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TR: Good morning, Sandra, and let me say, first of all, congratulations on your debut novel, and best of luck with its success.
SN: Thank you, and thanks for hosting me on your blog, Thomas!
TR: How old were you when you wrote your first piece?
SN: Oh, a lady never tells her age! I’ve enjoyed writing stories ever since I can remember. I only started to take my “hobby” more seriously when my first short story was published ten years ago.
TR: What was it, and in what genre?
SN: “The Grotto” was a mystery with a fantasy element. It won an Honorable Mention award in Canadian Writer’s Journal short fiction competition.
TR: What made you write it?
SN: I loved mysteries! I gave “The Grotto” a different twist and was actually surprised at the result.
TR: What have you written since then?
SN: I’ve published a dozen short stories, but I’m now focused on writing a series of mystery novels.
TR: What was the inspiration for your current book?
SN: The premise that things are not always what they seem kept playing in my head. I wrote my first mystery novel, False Impressions, based on the fact that people can be deceived by appearances—sometimes with deadly consequences!
TR: Tell us a little about it, and where it’s available.
SN:Here’s a blurb:
Montreal ghostwriter Megan Scott falls under police suspicion when her husband and a female friend are found murdered. In what a Québec detective calls a crime of passion, startling evidence also surfaces to implicate Michael Elliott, a young investigative reporter who’d rather rub elbows with scumbags than live the posh lifestyle he inherited. As they make a last-ditch attempt to prove their innocence, an elusive enemy closes in and threatens their lives. Who wants them out of the way and why? Their only path to freedom is to catch the twisted killer before they become the next victims. But not knowing who to trust or where to turn can have consequences that are just as lethal…
TR: Is there a particular place or setting where you get your writing ideas?
SN: The people I meet sometimes inspire me to borrow certain aspects of their personalities and apply them to the characters in my stories. It could be a mannerism, a turn of the phrase—it’s interesting what we see and hear just sitting in a coffee shop! Several places I visited have also influenced the settings in my stories. But most of my ideas come while I’m sitting at my desk and imaging scenarios and dialogue between my characters.
TR: What made you choose either traditional or independent publishing?
SN: I chose to go with independent publishing after years of trying to get the attention of literary agents. I figured if I were going to work that hard at selling my work, I might as well publish it myself. My book was ready—it had been professionally edited—so I took the plunge and haven’t regretted it.
TR: If you had to choose the most important element in an author’s platform, what would it be?
SN: All elements are important, but knowing your target market and promoting through social media are essential components of it.
TR: What mistakes have you made in regards to publishing and marketing your work, and what will you do differently in the future?
SN: Not all writers can afford the luxury of hiring experts in these areas, so it’s a matter of researching and learning what works and what doesn’t. Distributors like Amazon have a step-by-step publishing process to guide you along and a support team if you need it. As for marketing, it takes time to build a following. Thank goodness for social media! I’ve discovered that members of the writing community are quite supportive of one another as far as cross-promotion and information sharing goes. What would I change in the future? I hope to spend more time promoting my second book in advance of its release date. I hadn’t done that with the first book.
TR: Do you have an idea for your next book?
SN: Yes, I do! I’m currently working on Fatal Whispers, the second mystery novel in the series. The theme revolves around the shocking deaths of a millionaire’s beautiful young wife, a homeless woman, and a priest in Portland, Maine.
TR: Where can readers find you online?
And there you go, folks…a little bit about Sandra, and the opportunity to obtain her debut novel, to boot. Monday, it’s my pleasure to talk with my good friend, Kelly Walker, author of the new fantasy novel “Cornerstone”. Come join us!