Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

I am the storm... Wheeler by Sara Butler Zalesky

"This book was an intense roller coaster ride. I was sucked into this read from the very beginning. There were moments I was balling up my fist and biting my nails. And then there were times I was ugly crying. This book is not a romance novel. It does have a romantic story in it but that is not the center piece." -Patty, Goodreads


Known as the Ice Queen of the peloton, pro cyclist Loren Mackenzie rarely shows emotion in the heat of competition; she leads her team with quiet strength and determination. But her successes have not come without suffering, and her tragic past is hidden inside tarnished armor.

While out on a training ride with her cycling team near Enfield, England, a chance meeting quickly develops into an unexpected whirlwind romance. But a relationship with an A-list celebrity brings with it the microscope of tabloid-media attention, which expose jealousy and rivalry that threaten to undermine Loren’s leadership of her team.

The new romance also reveals a dangerous obsession, culminating in a terrifying confrontation with someone from Loren’s past. Her injuries not only put her chances at the World Championship in jeopardy but also bring forth memories of a life she had long buried – for good reason.

Can Loren open her heart to the love she has held at a distance, or will her fear ultimately defeat her?

The follow up novel in the Wheeler series is coming soon.


1. This sports romance is still a “new” sub-genre. What do you think about such a category and what are the mandatory features of such a story?
Other than having a sports theme, I don’t think it is much different. Most of the novels in the sports romance category are about baseball, and the player is the male MC. In Wheeler, the main character is Loren, a female pro cyclist.

2. How different is Wheeler from other romance stories?
I didn’t set out to write a romance; it evolved that way. I wrote the kind of story that I wanted to read, and apparently, I’m a romantic at heart. I think that without the romantic involvement, the story wouldn’t have been a genesis of the MC’s goal: to ultimately come to terms with her past and accept the love of those around her. 

3. How much of you is Loren and in what essential aspects is she different from you?
I made a classic rookie mistake in that she is more me than I realized until I was 90% done with the first book. While her life is very different than mine, her reactions, her emotions and the way she deals (or doesn’t deal) with her problems - that’s all me. The biggest difference, other than being 16 years older and not 120 lbs is that I have a lazy streak. I’m very grateful to teach indoor cycling because it’s what keeps me going to the gym and getting on my bike. Otherwise, I’d sit on the couch and daydream!

4. What is your opinion about the Happy Ending in a (modern) romance and what are the cases in which such ending doesn’t work for the story?
I’m in the happy-for-now camp on endings because it’s real. That’s why I gravitate more toward women’s fiction, which often has a conclusion that the MC overcomes an obstacle and goes on to live her life, the good and the bad.

5. Why did you choose Europe as the set for the story?
Unfortunately, the US doesn’t have the kind of cycling racing (men’s or women’s) that Europe does and if you want to go pro -and you’re good enough to do it - you have to go to Europe. That goes for the men too. I wanted to be true to the sport, so it had to be Europe. As for having Loren live in the London borough of Enfield, it was Google’s fault.

6. Love and suspense – what were the challenges when you mixed them in Wheeler?
As with the romance part, I didn’t start out with suspense in mind. An early Beta reader kept mentioning how she was on the edge of her seat in many parts of the story and likened it to suspense. I rolled with it and the as-yet-to-be-titled follow up is heavier on the romance/suspense/drama and lighter on the cycling, being it’s the end of the season.

7. When love and the obsession collide, who can withstand the storm?
Loren uses the quote “Fate whispers to the warrior, you cannot withstand the storm. The warrior whispers back, I am the storm” as a focus. My Alpha readers and I had a brainstorm to try and come up with a tag line and this was the result. We tried to pull the three aspects of the story: love, obsession and her storm visualisation.

About the author:
Sara was born in the wee hours of a November night in New York City. When her family moved to a small borough in northwestern New Jersey, she had little choice but to move as well. Self-sufficiency is a tough thing for a toddler.

The dichotomy of being the middle child of three, but the only girl, was difficult, as typically no one really pays attention to a middle child. Mostly, Sara spent her time creating fanciful stories in her head when she should have been focused on other things, an issue that continues to this day.

Most of these stories have never been shared, let alone completed. This all changed in the spring of 2015, when Sara was encouraged by a friend to expand upon a short story she had accidentally emailed to him. The result is 'Wheeler’, a romantic, women's fiction/sport novel, which combines the author's romantic inclinations and her passion for cycling.

Sara currently resides in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA, with her loving husband and their son. She is a paralegal for a boutique law firm in Chester County, Pa, an avid road cyclist and indoor cycling instructor at a national chain.

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1 comment:

Giselle said...

Thanks for hosting today! :)