Friday, July 17, 2015

Nancy Lee Badger Interviews Author Sherrie Hansen

Author Sherrie Hansen stopped by to share some intimate details, a character's interview, and the release of her new book. 

Shy Violet, is a romantic suspense released in paperback on May 1. E-versions are coming soon. Please tell my readers a little bit about your book. 

Sherrie: When a poor choice leaves school teacher Violet Johansen stranded in the car park of Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland, Violet wonders if she’ll ever find her way back to her comfort zone. She has two choices – to trust a piper who looks exactly like someone she dated a decade ago, or a band of nefarious pirates. Pirates. Pipers. People and mistakes from the past that threaten to haunt you forever… A castle that’s been ravaged and rebuilt… Only time will tell if Violet and Nathan’s fragile new friendship survive the storm and see love reborn.

Character Interview with Violet Johansen from Shy Violet by Sherrie Hansen

Voilet, what three things would you take to a desert island?  Is it cheating to say my backpack, because technically, it’s one thing, but it would be full of dozens of things that would come in handy… matches, my favorite almond hand cream, a book, my art supplies, a comb and toothbrush, a change of clothes, and a nice, soft nightie. For number two, I’d choose my Birkenstocks, because obviously, I’d be walking a lot, and they’re the best. And the third thing, well, you’re going to think I’m silly – because where would I spend money on a desert island? But seriously, I would bring at least a few thousand dollars in cash. Scotland is hardly a desert island, but when I ran away from Alexander in the parking lot of Eilean Donan Castle, I would have given anything to have some significant cash on me. I couldn’t use my credit card – if I had, he would have been able to track me. So, definitely cash, just in case. A person never knows. I hated having to mooch off Rose and Ian when I ran away from Nathan, too. I don’t care where in the world I am, I never want to find myself in that position again.
What parts of loving come easy for you? Hard?  I’m a sucker for love. That’s my problem. I’m naïve and too trusting. My heart just goes out to people – the kids in my classroom, friends, my grandmother, men who have that certain something… I find them all so easy to love, and well, they become my life, and I hang my star on them, then they leave, or move on to the next grade, or get married and move away, or die, or turn their back on me and walk away for any number of reasons, and there I am – alone, devastated, heartbroken, left to rebuild the pieces of my life. You should see all the beautiful paintings I’ve done – at least one for each disappointment. It’s like making a mosaic out of the broken pieces of my heart.

How do you decide if you can trust someone? Hard to say. I just do, at least most of the time. I was a little nervous about Lyndsie at first, but only because she was so young, and Alexander is so charming. Thankfully, my trust was well-founded. She turned out to be the best friend ever. I knew right away I could trust Nathan, well, except that he looked so eerily familiar. Rose and Ian practically have trustworthy etched on their foreheads. The pirates – well, I should have known better than to get involved with them. And of course, I was dead wrong about Alexander. But in my defense, I adored his son, Timothy. He was such a sweetheart that I just assumed his father was cut from the same cloth. Boy, was I wrong.
When you walk into a room, what do you notice first?  When I walk I to a room. I notice the colors – the art on the walls, the pottery on the coffee table, the quilt on the bed, the splash of a brightly colored book on a bookshelf – the whole aura of the room is impacted by the colors a person surrounds themselves with. It tells me so much about a person… that’s why I was a little put off my Nathan’s flat at first. It was pretty drab. But he was in Scotland as an exchange teacher, and in temporary quarters, so I tried not to hold it against him.  

When you walk into a room, what do you expect people to notice about you?  To be honest, I don’t want people to notice me. Thankfully, nothing terribly distinctive about my looks, so I can usually stay incognito as long as I choose to.  When someone finally does notice me, it’s usually my eyes that draw them in, or my hair. It’s long and curly, and I’m told it has a soft, touchable sheen to it.

What really moves you, or touches you to the soul? Music. Nathan’s a good example. When I heard that melancholy bagpipe music wafting over Eilean Donan Castle, it was almost as though it lifted me off my feet and swirled me around the mountains. It transported me – an absolutely amazing feat considering how stressed and panicked and desperate I was at the time.

What's the one thing you have always wanted to do but didn't/couldn't/wouldn't? What would happen if you did do it?  I’ve always wanted to go to a nude beach. I mean I never would, but if I ever got up the nerve, I think it would be a great way to affirm that I’m confident about the way I look, and the aura I exude, not mater how shy I might seem.

What do you consider to be your weaknesses?  I can be indecisive, and afraid to stick up for myself even when I know I’m right. Sometimes it’s easier to run away and hide instead of staying put and fighting for what I want and deserve.

What do you consider to be your strengths?  I’m very loyal, and I’d do anything for the people I love.

