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Sharon Wray | Exclusive Interview: ONE DARK WISH

September 23, 2019

Welcome to Fresh Fiction! Please tell us a little bit about your new book, ONE DARK WISH, the second book in your Deadly Force Series. 

ONE DARK WISH is both complicated and simple. At its core, it’s a basic love story about two people (Nate and Sarah) who should never have met and whose problematic lives mean they can never be together. The book also has an involved National Treasure-type plot where a group of dishonorably discharged ex-Green Berets, desperate to regain their honor, must stop a historian (the heroine Sarah Munro) from solving a 17th-century cipher. If Sarah solves it, one of their men will be killed. If she doesn’t, her father will die. Nate Walker, one of the ex-Green Berets who is struggling to keep his men together as a unit so they figure out how to fix their lives, is tasked with stopping Sarah. Except nothing can stop Sarah.

While Nate and his men struggle to figure out this new civilian world they’re living in, why their enemy is throwing around old ciphers, and why they should even care (because it all seems ridiculous to these men of action), Sarah has uncovered a 17th century secret that may hold the key to these ex-soldiers’ redemption.

Your heroine, Sarah Munroe, is a historian trying to find the key to a cipher that will reveal the contents of a young woman who was executed during the 17th century for supposedly being a witch. This key will also reveal the secrets of a dark organization of warriors. How did you decide on this particular profession for your heroine? 

I didn’t choose this profession for Sarah. This book was, originally, the first in the series and she was one of the first characters in this world that I met. While journaling one day, Sarah came to me and explained she was a historian with the Smithsonian who was working as an archivist in Savannah. And, despite the fact her boss wanted her to stop her research, she was determined to find out what happened to this young woman accused of witchcraft in the 17th century. Every time I tried to change Sarah’s backstory/profession in order to simplify the story, everything fell apart. Once I went back to the original outline that Sarah proposed, the story started flowing again. J  It also helped that I had once worked as a library archivist so I understood how passionately these historical detectives are about their subject matter. And, in ONE DARK WISH , no one is more determined than Sarah.

Nate Walker, an ex-Green Beret and math expert, is about to serve time in military prison. But he meets Sarah and knows together with his military expertise and her historical perspective, they can discover the key to the cipher which will keep Sarah safe. However, Nate’s looming incarceration is always in the back of their minds. Even though their attraction is hot and heavy, how did knowing they could ultimately be separated frame the development of their relationship while you were writing it? 

Knowing Nate had to go back to the prison hospital, and having no idea how to prevent that from happening, made this book quite hard to write. Part of me wanted to hold back on the developing love story because I didn’t want to break their hearts. On the other hand, because Nate suffers from memory loss, I wanted to give Nate current memories of being with Sarah so he could survive his re-incarceration. I also needed the love story to drive Sarah’s transformational arc. She desperately needed to learn how to trust others again and, without falling in love with Nate, I don’t think she would have. And if she hadn’t learned to trust, she never would’ve been able to save her father. Another problem I ran into is that I wasn’t sure at what point they should become intimate—or if they should at all. But since they’d both been betrayed professionally, and both suffered from an intense loneliness, their attraction to each other took over. Even though I didn’t know how the book would end while I was writing it, I let Nate and Sarah’s love story develop organically. I just had to have faith that their love story would not only save the day, but it would also save the book. And it did. 🙂 

The Fianna is a dark organization focused on keeping the diary Sarah is researching under wraps. With intricate rituals, total secrecy, and deadly missions, the Fianna is an intriguing group. Where did the inspiration for this secret society come from? 

The Fianna in the Deadly Force series is based on a real-life army from pagan Ireland led by a warrior known as Fionn Mac Cumhaill. Little is known about this group of pagan warriors except what appears in the Fenian Cycle of Irish Poetry and the writings of Roman historians. Fionn and his men lived in Ireland prior to the Roman invasions of Britain in the third century AD. As Rome expanded their empire, Fionn gathered men, trained them hard, and attacked the Romans before they could get a foothold in Ireland. Irish storytellers (and many historians) believe that Fionn’s army is the reason why Rome never settled Ireland.

These Irish fairytales about Fionn and his men are loaded with fairies and magic and druid priests, but there is written historical evidence about a fierce tribe of young men who traveled from town to town, protecting villagers from all invaders–from Roman to Viking. The key thing about these men is that they were required to give up everything that tied them to this world–all their worldly goods and the people whom they loved and who loved them back. They lived harsh, violent, pagan lives with their one goal: to protect those who couldn’t protect themselves. After reading about these young men who gave up everything so the people they loved could live in peace, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if Fionn’s men never disbanded. How, over the centuries, would the Fianna evolve and change? It was within those wonderings that I came up with the idea to make them a current-day organization that is both evil and good and, so incredibly secretive, that they’re misunderstood by everyone who knows about them. They are so fun to write about and I love mixing in their current-day sensibilities with the myths surrounding them.

Your bio says that in addition to being an award-winning romantic suspense author, you’re also a librarian AND you design wedding dresses! What have been some surprising ways that your other professions influence your writing? 

