Blogger Book Fair Kicks Off with Contemporary Romance Author Sydney Logan
I’ve been dying to host Sydney Logan, but we’re both busy girls. Thank goodness for Blogger Book Fair so I had a reason to buckle down and drag her over for a visit. Sydney’s book, Lessons Learned, is one of the best I’ve read in years. The story, while certainly a compelling (and hot) romance, focuses on timely issues for a well-rounded tale of love on every level. I highly recommend the book to anyone who loves romance with a deeper message.
About Sydney Logan
Sydney Logan holds a Master’s degree in Elementary Education and makes her home in the hills of East Tennessee. With the 2012 release of her first novel, Lessons Learned, she made the transition from bookworm to author. She has a very unhealthy obsession with music, and her iPod is filled with everything from Johnny Cash to Eminem. When she isn’t reading or writing, she enjoys playing piano and relaxing on her front porch with her wonderful husband and their very spoiled cat.
As I always do, I sent Sydney my usual questions, and she was kind enough to answer even the silliest. Take a moment to get to know her, and enjoy the excerpt of Lessons Learned.
As my husband always says, “What’s your book about?”
Lessons Learned is about a high school teacher named Sarah Bray. In the prologue (which you’ll read below), she witnesses a traumatic event at her school. This traumatizes her and sends her running back to her hometown of Sycamore Falls. It is a small, tight-knit, conservative (fictional) community in the mountains of Tennessee. She reconnects with old friends and makes a new one, in the form of Lucas Miller. He has just transferred to Sycamore Falls from a school in NYC. They begin teaching at Sarah’s old high school, and over time, their friendship turns into love. One of Sarah’s students becomes a victim of bullying, and she finds herself helping him face his demons, as well as some of her own.
Do you remember the first thing you ever wrote? Can you tell us about it?
I don’t recall the first thing I ever wrote. I’ve written poems and songs all my life. I do remember writing a poem in high school about my upcoming graduation, and it brought my teacher to tears.
Do you prefer plaid or stripes?
Plaid. Stripes are not attractive on me!
Was choosing to publish independently something you always wanted, or an option you hadn’t considered before?
I hadn’t considered publishing at all until a small, independent publisher approached me. One of the editors had read my online stories and asked if I wanted to submit something original. That’s how Lessons Learned came to be.
Are you working on anything new at the moment?
I am editing my second novel, Mountain Charm, and starting on my third book.
Do you have any rituals before writing? Music or silence? Coffee or tea? Twizzlers or M&Ms?
Instrumental music is fine, but I can’t listen to anything with lyrics when I write or edit. I do have to be careful with the music because it can influence my writing.
Have you ever based a character on someone you know?
I use little snippets of people in most of my characters. I tell people that Lucas in Lessons Learned is very much my husband, and they are amazed. Yes, girls, good guys do exist! There is a lot of me in Sarah. The little nods to music and 80s movies – that’s all me.
What color is your umbrella?
Blue and white
Who is your favorite author and why?
Nicholas Sparks, because the man has never failed to write something that brought me to tears. That’s what I want to do (in the nicest way possible, of course.)
What was the last book you read?
On Dublin Street by Samantha Young
Do you write about locations you’ve visited, or do you rely on research? Or do you make up entire settings in your head?
My first novels are all set in fictional towns in the Appalachian Mountains. I live in a very rural town in East Tennessee, so describing the setting is easy. I take little pieces of surrounding communities to create the town.
After the last word is written, then what? Do you have pre-readers and editors who take over? Do you begin query letters immediately?
Early in the process, I have to submit my first three chapters and a synopsis to my publisher. They then decide if they’re interested. Once I get the go ahead, I finish writing the story. I have pre-readers (trusted and honest friends) who read my story and offer valuable advice. Then, it is submitted to my publisher and to my editing team. I haven’t had to send out query letters. My publisher has always been happy with whatever I submit, thank goodness.
What song would be on the soundtrack for your book?
I actually have a complete playlist on my website, but probably Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me.”
Where can people find your book?
Can we read a little excerpt?
Voices roar through the high school cafeteria while students navigate their way to the tables. The cliques are easily spotted: the jocks, the geeks, the beauty queens, the slackers.
Where will he sit today?
Despite the fact he’s a handsome and impeccably dressed young man, he fades into the background. Knowing it’s pointless, the girls don’t bother to look his way, and the guys deliberately avoid his eyes.
He grips his tray tightly and heads toward the corner table with the rest of the outcasts. They nod hello, but that’s the end of any real attempt at conversation. It’s an unspoken rule of sorts. This is their refuge—a tiny bit of sanctuary in the hell that is public high school—and they’re content to sit in peace.
He takes a seat, and I can see the exhaustion on his face. It’s not a weariness that comes from too many sleepless nights. This is a bone-tired fatigue no seventeen-year-old kid should ever feel.
He’s giving in.
In my peripheral vision, I see a senior stalk into the cafeteria. He’s tall, with deep brown eyes and jet-black hair that won’t stay in place. He’s good looking, popular, and a little conceited, thanks to his father’s wealth and status.
He has a reputation to uphold.
Rumors to squash.
A score to settle.
He pulls the silver gun out of his jacket pocket. Amid the chaos, no one notices.
I try to run, but I’m frozen in place.
I try to scream, but there’s no sound.
The first shot rings out, and suddenly, everyone’s on the cold tile.
Tears, prayers, screams.
Another shot, and for some reason, I’m the only one who can’t move. Who can’t scream. Who can’t do anything but watch as the young man’s body slumps over his tray.
Finally, I find my voice and scream his name.
About Lessons Learned
A young girl needs to spread her wings, but a young woman needs roots.
English teacher Sarah Bray never thought she’d return to Sycamore Falls, but a traumatic event at her inner-city school leaves her desperate for the sanctuary of home. By returning to her roots, an older and wiser Sarah hopes to deal with the demons of her present and confront the ghosts of her past.
She discovers a kindred spirit in Lucas Miller, a teacher from New York with demons of his own. As the newest faculty members at Sycamore High School, they quickly become friends – bonding through Lucas’s culture shock and their mutual desire to build new lives. When they open their wounded hearts to each other, their friendship effortlessly evolves into romance.
Their love is put to the test when Matt, the quarterback of the football team, shares his deepest secret with Sarah. When the conservative community finds out, Sarah and Lucas – along with the town of Sycamore Falls – are schooled in the lessons of acceptance, tolerance, and love.
Follow Sydney Logan…Everywhere
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