Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Twenty-One Steps of Courage by Sarah Bates (review, interview, giveaway)

Welcome to my book blog ~ it is my pleasure to feature Twenty-one Steps of Courage by Sarah Bates

Twenty-One Steps of Courage by Sarah Bates
Publisher: Booklocker.com, Inc.  (Mar 31, 2012)
Category: Literary Fiction, Military Fiction, Adventure, Realistic Fiction
Tour dates: Feb/Mar, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-61434-957-0
Available in Print, ebook, & Audiobook 280 pages
From award-winning author. In 2006, with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan raging, Rod Strong enlists in the Army to achieve the goal his father sought before he tragically died in the Gulf War. His objective: The Old Guard regiment, the elite Soldiers who stand as Sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknown in Arlington National Cemetery. Rod overcomes the obstacles that litter his path until an unexpected firefight in Afghanistan changes his life forever.

Praise Twenty-One Steps of Courage by Sarah Bates

“Sarah Bates professes not to know much about the military yet she tells an inspiring story that captures the true essence of what the military is all about — love of country — unit esprit de corps — family values — personal courage. Every high school student, every parent and all of the politicians in this country should read this book.”- Lloyd N. Cosby, retired Tomb Guard (Alexandria, VA, US)
“I…read the book and I cried A LOT–it was very heartwarming and extremely interesting. When you described the part about him fighting and saving his brother–I felt I was there–a sure movie deal I hope.”- Detra Hoffman (Los Angeles, CA)
“The book covers a lot: what to expect in boot camp and after, the amount of control that the military has over your life once you join, and the responsiblities and hardships that your decision to join places on your loved ones. It also explores camaraderie between soldiers, the pride that attends possessing a strong sense of duty and of self, and the rewards of follow-through. Twenty-One Steps of Courage is a well balanced story about military life. Not too left or right, it’s a good read, one that I would recommend to anyone.”- Caradae Linore (San Diego, CA)
“The author did a wonderful job portraying the feelings of an 18-year-old man. Although I’ve seen the soldiers marching at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, I was unfamiliar with the training and precision involved. I didn’t understand a lot of the military acronyms but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this story.”-Midnight Reader, Amazon Review

About Sarah BatesTwenty-One Steps of Courage by Sarah Bates

Award winning author, Sarah Bates’ fiction has appeared in the Greenwich Village Literary Review, the San Diego North County Times (now the Union-Tribune) and the literary magazine Bravura.
She is the author of ‘The Lost Diaries of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’, published in 2016, and co-author of the 2005 short story collection, ‘Out of Our Minds, Wild Stories’ by Wild Women. Bates was an English Department writing tutor at Palomar College in California for ten years. She privately tutors academic and creative writing students and is writing a new novel.
She is a Military Category Finalist for ‘Twenty-One Steps of Courage’, Next Generation Indie Book Awards, (2013) and 2nd Place Finalist, for ‘The Lost Diaries of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’, Unpublished Novel-Category, San Diego Book Awards (2015). It has since been published.
Sarah Bates lives in Fallbrook, California.

Buy Twenty-One Steps of Courage by Sarah Bates

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My thoughts:  I wasn't sure what to expect when I agreed to read this book.  My newphew is a Ranger, so the story truly hits home for me.  I began the book with a bit of apprehension. 

With that said...
Sarah Bates tells us the story of a young man with a dream.  His dream is complex and the road to achieving it is hard, filled with battles of many kinds.  

As a mother, my heart was filled with so many emotions while I read the story.  The story of a boy: searching for his brother, attempting to fulfil his mission to honor his father, trying to believe in himself, do the right thing and reconcile all this with his desire to live a life with his love.

Sarah builds characters that are easy to invest in and the story flows.  We follow Rod on his journey from enlisting to his final walk.  The pages turn easily and I found myself lost in Rod's courageous battle.  

Well worth a read.  
Thanks Sarah for joining us for an interview:

* When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I was a high school sophomore, I had a job after school each day that interrupted my sleep. I tried to stay alert through my classes but each afternoon I nodded off during my English course. When my teacher threatened to drop my grade I asked for makeup work. “Write some poetry,” she said. I did and have never stopped writing. Although I no longer write poetry, that incident set my path.

* How many jobs did you have before you became a writer?
A couple, maybe…while I interviewed for jobs in advertising agencies. My career in advertising ultimately led to freelance non-fiction writing followed by fiction, which is my primary writing objective now.

* What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
My habit of creating a Time Sheet on which I log the hours I write might be more of a necessity for me than a quirk. If I’m headed to the end of a novel, that Time Sheet is the whip snapping over my head!

* Where do you get your ideas or inspiration for your characters?
Ideas often emerge unpredictably. Sometimes I jot down an idea and never pursue it, other times the idea grows in importance and might become a novel or a short story. Characters are all around me, all the time. A fictional character might have the mannerisms of a friend, the physical description of a stranger.

* How do you decide what you want to write about?
If an idea is compelling and I become obsessed with it, a story usually surfaces.

* What books have most influenced your life?
The Bible has influenced my personal life: my ethics and attitudes. Beyond that, books by authors Thomas Hardy, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Carver, and contemporary authors Stewart O’Nan, Colum McCann, John Jakes, Tim O’Brien, Donna Tartt, and Barbara Kingsolver influence my writing life.

* What are you reading right now?
I am fascinated by the historical novels of John Jakes and am coming to the end of The Kent Chronicles. As I usually do when I find an author I can learn from, I plan to read everything else Jakes has written.

* What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Few days go by when I am not writing so I’ll answer in that context. To get my mind off a particularly knotty writing dilemma sometimes I binge watch cooking shows on TV or pull weeds in my garden. If I’m really stressed, my husband and I take a day off to wander around San Diego County where we live, or if that’s not enough, we fly someplace to site see.

* What is your favorite comfort food?
Pasta with basil pesto and anything made with fresh tomatoes.

* What do you think makes a good story?
Conflict, believable characters, perfect word choices makes a good story.

* Who would you consider your favorite author and why?
My “favorite” author is usually the one I am obsessed about at the moment. However, I always go back to Fitzgerald when I need to remember how a well-told story can influence a reader.

Fun random questions:
• dogs or cats?
• Coffee or tea?
Coffee for sure.
• Dark or milk chocolate?
Dark chocolate, ummmm.
• Rocks or flowers?
Rocks. I return home with a rock as a souvenir of my travels.
• Night or day?
Day. I’m up when the morning sun hits the horizon of my back yard.
• Favorite color?
• Crayons or markers?
• Pens or pencils?

Pencils. I have a coffee mug full of sharpened pencils that I offer to the members of my writers’ critique group. 


1 comment:

  1. I am so glad you enjoyed 'Twenty-One Steps Of Courage'. I started reading it in the bath and caught a cold because I forgot where I was.