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Friday, 13 May 2011

Author Override: Sara Curran-Ross

Author Override is the place where authors take the reins and take you on a journey into their world. Some may allow you into their private writing dens. Others may take you along with them on research trips or interviews. Whatever the case may be, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride because here you’ll get an in-depth look into an author’s musings.

Today, we are thrilled to announce that we have Sara Curran-Ross, author of Knight of Swords! Read her recollection of events on her unexpected day out with a special someone...
A Day Out with Nathan Valancourt
By Sara Curran-Ross

** You can download the PDF here for easier reading: Click Here **

It was a cold frosty early morning as I walked through the graveyard on the way to meet my friend for coffee in the village.  Snow had fallen like a fine powder the night before covering the path and the tops of the gravestones.  The air was crisp and fresh and I could see my breath.  I folded my arms around my chest in an effort to keep warm and picked up my pace.  I was never comfortable walking through the cemetery.  It was always deserted and eerie as you would expect but it was too much of a tempting short cut to the village, especially on a cold morning.  Today it felt and looked more sinister than usual under the umbrella of heavy grey cloud.  There was somebody watching my progress along the path.  I was sure of it.  I glanced around the tombstones looking for signs of life.  At first, there was no indication of anyone around but a second look had me taking a sharp in breath.
I could have sworn I saw the flash of a man in a long black riding coat.  No, it couldn't be.  It couldn't be him.  Whirling around to search him out I found nothing.  I shook my head and hurried along the path, deciding that my writer's imagination was getting the better of me.  Characters simply did not come to life in physical form.  It just didn't happen.  If they did, then you were a candidate for the funny farm.  But another glimpse of black made me stop.  Heart beginning to pound, I began looking across the gravestones.  I didn't imagine it.  I didn't.  There it was again.  I turned quickly but instead of finding Nathan Valancourt standing behind me there were two rough looking young men.  Before I could utter a cry, one of them grabbed me and the other snatched my bag from my arm.
Instinctively I lashed out at the man, determined to defend myself but my blows were futile against his strength.  He pushed me to the ground with a loud laugh and held me there whilst his friend rifled through my bag.  He gave a loud groan.
'There's plenty credit cards but no cash.  It's not going to get us what we need,' he moaned to his friend.  The other man looked down at me.  He shook his head.
'Should have carried cash.  Maybe we can get something else out of you,' he said grabbing my hair.
No, there was no way he was getting that from me.  Not without a huge fight.  I felt my anger rise and overshadow my fear.  It made me feel strong and helped me renew my fight with the man.  I was pulled upwards as I kicked and punched out at him.  They just kept laughing at me as they dragged me off the path towards the graves.  I couldn't escape them and I began fearing the worst.  The moment the thought entered my head I heard a strong calm male voice reassure me of my safety and courteously inform me in a quaint old English voice that he would not allow any harm to befall my person.  What?  Now I was hearing Nathan talk to me in my mind?  I really was losing it.  I was too close to this book and my characters.  But I had more to worry about that moment than my sanity.
I couldn't help but gasp out loud when I saw Nathan Valancourt's tall dark figure appear behind my attackers and take hold of their collars, pulling them backwards.  The action appeared to cause him little effort.  I fell backwards onto the snowy grass between two graves watching in awe as Nathan lifted the two struggling men he held in each hand into the air.  They swore at him but when he bared his incisors and hissed at them they were struck dumb.  Obviously terrified, their bodies shook like pneumatic drills.  Nathan addressed them in a dark tone with a smooth even velvet voice that commanded their full attention.
'Apologise, gentlemen or I will have no choice but to make you regret your actions,' he demanded.
My mouth fell open in shock.
They remained silent.  Nathan didn't appear to approve.  He flashed his pearly white incisors again and hissed.
'Sorry, we're sorry.  We didn't mean,' they chorused at me in fear.  Nathan dropped them to the ground as though they were merely stones.  They landed heavily.  One of them was clutching his ankle in pain.
'Leave now, gentlemen before you provoke me to violence.  If I see you doing this again to anyone, I may be forced to make you pay for your actions with your life blood.  Do I make myself clear?' he fiercely shouted making me jump.
