I would like to welcome Leslie Ann Sartor to my blog. Leslie Ann writes adventure romance under the name L.A. Sartor. Her adventures are set in exciting locals around the world. Although she has written a number of novels, The Carswell Adventure Series has piqued my interest, and I hope all of those who Embrace Adventure will enjoy learning more about her work.
The newest in The Carswell Adventure Series, Viking Gold, was recently released, and the first in the series is Stone of Heaven, which I just downloaded and am anxious to dive into. So without further ado, let’s get the inside scoop.
Leslie, let’s start with twin sisters, Abby and Tori Carswell. Tell us about each, how are they alike, how are they different, and what makes them tick?
**Thank you, Kim, for having me as your guest today. I'm thrilled to be here. It was so interesting to write twins, I enjoyed it. But I had to make them different enough to create interest and conflict. Tori is the elder twin by a mere two minutes. Stone of Heaven is really her story although you meet Abby. Tori is the more cautious of the two, in fact, she’s practically a hermit, living on a train, making exquisite jewelry and believing she’s content. Of course that changes when she has to go rescue Abby. I call her woefully under-prepared, but wait until you see how she handles herself.
Abby’s story unfolds in more detail in Viking Gold. She’s an adventure junkie, the greater the risk the higher the reward. Her fiancé, Hermann Weiss, whom we also meet in Stone of Heaven, has had enough, wanting her to choose them instead of the grim reaper. This adventure turns out to be far more than any one expected and uncovers a secret society that will be featured in Book Three.
Abby’s story was harder to write than Tori’s, because Tori fell in love with her opposite. Abby and Hermann are already in love but as I said, Hermann has had enough and Abby keeps showing her true colors. It’s not until the end….
The first novel, Stone of Heaven, is set in Mexico. Please share with us a little bit about the book, and the setting.
**The minute I saw Tulum, the massive and ancient Maya city set right on the Caribbean Sea, I knew I had the write the story there. But the story actually takes us from Mexico City to the finale which starts at Tulum.
The Stone of Heaven is a blue jade. That’s really what started the entire story. Archaeologists in, I think it was around 1999, found a roadway of blue jade in Guatemala. I knew right then I had to write a story about this rare jade. Everyone said it had to be set in the Far East and I stood my ground. The story blends mythology and history with the culture and the complications of the setting. I loved writing it.
It was a screenplay initially and won several prestigious contests and was considered a buy by Heavy Duty Entertainment which was looking for properties for Ben Stiller. The assistant loved it because it featured female leads.
Sadly it didn’t get bought, but around that time, indie publishing was coming into its own. And the rest is history.
In Viking Gold the characters are off to Norway. Again, tell us about the book and the setting.
**At the end of Stone of Heaven, everyone is discussing which adventure to tackle next and a real wreck in the Kattegat fjord came up in my research, so I mentioned it. But it was a ship wreck and I knew next to nothing about diving in fjord. (I learned a lot!!) So when thinking about Abby’s story, I passed on anything remotely Viking J
Then I thought about Bath, England and the ancient Romans, but I couldn’t get an idea that made me gasp and say YES. So I went back to researching wrecks in Denmark and Norway and learned that the Nazis invaded Norway. I started researching more and found a huge sub bunker called Dora 1 in Trondheim and then realized the Nazis used seaplanes and Viking Gold was born.
It took forever to write because of the research not only the diving, the Nazis (which don’t play a huge role, but more of a happening) add the mythology and the fact that the conflict between Abby and Hermann had to come off as real. I interviewed quite a few spouses of people who had jobs that meant they might not come home ever again and it was universal consensus that there are a lot of breakups in relationships with jobs that come with that kind of mortality.
Once I had that firmly in mind I could finish the story. I hope you all enjoy it.
Now, tell us about yourself?
**I seem tame compared to Tori and Abby. But they have a bit of me in them. I was a jeweler, I learned to SCUBA dive because I was daring myself to do something I was afraid of each year. I take chances, yet I do love to just veg in my office and read and be by myself.
I did really start writing at the tender age of 4. Mom wrote the stories as I told them and I scribbled illustrations.
In Junior High I was told by an English teacher that I would never be a writer because all I wanted to do was tell the story, not learn the grammar. Mom says (it was parent/teacher/student conferences) that I stopped writing that very day. I didn’t pick it up again for nearly fifteen years. I didn’t recall the story, but when I told mom I was going to write a book, her response was hallelujah and then the story of the teacher.
I’m married, we met on a blind date. We travel, cook, love photography and our instruments…a piano for me and a cello for him.
I have a blog and a website ( please join my mailing list). I’m on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest I’d love to connect with you all. Writing is solitary, chatting with readers brings me back into the world.
Why did you choose to write in the adventure romance genre?
**I loved Romancing the Stone, anything with Kate Hepburn in it, the King Solomon mines movies, Tarzan (quick-sand gave me nightmares for decades) anything that had to do with finding something in an exotic locale.
What are your plans for the series? If there is a book three I the works, can you give us a teaser?
**There is a book three. I don’t know yet where I’m going to set it, maybe Venice, but it’s a culmination of Alfred’s (whom I love and you’ll meet in Stone of Heaven) life long quest. Of course Tori/Reid, Abby/Hermann will be in there as well as a couple of new characters you’ll meet in Viking Gold.
Lastly, what do you like to read in your free time and who are your top three favorite authors?
**I enjoy JD Robb’s world building in her Death series. I must read your books as they sound right up my alley. And I like steampunk, believe it or not. Again, it’s world building and exotic things.
You can find my books at: