Monday, January 30, 2023

Virtual Book Tour + #Giveaway: So Hard to Do by Sally Basmajian @sallybasmajian @GoddessFish

So Hard to Do

by Sally Basmajian

GENRE: Romantic Comedy


Suze Foster has always been devoted to her daughter. As a child, Jannie required extra support in school, but now-at age 29-she's a rising executive. Suze, thrilled with Jannie's success, is finally free to follow her own dreams.

Without Suze's dedicated attention, though, Jannie flounders. In a careless moment, she floods her apartment. Enter our hero, Aram-her hot but significantly older neighbor. He saves the day, and for Jannie, it's love at first sight.

Not so much for Aram, though, who falls head over heels for Suze when they accidentally meet. Unaware of Jannie's feelings, Suze is equally smitten.

In this twisted triangle, can a happily-ever-after be achieved? Or will someone's heart break and the mother-daughter bond be severed forever?

Purchase So Hard to Do on Amazon and Books2Read


Immediately, Suze pushed back the chain, threw the door open, and pulled a weary-looking Aram inside. He was travel-rumpled and his eyes looked strained, but he smiled broadly down at her. Feeling as if Santa had come early, Suze smiled back, unable to tear her gaze away from his. She beckoned him inside, carelessly kicking the door closed behind them, and helped him remove and hang up his winter coat.

Then, as if in a trance, she took his hand and led him further inside her modest apartment. It could have been the royal suite at the Ritz, for all she cared. Without a word, they sat down on the sofa, holding hands and savoring each other with hungry eyes. Suze breathed him in. Delicious traces of spiciness—manly bergamot mixed with the smoky overtones of air travel. She wanted to get closer, to bask in his essence, to feel his arms around her.

This was their moment. It might be in a tiny studio apartment and they might eventually have to take care of ungainly details such as removing clothing and unfolding the sofa bed. But passion was in the air. Romance would trump any mundane logistics they’d have to face.

Aram leaned forward and tipped up her chin with one hand. “I’ve been waiting too long for this.” His eyes telegraphed want, desire, urgency.

She was speechless. Her body tilted into his. And when Aram’s mouth closed on hers, Suze surrendered herself to him completely.

Interview with Sally Basmajian

How many books have you written and which is your favorite?

I’ve written four. In 2023, the first two will be published, but all four are very different from each other. As for which is my favorite—well, that’s like asking me to choose which of my kids I love the most! If pushed, I’ll admit that the ones that make me burble with laughter have the tightest grip on my heart. At the moment, So Hard to Do holds that special place (shhh!—don’t tell the others).

If you’re planning a sequel, can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it?

I love my characters so much, and if readers demand to see what unfolds next, I’ll gleefully extricate my protagonists from their happy places and cast them back into complicated messes to see if they can escape. Right now, I’m working on a different project, so Suze, Jannie, Kirk and dreamboat Aram are enjoying their happily-ever-after moment, but I’m sure they’ll agree to delve back into the morass of life’s challenges once they’ve had a chance to rest. They’ll do anything to entertain readers!

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

You ask penetrating questions that make me search my soul! Thus far, I have deliberately written in different styles and genres, but now I wonder whether I should work on linking things thematically and stylistically. So far, I’ve dabbled in middle grade fiction, historical fiction, rom-com, and dark romance (cusp of horror)—and my current project combines romance and magical realism. The one thing in common they all have in common is an infusion of my irrepressible sense of humor. I tried my hardest to suppress it in my dark romance novel, with some success, but keeping things gloomy didn’t feel as natural as just letting my funny-bone boogie. In the future, in order to prevent writer’s cramp, I may have to let my inner chortles out onto the computer screen, and trust that a judicious editor will subdue any over-the-top writing.

How did you come up with the title for your book?

For the longest time, I called it The Next Chapter, because my characters were starting to take new paths in their lives. Then I decided I needed a sassier title, and I changed it to Break Up With Love. Now that I think of it, I kind of like this option, but ultimately, I settled on So Hard to Do. It’s apt, because the characters are struggling so mightily to move on and find love, and it really does take gargantuan effort to achieve these goals.

How long did it take you to write this book?

A few months. But then I rewrote it. And rewrote it. At the behest of early beta readers, I took one character (Jannnie) out of first-person and thrust her into third, against the protests she screamed inside my head. By the time I finished editing, a couple of years had passed. After that, it took over a year to get it published. A writer, especially a novice one, has to be stubborn to the point of mulishness (just ask my husband) and keep the eye on the prizewhich in my case was to find a traditional publisher who would embrace my book.

What does the title mean?

Everything when it comes to love is complicated. When you add in certain factors, such as being on the autism spectrum or trying to revive one’s sexual identity post-menopause, love is even more challenging. Plus, the book begins with an epic break-up scene, and we all know that breaking up is hard to do (thanks, Neil Sedaka).