I’ve spent most of my professional library career as a reference librarian. The wonderful thing about that is I know how to do research. I’m fearless when it’s time to ask experts about strange topics or request crazy interlibrary loans (because not everything is on the internet!!) Also because I was a professional researcher, I don’t go down rabbit holes. I’m extremely focused in my research work and can quickly discern if a resource will help me or not. My work as a wedding gown designer helped me when it came time to organizing myself on the days I work and write from home. Instead of sewing and designing in the morning, I write. Because I’ve always had two or more jobs at the same time, I’m good at time management. But since the wedding design business was an at-home business, it prepared me for the pitfalls that come from working at home. Especially now that my kids are away at university. It would be so easy to let time slip away with laundry and errands but the skills I used when I was sewing from home I’ve just transferred to writing. I’m grateful for both careers because they’ve given me invaluable training for being an author.

Summer is almost over! Do you have any fun Fall plans or traditions you do with your family? 

Autumn is my favorite time of year! I just returned from Charleston, SC where I was visiting my husband’s family as well as doing research for the fourth book in the Deadly Force series. Next up I’m traveling across the state of Virginia to visit my twins who are studying at two different universities, three hours apart, because of course, they couldn’t go to the same school. 🙂 I also have a Deadly Force novella to finish as well as doing the final proofs on In Search of Truth, the third book in the Deadly Force series. Other than those things, I’m hoping to go apple picking so I can make homemade applesauce. My family and I also love to go on our annual neighborhood Halloween Walk that takes place in a nearby forest. We always have a chili dinner for our friends and their kids, with hot apple cider, then we go on the 2-hour walk. Afterward, we return to the house and make s’mores over the fire pit in the garden.

Another tradition takes place on November 1, All Saints Day. Since it’s the traditional day that Christians pray for the souls in purgatory, it used to be the custom to visit a cemetery and pray for the dead. I have a group of girlfriends, all cultural anthropologist or historians, one of whom has a birthday on November 1. The day after Halloween, we meet really early, while it’s still dark, and go to a nearby Revolutionary War-era cemetery. We carry candles and leave flowers on the 17th and 18th-century graves. Then we all go to breakfast at our favorite café and drink pumpkin lattes and celebrate my girlfriend’s birthday–while it’s still dark! At first, it seemed strange to do this, but it’s their tradition that I’ve been invited to attend. All of these women are huge sources of research information, many of whom I met while researching pirate ciphers and 17th-century history, and I love spending time with them–mostly because they do unusual things and have fun adventures.

What can readers expect from you next?

I’m finishing up a novella in the Deadly Force series that takes place been Every Deep Desire (book 1) and One Dark Wish (book 2). Although I don’t have a pub date for the novella yet, In Search of Truth (book 3) comes out in February 2020. In the meantime, I blog 3-4 times a week at I have a popular series called The Hungry {Romance} Writer which offers micro-stories from the Deadly Force world that includes recipes/stories such as Rafe and Juliet’s wedding reception (the hero and heroine from Every Deep Desire ), Detective Garza’s surprise birthday party (he’s a beloved secondary character in the series), Samantha Barclay’s Ghost Hunting party (she’s a secondary character who will eventually have her own story), etc. These micro-stories are really fun to write and my readers love them. I also run a series about Irish myths and fairytales as well as a weekly series that offers Sarah Munro’s updated 17th-century herbal recipes. So even if the next book doesn’t come out for a few more months, the blog keeps readers up-to-date about what’s going on in the Deadly Force world.

Rapid Fire Random Questions 

Favorite Romance Trope: Beauty and the Beast

Go to mani/pedi nail polish color: In the fall, I love gold.

Do you dog-ear or use a bookmark in your books?: Bookmarks! I am not a monster.

Pancakes or waffles?: Waffles, but only if my husband makes them for me.

Favorite book from childhood: The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope

Morning person or night owl: Definitely a morning person!

First thing you’d splurge on if you won the lottery: I’d take my family to Paris and spend the week in a fabulous apartment on Isle St. Louis.

A song that will always cheer you up: Perfect by Ed Sheeran

Favorite season: Autumn

You have a totally free afternoon – no deadlines, no obligations, no Twitter notifications!  What do you do?: First, make a cup of tea. Then I spend time writing in my journal in front of the fire (inside or out–depending on the weather) and using my planner to plan out my week. Then I’ll work on/write whatever book is making the most noise in my head. And since I’m not on deadline, I’ll write until I’m tired with no pressure about word count. 🙂

ONE DARK WISH by Sharon Wray

Deadly Force #2

One Dark Wish

Second in a sultry, steamy, and dangerous romantic suspense series from award-winning author Sharon Wray

Historian Sarah Munro is not used to being shot at, but that’s just what happens while she’s poking around cemeteries on Georgia’s Isle of Grace, searching for the key to a centuries-old cipher. Her quest has unwittingly drawn the attention of two deadly enemies intent on destroying each other–and anyone who gets in their way.

Ex-Green Beret Major Nate Walker is on a mission of his own: to redeem the honor of his men, who were betrayed and dishonorably discharged. To do that, he is required to stop Sarah–or one of his own men will die. Nate can’t afford to trust the one woman standing in his way. But his heart says he can’t afford not to. . .

Romance Suspense [Sourcebooks, On Sale: September 24, 2019, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781492693925 / ]

About Sharon Wray

Sharon Wray

SHARON WRAY is a librarian/archivist who studied dress design in the couture houses of Paris and now writes stories of adventure, suspense, and love. She’s a three-time Daphne du Maurier® winner and an eight-time RWA Golden Heart® Finalist. She lives with her super-hero husband and teenage twins in Northern Virginia.

Deadly Force


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