SKYGODS (Hydraulic #2) by Sarah Latchaw-review, interview and giveaway
by Sarah Latchow
Genre: adult, contemporary, fiction
Release Date: August 26, 2014
ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date: August 26, 2014
Kaye Trilby and her ex-husband, world-famous author Samuel Cabral, vowed to fight for their rekindled love in rain or shine. They didn’t realize they’d be caught in a deluge so quickly.
A near-fatal skydiving accident shows Kaye how her reckless behavior affects the ones she loves. But while she knows Samuel is afraid to lose her again, she isn’t ready to give up the thrill of the wild backcountry.
Something darker is slipping into Samuel’s mind, though. The specters of his past are re-emerging. His polish is deteriorating, just as all of Hollywood braces for his blockbuster book-to-movie adaptation. When he appears on Kaye’s doorstep late one night in a rumpled tuxedo, erratic and agitated, it seems that romance with her ex might be her biggest leap yet. A string of failed relationships has pushed Samuel to the brink, the fall-out leaving him in a dark place—a place where Kaye is powerless to help him. She is reluctantly drawn back into Samuel’s glittering and backbiting world of celebrity, all the while clinging to the steadfast peaks of home.
Can Kaye risk her heart with Samuel a second time? Will they ever find their blue skies?
REVIEW: SKYGODS is the second instalment in Sarah Latchaw’s adult, contemporary Hydraulic series focusing on PR business owner and extreme sport enthusiast Kaye Trilby and best selling author Samuel Cabral. Told from first person POV (Kaye) as well as through memories, Sam’s memoirs and excerpts from Sam’s latest book, SKYGODS takes the reader on a roller coaster ride through one man’s harrowing mind and the people that control his life. This is the second instalment and therefore the series must be read in order for cohesion and understanding.
The focus of the storyline is the reconnection between Kaye and Samuel, and the maelstrom that is Sam’s life. Seven years earlier, Samuel pushed away the only woman that he loved, leaving a shocked and hurt Kaye wondering where everything went wrong. Following his sister’s wedding, Sam and Kaye will begin to repair their broken relationship-one day at a time-but there is more to Sam’s story than meets the eye.
SKYGODS follows one man’s descent into hell to which he will return time and again. Family secrets, hidden shame and a history of mind-numbing pain all contribute to Samuel’s passion for writing and his inability to remain in control. We watch as the truth is slowly revealed-the truth about one family’s history that has affected the current and future generation. And how one woman takes it upon herself to uncover the facts and how it has affected the man that she loves.
The secondary characters include Sam and Kaye’s families, group of friends, as well as the publishing and literary pundits who circle around Samuel like a vulture to the dead. There are moments of humor as Kaye’s best friends try to put on a brave face as Kaye endeavors to keep strong in the face of adversity. And there is also the requisite evil-the people waiting in the wings to destroy what is left of Samuel’s self esteem.
Like Hydraulic Level Five (book one) as applied to extreme sports, there is a definition that may be attributed to the title SKYGODS: A skydiver of such talent, skill, reputation and ego that his mere presence on a drop zone elicits a quiet hush of reverent respect, fear and/or mocking. Generally a huge asshole who thinks very highly of himself. Sometimes this self-respect is deserved, but more often than not, the SkyGod takes one decent accomplishment and plays it out for a decade or more. (UrbanDictionary.com). As it pertains to Samuel’s life, there are people who surround Samuel that do more damage than good-they are dependent upon Samuel’s success-and in this, there is both reverence, fear and a self centered attitude that Samuel’s life and success feeds directly into their own sense of self. He is admired, respected and commands respect but his life is a free fall and there is nothing stopping his descent.
If you think I am being selective in my wording, you are correct. Without giving away the truth -the revelation behind Samuel’s destructive actions and the demise of his relationship with his wife-I am struggling to play around a whirlpool of information that is presented to the reader with every turn of the page. As I am struggling for words, so too was Samuel-a man whose life depended on the written word but also depended on a darker secret that controlled every aspect of his life.
SKYGODS is an emotionally dramatic, intense and startling look at one man’s struggle to be normal but failing miserably. Sarah Latchow has done some homework as it pertains the Samuel’s ‘secret’ and how it affects everyone in his life. Not only do we get up close and personal with one man’s spiral out of control but so too, do we see the fall out from his descent into the abyss.
Copy supplied by the author.
