Pucks and Smut: Interview with Sawyer Bennett

Sawyer Interview

By Grace

As my Smut Recap mentions (our previous post), the first Hockey Romance book I read was by Sawyer Bennett.  And since then, I (along with Michelle and YaYa) have been a big fan of hers.  We decided to feature her on our Pucks and Smut day, not only because we enjoy her work, but because she is such a big fan of hockey, with not one, but two book series’ featuring the sport.

INTERVIEW
What made you decide to get into writing and how did you go about releasing your first book?
I’m not really sure how I got here. Seems so surreal sometimes. I know that I never had any long standing aspirations to be a writer. It was more or less being a pretty prolific reader and thinking to myself, I wonder if I could write a book? About two years ago, I decided to give it a go. My first book was a paranormal romance, which his one of my favorite genres to read. I never really thought it would do much, and yup… it didn’t. It wasn’t until I took a stab at writing contemporary romance, Off Sides, that I realized that maybe this was something I could do as a career.

You have released a numbers of series’ over the past year.  Which book or series was most fun to write and why?
I have a soft spot for the Off Series, of course, because it was my first series. But the series that was the most fun to write was the Legal Affairs series, because it let me branch out in a few ways. First, I wanted to go a little bit hotter than the Off Series, and second, I wanted to use my experiences as a civil litigation attorney for the past 16 years. Finally, I wanted to throw in a bit more humor. All in all, I wrote this series very quickly, and I think it’s because it was so different than the Off Series. I had so much fun branching out with this.

Was there any book that was emotionally difficult to write, and if so, why?
Definitely Off Limits because a lot of that book is directly from my life. I have a very close association with the Marine Corps as my dad is a retired Marine and I grew up in a Marine community. Like Nix, my ex-husband was in Force Recon (which is now known as MARSOC) and they are the elite of the Corps. I also have a ton of friends that have served in the various conflicts we’ve known in our lifetime, from my dad serving two tours in Vietnam to even current friends deployed in Afghanistan right now. I know first hand the stresses of post traumatic stress syndrome and writing Nix’s character and his pain was very emotional for me. The scene in the book when he’s confronting Paul about what really happened in Afghanistan makes me cry like a baby every time!

As the saying goes, “go with what you know”.  You have writing books on both hockey and the legal world.  Can you explain how you went about taking a passion of yours and developing it into a full book/series?
See above answer on writing Legal Affairs so let’s talk hockey. When I wrote Off Sides, I just went with a sport I knew pretty well. At that time, I didn’t intend to write more books about hockey players, but it just seemed like a good story line to have Linc Caldwell be a hockey player in Off The Record. I mean… hello… hot hockey player? No brainer! My Carolina Cold Fury hockey series was specifically requested by Random House when they reached out to me to write a sports themed series. They suggested hockey, and I was like… yeah, that’s cool. So I did it. I think it’s kind of neat to be known for that, as well as the legal series as well.

We loved us some Matt Connover (Legal Briefs series), will there be any novellas, prequels?
I don’t have any immediate plans for Matt Connover but the more people that request it, the more I keep thinking… I need to write some more Matt “Fucking” Connover. With that said, however, I’m happy to say the Legal Affairs concept will continue. I plan on writing another Legal Affairs serial about Cal and Macy, and I’ve already written a partial manuscript on a full length novel called Legal Affairs: Friction, which will be the start of a new series based on a law firm here in North Carolina. It will be very Sex In The City meets Allie McBeal. Lots of interesting and quirky cases coupled with more of an erotic romance element. Friction is currently on submission now with New York but if it’s passed on, I’ll be self publishing it next year.

We may not share a love of teams (he he) but we share a love of hockey.  How long have you been a hockey fan?  And what is your favorite hockey memory?
First, let me say… GO PENGUINS! Ha ha! I first got into hockey in the early 90’s. My dad owned a bar for 27 years. He’s from western Pennsylvania so I was raised on Pittsburgh sports and I’d always hang out at the bar with him and watch hockey games. I have a ton of great memories of attending hockey games. We would travel up to Pittsburgh at least once a year to catch a game, and I’ve never missed a Penguin game here in North Carolina when the Hurricanes came here. My favorite memory is probably the one that got me really hooked and that was my first live game in Pittsburgh against the Islanders. I remember a player taking a puck to the face and he bled all over the ice right in front of the goalie net. The refs came over and sort of kicked and scraped at the blood with their skates, made a big pile of blood slush, and then just kicked it into the back of the net. I remember turning to my dad and saying, “This game is so freaking cool.” I was hooked after that.

