Roxane T. Sanford
Okay, I know I've been playing musical dates with the authors lately, but I've been having a difficult time finding a posting date that works out best, especially since I've been bitten by the writing bug recently and have been writing up a storm these past couple of days.
Today's guest is another one of the authors I stumbled onto because of Goodreads! I love that site - even though I haven't been that great about updating things recently - because it provides a window to authors and stories I might not otherwise have known about.
Roxane and her book, The Girl in the Lighthouse. While this definitely isn't the typical teen romance novel - but there is some romance in it - this story contains a tale of heartache, betrayal, mystery and, from the look of things, suspense. I'm excited to get my hands on this book. It also happens to be the first in what Roxane hopes is a long running series.
Before we get any farther into the book, let's get to Roxanne's interview. As May is loaded with all kinds of interesting holidays (Cinco de Mayo (5th), Mother’s Day (9th), Armed Forces Day (15th), Memorial Day (24th)), we thought we'd gear our questions to find out just how special these holidays may or may not be to our visiting authors and where they live.
ME: May 5th marks a unique voluntarily celebrated holiday recognizing the Mexican efforts against the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1962 under General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin. This battle is legendary because since that time, not one country in the Americas has been invaded by another continent. Do you and/or your friends celebrate this holiday? Why or why not? If so, how do you celebrate Cinco de Mayo?
ROXANE: I recently learned about Cinco De Mayo after moving from New York to Arizona. It is a major celebration here in the west. Most of my friends set out to celebrate in the evening. I did not grow up with this tradition, but maybe next year I will celebrate.
ME: Mother’s Day has become as commercialized as other holidays, but, as far as I can tell, no one seems to mind. Some mothers prefer flowers, some a nice meal, while others prefer gifts like time alone. If you are a mother or wish you were one, what would be your ultimate gift on Mother’s Day? Do (would) you prefer your gifts bought or handmade?
ROXANE: I’m the mother of six wonderful children…four boys and two girls. Mothers Day is very special to me because I always wanted to be a mom and have many kids. They are my life, and I love to celebrate with a dinner out together (usually Red Lobster!). Homemade presents are very special gifts to me, which I will always treasure.
ME: With the situation in the Middle East, more and more people feel the need to demonstrate their support for the troops. Are you among them? Why or why not? If so, what do you, or have you done to show your support? (If you’re not, that’s okay!) Will you be doing anything special on Armed Forces Day?
ROXANE: My husband was in the Navy and we are strong supporters of our troops! I can never say enough about how appreciative I am to have these brave, dedicated, men and women protecting our great country.
ME: Many people make a point to care for the graves of loved ones on Memorial Day, or have parties and picnics to celebrate them. What about you? What, if any, Memorial Day traditions do you have?
ROXANE: We fly out American flags proudly! And not only for Memorial Day, but for Veterans Day as well, and of course, the fourth of July. We usually go camping on Memorial Day weekend and celebrate the holiday with our kids.
ME: There are several games on Facebook (and maybe other social networking sites) that advertise about turning your image into a cartoon avatar, and these next questions find their roots there, but character has been substituted for avatar.
ROXANE: I don’t play games on Facebook. I am a member of the Facebook community and enjoy it, but no extra time for games, sorry.
ME: If you wrote yourself as a character, who would you be if someone other than yourself? Would you have the same name, physical attributes, anatomy or would everything change? What would your name be and what would your character-self look like? Would you be the heroine or the hero? Why?
ROXANE: I would be a heroine with a different name. Tall and beautiful, because who wouldn’t want to look like a gorgeous movie star?
ME: What about your personality and traits? What would you change and what would you keep? What new traits would you give your character-self and why those traits?
ROXANE: I would be smart yet innocent, with features similar to me, but different enough to make myself better than reality.
ME: When would you exist? Would you go back in time, stay in the present, or jump into the future? What time period would you pick and why?
ROXANE: I would go back in time! I write historical faction because I love imagining myself there. One of my favorite time periods is during the Civil War in the 1860’s. There was such intimate, deep country and family issues that took place all over the nation. I love the fashion of the period as well.
