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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Open Water Swimmer - Sabrina Devonshire

Welcome to BRB, sweeties! It's Wednesday, which means I've posted an author interview. This time I have fellow eXtasy Books author Sabrina Devonshire here. Lovely lady, with talent to spare. And what a great cover, Sabrina. Thank you for joining me today. Please tell us about yourself.
I live in Tucson, Arizona with my husband, two teens and fluffy chow-chow.  I started writing mystery novels when was eight-years-old and this unleashed a passion for writing that’s burned in my blood ever since. I work as a fitness professional at a world-renowned resort and an active adult community and do freelance magazine work at home. Most of my published articles are health and fitness related. The Open Water Swimmer is my first novel.  My favorite hobby is swimming. Most days I seek an endorphin rush in the pool early in the morning and anytime I can escape to the ocean, I do and pack swim suits and not much else.
Where and/or how do you find the greatest inspiration?   
I always find my best inspiration when I’m in or around water. I could be swimming laps in the pool or walking along the beach or just hearing the sound of waves crashing on the sand.
What made you chose to write romantic literature in particular? And, is there any other genre you’d like to write? And, if so, why? 
I attended a memoir writing workshop in Prague in 2007 and a fellow writer commented favorably on the more sensual parts of my work and said I’d make a good romance writer. I noticed the more I wrote sex scenes, the more I enjoyed writing them. And moving through the water is a very sensual experience so I rarely swim without having a sex scene pop into my head. Beyond romance and my magazine work, I enjoy writing memoir, but am not so sure I’d like to deal with the harsh criticism of my personal life that might go along with publishing this kind of work.
Which appears first when contemplating a new project: a character, the plot or the title? 
This really depends. With The Open Water Swimmer, my male protagonist was in my head night and day and I wasn’t sure why and then one day I just knew I had to write his story. In Message from Viola Mari (coming soon), a segment of humorous dialogue between the male and female protagonist hit me first and I crafted the story around that. The title is always the most difficult for me and usually comes last.
What’s the hardest part of a novel for you to write: beginning, middle or end? Why? 
The middle is hardest for me because by the time I get there, I know where I’m going and am so eager to get there, I sometimes rush and have to go back again to really craft it well.
Has your own life influenced your novels? If so, how? 
Absolutely. You’ll almost always find beachside settings and/or swimmers and other athletes in my books. I also like quirky, not-so-smooth characters that remind me of people I know—expect to see writers and scientists (I also have an M.S. in geology) in my stories.
Writing sex/romantic scenes can be a challenge for some authors. Do you find it difficult? If yes, how do you compensate? If no, where do you draw your inspiration? 
Writing sex scenes come easy to me as long as I’m feeling healthy and vibrant at the time. Regular high-intensity exercise and the great relationship I have with my husband really help fuel the fire. I’m not afraid to write a graphic scene, but I’m not one for kink or groups. I’m writing for readers who think one on one is sufficiently spicy.
Do you use a certain formula to write the sensual parts? Do you prefer the sex to be open and bold? Or left to the imagination? 
There’s no formula for any of my writing—if I feel it, I write it. I’ve been writing open and bold lately, but Daphne DuMaurier’s Frenchman’s Creek is one of my all-time romantic favorites and the sex, although implied, is never described and left to the reader’s imagination.
Who is your favourite character, which you’ve created? And, why?  
I’d have to say my favorite character is Jeff Dickson from in The Open Water Swimmer. Because I stayed up nights before committing to write his story, I felt very protective of him, like I had to do his character justice. He’s got the competitive drive to win I’ve always had as a competitive swimmer and is a quirky introvert like me. I really had a blast describing the thoughts he had in his head when he was racing. It made me long to rush out and compete.
Tell us about your newest release:  
The Open Water Swimmer is a romantic sports suspense. Recurring dreams about an elite ocean swimmer drowning during a race leads children’s mystery writer, Dana Thomas, to abandon a lukewarm relationship to attend a series of races to learn if her dream man exists. Her plan to remain objective makes a serious splashdown when she meets her "mission," a towering blue-eyed man with the best cut set of pectorals she's ever seen.  Going incognito as a feeding station volunteer for FINA World Cup series races, Dana travels to Greece, Portugal, Honduras, and Tunisia to try to protect him. When heat between the pair sizzles, Dana falls hopelessly in love with this man destined to die.