Reviewed by Sandy
Hydraulic Level Five
by Sarah Latchaw
Genre: adult, contemporary, fiction
Release Date: September 3, 2014
Click HERE for our review of HYDRAULIC LEVEL FIVE (Book 1)
ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date September 3, 2013
How does a woman get over her one great love? With whitewater rafting, bluegrass, and a touch of revenge…
Kaye is an extreme sports addict with a kind heart and an axe to grind with her childhood sweetheart and ex-husband, renowned writer Samuel Caulfield Cabral. While Samuel enjoys a celebrity life in New York, Kaye remains in their hometown of Lyons, Colorado, running her PR agency and chatting daily with Samuel’s family, the beloved Cabrals—first-generation Mexican-Americans who have embraced Kaye as their own.
But when Samuel returns home for his sister’s wedding with a new love interest, stunning editor Caroline Ortega, the gloves are stripped off. Kaye is determined to unearth the reasons behind the death of their marriage and why two people who lived to love each other were driven apart, all leading to startling revelations about Samuel, about life…and about herself.
TRC: Hi Sarah and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the release of Skygods.
Sarah: Thank you! I’ve been greatly looking forward to this one hitting the shelves.
TRC: We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?
Sarah: Born and raised in rural Iowa. I didn’t grow up in a cornfield, but I have driven a tractor, ha. Seriously though, Iowa has wonderfully kind people and is a gorgeous state. My heart always aches a bit when we’re out of the city and in the country because it is very familiar to me, but still manages to take my breath away with its wide skies and fields. When you love something or someone, it’s that way.
TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?
Sarah: I’ve always read, and I read most anything with a good plot. Jane Eyre might be my favorite female protagonist—I enjoy stories with real women who triumph in adversity. Stories that have a strong sense of place also move me, when the setting is almost a character. Galileo’s Daughter by Dava Sobel, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon are good examples.
TRC: When not writing, what do you do to relax?
Sarah: Read! We live close to a lake, so I’ll take the kiddos and we’ll watch the Canada geese if it’s warm enough. I also catch Indie artists if they’re in town at a great little venue in Des Moines called Vaudeville Mews. Downtown Des Moines also has a huge farmers’ market, one of the best in the country. We go on Saturdays to relax and get outside, and eat these wonderful El Salvadoran things called Pupusas—corn tortillas stuffed with cheese and pickled cabbage. A-Mazing.
TRC: SKYGODS is the second instalment and latest release in your adult, contemporary Hydraulic series. Would you please tell us something about the premise of the book and the series?
Sarah: The narrator, Kaye Trilby, divorced her childhood sweetheart—Samuel—seven years ago. Flash forward seven years, and Samuel has come back into her life. He is now a world-famous author and about to become Hollywood’s next golden boy when his book-to-movie adaptations become blockbusters, ala Harry Potter or Game of Thrones. The books unravel the mystery of why their relationship failed in the first place, and gives them hope for a second chance at love with each other.
Kaye is an extreme sports junkie, so each book uses an outdoor adventure sport as a metaphor for Kaye’s relationship with Samuel. Hydraulic Level Five used whitewater rafting. Skygods is skydiving, and the third book, Fourteeners, features mountain climbing. The books explore what it means to love, what makes a marriage, and tackles social issues such a Hollywood politics and mental illness stigmas. It balances tension with humor, fear with determination.
TRC: How many books do you have planned for the series?
Sarah: Fourteeners is the third and final book—I’m currently writing it.
TRC: Are any of the characters or the premise based in reality or a combination of reality and fiction?
Sarah: Kaye could be every woman—she carries the realistic wishes and insecurities and passions we wear beneath the surface. Like any writer, I draw bits and pieces of my life and weave them into a fictional story to lend it authenticity. That’s how a writer connects with a reader—we can’t be afraid to wear our hearts on our sleeves when we write, to let the reader in and explore the vulnerabilities of our characters, and us, to an extent.
TRC: What challenges or difficulties (research, logistics, background, medical) did you encounter writing this particular story and series?
Sarah: The realities of mental illness required a lot of research and reading. And even then, books weren’t enough to explain what it is to live and love with mental illness. I interviewed many people who struggled with mental illness or had a loved one who struggled, and their stories touched me in ways I could never have imagined.
TRC: Have you considered a novella or spin off for any of the secondary characters?
Sarah: Several people have suggested I should actually write Samuel’s “book-within-a book” novels, *Water Sirens* or his memoir. Those might be fun as short stories. We’ll see. As for spin-offs, I’m not planning anything, but never say never.
TRC: What are your thoughts on writing a series and ending an instalment with a major cliff hanger?