When writing the Off series, did any current NHL players serve has your muse?  Henrik Lundqvist perhaps?
Mmmmm… Henrik Lundqvist. I may not be a Rangers fan but he is straight up the hottest player out there. But to answer your question, none of the current players served as a muse to me.

Your new hockey series, Cold Fury, releases next week.  For fans of the Off series, how does this one differ?
There are a lot of similarities in the style of writing… for example, writing in first person and alternating POV’s. Probably the biggest differences are that the sex is slightly hotter and the issues of conflict are maybe a little more angst driving. There’s also a bit more detail about hockey in these books than with the Off Series.

I noticed that the cover for book 2, Garrett was already revealed.  How many books do you plan for this series?
Right now, I have one more book planned after Garrett. It will be about a secondary character, Zach, that was introduced in Alex and who plays a bigger part in Garrett. I’m not sure right now if that book will be done through Random House or I’ll self publish. We still have to iron out those details but I think it’s safe to say that if Alex, Garrett and Zach are popular, I’ll keep writing about the Cold Fury.

You took a big huge step into Erotica, hence, Uncivilized (which all the shorties enjoyed, BTW), how was it writing that particular book for you?  It was pretty steamy let me tell you.
No secret that I pushed every boundary I ever had with this book.  This was my experiment to write to the market, because I know erotica is selling quite well. It was a really big step for me and I know a lot of authors take this step creating a new pen name as the fan base can be very different. I never thought about doing that though, figuring that people will want to read it or not, and I made it very clear in the marketing of this book that it was erotic. I’ve had a little bit of embarrassment… having my mom and step dad read it, but they loved it! They’re words… “There wasn’t as much sex as you led us to believe. It actually had a really great story line.” I had to laugh, because yeah… I focused my marketing on the erotic element but I think people were really pleased to see a beautiful love story.

Will you be writing more like what you did with Uncivilized?
I’m not sure… maybe? There’s no doubt… Uncivilized was my biggest release so far. It’s done quite well, so the business part of me says “yes”, I’ll write something like this again. However, I will have to say that this book sort of burned me out a bit. I need some time to recharge!!!!

(This one’s from Michelle) Would you consider writing about a hot baseball guy?
Good one Michelle, and I would say if I actually knew something about baseball, I most definitely would. Unfortunately, I know next to nothing even though I’ve been to a few Pittsburgh Pirates games. I do have an idea though for a new series focused around a rugby team, which is a pretty obscure sport. But I did date a really hot guy that was the captain of the Marine Corps rugby team (and he was a fire fighter for the Marines — hot, right?). He had dual citizenship with the U.S. And Ireland and later played professional rugby for Galway. I love this sport so much so I think if I branch out to another sport, this might be it!

We know a lot of authors plan signings around family commitments.  Have you already decided on what signings you will do for 2015? Any plans on coming to NYC to a book signing?
For 2015, I’ve committed to a few in the fall… Wilmington, NC, Pittsburgh, PA and San Fran, possibly Columbus in the spring. I would love to come to NYC for one so if you see one, let me know!!!!

LIGHTING ROUND
What are you currently reading?
Rusty Nailed by Alice Clayton. I adore her books!!!!

Who is your favorite author?
Larissa Ione.

Favorite romance novel?
Damn… that’s a hard one. I’m sitting here and nothing is popping into mind as being my all time favorite. I’ve read so many good ones!!!  I will have to go with a recent read that has stuck with me as being one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve ever read, resulting in a  very ugly cry, and that’s Black Lies by Alessandra Torre.

Favorite Batman actor?
Christian Bale

Carnivore, Vegeterian or Vegan?
Carnivore!!!

The Vampire Diaries or True Blood?
Hmmm… another hard one. I just started watching the Vampire Diaries recently but I think I will have to go with True Blood.

Biggest vice?
Chocolate.

Pepsi or Coca Cola?
Neither… I’m a water drinker!!!

Thanks Sawyer!

About

USA Today Best-Selling author, Sawyer Bennett, is a snarky southern
woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. She is married to a mobster (well, a market researcher) and they have two big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

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