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Sonata
Author: Blair McDowell
Publisher: Rebel Ink Press
Release Date: November 2012

Book Genre: Romantic Suspense/Mystery

Buy this book from:




Sonata

[SUMMARY] [REVIEWS] [COMMENTS] [INTERVIEW] [VIDEO]
Book Interview on February 2013

Interview by Laura

Blair, it's great to see you here again at The Romance Reviews to talk about SONATA. Thank you for taking the time to be here.


Q: First of all, SONATA depicts the romance between Sayuri and Michael, but there's also a mystery involved. What made you write a mystery? What is it about the genre that interests you?

Mysteries are among my favourite books to read. I love Donna Leon's series featuring Venetian detective, Guido Brunetti, and Andrea Camilleri's Montalbano books. But I love a good romance as well. I'm a great fan of Nora Roberts who often combines mystery and romance. I like there to be both internal conflict (the love story) and external conflict (the mystery) in both the books I read and the books I write.

Q: In the story, jewelry of about two million dollars has gone missing from Sayuri's family home. Aside from the monetary loss, what sentimental value does the jewelry have for Sayuri's family and for Sayuri personally?

Sayuri's father gave her mother, his first wife, jewelry to mark every occasion—but it was in the nature of an investment. Her mother didn't care to wear diamonds and emeralds, and wore them only when she had to, on special occasions. Of the things stolen, only two pieces mattered to Sayuri: her mother's wedding ring and a small jade pendant given to Sayuri by her Japanese grandmother. The latter had no great financial value but a great deal of sentimental value.

Q: There were several suspects as to who the thief could be, yet in your character study of Sayuri, you mentioned that Michael suspects her father may have been involved. How did this affect the budding romance between Michael and Sayuri?

Everyone in the household is initially a suspect, and Sayuri is incensed that Michael should have to "clear" her father and Nora and Joseph who have been "family" to Sayuri since her mother's death when she was a child. This creates tension, but as Michael eliminates suspects, Sayuri comes to understand the necessity of the process.

Q: You've made such a great character study of Sayuri. Could you please share with us a brief character study of Michael Donovan? What makes him tick?

This is how I saw him before I started writing the book, but I'm afraid it's not brief!

Michael Donovan—hero. Thirty-one. A detective with the Vancouver police. Father and grandfather were policemen. Good looking in a hard tough way. Lots of muscles. Tall, capable, all business. Serious about his work.

Appearance—think the young Clint Eastwood. Muscles like iron. Broad shoulders, slim waist, taut abdomen. Sandy hair that defies taming even though kept short, sharp green eyes, rugged face. Not handsome, but certainly attractive and very masculine. Off duty dresses very casually. Jeans, running shoes, etc. Former hockey-jock.

Michael's hobby is cooking. He worked his way through university in restaurant kitchens and took courses at the Vancouver Culinary Arts School. Michael's cooking ability plays an important part in his seduction of Sayuri McAlister's (my Japanese-Canadian heroine, a professional cellist).

He was Sayuri's sweetheart in high school, where she was two years below him. Their relationship ended badly when his adolescent hormones too obviously reacted to the twelfth grade femme fatal. They haven't seen each other since (twelve years ago). They reconnect when he is assigned to investigate a break-in at Sayuri's father's house just as Sayuri returns home from Paris.

On his off-work hours, Michael works on a sailboat that he keeps moored at Secret Cove. He whistles melodiously as he works. Picks up melodies he hears Sayuri practicing. He has a huge dog named Buttercup, a Malamute, St. Bernard, wolf cross, who is afraid of her own shadow. He rescued her, a shivering, malnourished puppy, in the course of a drug bust.

Michael has an efficiency apartment in Vancouver on Sixth and Granville, and a small house in Secret Cove on the Sunshine Coast that he inherited from his grandparents, while Sayuri, the woman he loves, comes from a different world. Her father owns a major tech company (think Blackberry) and she lives in a mansion in Point Grey. The difference in their financial and social status looms large in Michael's eyes. He sees it as an insurmountable problem.

