Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I’d been a member of the Steeplehill Love Inspired Romance book club, and had been gearing my writing toward them as a publisher, but I also enjoyed reading authors like Dee Henderson and Terri Blackstock, so when Love Inspired launched its Suspense line, I signed up for the new book club immediately. I soon decided that I enjoy the extra plot elements and faster pace of romantic suspense over a straight inspirational romance and gravitated to writing those types of stories. I enjoy the challenge of creating a mystery/suspense thread without sacrificing the romance.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
Oh, it’s impossible to choose. The Lord has blessed me with many special days I treasure. These days, any day I get to spend with my adorable new grandbaby is a wonderful day.
That is so true. How has being published changed your life?
I’ve gotten to know a lot of wonderful people through blogging and speaking engagements and letters from readers. They’ve enriched my life, and bring a smile to my face on a daily basis. Hearing how something I’ve written has spoken to a reader is especially encouraging on those days when “new” words elude me.
What are you reading right now?
How to Disappear
Doing research for my next book.
What is your current work in progress?
I just finished line edits for the third book in my Undercover Cops series, Critical Condition, which releases in October. The hero was introduced in Deep Cover, and I’ve been eager to tell his story ever since. It's about a nurse, an undercover cop, and a murderer who’ll stop at nothing to avoid being caught.
Now…I’m brainstorming the second book in a trade-length romantic suspense series for which I recently received an offer! Details will have to wait until the ink on the contract is dry.
How exciting. You must contact me to schedule an interview when you have the pub date.What would be your dream vacation?
That’s a tough question. My husband and I have been mulling it for weeks as we try to decide where to go for our 25th anniversary. Hawaii and Alaska are both places I think I’d like to see. But anywhere with beautiful vistas, my husband at my side, and no crowds would suit me just fine.
Both of those are on my wish list. How do you choose your settings for each book?
All of my published and contracted novels are set in fictional towns situated in the
region, because it’s an area I know and love. Creating fictional towns allows
me to blend the elements of various real towns that I need for my one-town
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I used to x-stitch and knit and paint and sew and do woodworking and construction projects and other crafts, but not so much these days. I love to go for walks with my dog, and kayaking with my hubby.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Pacing is my biggest challenge. I tend to focus on the suspense plot in first drafts, especially on ending my chapters with cliffhangers. But…sometimes those just-came-to-me cliffhangers cause me to write myself into a corner, or to barrel through the story without adequately building the romantic tension along the way.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Don’t be in a hurry to publish. Take time to learn the craft well. Persevere.
Tell us about the featured book.
Shades of Truth is the second book in my Love Inspired Suspense series, Undercover Cops: Fighting for justice puts their lives—and hearts—on the line. However, you won’t be lost if you haven’t read the first novel. Each story stands alone. They are linked by setting, theme and characters. For example, the heroine in this book was the friend of Deep Cover’s heroine.
Back Cover Blurb: Big city detective Ethan Reed is working deep undercover at a Christian youth detention center. The kind of place he spent some harrowing time in as a kid. Ethan’s mission: ferret out who’s recruiting resident teens for a drug ring. He expects help from the lovely, devoted director of Hope Manor. But Kim Corbett won’t tell Ethan anything— even when she’s threatened and attacked. When Ethan discovers what Kim is protecting, his guarded heart opens just a bit wider. Enough to make this the most dangerous assignment of his career.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Taking this undercover assignment in Miller’s Bay,
was a bad idea. Too many reminders of his own screwed-up youth. Ontario
Ethan Reed trailed Darryl Corbett, the son of the detention facility’s founder, into the yard full of teen boys. The mixed teams of staff and residents on the baseball field underscored the center’s buddy-like approach to rehabilitation, but the barbed wire perimeter glinting in the summer sun hammered home the reality.
While Darryl itemized the characteristics that set Hope Manor apart from government-run facilities, Ethan’s thoughts drifted to the reason for his secret recruitment from outside the Canadian border town’s tight-knit police force. Whoever was luring residents into becoming drug pushers had inside connections. Inside the manor. And inside the police force.
At first glance the youths looked like average kids in their saggy pants and oversized T-shirts, minus iPods dangling from their ears and ball caps askew on their heads. But Ethan didn’t miss the hand signals gang members flashed when they thought no one was watching, or the scars on their faces from fighting, or the burns on their skin from initiations.
The facility forbade wearing gang colors, but restrained rivalry was evident in their defiant swaggers and icy stare-downs. They tried to look tough, but most of them were cowards who saw nothing wrong with three guys swarming a lone stray, like a pack of wolves circling their dinner.
A foul ball bounced in front of Darryl who tossed it to the kid on the pitcher’s mound. “Basically, you’re expected to engage the residents in whatever activity interest them. If you’re any good at coaxing them to open up to you and talk out their problems, all the better.”
Ethan grunted. He’d better be good at getting the boys to talk, because whoever was recruiting these kids had neglected to mention short life expectancy in the job description.
An engine’s roar ricocheted off the brick building. Then a scream—urgent, terrified, and female—pierced the air.
Ethan’s attention snapped to the perimeter, but a wall of pine trees blocked his view.
“That sounded like Kim,” Darryl said. “My sister.”
Ethan sprinted for the gate and yanked on the lock. “You got a key?”
“No!” Darryl raced for the building.
Ethan pictured the maze of locked corridors between them and the front exit and dug his fingers into the chain link. “I’ll meet you out front.” He bolted up the fifteen foot fence, crushed the slanted barbed wire in his fist, and vaulted overtop.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I’ve created “novel extras” to enhance readers’ experience of my books. You can check out these and other resources for both readers and writers at my website: http://www.SandraOrchard.com.
For updates on new releases, special subscriber-only reads and giveaway opportunities, I invite people to sign up for my newsletter at http://bit.ly/OrchardNews
And I’d love for those on FB to connect at: http://www.Facebook.com/SandraOrchard
And invite everyone to join in the conversations about characters on my blog at http://www.SandraOrchard.blogspot.com
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Shades of Truth (Love Inspired Suspense) - paperback
Shades of Truth (Love Inspired Suspense) - Kindle
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