ME: What type of story would it be (other than historical, contemporary or futuristic)?
ROXANE: A romance. Who doesn’t love a good romance!?
ME: Would you have companions (family, friends, pets, children) or would you be the loner-type? What companions would you have and what would they be like? What, if any, special qualities would your pet have if your character-self had one?
ROXANE: I enjoy the loner-type. Supporting family and friends would be included, but only to add a bit of drama, as most families and friends do.
ME: What about a love interest(s)? What type of relationship(s) would it (they) be? Would it (they) be anything similar to what you have now (or want to have), or would you be radical and change things up? What would he/she (they) look/be like? What would it be about him/her (they) that attracts you? Would he/she (they) have any traits you don’t like or would you make him/her (they) completely perfect? What traits and why?
ROXANE: A character that is exceptionally handsome, similar to my husband. Blonde hair, blue eyes and very intelligent are my preferences. I’ve always seemed to be attracted to those types of men.
ME: We’ve had our fun now, so let’s put the focus on your writing. What is your main genre (erotica, erotic romance, romantic suspense, etc.)? What was the draw for you?
ROXANE: Historical fiction is my main genre. I love history!
ME: Besides your main genre we just discussed, what elements do you prefer to use in a story and why those elements over others? Any elements you would never use? Why or why not?
ROXANE: I enjoy adding some romance and writing a story that is very unpredictable. No one likes to predict the ending long before the story is over. I try to stay away from typical story lines. In general I don’t enjoy fantasy or science fiction. Doesn’t appeal to me, unless in a movie.
ME: In your opinion, what author or story had the most influence on your writing? What about their writing or that story did you find so influential and why?
ROXANE: That would be V.C. Andrews! Her novels such as, Flowers in the Attic and Heaven, stood out and inspired me to be a writer. I was drawn to her writing style, as it was so descriptive and sensitive, and feel mine is similar. I hadn’t been able to find a writer like her since she passed away, so I figured I would write novels that I wished she wrote. Growing up I also enjoyed Judy Blume books.
ME: While authors and stories can definitely influence us, inspiration can be everywhere for a writer, but sometimes-specific people, places and events can inspire certain characters, personality traits, or things that happen in our stories. In your current story that we’re promoting here today, The Girl in the Lighthouse, did any one particular person, place or event inspire you? If so who/what was it (were they), how did it/they inspire you and how is this inspiration reflected in your story?
ROXANE: Unbelievably, Warren Kimble’s folk artwork inspired me to write a novel in a lighthouse station setting. I was decorating my bathroom with lighthouse wallpaper and thought about what it must have been like to live at a lighthouse. Not long after I began writing, The Girl in the Lighthouse. Three months later the story was complete.
ME: Without giving away anything pertinent to the story, tell us about the hero and heroine (s) of your story. What do they look like? How do they meet (or “did” if this is not the first book with these same characters)? What are their personalities – Are they comical cut-ups, are they serious or are they a mix of the two? Please give us a little bit of dialogue from the story that can illustrate this. (Not much, but just a few lines and from a different section than the main excerpt – Thanks!)
ROXANE: Lillian Arrington is the heroine of my novel. Born a beautiful daughter of the lighthouse keeper of Jasper Island in Maine. Lillian is a sensitive girl, an old soul type, with wishes and dreams far beyond her years.
“I couldn’t help but notice you,” Richard said. He was a dapper man, just like the men in the photograph I took from the attic. Richard was tall and slender; his hair was thick, dark brown with unmistakable red highlights, and his eyes were a deep copper color.
“I know,” I said, and shifted my eyes to the floor of the carriage. “The dress. It’s the only one I have.”
He gave a light chuckle and patted me on the knee, then said, “It has nothing to do with your dress. I noticed your timeless beauty.”
My eyes lifted, and I stared at him.
He was amused by my gullibility and innocence. “You don’t even realize how stunning you are, do you?”
“Well, my Momma was a beautiful woman, and I was told I look like her,” I replied.
“Then there you have it.” He gave me a long gaze, then said, “I don’t know your name.”
