Welcome back, Sandra. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
When I began writing novels seven or eight years ago, I worked on two projects at one time—a contemporary romantic mystery and a historical romance. I had no idea where I was going with either of them, but believed God was leading me in the direction of completing the historical, so I did. The rest is (ta-da!) history.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
Walking down the aisle was a kick! I’d also say it was when my daughter was born. I was thirty-five before having a child, so marking that off my bucket list was pretty cool.
How has being published changed your life?
I wrote and published small pieces for so long in obscurity, rarely telling anyone but family what I did. In the past few years, I’ve built an online platform, but now I put myself and my work out there for everyone I know to see and judge it. Also, all the promotion cuts into my writing time. Before, I could spend most of my day on a project. These days, my time is more sharply divided and the writing time is more precious. But that’s part of the job.
My humility is tested daily. It’s wonderful to learn that people enjoyed my work—even spent money on it. We all want the back pats. But it’s also important to realize that I wouldn’t be talking about any of this without God’s grace, His words, and His plan for my life. Add to that, the many writer friends who have helped me along the way with advice, knowledge, promotion, etc.
What are you reading right now?
Does “buried under the book shelf” ring a bell? February has been a busy month, reading-wise. I do book reviews on my blog and sometimes get carried away with requesting books. At this time, I’m reading On Lonestar Trail by Amanda Cabot. Next up is Lynette Eason’s Always Watching, then Dani Pettrey’s Cold Shot. I recently finished Terri Blackstock’s new one If I Run and Don Brown’s Code 13 (review on the Suspense Sisters blog). I also finished Elaine Marie Cooper’s June release Promise of Deer Run for endorsement. Oh my! Did I just say someone wants me to endorse their book? (See above humility answer!)
What is your current work in progress?
Right now, I’m working on the first book of a proposed three-book series set in
in 1886/87. It’s making the rounds, but not yet contracted. I’m also brainstorming
a novella series and another Christmas novella.
What would be your dream vacation?
A while back, I wrote a novella that takes place in
Never having been there, I did a great deal of research and discovered a
hankering to go! So, if I thought I could survive the hours trapped on the
plane, my dream vacation would be to explore various parts of Sydney, Australia Australia.
Unfortunately, I think it would be like coming to the U. S. and
trying to see the whole country in one trip.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
That’s a good question. It depends on the type of book, the type of characters, and the story itself. The one I’m working on now needed an unsettled area. The town is a bit rough with no church, so it had to be small and in a more western area than on the east coast. I’ve set a number of my stories in
because I lived there for so long. This one takes place near what was the Great
Western Cattle Trail.
However, A Reluctant Melody is set in a fictional town based on the town and area in which I live now. It takes bits and pieces from the history of various local towns.
History is its own necessity. For instance, with the book I’m writing now, I can’t have cattle and cowboys running up that cattle trail in huge numbers as they would have a few years earlier. By the time of my story, cattlemen were shipping their cattle by train and the major drives were over.
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
I thought long and hard on this one. There are so many people I would love to list, but they’re no longer alive. I think I would go with Franklin Graham. His is probably the loudest voice among Christian leaders today who declare our country’s need to stand for Christ and godly principles.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
As I said, I love to garden. My husband will tell you I love to eat out (which is true!). I like to window shop or prowl around antique and craft stores. On Sundays, you’ll find me watching the NFL and/or NASCAR.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Other than the time factor, which I’ve talked about, I would say it’s the middle of the book. I’m a plantser. I plot the basics of the story and can do a synopsis, but then wing the rest. The first few chapters of the book are easy for me. When I get about fifty pages in, it starts getting harder. It’s building those fascinating bridges between the major plot points that can bog me down. The only way to overcome it is to write. Sometimes, I’ll write the scenes I know I want to do first. Then, all of a sudden, I’m seeing those bridges form.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Persevere and grow a thick skin!
Writing for publication is not a business where you wake up one morning and decide to write a book and expect it to be finished and on the book shelves in a month or six.
Rejection is part of the process. It’s like owning a store and having a customer walk out without purchasing something. You can’t take it personally. You just didn’t have what that person wanted at the time.
Tell us about the featured book.
A Reluctant Melody is a story of redemption, forgiveness, and second chances. It revolves around Kit Barnes, a secondary character in my 2014 Christmas novella The Yuletide Angel and Joanna Stewart, a woman who believes her past makes her unworthy of the forgiveness of God and society.
Here’s the back cover copy to give you a better idea:
Kit Barnes’ alcoholism ruined more lives than his own. Now sober, he wants to make amends by opening a mission for drunkards. But the most suitable location belongs to Joanna Cranston Stewart, a love from his sordid past.
Friends of her late husband blame Joanna for his death. Although eager to flee from the rumors, she will let the walls of her rundown property crumble around her before she allows Kit back into her life.
When a blackmailer threatens to reveal Joanna’s long-held secret, will she risk losing everything she owns to Kit … including her heart?
Please give us the first page of the book.
Joanna Stewart’s fingers waltzed across the silk covering her lap. Had the stripes of the dress fabric been piano keys, the cab of her brougham would be filled with the melody of Sullivan’s “Let Me Dream Again.”
She halted the romping digits and gripped the material of her skirt in a tight fist. Dreams. She awoke to the pain they caused years ago … after the lie of romantic love dealt its deadly blow.
A horse car rattled past on the tracks running down the middle of
The bell dangling from the animals’ collars jingled with each plodding step.
Joanna’s driver, Liam McCall, turned onto Cleary. When the carriage stopped, she peeked out the window and scanned the dry and dusty street in front of the Stewart Broom Factory. When was the last time she’d ventured out of her house and into the midst of strangers? A month? Two? She wouldn’t be in town now if Perry’s note hadn’t stressed the importance of their meeting.
A man on a bicycle passed too close to the carriage and thumbed the bell on his contraption. Her horse shied and the brougham rocked. Joanna grabbed the window frame to brace herself.
Using coarse language and the power of brawny arms, Liam brought the animal under control. A moment later, he yanked the door open and held out his hand. “Foul things, horses. If it were up to me, I’d shoot ’em all.”
Inwardly, Joanna cringed. “Even work animals deserve our respect and compassion, Mr. McCall.” As he helped her down, his callused fingers swallowed her lace-gloved hand.
I love it. How can readers find you on the Internet?Visit me at www.sandraardoin.com and on the Seriously Write blog. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest. Join my email community to receive occasional updates and a free short story.
Thank you, Sandra, for sharing this book with us. I know my readers as eager to read it as I am.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Women's Historical Fiction: A Reluctant Melody - Will she risk losing everything ... including her heart? - paperback
Christian Historical Romance: A Reluctant Melody - Will she risk losing everything ... including her heart? - Kindle
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