Title: Hydraulic Level Five
Author: Sarah Latchaw
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Cover Designed By: Amy Brokaw / Micha Stone
Event organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.
How does a woman get over her one great love? With whitewater rafting, bluegrass, and a touch of revenge…
Kaye is an extreme sports addict with a kind heart and an axe to grind with her childhood sweetheart and ex-husband, renowned writer Samuel Caulfield Cabral. While Samuel enjoys a celebrity life in New York, Kaye remains in their hometown of Lyons, Colorado, running her PR agency and chatting daily with Samuel’s family, the beloved Cabrals—first-generation Mexican-Americans who have embraced Kaye as their own.
But when Samuel returns for his sister’s wedding with his new love interest, stunning editor Caroline Ortega , the gloves are stripped off. Kaye is determined to unearth the reasons behind the death of their marriage and why two people who lived to love each other were driven apart.
She discovers startling revelations about Samuel, about life…and about herself.
1. Kaye’s heartache is real and relatable
Readers can hopefully connect with Kaye because they recognize their own hopefulness, fears, and regrets in her. Kaye struggles to do the right thing and be a grown-up, but she is shouldering some very real disappointments. Both Samuel and Kaye have their trauma, though Kaye isn’t entirely aware of hers. It emerges in her rash decision-making and adrenaline addiction. Despite it all, Kaye runs a successful business and has deep, meaningful friendships. While she might think nasty things about Samuel’s new girlfriend, on the outside, she tries not to be petty.
2. Our leading man is Mexican-American
Hispanic culture has deep roots in Colorado, and many beautiful traditions. It also places a heavy emphasis on family, which was a natural fit for the Cabral familia. Samuel is caught between two worlds, not quite fitting anywhere. But he did find a place next to Kaye, which makes the end of their relationship extra painful. We don’t have too many Latino love interests in romantic fiction these days, and I wanted to offer a true appreciation for this culture that goes beyond a token Hispanic supporting character.
3. Our perception of Caroline is skewed by the narrator
Caroline is the evilest of evil cliff-hucking harpy floozies! Why? Because she’s dating Kaye’s ex-husband. *screeching halt*. That’s it? We dislike her because she’s embroiled in an underhanded girl-fight with Kaye. But Kaye’s fighting back, isn’t she? So really, the only reason we hate Caroline is because Kaye hates her. If we stripped away the lens of Kaye’s narration, we might find Caroline is not such an evil person, just deeply flawed like the rest of us.
4. Molly could be your best friend
Molly isn’t just a sounding board for Kaye’s grievances. She has her own real heartaches and wishes. Molly isn’t a petite or willowy beauty—she’s tall, stocky, and baby-faced. She’s a different kind of beautiful, but she’s been beaten down by her “wicked” stepmother, a social-climbing Xanax-popping couture bag. She longs after a somewhat flakey man who keeps her in the friend zone. Just as much as Kaye needs Molly, Molly needs Kaye.
5. Jaime Guzman really is a misanthrope. Really.
Divorce attorney Jaime actually doesn’t like people. She prefers the company of dogs, so she says. But she and Kaye stir up a lot of trouble for seemingly no purpose, except to help Kaye get to Samuel. Why? Could it be that Jaime is actually a tad lonely, for all her assertions of misanthropy?
6. Hector’s likeable, but he’s dangerous
Molly and Danita call it in the opening chapter, though Kaye is unwilling to acknowledge it: Hector is a dangerous influence. While he truly cares about Kaye and offers thoughtful insights and gestures, he encourages her to do dangerous things. He is one of those friends who keeps his buddies in addictions to justify his own risky behavior.
7. Cassady is everywhere in Colorado
True story: when I was scouting out locations in Denver for my sister’s bridal shower, I spotted three different VW vans with itinerant dreamers living the good life in a parking lot. Like Cassady, many neo-hippies come to Colorado looking for freedom from convention and obligation. I once slept on the couch of an affirmed bachelor (very decent dude) who travels Colorado on a motorcycle, repairing office printers. He does this to support his serious whitewater habit and his gorgeous cliff-side home in Glenwood Springs. Anyway, that’s pretty typical Colorado. Peter Pan Syndrome abounds in the mountains and on the lakes, and it’s just part of the culture. Watching Into the Wild is a religious experience, there.
8. Kaye and Samuel aren’t the only love story
-Angel and Danita: Danita sidelined Angel on the “friends” bench for years. Then, according to him, he intentionally tore up his car door so Danita could weld it back together, and the rest his history. It’s hinted that Angel’s tours of duty in Afghanistan really did a number on Danita—in her case, the fear of losing the man she loved is actually what sealed that very love.
-Sofia and Alonso: Like Samuel and Kaye, they played together as children, only in the streets of Ciudad Victoria, Mexico. Sofia was heartbroken when Alonso left to attend college in the US. But in true love story fashion, he came back for her.
-Molly and Cassady: Theirs is a relationship just beginning to bloom. She’s crazy about him, but he’s dragging his feet because he doesn’t like to be tied down to anything or anyone. Kaye is right to worry about her friend’s heart in Cassady’s hands.
9. The unseen characters are just as important as those present
-Indigo Kingsley: a Hollywood femme fatale and Samuel’s ex-girlfriend, she is symbolic of everything about Samuel’s new, glamorous life that intimidates Kaye. She is a reminder that Samuel has a completely different existence separate from his life in Lyons.
-Kaye’s grandmother: though she is mentioned fleetingly, she was a great influence in Kaye’s life. Kaye was desperate for stability and family, and Kaye’s grandmother gave her what she could, from summers in Durango to a hand-knitted sweater that Kaye still wraps around her shoulders like a hug.
-Samuel’s mother: While both of his biological parents impacted Samuel, it was his mother that truly wounded him, as evidenced in his memoir snippets. While only hinted, we get the idea that Samuel’s bio mother hung over his young head like a black cloud.
10. Everyone has a backstory
In real life, everyone could be the main character in a beautiful story. No one is flat, and characters shouldn’t be flat in fiction, either. One thing I did was sketch out every single character—even the minor characters—and give them a quick backstory. Their tale might not ever surface in the book, but having it in the back of my mind makes their characterizations more colorful.
About the Author
In 2002, Sarah received her BA from Wartburg College in public relations and media, and entered the workforce, ready to climb the ladder. However, when researching MBA applications evoked feelings of dread, she realized a corporate marketing career wasn’t for her. With the unfailing support of her loving husband, she chose to pursue a career in freelance and creative writing, and received her MA from Iowa State University in 2009.
These days, Sarah wakes every morning thrilled to cuddle her small children, show them the world, then capture that world and shape it into stories on paper. She also enjoys her piano, volunteering in her community, and reading anything with a cohesive plot. She and her family reside in Des Moines, Iowa.
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Tour-Wide Giveaway (US Residents ONLY)
$25 Omnific gift card, Five (5) signed, paperback copies of Hydraulic Level Five, Ten (10) eco-friendly Duck Duck Farms totes containing signed books, music, and other Colorado-centric items.
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