A few years ago, Dee S. Knight began writing, making getting up in the morning fun. During the day, her characters killed people, fell in love, became drunk with power, or sober with responsibility. And they had sex, lots of sex.
After a while, Dee split her personality into thirds. She writes as Anne Krist for sweeter romances, and Jenna Stewart for ménage and shifter stories. All three of her personas are found on the Nomad Authors website. Also, once a month, look for Dee’s Charity Sunday blog posts, where your comment can support a selected charity.
Beverley: What’s your name?
Sara: Sara Richards
Beverley: Where did you grow up?
Sara: I grew up a Navy brat, so we lived many places. Until I was 17, I lived with my parents in Virginia Beach, Virginia. That summer—the summer of my high school graduation—I was sent to live with my aunt in Beaufort, South Carolina, and that’s where I became an adult—and had my baby.
Beverley: During what time period does your story take place?
Sara: 2005, with flashbacks to 1970.
Beverley: What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you?
Sara: Why Anne Krist decided to tell my story in Burning Bridges I’m not sure. Back then, living in a Navy town, with sailors, marines and soldiers still going off to Vietnam, my story was probably a common one. I think she loves Beaufort, and that’s what decided her. Also, she fell in love with a guy in Virginia Beach that her father didn’t approve of, so maybe from that respect she thinks we’re somewhat alike. I’m just glad she decided to write the book!
My story is, I met a guy. I know, all romances start that way. He was 20 and I was 17—jailbait, as they used to say back then, but I wasn’t too young to know when I fell in love. Just before he left for Vietnam, we spent a night together. Then he was gone, and I never heard from him again. When I discovered I was pregnant, I couldn’t believe how stupid I’d been. I went to live with my aunt in South Carolina and to have the baby, then give it up for adoption. Then I heard that Paul had died. After that—despite the fact he’d never written or tried to contact me—I couldn’t give up our child, our beautiful daughter. The life I built is one in which I burned lots of bridges.
Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?
Sara: To keep my life as it is. I have a good relationship with my mother who lives nearby, and a wonderful adult friendship with my daughter and her boyfriend. They live in Charleston, about 72 miles away, so we get together frequently. I also have a boyfriend, if a grown man can be called that. He’s a Marine stationed here at Parris Island. I have a job I love, and a family I love. My life is perfect. My goal is to keep it that way.
As my father used to say, some people are born to be disappointed. Life doesn’t “stay” for anyone.
Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?
Sara: In one fell swoop, my life became a maelstrom of change. My daughter is leaving, my mother betrayed me, and even my close friend, Matthew is being transferred. My business has to move or close. I feel empty and at a loss as to how to continue. Then, something even more catastrophic happens. I feel that I’ve been tossed into a whirlpool in the middle of the ocean.
Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?
Sara: What does one do but take things step by step. I have to accept that I have no control over some things. Those aspects I can control, I just try to do my best. No plan, not really. Maybe that’s been my problem for a while—I’m too reactive instead of proactive.
Beverley: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
Sara: I try to be a good person. I loved a good man, and that action affected my whole life, and then the life of my daughter. But I can’t regret that love. That’s what I’d like people to remember me by when the time comes to be
remembered—that I loved strongly, and that love is something I would never regret.
Blurb for Burning Bridges:
Letters delivered decades late send shock waves through Sara Richards’s world. Nothing is the same, especially her memories of Paul, a man to whom she'd given her heart years before. Now, sharing her secrets and mending her mistakes of the past means putting her life back together while crossing burning bridges. It will be the hardest thing Sara’s ever done.
Excerpt from Burning Bridges:
Sara stared at the letters arranged before her in numerical order. The moment in time she and Paul shared was long ago, yet her dream had conjured his presence as though she’d just seen him. In her mind, his blue eyes darkened with passion before his lips captured hers, and he moaned his appreciation when their tongues met. She tasted his sweetness and knew the steel of his arms as he held her. How many nights had she put herself through hell reliving those memories? Too damn many.
After the concert, they’d met clandestinely on weekends, mostly at Sandbridge, where they could walk and talk undisturbed. With each meeting, stirrings built deep in Sara that pushed her to want more, but Paul insisted they restrain themselves because of her age.
Then the weekend before he shipped out, she'd planned a surprise and her life changed forever.
The kettle screeched, bringing her back to the present. Sara prepared a cup of tea and then picked up the envelope marked twenty-eight. At one time, she would have given her right arm to hold this letter. Now, curiosity and the desire for a brief escape drove her more than the passion of youth. Blind love had faded when she’d had no word to bolster her during the long weeks after the ship left.
First had come the waiting. No letters arrived, even though she wrote him daily. There were no phone calls, no notes, no anything, for days that dragged into weeks then crept into months.
Anticipation morphed into anxiety. She worried he was sick or hurt and unable to write.
One day she admitted that Paul must be afraid to write for some reason, and she feared what he would say if she did receive a letter. That their time together had been a mistake, that she was too young to be in love. That he really loved someone else and Sara had been only a stand-in while he was in Virginia. Perversely, she began to sigh with relief when she arrived home and found no word.
Now, knowing why she hadn’t received mail, what would she feel if she opened this letter and her old fears proved to be true?
“Nothing,” she murmured. “Paul’s dead. He can’t hurt me anymore.” At the very least, his letters might allow her to put his ghost to rest. For that reason alone, she had to read them.
She slid her thumb under the flap and ripped the envelope open. A single sheet held his hurried scrawl.
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