Furthermore, everyone in the McAllister household, including Sayuri's father and his new fiancée and the couple who have worked for them for years and raised Sayuri after her mother's death must be considered as suspects in a multi-million dollar jewelry robbery that appears to have been an inside job.

How can Michael hope to win Sayuri in the face of these obstacles?

Q: You mentioned that Sayuri and Michael shared a past. How was it like for Sayuri to see him again after so many years? How about for Michael?

Her knees go weak. She has to sit down and try to concentrate on what's being said. She wonders how he can possibly still have this effect on her after so many years.

As for Michael, he drives away from the house, his mind and emotions churning so much that he misses the turn into his headquarters.

Q: You've already shared with us an excerpt in a previous interview. How about another excerpt where Michael and Sayuri are at a deeper point in their relationship?

This isn't deeply into their relationship, but it is later than the first excerpt I offered:

Sayuri thought about three more days and nights with Michael as she brushed her teeth and turned on the shower. Especially about the three nights. She wasn't sure she could survive three nights like last night. She ached in places she hadn't even been aware she had. Whatever had possessed her to come here with Michael for four whole days? Last night had been wonderful. Exciting beyond belief. But four days, four nights… she shivered as she stepped under the pulsing water. It was almost like a commitment. Was she ready for that?

Then she had a more disquieting thought. Was Michael ready for that? He said he loved her, but that was last night in the heat of passion. Men said things like that in the heat of passion. At least she had read that they did. Her personal experience was pretty limited.

Oh well, it was just four days out if her life. She would try to relax and let what happened, happen. She shivered in anticipation. He was so exciting. So overpowering. She wasn't sure she liked being so easily overpowered. She wasn't used to losing control. She'd try not to let that happen again. Surely she could control her own responses.

Q: Woo…so intense. In the previous interview, you've also shared with us the most romantic thing that Michael did for Sayuri. How about Sayuri? What is the most romantic thing she did for or say to Michael?

Sayuri and Michael are deeply involved. They've been sleeping together for some time, but she's not sure whether she loves him or not. Is it love or is it just sex? She's never been in love before. Then her father asks her, "How would you feel if he disappeared from your life?" She realizes life without him would be unthinkable. She calls him and asks him to meet her on his lunch hour just so she can tell him she loves him.

Q: Aw, that's certainly romantic. It would be remiss of us as this point not to talk about the other interesting characters in the story. Please share with us something about Sean (Sayuri's father), Alyssa (Sean's new wife) and Hugh James (Alyssa's brother).

Sean McAllister—Think Sean Connery when he was 50. Urbane, charming, worldly, delightful company—and a thoroughly good man.

Alyssa—a woman with a past she hopes no one will ever uncover. Superficially very sophisticated, inwardly insecure.

Hugh James—Anything I say about him, except for his Irish charm and his desire to bed and wed the wealthy and beautiful Sayuri, would give away too much of the story.

Q: Having a stepmother is never easy, no matter at what age we are. How did Sayuri cope with having one? How did Alyssa cope with having a grown-up stepdaughter?

Neither of them copes very well at the beginning. How they come to like and respect each other is one of the journeys in SONATA.

Q: What's up next for you?

I'm in the final draft stage of a thriller — ROMANTIC ROAD — a romantic suspense story in which my heroine is pursued all over Europe in the company of a dashing, handsome stranger. I'm hoping for a fall release.

How thrilling! Thank you, Blair, for sharing with us these insights! We'll be sure to check out your next novel.


About Blair McDowell:


I started to write soon after I found my first pencil. But I began to write for publication about 30 years ago -- professional books. I wrote six of them, all still in print and still in use. Only lately have I turned to fiction. I'd have done it a lot sooner if I'd had any idea how much fun it was!