Elite open water swimmer and former Navy fighter pilot Jeff Dickson believes his driven personality and international travel schedule can't mix with love.  When he meets Dana, he's instantly attracted to her voluptuous body and mysterious personality.  When Jeff learns she's been stalking him for weeks at swimming races, he decides she must be psycho.
A series of fateful events before the final race lead Dana to believe her nightmare is about to unfold.  Anticipating a dive-in and rescue scenario, Dana is shocked to discover that's only the beginning.
Just for fun–
What is your favourite colour? Blue of course J
Which do you prefer a great hero or a great villain? Hero
What is your favourite movie? And, why? Ever After. What’s more romantic than a Cinderella story?
If you could be anyone in the world who would it be? And, why? Sometimes I think I’d like be swimmer extraordinaire Karlyn Pipes-Neilson, partly because she holds Masters world records in almost every swimming event, but mostly because she lives in Hawaii and has daily access to the ocean. But most of the time, I’m terribly grateful for the life I have. I am very blessed to be healthy, have a partnership with a loving husband, and be surrounded by such a supportive family. I feel like I’m living the dream, working as a fitness professional and magazine/novel writer. I really enjoy helping people and aspire in my fitness and writing work to make a positive impact on peoples’ lives.
Where do you see your writing career in the next five to ten years? I plan to continue publishing magazine articles and publish at least one novel annually (I’m hopeful my second book will be released before year’s end). My readers can expect something new and fresh from every book I put out there. I don’t want to ever rush to finish something for the sake of just getting one more book on the market.
The Open Water Swimmer
The elite swimmer Dana’s destined to fall in love with is also destined to die. Can she change his fate?
The starting gun sounded and Jeff sprinted into the ocean, kicking water everywhere until the density of the water overcame him and it was more efficient to swim than run. A fingernail jabbed his calf. A toe struck his face, partially filling his goggles with water. He slapped arms with another swimmer on a recovery. Jeff plowed through the water with all the gusto he could muster to break away from the mass. He planned to tag along behind the lead pack after he freed himself from the mire.
He kicked harder, propelling his body through the water like a speedboat. This is more like it, he thought, as surrounding swimmers dropped back. Soon, only the five swimmers he expected to see remained. The lead pack. Mark matched him stroke for stroke as they drafted off of Mike Hammel, the leader. Jeff felt a tap on his toe. Andy McCleery.
You have to keep a cool head to push yourself to the max for almost two hours. Every swimmer was in top physical condition. The man who crossed that finish line first would be the one who shut down the chatter inside his head that taunted him with my arms ache, my legs are cramping, or I can’t handle that searing pain in my lungs for another second and kept on plowing through the water like there was no tomorrow. Jeff wanted to be that man.
Jeff swam in the wake of bubbles behind Mike’s feet—his perceived effort much easier with the draft. Jeff felt strong and powerful. Like Hercules. This is why I keep coming back. On land, the world is a crazy, chaotic place. Here, it all comes down to the water and me.
He felt the most like himself in the ocean. Once he got into the rhythm of his stroke and turned up the heat, he felt like anything was possible. Winning the race. Qualifying for the London Olympic Games in 2012. Winning a gold medal.
After three laps around the course, Jeff knew it was time to turn it up. He had 2.5 kilometers left to pass the leader and duke out the sprint to the finish line with the toughest members of the field. Jeff passed Mike, but Mark was right with him. I can do it, Jeff told himself. He surged a little ahead of Mark, but it didn’t last for long.
Mark caught right up with him again and they swam so close together, Jeff heard Mark’s winded breathing and their fingers smacked together more than once. Jeff fought to push through the pain.
A burning heaviness overwhelmed his limbs. Fire surged down his throat with each breath. But he never lost sight of what he wanted. He wanted to win. So he never backed down. He pushed, pushed, pushed with only meters left until the finish. Come on, come on. Get it done. He took twenty strokes without a breath, only lifting his head to slap the touch pad.
Purchase Link: eXtasy Books
Thanks for joining me, Sabrina! All the best! ~ Blak Rayne


  1. Great cover and excerpt, Sabrina. This is the first time I've heard of an author using a swimmer for the hero. Good job.

  2. Thank you, Sandy. Although all the credit for the awesome book cover goes to Carmen Waters! I write what I love and the water is my world. Open water swimming is a really exciting sport I wanted to share with readers.