.
“Besides, Cori’d kill me if I let something happen to you. For some reason, she likes you.” Gabe smiled and punched Cedric on the shoulder. Then the seriousness returned to his eyes. “Go, dude. I’ve got your back here.” He took one step forward, placing himself between Cedric and the crowd in the clearing. No one noticed as Cedric melted into the shadows and between the trees, following a scent only he could detect.
Cedric raced through the darkness, wishing the trees were farther apart so he could shift and fly instead. He’d opened to his eagle enough to better detect the elusive scent, but the animal didn’t understand why he was so slow or why it’d taken him so long to pursue its mate. Beneath his skin, the bird pushed and clawed for freedom that he couldn’t grant.
Narrowly dodging yet another sapling, Cedric sent a silent thank-you for his acute night vision. He’d been running through the forest for hours and had managed to avoid several streams as well as innumerable trees.
The trail turned abruptly yet again, and Cedric almost missed it. He was tiring more than he would like. One hundred feet further and the trail disappeared.
When he backed up, it had disappeared from behind him. It was as if the scent had only existed in his mind. He tried for moments that felt like hours to pick up some trace of the scent lingering on the air, only to finally collapse in despair.
He truly had lost his mind.
He’d abandoned an assignment he’d specifically requested to race through the forest for hours after a trail that didn’t exist. Almost twenty years ago he’d held his mate’s dead body, and still he could not accept that she was gone. Her scent had haunted him ever since, but for the past three months, he hadn’t been able to move without the delicate taste of honeysuckle and sage testing his control.
Sudden anger escaped from the tight cage where he normally kept it. What else was expected of him? He’d caused his mate’s suicide at eighteen, and after finding her mangled body, he’d sworn to make up for his mistake by protecting his people, ensuring no one else ever had to experience the same loss if he could help it.
He grabbed a stick blindly and stood, turning as he rose to bash the stick against the nearest tree. For twenty years he’d worked, taking the most dangerous or sticky assignments, hoping that if someone had to die on a mission for their people it would be him and not someone with a chance of claiming a mate of his own. He rarely admitted his deep desire to die on a mission, earning salvation for himself and his lost mate so they could be together in the afterlife or any future lives they may have.
But no. He came back, unhurt, every fucking time.
“What else do you want from me?” he shouted, holding his hands out and screaming to the sky. He fell again to his knees, the anger that had sustained his brief fit receding.
A breeze teased the branches around him, yet the branches farther out remained perfectly calm. The lightly dancing leaves sounded like the sigh of a disappointed parent.
“Such a wounded soul, and yet he is the first for decades to speak to us directly. So few still believe in the old stories.” The voice was gentle, barely more than a whisper above the wind. It seemed to stretch from a great distance and wrap warm arms around Cedric’s shoulders and under his chin, coaxing his head up.
A slender woman perched daintily on a fallen log before him. A long, off-white gown graced a perfect figure, falling elegantly from one shoulder. Auburn hair cascaded to her waist, lifting gently in the breeze. The hair on his arms lifted. The fallen giant hadn’t been there before, when he stopped. The air between fairly vibrated with a sense of the otherworldly.
“Tell me, how is it you, of all your people, still believe in the stories of old to call upon us?”
Cedric fought his natural tendency to mince words and ignore questions he didn’t want to answer. He was certain now that he’d lost his mind, but there was no reason not to play along, was there?
“I have to believe. I heard you once before, and had to believe there was hope for the future.”
“Most curious. Few hear us unless we mean for them to. What did you hear that engendered such faith?”
“Twenty years ago, I found my mate at the bottom of a cliff. I was out of my mind, and yet heard a whisper on the wind. The speaker mourned Taryn’s passing, called it tragic. She said that mates should not be parted forever if there were a way to help it.”
“The passing of a mate is tragic. Few would argue that point. Is that all?”
“That’s all I heard. Others arrived, and I was not welcome among the mourners. I had to believe that somehow, that voice was right. There must be something more, a place or way for mates separated by fate to find one another again. I swore to make myself worthy enough to earn that place for us.”