They both nodded and rose to their feet to run away as fast as they could.  The one with a damaged ankle limping, striking a pathetic figure along the path.  Nathan turned and strode towards me.  I backed away still on my backside on the grass.  He grinned and bent to offer me his hand so that he might help me up.  I just stared at him.
There he was in the flesh.  Tall, leanly muscled with hair as dark as a raven's plumage worn long at the neck.  His vivid blue eyes sparkling with mischief setting off his fine handsome aristocratic features off to perfection.  Just the way I had written him in my novel.  He was as real as the day itself.  How?  Was I dreaming?
'Come on take my hand.  You will get cold sitting on the ground like that,' he said gesturing for me to move.
Nervously I took his hand and let him help me stand.
'Thank you for helping me but how...?'
'Do I exist?' he finished for me.    'I don't think we should worry about that right now.  We haven't got long together and I want to talk to you.  We have much to discuss.'
He kept tight hold of my hand as he led me back up the path towards a sleek black horse he had tethered around a tree.
'Where are you taking me?' I asked feeling a bit apprehensive, not to mention surreal.
'We are going for a ride.'
'No, no way.  I don't do horses.  I fell off one when I was seven and broke my elbow.  I have never been back on a horse.'
I slowed down and tried to slip my fingers from his grasp.  His grip tightened and I found myself pulled along.  He laughed.
'I knew you would be like this.  Relax, you will be perfectly safe.  I assure you.'
'No.  No way.'
He gave a sigh and the next thing I knew his arm was under my legs and lifting me up into the air and into his arms.  He shook his head at me as he carried me towards the horse.  I was annoyed. 
'Hey, I am not Juliet, you can't tell me what to do.  Put me down.'
'No, I won't.  You are more like Juliet than you realise.  She is stubborn just like you.  I want to take you somewhere in the countryside where you can get some peace from your hectic life.  You need to relax and take some rest.  Now hush.'
He sat me on top of the horse making me scrabble around to hold on to the reins as he mounted the horse behind me.  When he took the reins from me and walked the horse on there was nothing else to hold on to but him.  With a small squeal I reached out and caught hold of his coat.  He grinned down at me and swept his arm around my waist pulling me closer to him.  He kept tight hold of me.  A part of me was embarrassed but the other half was relieved.
Nathan walked the horse across the field and headed for the forest away from the houses and village.  The snow lay surprisingly thicker and deeper here.  I was confused.  I knew the forest well yet it had a different feel.  I got the impression I wasn't just leaving civilisation but that I was entering a different time.
'This can't be real.  I must be dreaming,' I whispered to myself.
He laughed loudly.
'Here, feel my arms.  Touch my face.  Then tell me whether I am real or not.'
I hesitated but he pressed me.  I gently squeezed his arms nodding with approval at the tight muscle I found there.  Then very carefully, I briefly touched his pale features.  I nodded.  Boy he was real all right.  It started to snow.
'Come closer and shelter from the weather,' he instructed, gently pressing my head back against his chest and holding me there.  It felt warm and snug.  He brushed his lips across my hair with a light kiss.
'You see riding isn't as bad as you thought.  Maybe you will take time to enjoy yourself.'
We eventually stopped at a clearing in the middle of the forest.  A low wooden fence surrounded the large space.  Nathan jumped down and lifted me off the horse.  Once more he took my hand and guided me towards the fence.  He pressed his finger to his lips motioning for me to be silent and then gestured with his eyes beyond the fence.  A large herd of deer with a four stags stood grazing in the middle of the field.  I couldn't help but marvel at the wonderful sight of nature.  It had been so long since I had taken the time to walk in the forest.  I missed it.
I leaned against the fence, resting my head on my hands, watching the idyllic scene.
'Peaceful, isn't it?' I heard Nathan ask.
I nodded.
'I can't remember the last time I came here,' I told him.
'No.  You don't seem to make much time for yourself these days,' he said gently but I did not miss his tone of disapproval.
'How do you know?' I shot him a quizzical look.
'You should slow down and see what is around you from time to time and make more time for yourself,' he continued, ignoring my question.
He smiled and reached out to cover my hand with his on top of the fence.
'You have been feeling under the weather and tired.  Slow down before nature forces you to take a rest,' he told me softly, giving my hand a gentle squeeze.  I stared bewildered.
He beckoned with his finger for me to follow him.  He led me to a space in the clearing free of deer and jumped the fence, turning to help me over it.  A sword was standing in the snow covered ground.  He picked it up and handed it to him.