How do you feel about your life right now? What, if anything, would you like to change?  I’m happy with the way things are working out – things always do seem to come together in the end, but if I could go back in time and undo my relationship with Nathan’s father, I would do it in a heartbeat. If only I’d known then what I know now… who would have guessed how a silly school girl fling would come back to haunt me…

She had to get away from him. She didn’t care what kind of trouble she got herself into – anything would be better than being with him. She had to find a way to escape. Violet Johansen’s legs pumped under her as she raced over the drawbridge, across the moat, toward the parking lot. She tugged at one door handle after another – someone must have left their car door open. It wasn’t like she was in East St. Louis or downtown Detroit. This was small town Scotland. There had to be one person trusting enough to leave their auto unlocked.

The wind buffeted her face and the chilly air, gulp after gulp of it, tore at her lungs. Had he realized she was gone? How much time did she have to get away? Why hadn’t she done this when they were in Edinburgh, where she could have dashed into a store, ducked down an alley and disappeared into the throngs of people wandering up and down the Royal Mile?
No. She’d chosen to try to make her escape at a castle surrounded by water on three and a half sides, accessed by one east west road squeezed between a mountain and a loch. She’d opted to make a break for it where the best and only place to hide was a stupid parking lot full of locked cars.

Alexander hadn’t let her out of his sight the entire time they were in the city. The man rarely even slept. Still, she wished she’d tried to leave before it came to this. 
The wall of stone to the north of the castle taunted her. There was no way she could climb the sheer face of rock even if she’d been wearing tennis shoes or hiking boots. She had on Birkenstocks and no socks.

She never should have come to Europe with him in the first place. But it had seemed like such a dream come true at the time. The man had been knighted by the Queen. Didn’t they do background checks on people before they knighted them into an age old position of trust and honor?

She could try to shift the blame, but she knew what was happening to her was no fault of the Queen’s. She should have known things were going to end badly. They usually did when she blew off the advance plans, went off-road, and acted on impulse – which is exactly why she rarely did!

But if she hadn’t followed her instincts this time, she might have been dead by morning. She didn’t know it. She felt it. Alexander’s abuse had started out with minor things, like promising her the world, then not letting her use the ladies room unless he said it was okay. But these last few days, he’d been so crazy mean to her that...

A tour bus. Certainly the bus driver would leave the door open in case someone had to use the loo. Right? Locked. Of course. The passengers’ belongings were in their seats.
Panic laced with adrenaline surged through her veins. The tour had to be coming to an end.
The teahouse. The girl with the red hair who’d been taking their money when they went through the line had seemed nice. Intelligent, too. A bit naive. She’d giggled like a schoolgirl when Alexander had flirted with her, then given her a big tip. Hell, she probably was a schoolgirl.

She had to trust someone. She hated having to ask for help, but she couldn’t do this by herself. The only security guard she’d seen had been inside the castle. There was no place to hide.

She raced back to the teahouse, ducking from vehicle to vehicle. Still no sign of anyone exiting the castle. She made a run for it across the open expanse of grass that led to the eating area.

She was halfway there when the lilting strains of a lone bagpiper wafted across the water. Maybe he’d been playing all along, but suddenly, the sound was so clear and true she could almost see the notes floating over Loch Alsh and rising over Skye’s mountains. She wanted to turn, to see the person capable of making such a sound. Her heart, breaking, her tears, flowing, her gut, wrenching – it was all there – each note a teardrop, each pause, a sigh, each lilting change in the direction of the melody, a gasp.

But she didn’t have time. She clutched her side and kept running. She had to – get – to – safety. 

“Help.” By the time she threw open the door and located the girl, she could barely find her breath, say nothing of her voice. “It’s a long story, but I’ve no where to go. I need a place to hide. He’ll come looking for me.”

Nancy: How can my readers buy your book?
Readers can go to the publisher’s home page HERE

Buy Links

Nancy: please share three fun facts about you that most people don’t know.
1)  I’ve climbed Pike’s Peak, all 14,110 feet of it! 
2)  I play the piano with a praise band at church and love to rock out.
3)  I’ve lived in Austin, MN, Wheaton, IL, Bar Harbor, Maine, Augsburg, Germany, Lawton, OK, and Colorado Springs, CO.

Nancy: What’s next for you?  I’m working on my next Wildflowers of Scotland novel – Sweet William, which features Rose’s (Wild Rose) niece and Violet’s (Shy Violet) friend, Lyndsie Morris.

Twenty-four years ago, Sherrie Hansen rescued a dilapidated Victorian house in northern Iowa from the bulldozer's grips and turned it into a bed and breakfast and tea house, the Blue Belle Inn.  After 12 years of writing romance novels, Sherrie met and married her real-life hero, Mark Decker, a pastor. They now live in 2 different houses, 85 miles apart, and Sherrie writes on the run whenever she has a spare minute. Sherrie enjoys playing the piano, photography, traveling, and going on weekly adventures with her nieces and nephew. “Shy Violet” is Sherrie’s eighth book to be published by Second Wind Publishing, a mid-sized, independent press out of Kernersville, NC.

You can find more information about Sherrie Hansen here:

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