I keep busy -- and I love my life. I love meeting the people who come here to the west coast of Canada and stay in my B&B. I love traveling after the tourist season is over. And I love writing. My interests?? Music, especially opera, reading everything in print, and Writing. And walking on the beach and swimming. At one point I had hoped to swim in every major sea and ocean. I've realized that may not be possible in one lifetime -- but trying has been fun!


Website: http://www.blairmcdowell.com/Sonata.html
Blog: http://blairmcdowellauthor.blogspot.ca/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blair.mcdowell.1


Backlist:

The Memory of Roses

Delighting In Your Company

Abigail's Christmas



GIVEAWAY!!!

Blair is graciously giving away 2 copies of SONATA (digital)! Sweet! Thanks, Blair!


ADDITIONAL GIVEAWAY!!!

For all Featured Book Interviews, TRR is sponsoring a prize!

Each comment you make on the following featured book interviews:

Sonata by Blair McDowell
Love Gone to the Dogs by Margaret Daley


gives you one additional point each to win this prize:



WINTERBLAZE by Kristen Callihan (paperback or ebook) – check out the review! – International winner!


Mechanics:

Simply write a comment or ask a question in the comment box below to be entered into the giveaways!

Contest ends February 28, 2013.



Book Interview on November 2012

Interview by Laura

Hi Blair, we're glad to have you here at The Romance Reviews. Congratulations on your latest release, SONATA!


Q: What's your inspiration for SONATA?

I wanted to set a story in Vancouver, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and one I am fortunate to live near. Once I chose the setting, the characters suggested themselves. The beautiful Japanese-Canadian heroine; Michael Donovan, the steady as a rock police detective who loves her; her tech tycoon father -- they are all Vancouver types. You might say this stunning setting between the mountains and the sea inspired the story.

Q: SONATA is a quite a unique title, pertaining, we suppose, to the heroine's profession as a renowned concert artist. Without giving anything away (i.e. no spoilers), is there another reason for the title? What is it?

A sonata is a piece of music, one Michael loves to hear Sayuri play. Late in the story there is indeed another use made of the title but I won't disclose that here.

Q: What kind of research went into the writing of SONATA? Please share with us an interesting fact or experience.

While I'm a classically trained musician and spent my life teaching music, I am not a performing artist. I had quite a bit of research to do into what the life of a professional soloist would be like, the concert venues, the schedules, the recording experiences. I've chosen to have Sayuri play many of my own favorite pieces of music. Her instrument, the cello, is one I love.

Q: Heroine Sayuri McAllister has such an interesting name. Why did you give her that name? What does it mean? What makes her a great heroine for this book?

Sayuri is a Japanese name. McAllister is a Scottish-Canadian name. Sayuri's Canadian father's love for her Japanese mother is pivotal to the story. Why did I choose a Japanese Canadian heroine? First because such women are almost always beautiful and second because Japan has produced some of the greatest musicians of modern times, and my heroine is a musician.

Q: Why is Sayuri a concert artist? Is there a significance? What is it?

Sayuri grew up in a musical household. As a young child she heard renowned musicians in her home, among them a world-class cellist and decided she wanted to play the cello. Her parents saw to it that she was taught by the best teachers. She went on to study in Europe and to win a major competition that led to her concert career.

Q: What is it about Sayuri that makes hero Michael Donovan fall in love with her twice?

Sayuri is like a fairy-tale princess to Michael. He grew up in an ordinary working-class family. His father and grandfather were both cops. Sayuri seems as unreachable as the stars to Michael, yet he's been in love with her since they were in high school, perhaps because she's so different from anyone else in his life.

Q: Please tell us more about Michael Donovan. What makes him perfect for Sayuri?

Michael Donovan is grounded. He's solid and stable. There isn't a temperamental bone in his body. He's the complete opposite of the professional musicians Sayuri has been surrounded by all her adult life. Although she resists the idea, Michael is the perfect man for her.

Q: What's the most romantic thing Michael did for Sayuri?