'I thought you wanted to learn to sword fight like all those swashbuckling pirates and musketeers in your favourite old films?' he grinned wickedly with humour.  He had a habit of doing that.  It only made him appear more attractive.  With that smile, you would forgive him anything and he knew it.
He took off his coat, lying it on the fence and stood poised ready for a sword fight in his black Victorian waistcoat and shirt sleeves.
'Now is your chance.  Come at me with the sword and I will teach you.'
I shook my head.  I could hardly hold the thing but he would not give up.  In the end I simply decided to give him what he wanted for peace.  Our swords clashed loudly disturbing the still air around the forest.  I couldn't help feeling thrilled as he instructed my movements.  I had wanted to do this since a child.
I don't know how long we were out in the forest, watching the deer, sword fighting, walking and talking about all manner of topics but mostly about my life.  He seemed to have many questions about it.  He seemed to know more about my existence than even I could have told him.  After a while, he remarked on the lateness of the hour and the dimming light.  I must be hungry and in need of a drink.  We mounted the horse again and set off on our travels once more.
A short walk led us to a quaint small village on the other side of the forest that I had never come across in my visits to the forest before.   We stopped outside a small tea room and it was then that I noticed everyone around me was wearing late Victorian dress.  I felt strangely self-conscious when Nathan led me into the tea room but that was about to change.  The moment I entered the room my clothes transformed themselves and I was suddenly wearing a blue and grey velvet Victorian dress and jacket.  Even a pretty hat adorned my head.  I touched it, amazed.
'I feel like I am in Doctor Who,'  I laughed.
We sat down at one of the small tables and Nathan ordered.
'I thought you would appreciate coming here.  I see you drinking tea all day, every day.  Probably more than is good for you.  You appear to be obsessed with the drink.'
'You watch me?'
'Let's just say, I keep an eye on you and make sure you are safe.'
'But . . .'
'Ahh, here it is.  I can't really eat being a vampire but I do hope you enjoy it,' he interrupted.
I tucked into the bread and butter, cakes and berries and devoured the tea with relish.  It was then that I remembered my friend had been waiting in the coffee shop.  I expressed my worry.
'She is fine.  I sent a message to her.  She knows you couldn't make it.  Now do you recognise anyone here?'
I looked around.  The tea room was busy and all of my other characters sat around the tables.  One by one they all nodded to me and then returned to their business.  It was so strange.
'Now, I think it is time we were going.  It is getting dark.'
I remained in my Victorian clothes until we emerged from the forest then they vanished and I was back in my jeans.  I was disappointed.  Nathan took me straight to my door.
'Thank you,' I said still wondering how my day with Nathan had even been possible.
'Now go inside and get warm,' he insisted.  'Remember, try to slow down and take some rest.  I will be around if you need me.  And please do not go walking in the cemetery or other dangerous places alone.  You shouldn't take so many chances with your safety,' he ordered.
He began to walk away.  I didn't want him to go.  He suddenly stopped and turned as though he had forgotten something.
'Oh and one more thing.'
To my surprise and shock he walked purposefully towards me and lifted my face in his hands to bestow a kiss on my lips.  Then he was gone on his horse disappearing into the darkness like a ghost before I could utter a word.   I hope he visits again one day.

***DON’T FORGET!! On May 14, Sara will be stopping by for an interview as well as a giveaway of her latest book, Knight of Swords! This giveaway is open to everyone so don’t miss it! To enter, you must be a follower and simply leave a comment on Suzanne and Sara’s interview tomorrow! Good luck to those who enter! See you there!

For more information on Sara Curran-Ross, you can visit her website here. Or check out her blog here. You can also find her  author page on Facebook as well as a series page here.


Sue said...

this was reallt good, i really enjoyed it, glad your blogs up and running agian lol

Under the Covers said...

LOL Thanks Susie! It was touch and go for a bit there! I was getting worried!


ElenaR said...

Thanks for a small peak on what to look forward to if I win me a copy! Lol!
I've never read anything by this author, but there's always a first :)

Great Job to all the ladies that are putting their time and effort into this blog. Looks Great!

helpmerhonda72 said...

Looks like a good read! Thanks for the peek!
I'll have to add to my TBR mountain.

Under the Covers said...

Thanks ladies! Be sure to stop by tomorrow for the giveaway and our interview with the lovely Sara. We'll be posting our review of the book as well this weekend.


Sara said...

Thanks for the comments. Glad you like it. I had a lot of fun writing that one. :)