What did you learn when writing the book?

A young relative of mine, who happens to be on the autism spectrum, was obsessed with Japanese wrestling during the time I was drafting the early chapters of this book. He gave me so much great information about the system and its stars, and this inspired me to make one of my characters a fan of that circuit. Later in the story, when my older protagonist wanted to reignite her sex life, I had to do some serious internet-searching for how she should best tackle the problems she was facing. It was during Covid, so I wasn’t able to visit actual sex shops! And that reminds me—I need to clear my search history before my husband stumbles upon my research.

What surprised you the most?

I created a larger-than-life character named Lola Devine who identifies with the she/her pronouns, but resists being gender-categorized. She is my very favorite personality in the novel, and early Goodreads readers seem to love her, too. In the beginning, she was supposed to be an extremely minor character, but she refused to go away, and she ended up taking on the essential role of fairy godmother in helping sort out romantic entanglements and make wishes come true.

Have you ever killed off a character your readers loved?

Spoiler alert: nobody dies in So Hard to Do! So, no—not yet. On the other hand, I have written at least a couple of short stories where beloved dogs die, albeit of natural causes. I got soundly chastised for that by tear-choked readers! Nevertheless, both stories won prizes in competitions, and I earned a modest amount of money, too. A writer’s gotta do what a writer’s gotta do.

What do you do to get inside your character’s heads?

I have roamed this planet for several decades. For the female characters, I draw on my own life stages, conjuring up my twenties as easily as my middle-age years. Really, all I have to do is sit in front of my computer, close my eyes and allow the feelings to flow. Then I type everything up and hit “Save,” because at my age it’s not always easy to remember some of my most brilliant thoughts!

I’ve also loved and lived with people on the autism spectrum. I’ve attended countless specialists’ appointments and school meetings, and I’ve been torn with grief and rewarded with golden moments of happiness. I feel blessed to have insight into this world.

Finally, the hero of this tale happens to be Armenian, which I think is quite a novelty. For Aram, I drew on my dad’s background, and visualized a wise dreamboat who happens to be wealthy and handsome, and is also open-minded when it comes to dating older women. It was fun lurking inside Aram’s head, and I have a feeling my dad would be surprised but pleased with this tribute to our heritage!

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

After leaving the corporate world, Sally Basmajian discovered the joy of writing. Her fiction and nonfiction stories have appeared in newspapers such as The Globe & Mail and in several anthologies. In 2022 she won prizes for memoir pieces (Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop, Gulf Coast Writers Association), and was thrilled to have a poem selected by the journal Antithesis. She expects to be busy in 2023, when her first two novels appear: in January, a light-hearted romance, So Hard to Do (published by Creative James Media) and in October, a much darker one, Fountain of Evil (Moonshine Cove Publishing, LLC).

Connect with Sally Basmajian

Website ~ Instagram ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ TikTok



$10 Amazon/BN GC

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Marcy Meyer said...

Oh my. This is quite the story line. Very interested to see what happens.

Anonymous said...

My favourite character was Jannie. She was confident and strong. Loved to see the character developing.

Anonymous said...

Can’t wait to meet this cast of characters when my copy arrives!

Rita Wray said...

I liked the excerpt, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for hosting this interview. I especially appreciated the author's insights into her creative process, which sounds like fun (most of the time, anyway)!

Anonymous said...

Well written, fun read.

Cali W. said...

Great excerpt and giveaway. :)

Sherry said...

I love the cover and look forward to reading the book.

Anonymous said...

Great exerpt and interview. It makes me want to read this book.

Debbie P said...

This sounds like a good book.

Sherry said...

This looks like a great read.

Dianne Merrick said...

I also like the Lola Divine character. She reminds me of someone...

Sally Basmajian said...

I've been trying to respond to all your kind and enthusiastic posts, but up until now the system has banned me -- as if I'm a very, very naughty author! Please know I appreciate each of your comments. Thanks for reading my words!

bellagirl07 said...

This sounds like one that will keep me reading and interested for sure.
heather hgtempaddy

Shivani said...

Great interview. Interesting to hear about the background of Aram. And Lola Devine, oh she was such a great surprise. She had me howling! Sally, we need sequel!

Sally Basmajian said...

Duly noted, and thanks, Shivani! Bear in mind, though, that I'll have to disrupt my characters' idyllic lives and throw them into all kinds of messy situations in order to write a sequel. Are you sure you want to deprive them of their happily-ever-afters?!

Amanda t said...

I am really liking the Suze character. I love her struggle to create a new identity for herself away from that of ‘mother’. Mid-life can be tricky and Suze takes it on with determination and lightheartedness. I can’t wait to see what happens.

Sally Basmajian said...

Amanda, I really like your perceptive and sensitive observation. Thanks for commenting! Also, of course, thanks for reading!