For a practical man, Michael manages to pull off some incredibly romantic moments, like when he flies to Chicago to surprise her by being at her concert that night, even though he has to take a red-eye flight back to Vancouver to be at work the next morning.

Q: Wow, that would practically make any woman melt! Please share with us your favourite scene in the book. Why do you like this scene so much?

The following is one of my favourites. I think it demonstrates the early relationship between Michael and Sayuri, Michael always pushing gently, Sayuri always saying no, just as gently.

Enjoy this excerpt:

Michael started to clear the plates away, stacking them in the dishwasher. Sayuri joined him.

"I'm afraid there's no dessert except peaches. Like a cognac with them?"

"Love one."

Michael brought them each a ripe peach on a small plate with a fruit knife and fork, and then poured two snifters of brandy.

"I still can't believe you're here," he said. "Sitting at my table, eating a peach, drinking my brandy. Acting as if you were just any girl. Even when we were in high school you always seemed as unapproachable as the moon to me."

"Just any girl," she mused. "That's what I'd like to be, Michael. I feel as if I've spent my whole life outside looking in. I want to come inside." As she spoke, Sayuri was peeling the rosy ripe peach. Its juices ran down her fingers.

Michael reached across the table and took her hand in his. Slowly, deliberately, he licked the peach juice from each finger. Then without releasing her hand, he took the dripping fruit and fed it to her, slice by slice, watching as its burst of sweetness hit her tongue.

Sayuri shuddered. What was happening to her? Michael was there, pulling her to her feet, his arms around her, his mouth taking possession of hers. He licked the peach juice from her lips and then ever so gently kissed his way into her mouth.

Sayuri trembled and broke away. She took a deep breath and tried to steady the nerve endings that seemed to be jumping out of her skin. "I'm not sleeping with you, Michael."

She wasn't sure whether she was saying that to warn him or to convince herself.

He frowned. "Do you mean not now, or do you mean not ever?"

Sayuri burst out laughing, suddenly in charge again, as she preferred to be. "I can't be certain about not ever, that's a long time. But I am quite sure about now. I think it's time you took me home, Michael."

"I love the way you say that."

"What?"

"Michael. No one except you ever called me Michael. To everybody else I've always been Mike." He reached down to kiss her again. A gentle lingering kiss. "And okay, I'll take you home now. As long as you agree to see me again soon."

"I think that might be possible."

Q: Which character was the hardest to write? Why?

Alyssa, Sayuri's father's second wife, was by far the most difficult character to write. I originally envisioned her as one kind of woman and she just wouldn't stay in character. I eventually had to adjust the story to accommodate the woman Alyssa insisted on being.

Q: What's up with you in the coming months?

I've just completed my fourth novel, Romantic Road, and I'm taking a brief holiday before beginning my next. As I write this, I'm on a ship in the South Pacific.

Awesome! Thanks a lot for taking the time for this interview, Blair! We sure gained a lot of insights into SONATA.

About Blair McDowell:


I started to write soon after I found my first pencil. But I began to write for publication about 30 years ago -- professional books. I wrote six of them, all still in print and still in use. Only lately have I turned to fiction. I'd have done it a lot sooner if I'd had any idea how much fun it was!

I've lived in many different places. The US -- Certain cities call to me. I love San Francisco and Seattle and the wonderful Oregon Coast. Australia -- among the most open welcoming people in the world, and a wide open young country with incredible land and sea scapes, with amazing animal and bird life right out of science fiction. Canada -- HOME. The place where I belong.

I travel a lot. I usually spend the month of October in Europe, Greece or Italy, and the winter in a little house I built many years ago on a small non-touristy Caribbean Island. I have worked and studied in many places -- Hungary, Australia the US and Canada, and have spoken in most of the States and Provinces as well as Taiwan and various cities in Europe. I enjoy being surrounded by cultures other than my own. I enjoy my own as well -- but variety is indeed the spice of my life.