Sarah: I’m not a fan of blatant cliff-hangers. I like to leave readers in a comfortable, hopeful place, even if it isn’t the end of a story. I’ve been told by some they felt *Hydraulic Level Five* was too much of a cliff-hanger, but truthfully I didn’t intend it to be. But now no one needs to worry about Book One’s “cliffie” now that Book Two—*Skygods*—is here!
TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?
Sarah: A bit of both. I know where I want to take the story, because I write my final scene first. And I know which major events need to take place to get us to that ending. But characters have their own personalities, and trying to force them into a predetermined plot line doesn’t always work. Divergences are sometimes a necessity.
TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writer’s fail in this endeavor?
Sarah: First, writers need to respect their characters and give them emotional depth—take the time to explore each character’s motivations, their strengths and weaknesses, what makes them tick. If characters aren’t fleshed out, writers are basically playing with Barbie dolls and readers feel no connection to a story.
Second, writers need to be careful not to let a plotline drive their characters too much. When you force a character into an unnatural conclusion to their story, no matter how much a writer “wants this ending,” that is disrespectful to a character and readers are left feeling betrayed. I’ve seen some of that lately in popular book series—characters sacrificed for the sake of a plot.
Writers also have to be willing to dig down deep into their own fears and failures and triumphs, and open themselves up to their readers. Like I said above, we need to wear our hearts on our sleeves when we write, even if it’s nuanced and subtle. That allows readers to connect emotionally with a story, and through it, with us. When this doesn’t happen, we might get a nice entertaining sort of book, but ultimately not memorable.
TRC: Writer’s Block is a very real phenomenon. How do you handle the pressures and anxiety of writer’s block?
Sarah: I take a shower, listen to music, go for a walk. I read the newspaper and look for real life stories that can inspire a scene. I make sure I write every day, even if it’s only a sentence. If I find I’m stuck on a scene, I’ll skip ahead to a scene I’ve wanted to write, then backtrack.
TRC: Many authors bounce ideas and information with other authors or friends and family. With whom do you bounce ideas?
Sarah: My sister. She lives in the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies, and some of her is in Kaye—the outdoor sports, the love for bluegrass and folk music, the organic farming.
TRC: What three things would you like to accomplish in the next five years?
1.Write a series set in Iowa.
2.Crack the Amazon Top 500.
3.Teach my kids to tie their shoes.
TRC: What is something that few, if any people, know about you?
Sarah: My freshman year of college, I cut a Friday and Monday class to drive to Galveston, Texas to visit my long-distance boyfriend and go to the beach. It was a 36 hour drive round-trip. I taught my two girlfriends to drive my manual transmission Escort so we could take shifts on the road. We brought a big muscular guy-friend with us for protection, but he ended up having mono and passed out in the back seat. I’m not sure if I’ve ever told my folks about this. If not, they know now. Sorry Mom and Dad.
TRC: On what are you currently working?
Sarah: The last book in the *Hydraulic* Series, *Fourteeners*. I’m about a third of the way in.
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
Miami Heat sushi roll from Miyabi 9. I don’t know if it can be considered
sushi, actually, because it has cream cheese and is fried.
Strawberry Rhubarb Frozen Custard
Favorite TV Show
Right now, Outlander
Last Movie You Saw
Favorite Musical Group
Dark or Milk Chocolate
Secret Celebrity Crush
Colin Firth, like, forever. We’re going on twenty years now.
Last Vacation Destination
Drivers who tail my car, especially in heavy traffic or bad weather. I have little kids, come on!
TRC: Thank you Sarah for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on all of your success. We wish you all the best.*
Sarah: Thank you!
Sarah Latchaw was raised in eastern Iowa and appreciates beauty in mud-splattered gravel roads and fields. She also loves to explore far-away places, thanks to countless family minivan trips across the States. This passion for finding stories led to college adventures in many different countries, and each place’s story rests in the back of her mind and in her photo albums.
Sarah received her BA from Wartburg College in public relations and media, and entered the workforce, ready to climb the ladder. However, when researching MBA applications evoked feelings of dread, with the loving support of her husband, she pursued a career in creative writing and was awarded her MA from Iowa State University.
These days, Sarah wakes every morning thrilled to cuddle her small children, show them the world, then capture that world and shape it into stories on paper. She is not thrilled when she wakes to her cats smothering her face. She and her family reside in Des Moines, Iowa—one of the best places to live and work.
There are TWO ways to WIN
Sarah and her publicist are offering an ecopy of either HYDRAULIC LEVEL FIVE (book one) or SKYGODS (book two) to TWO (2) lucky commenters at The Reading Cafe.
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7. Giveaway is INTERNATIONAL
8. Giveaway runs from September 5-10, 2014
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