Dear Readers, I first became of Sandra when we both wrote for the same publisher. Soon after her first book came out, I met her face to face at the national American Christian Fiction Writers conference. We’ve been friends ever since. Redheads seem to gravitate to each other at those conferences. Sandra has a unique writers voice that can take serious subjects and find ways to help people deal with them, and she does all of this through some serious humor. I know that’s an oxymoron, but it’s true.
I transitioned last year from Laugh-Out-Loud fiction to Live-Out-Loud, but I think humor will always be part of my storytelling. That said, I’m really enjoying the opportunity to weave in deeper threads of life to my novels. For instance, last fall’s Moments of Truth addressed some pretty serious subjects along with the romantic challenges of five best friends. I was able to do that in From Bags to Riches, the wrap-up to the Jessie Stanton novels for Abingdon Press, as well. In this book, the finale of the series, I was able to go deeper with Jessie’s story than ever before. There’s a real freedom – for me as a writer, but also for the readers – in not being limited to the feel-good happily-ever-after. Not that my books will ever lose that quality … but I feel like I’m writing a more grown-up, thought-provoking story these days and my readers seem to be responding to it.
If you didn’t live in the part of the country where you do, where would you live?
A couple of years ago, I packed up my entire life and moved north again for the first time since I left in my twenties. I grew up in
Cincinnati, but I spent my entire adult life in Los Angeles and Central Florida.
So coming back to Ohio
in time for the worst winter on record was a shock to my thin blood! Now my
blood has had time to thicken up, and I find myself really enjoying the snow
and cold weather. That said, my ideal spot to live would be San Diego … assuming I could afford it, of
course. It’s a pricey area of the country, but so beautiful.
What foreign country would you like to visit and why?
There’s a slight possibility I might get to go to
soon. Describe what you
think would be the most romantic vacation you could take. Israel
I’d love to sail off to a deserted island somewhere; one of those spots that have like ten villas on the whole island. Private beaches, magnificent views, sun and sand, gentle breezes, and lots of peace and quiet. I was born in
Southern California, and my
parents used to always say that I’d never been able to shake my “California-ness.”
I recharge on the water like nowhere else.
Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?
I’m new enough to
the Northwest Ohio area that I’m still
exploring to find the beautiful places. Once I do that, I think I’d love to set
a book on Mackinac Island or possibly a teeny little lakeside town I’ve
discovered across the border in Michigan
called Luna Pier.
What is the main theme of this novel?
The bottom line of Jessie’s whole story – but particularly this third and final book in the series – is that our childhood experiences shape a large part of who we’re going to become. I mean, you can certainly take the girl out of
Ohio (or in Jessie’s case, Louisiana), but the Ohio
in the girl is pretty much there to stay. We often spend so much time running
away from who we used to be that we miss the important fact that it’s the
foundation that helped form who we are. While our past never has to define us,
it’s imperative to learn from it.
Jessie worked so hard to put her
Louisiana roots in the rearview mirror. Now,
in her quest to find the success, true love, and faith that has always eluded
her, will God really lead her right back home?
Please give us the first page of the book.
Jessie hummed along with James Taylor as Danny drove along in silence. She glanced over at him and smiled. She loved the way he always removed the elastic band from around the gear shift and pulled his shaggy, long hair back into a ponytail before they set out anywhere in his open Jeep … and the way he always reached into the box behind the driver’s seat and produced a cloth band for her hair. Even the music serenading their drive embraced her with a comfortable, predictable lull. She’d had so much instability in her life that the calculability of Danny’s behavior had become a welcome warm blanket on a chilly night.
“Hey,” she said suddenly as a thought struck her, a memory of her best friend speaking to Danny in a whisper. “What was Piper talking about?”
Danny’s dimples deepened as he grinned. “What do you mean?”
“Before we left the courthouse. She told you something like, ‘Today. Not tomorrow, but today.’ What did she mean? And where are we going, by the way?”
“To celebrate,” he stated. “You have just been set free from a barnacle by the name of Jack Stanton. You’re free. Your store can re-open, and you can write your name with confidence again. You, my friend, are Jessie Hart.”
Not that she’d ever actually been Jessie Stanton, but for a dozen years or so, she’d been duped into believing it while living in a world of utter make-believe, a world Jack had fabricated for the benefit of just about everyone he knew – including her, his fairytale wife. Instead, Jack had been a handsome cancer making his silent and diabolical way into every available cell of her life, conning her into believing their world – his business, the home they made, and the dreams they’d been dreaming – had been built on a solid foundation of rock. But when the sand was discovered, that life crumbled so quickly she’d barely had time to escape with anything more than the clothes in her closet and the rock on her hand … both of which became the stuff new foundations were made of. In her case, Jessie’s non-sand bedrock came from the sale of nearly four carats of perfect
Neil Lane clarity dropped into a platinum
setting, and the proceeds had funded a marginally acceptable apartment.
Combined with the designer labels left behind in her closet, the infrastructure
of her brand new life had been built: Adornments. Designer labels for rent to
wannabes with champagne dreams living on ginger ale budgets.
“Hey, wait a minute,” she blurted as she noticed the familiar surroundings. “Where are we, exactly?”
“Somewhere we can celebrate.”
I’m eager to read the book. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Thank you, Sandra, for sharing this new book with us. I know my readers are as eager as I am to read it.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
From Bags to Riches - Christianbook.com
From Bags to Riches: A Jessie Stanton Novel - Book 3 - Amazon
From Bags to Riches: A Jessie Stanton Novel - Book 3 - Kindle
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