I keep busy -- and I love my life. I love meeting the people who come here to the west coast of Canada and stay in my B&B. I love traveling after the tourist season is over. And I love writing. My interests?? Music, especially opera, reading everything in print, and Writing. And walking on the beach and swimming. At one point I had hoped to swim in every major sea and ocean. I've realized that may not be possible in one lifetime -- but trying has been fun!

Website: http://www.blairmcdowell.com/
Blog: http://blairmcdowellauthor.blogspot.ca/
Facebook: http://facebook.com/BlairMcDowellWriter


Backlist:









GIVEAWAY!!!

Blair is graciously giving away 2 digital copies of SONATA! Thanks, Blair!


ADDITIONAL GIVEAWAY!!!

For all Featured Book Interviews, TRR is sponsoring a prize!

Each comment you make on the following featured book interviews:

Abigail and Mistletoe by Karen Rose Smith
Sonata by Blair McDowell
Full Disclosure by Tibby Armstrong
Craving by KC Burn


gives you one additional point each to win this prize:



THE BILLIONAIRE BAD BOYS CLUB by Emma Holly (paperback or ebook) – International winner!


Mechanics:

Simply write a comment or ask a question in the comment box below to be entered into the giveaways!

Contest ends November 30.

Check Out Other Book Interviews

GLBT Romance

 



If you wish to post a message, you need to sign in.


I haven't read any of your books but this interview makes me want to jump right into this one.
[ Posted: 4 years ago ]
Please sign in to comment

  Blair McDowell (author)
Please do! Jump right in. The water's fine!
[ Posted: 4 years ago ]



 
Carole [admin] (author)
The winners of SONATA (Interview dated February 2013) are...

Janice
Josie Haney Hink


The winner of WINTERBLAZE is...

Mary Hay

Congratulations!

TRR and the author will contact the respective winners. Please email carole @ theromancereviews.com if no one has contacted you within one week of this announcement. Thank you!
[ Posted: 4 years ago ]
Please sign in to comment

  Blair McDowell (author)
congratulations to both winners. Hope you enjoy reading Sonata
[ Posted: 4 years ago ]



I devour books that contain BOTH mystery and romance! Your stories sound like they're right up my alley. Can't wait to read one! So glad I "met" you in this interview, Blair!
[ Posted: 4 years ago ]
Please sign in to comment

  Blair McDowell (author)
Janice--it's great to talk with readers in this way.
[ Posted: 4 years ago ]



Romance suspense love it ...I can't wait to read this!!!

josiehink122026(at)gmail(dot)com
[ Posted: 4 years ago ]
Please sign in to comment

  Blair McDowell (author)
Josie--Great!
[ Posted: 4 years ago ]



I love to read mystery in my romance. Thanks for the chance to win.
[ Posted: 4 years ago ]
Please sign in to comment

  Blair McDowell (author)
Thanks, Mary. I like mixing mystery and romance. Spices things up a bit.
[ Posted: 4 years ago ]



I love romance mysteries. Sonata sounds like a great book. Thanks for the giveaway!

kscathyATyahooDOTcom
[ Posted: 4 years ago ]
Please sign in to comment

  Blair McDowell (author)
Hope you enjoy it, Cathy.
[ Posted: 4 years ago ]



love the inspiration for this story...sounds like a wonderful read!
[ Posted: 4 years ago ]
Please sign in to comment

  Blair McDowell (author)
I've always been a fan of books where the hero and heroine come from vastly different backgrounds and discover it's the inner commonalities that really matter.
[ Posted: 4 years ago ]



I have read The Memory of Roses and thoroughly enjoyed it. I believe this new book will be as enjoyable as it was. Sonata will definitely be on my to read list. Thank you for giving your time to write so others can take pleasure in the past time of reading.
[ Posted: 4 years ago ]
Please sign in to comment

  Blair McDowell (author)
Please let me know if you enjoy Sonata. It's readers that make writers dreams come true!
[ Posted: 4 years ago ]


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