The woman on the tree stared down at him, and for the first time he noticed the slight glow that surrounded her. Pale yellow light radiated from her to encompass him. Outside the glow, the forest was silent, as if time stood still.
“So little upon which to base twenty years of steadfast faith. What has happened this eve to cause you to doubt?”
“It’s not that I’ve come to doubt the existence of the old gods so much as my own sanity or ability to earn favor. The scent of my dead mate haunts me, driving me insane, and if twenty years of service is not enough, then I don’t know what else to do.” Cedric heard the resignation in his voice and hated it. He’d worked for twenty years for this moment, and when faced with it, he was all too ready to admit he was not worthy.
“Ah, but we are not gods.”
Cedric almost missed the soft words, he was so focused on his own internal debate.
“No, though we have been called such. In the past we’ve been mistaken for gods, sorcerers, and angels. There is but one true God. We are merely ancient spirits, from the very beginning of time, with our own special set of powers and limitations.”
“Then I’ve been wrong this whole time. There is no hope.” The edges of Cedric’s world cracked. Grief threatened to consume him.
“On the contrary. Your belief and attention have brightened our lives much these past twenty years. Therefore, we’re prepared to offer you a reward.”
Cedric dared not let himself hope. With his luck, they meant some mere token like a necklace or piece of clothing. Surely they had no way to grant his biggest wish, since they weren’t truly gods. But the hope still sparked in his chest.
“We are unable to change one’s fate.” The spark he’d tried hard not to embrace withered and died. “However, we have been able to…borrow, for lack of a better word, time. The night you found your mate, one of us healed her and pulled her out of time temporarily. As a reward for your faith, we are prepared to turn her care over to you.”
Like a single glowing ember in a smothered campfire, the spark of hope ignited a blaze in his chest. Could it be possible? His efforts of the past two decades really had been for something?
“Remember, we cannot change her fate. Should you agree, on the anniversary of her accident, fate will catch up with her, and she will resume her place in the overall plan.” The woman’s voice again seemed to stretch out and caress his face with gentle fingers. “Consider carefully. Could you endure, knowing how your time together must end?”
Cedric didn’t have to consider long. A few months would never be enough; the past twenty years would never have been enough. Even a day, though, was way more than he ever could have hoped for, and more than any other had been granted before. He would take the time gladly and make certain to cherish every second.
“I could.” Cedric’s voice caught.
The woman nodded and smiled. “I will bring Taryn here asleep, and she will awaken with the dawn. She will remember you and your relationship, but details of her final night have been hidden from her memory. She won’t remember your argument, or anything that happened after. Make each moment count, for they are limited.”
The golden glow around them surged briefly, and the woman and fallen tree disappeared in the night. His vision washed out from the bright light, Cedric almost failed to notice the pale form lying at his feet. Memory surged, reminding him of a similar night when he’d stumbled on Taryn’s still form at the base of a bluff.
He dropped to his knees and ran his hands across her face, neck, and arms frantically, searching for the horrible wounds that had broken her before. Instead his palms encountered cool, smooth flesh. At the base of her throat, a steady pulse pounded at his fingertips. Still he panicked, even as warm breath brushed his cheek when he bent in front of her face. It couldn’t be possible.
“Be calm. She is whole and will awaken soon. Isn’t there someplace you’d rather her wake than the cold forest?”
Gentle laughter accompanied the whispered words. Cedric scooped one arm around Taryn’s fragile shoulders, the other under her knees, and climbed to his feet. The woman was right. Every moment was precious; he couldn’t waste time sitting on the cold forest floor trapped in the nightmare that had haunted him most of his life. As he turned back toward his home, a new voice, softer and lower than the first, tickled the edge of his hearing. He could almost convince himself he’d imagined the words, except experience had taught him to trust his instincts.
“You should know that Taryn didn’t jump the night you found her. She was pushed.”