Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Author Interview- Sandy Windham, Pink Tourmaline

😊😊😊I had the privilege to interview my friend, and fellow debut author, Sandy Windham about her book, Pink Tourmaline. It is going to be released December 5! So exciting. Sandy has been a friend and my critique partner for just over 3 years now. We met on the NaNoWriMo pen pal forums and have worked to support each other in our dreams to be writers.
1) Tell us a little about your book: It’s part historical romance, part time-travel caper. The story is about Quinn and her brother Michael who get stuck in the Los Angeles of the 1920s. To get home they have to track down their great-grandmother who’s spell landed them there in the first place. Except once they start looking for her, they discover everything they thought they knew about their family’s history is wrong. As if that’s not enough Quinn then falls in love with Rafael, a 1920s-movie star who helps them in their search.
2) Who are some of your favorite authors? I like different genres so there’s a few! I always liked Stephen King and Harlan Coben. I read all of Tracy Chevalier’s novels and I also love Philippa Gregory and Isabel Allende.
3) Who are some authors in your genre that inspire you? That’s difficult because this novel is a mix of genres. I think all the authors I mentioned above have served as inspiration in one way or another.
4) What are some great books you’ve read recently? 
The last book I finished is Love is Death – The Afterdeath Book 1 by L.P Masters which was great. The Japanese Lover by Isabelle Allende was good too and I’m looking forward to reading the third installment of Witches of Coolersville!
5) What types of books do you enjoy in your downtime? I tend to go through phases. Currently I’m going through a non-fiction phase though before that I read a lot of historical novels.
6) What sort of research did you do to write this book? I am very interested in crystals and the supernatural in general so I used a lot of books and material I already had. I also love the 1920s and silent films in particular so I read and watched biographies of movie stars from that time. I also researched life in the 20s in general and in Los Angeles in particular.
7) What are you working on now? I’m working on a sequel to The Pink Tourmaline. The working title is The Rose Quartz, in keeping with the crystal theme.
8) Is your book a stand-alone or series? It was intended as a stand-alone, but it will now be a series. I’m hoping to complete three novels in total.
9) What started you down the path of writing? 
It’s something I’ve always done. As a child I’d make up stories for my cousins and I to act out. As a teenager, I started to write poems and short stories and eventually the short stories evolved into full length novels.
10) How did you break into the world of publishing? 
It was a long road. I published a few poems and a short story before this but I didn’t have any luck with either of my two previous stories. The first one got nothing but rejections. The second generated a bit of interest from agents, but not much and it went nowhere. The Pink Tourmaline got several requests from agents and editors. In the end it didn’t land an agent and I was about to give up when I realized I could submit to small publishers without an agent. I went that route, got a few requests and eventually I got an offer from The Wild Rose Press.
11) As a new author, what is your favorite part of the writing/publishing process? Least favorite? 
Least favorite… rejections and bad reviews.
Favorite part is when the story comes together and when people like what you’ve written.
12) What does your writing space look like? I don’t have a designated writing area. I do have a desk but it’s not comfortable so I usually sit in a recliner with the laptop on my lap or on the floor with it perched on the coffee table.
13) What is your go-to writing snack/beverage? Coffee… I drink way too much of it. I usually drink iced coffee (made with the leftover coffee from breakfast!) in the afternoon. Surprisingly it doesn’t keep me up! I must be immune to the caffeine by now.
14) Are you a planner (detailed outline, have to know what happens) or pantser? (Flying by the seat of your pants with no plan at all) 
I start out with a general idea of what I want to happen and when I want it to happen, but I don’t make an outline. Sometimes midway through writing I get stuck and then I do make a little list with what I want to happen, but generally I just write as I go. This can be messy and I wish I was more organized.
15) When did you start writing? Was it something you started as a kid? When did you start seeking it professionally?  I wrote my first poem when I was…12 or 13. Before that I’d make up stories in my head and daydream a lot. I always had an active imagination. I didn’t write my first novel until 2001. That’s around the time I started sending out my poems to publishers and got one published in an anthology in the UK.
16) What do you do in your free time when you’re not writing? I like to read when I have the time. I also do artwork, acrylic painting especially and I like to spend time with friends. Next year I want to get back to learning languages. I speak English and German fluently and I have some basic knowledge of Hebrew which I’d like to improve. I also want to learn Spanish and French, if I find the time! Oh yes, I’d love to learn an instrument too!
17) What are your top three books of all time? That’s a hard question as they change frequently. If I have to choose it would be House of Spirits by Isabelle Allende, Bag of Bones by Stephen King, and What dreams may come by Richard Matheson.
18) Can you recommend any new or upcoming authors?
L.P Masters just published her debut novel, so that is one to check out for sure and of course Carey Starkey. I already read book two of the Witches of Coolersville series and I can only recommend it!  My friend Kristen Howe writes very exciting thrillers which I hope will find a publisher soon too.
19) Is there anything about the writing life that you think is misunderstood by the public?  The amount of time it takes to not just write and edit, but especially to query. People don’t understand how much competition there is and how time consuming and soul crushing it can be. Some weeks you might get a wave of rejections, other weeks you might get two requests at once only to have those turn into rejections. It’s very difficult and you get to the point where you just don’t want to do it anymore.
 20) Do you write full time or do you have a “Day Job?” I have a day job. I work in an RV park in the office as an admin.
21) What are some of the challenges you faced on the road to publication? 
The waiting and the rejections are hard. Plus, you have to be so careful because there are scammers out there who prey on up and coming writers who want to see their work in print.
22) Are there any tips you can give to aspiring writers? 
Understand how difficult and complex the publishing industry is. Just because you do not get an offer or you get rejected doesn’t mean your novel is not good.  Fortunately, there are so many ways to get published these days. Many great books I’ve read recently were self-published. So don’t give up!
Special thanks to Sandy for answering these questions! Keep an eye out for her book when it's out on December 5. You can pre-order the Kindle version now and print will be available on release day. I'm certainly adding it to my list. ^_^

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