ME: The main characters are usually great, but sometimes, secondary and tertiary characters are known to steal the scenes. Who are the secondary/tertiary characters in your story and what do they look like? What’s unique about them? What is their relationship to the hero/heroine? Have any of these gone on to become scene-stealers? If so, who and how did they do it? (Again, please give us a small bit of dialogue to illustrate this – thanks!)
ROXANE: I don’t usually create characters that steal the limelight from the heroine. They are supporting characters, apart of the main characters life, who either help or hinder her world, to create deep, plot intriguing relationships. In this novel, Lillian has two best friends whom she livies with on the lighthouse station. Heath and Ayden are brothers but very different. Ayden is close to Lillian’s age and somewhat shy. He has jet-black hair and midnight blue eyes. Heath is the oldest of the three, with widely curly blonde hair and sky blue eyes. The three characters have a deep connection and a love triangle is destined to happen as they grow into adults. I included a small bit of dialog …
The boys from below hurried to greet me as I waited to enter the house.
“Hello, there,” said the tall boy with wildly curly hair, greeting me with a warm smile. “My name is Heath Dalton, and this is my younger brother, Ayden Dalton.”
Ayden was years younger, with glossy, jet-black hair and big, dark, midnight-blue eyes. He stayed almost hidden behind his older brother, peered around him, and then rudely stuck his tongue out at me.
“Pleased to meet you. I’m Lillian Arrington.”
BLURB: Roxane Tepfer Sanford writes both contemporary and historical fiction. She is the mother of six children. Roxane was raised in Long Beach, New York, and has a natural-born love of the ocean. Currently, Roxane resides in Arizona with her family, where the weather is perfect year round.
From the time Lillian Arrington was born in 1862, she lived an isolated life on a remote lighthouse station with her father Garrett and her young mother Amelia. But Lillian has wishes and dreams far beyond her years.
When her father is transferred to a new station, Lillian is anxious to meet the assistant keepers and their two sons, Heath and Ayden. She had never met children her own age, had playmates, or made a friend.
Heath, the handsome teenage boy who desires to become a doctor someday, welcomes Lillian. However, his younger brother, Ayden, doesn’t like her and she struggles to win him over. Before long, a secret bond between the three is forged and to Lillian’s delight, they become close friends.
After so many years, Lillian’s childhood is beginning to resemble that of a normal girl. No longer is she lonely and isolated from the rest of the world by over-protective parents. Instead, she experiences new adventures, attends school, and falls in love for the first time.
However, her glorious days on Jasper Island are short-lived as her beautiful young mother begins a tragic descent into insanity and passes away. Lillian is left in the care of her sinister grandmother Eugenia Arrington, who, since the end of the Civil War, continues to steadfastly hold onto the once glorious Georgia plantation known as Sutton Hall. It is there that the immoral secrets of Lillian’s parents are revealed, and she is left to pick up the pieces of her scandalous past, and somehow, find her long way home.
From author Roxane Tepfer Sanford comes the second novel in the spellbinding Arrington series. Even more riveting than her debut novel, the Girl in the Lighthouse. Expect to be captivated in Lillian's grown up world of unspeakable love, lies, betrayal and bitter revenge.
It is the year 1878, and at last, Lillian, now a young woman, is free from the prison called Sutton Hall and the evil grandmother who ruled. Years locked away and far from her beloved lighthouse on Jasper Island, she finds her only escape through sheer luck and the generosity of one man, Richard Parker; an aspiring commercial illustrator. Though Lillian is shamed by the sins of her parents, and the unspeakable act committed by Warren Stone, Lillian entrusts her life to the charismatic, married, Richard Parker, until it is safe to return home.
However life, as unpredictable as the sea, has other plans for Lillian.
Not long after, Lillian is caught up in an adult world of money, greed, drugs, and sinful pleasures, turning her life upside down once again.
It is only when Lillian discovers the shocking truth to Richards cruel years of deception that she finally returns to her lighthouse, desperate to recapture her lost years, and most of all, lost love.
But fate has one more devastating surprise in store. What remains will leave Lillian with incomprehensible choices, and ultimately, tear her beautiful new world apart.