I’m happy to welcome back bestselling Amazon author Sally Brandle. Today, Sally shares her writing journey and recent release, Sapphire Promise.
My writing journey began ten years ago with a dare on a Costa Rican vacation. I spent 95° afternoons on my brother’s porch in a hammock reading books I’d brought and ones I’d swapped for at the local cantina’s library shelf. Seven days and nine books in, I’d read several great romance stories and a couple of duds. “I could write this well,” I announced to my husband and waved one without likeable characters. Famous last words.
I contracted the first book I penned with Soul Mate Publishing in 2017 and am currently editing a fourth book in the contemporary series. The Hitman’s Mistake is the open story of the three published romantic suspense adventures set in fictional Emma Springs, Montana. In this genre, I write edgy, sweetly intimate, love stories. My tenacious heroines find deserving heroes, share an ample dose of sizzling attraction, and together are pitted against shadowy villains. I throw in folks enjoying small town life and clever animals for heartwarming, page-turning thrillers.
Last year I switched gears and wrote the enhanced memoir of a dear, Dutch-American friend, Iris. During our thirty-year friendship, I heard tales of her childhood in 1930’s Batavia (now Jakarta), Indonesia. How many young women ever shared a saddle with their pet monkey while riding through a jungle? Married at eighteen, due to the impending Japanese invasion, Iris never gave up hope of seeing her newlywed husband again after they were hauled off to different internment camps. Her command of five languages and beginning nursing training provided a reason for the Japanese to keep her and her mother alive. She remained positive throughout horrific challenges, and I couldn’t resist writing Sapphire Promise, her inspirational story. The challenge was to stay true to her life while portraying the colonial aspect in a sensitive manner. Research and consultations with a variety of experts proved invaluable.
I enjoy answering questions about any of my stories at Zoom book club meetings, so feel free to contact me. Inevitably, a discussion of Sapphire Promise encourages the members to share tidbits of history they’ve heard from friends and relatives. Many express hesitations at recording or writing them. I learned tips and tricks while prompting details from Iris’s memory and then created a document for others to get started. If you’d like a copy or to get in touch, here’s the link: http://www.sallybrandle.com/contact.html
Iris’s story is over ninety percent true, with a few scenes added for flow, all bearing her approval. The book is historically accurate, a sweet romance, and on sale in eBook and Audio versions for Women’s History Month. Here is the link for purchasing a discounted copy before April 7th. https://books2read.com/SPWomenHistoryMonth Print versions and Large Print versions are also available at regular price from multiple retailers. https://books2read.com/sapphirepromise
Here’s what reviewers are saying about Sapphire Promise:
…This would make a fantastic read for a book club!…Emerson Matthews, InD’tale Magazine
“This turbulent, complex and intense love story shifts from idyllic beginnings in Dutch-controlled Indonesia, pre-World War Two, through several years of brutal Japanese occupation, to possible new beginnings in an uncertain postwar era…Brandle paints a tapestry that vividly depicts the serenity of the region prior to occupation and the brutality of the aftereffects.” Jon G. Bradley, Historical Novel Society
“This coming-of-age story occurs during a time of great turbulence. The author takes such care in reminding the reader about what it means to be human, love, care, survive, and heal.” Jamie Stern-Member at Large, Director of Research, The Indo Project
Back Cover Teaser
Loyalty to family. Trusting instincts. The will to survive. These virtues are deeply embedded in a mature Dutch teenager, Annika Wolter. Her attributes prove useful as she navigates typical coming-of-age insecurities and a blossoming romance with a handsome lieutenant in 1939 Batavia, Java.
Nothing prepares her for the distress of Hitler’s attacks on European countries followed by Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor, toppling her idyllic life in the Dutch East Indies colonial society and separating her from the man she loves. Uplifting events from a true story showcase how determination, nursing basics, and language skills keep a young woman and her mother alive in the worst Japanese internment camp in the Pacific. If you admire clever women and unfailing love in a tropical wartime setting, you will be captivated by Sapphire Promise.
PROLOGUE CALIFORNIA 2021
Annika dropped a bag of Earl Grey tea into the porcelain teacup—her wrinkled, sun-spotted hand showing evidence of her earliest decades spent in the tropics. The sapphire ring on her right hand still glowed deep, deep blue, and without thinking, she pressed it to her heart. A lock of silvery hair fell across her forehead. She brushed it back, and touched the bumpy scar at her hairline, vaulting an eighty-year-old memory into play.
Her body tensed while she relived the horrible moment of the noontime heat, the smell of petrol on the street, but worst of all, the crisp vision—a jeep full of Japanese enemies slowing as it drove by her, the passenger soldier glaring, the brake lights flashing a warning. The driver veered in front of her bicycle and stopped. She swung the handlebar to the right, parked on the shoulder, pulled out her Mobile Nurse card, and then bowed. One soldier jumped out and walked around her while another one stepped to her side and yelled an angry order in Japanese. She remained bowed and prayed for God to protect her and Mamma from harm.
A rifle barrel whacked her knee from behind, pitching her forward until her kneecaps hit gravel. She thrust her hands out before face-planting. Keeping her head lowered and bare shins on the rough ground, she pressed her chest to her thighs. Was this enough groveling to stay alive? “Bow!” the ugly voice shouted. A saber rattled. A Please Lord, help me. She dropped her brow to the ground and stretched her shaking arms out ahead, palms down, as if prostrated in prayer.
“Bow!” he shouted again, and the sole of a boot pushed onto the back of her head and drove her forehead into sharp stones.
A whistling tea kettle jarred Annika back to the present. She slowly inhaled and exhaled and then poured steaming water over the teabag. The robust scent of the first brew brought a comfortable, calming warmth to her face.
Suffering brought enlightenment—a truth she’d read somewhere.
After sipping her tea and nibbling a cookie or two, she’d think back to the beginning—to the life she’d loved, the lessons she’d learned, and the wonderful people who had helped her through the toughest years of her life.
Bio and Links
Bestselling Amazon author Sally Brandle grew up as a tomboy alongside helpful brothers, which prepared her to work in a male-centric industry and raise respectful sons. Sally’s rescued Tuxedo cat, Shepherd dog, and Blue Heeler are her companions during long spells of writing or bouts of tormenting weeds in her garden. Afternoons she often spends riding on the wind with her thirty-one years young Quarter Horse.