Sandy began writing stories as soon as she learned to string words together on the page. It was apparent that a career in journalism was her calling, and she found herself proofreading, editing, and (finally) writing for trade publications after she graduated from Truman State University in Missouri. Now she writes in Southwest Florida where her love of sea turtles and all things related to the Gulf waters keeps her imagination growing.
Her fantasy novel, Choices Meant for Gods, can be found at Amazon and through her publisher at Archebooks.
You can visit her blog at www.todaythedragonwins.blogspot.com.
TWL: Sandy, welcome to The Writer's Life! Tell me, when did your passion for writing begin?
Sandy: In the womb.
TWL: Can you tell us what your typical 'writing' day is like?
Sandy: You've probably heard this one before, but I don't believe there is a typical writing day. It can be so haphazard...but if my muse Nigel is around, the day will probably involve him shackling me to the desk in my writing den and leaving me there for literally hours on end. I've been known to type until I suddenly realize the sun has gone down and I can't actually see the keyboard I'm typing on.
TWL: Do you write full time?
Sandy: My day job involves magazine production, which involves a variety of writing tasks, so, technically, I write during the day. Then I write both marketing and fiction pieces in the evenings and on the weekends, so I would say I'm a fulltime writer.
TWL: Can you tell us a little bit about your book?
Sandy: Choices Meant for Gods is the story of a young lady who's been on the run from madman all her life. When she finally chooses to stand and fight, she discovers she's wrapped in centuries of prophecy that demand she protect the very gods of her society.In other words, Amanda Chariss was important, despite being this orphan and outcast...but no one was paying attention. It wasn't until she stood up for herself and faced her fears that she realized who she was.It's an important message underneath the plotlines of a high epic fantasy novel written in the style of J.R.R. Tolkien or Terry Goodkind. If you're familiar with those authors or J.K. Rowling, you'll have a good idea of what I've created here. You can also see the reviews at http://www.amazon.com/ and http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ to get an idea.
TWL: Who published your book and how has your experience with them been?
Sandy: Bob Gelinas of ArcheBooks Publishing, Las Vegas, is my publisher, and he has been a fantastic person to work with. He has good, solid guidance and valuable knowledge of the publishing industry. You can visit an author and reader forum he established at www.archebooks.com.
TWL: Can you tell us the inspiration behind your book?
I would have to say that my various obsessions inspired the Choices Meant for Gods trilogy. I find something that I truly enjoy and just fixate on it. I love the Old English language and Old English history so there are elements of Anglo-Saxon literature and influence in the novel(s). I enjoy (to the point of madness) the band Duran Duran, so there is imagery from some of their songs in the novel(s). I adore the Bronte family, so there are hints of their heroes and themes in the novel(s). Etc. You can see the obsessions that influence any author's life in his or her work, and that is true in Choices Meant for Gods.
TWL: Can you tell us ways you are promoting your book? Have they been successful?
Sandy: Quite a lot of my marketing efforts have focused on the internet. Because brick-and-mortar stores face their unique challenges, many books sell over the internet. Because new authors must fight to be seen in a physical location, my book stands a better chance of gaining an audience and building a fan base through electronic word-of-mouth. Because more than 400 titles are released every day, getting mine onto a shelf in a book store will be next to impossible, so I made the conscious decision to go after the web-savvy audience that orders its books online.Now, I will have book signings in "real-life" locations, but a blog tour is on the horizon. Nigel Taiman and I manage five blogs specifically to promote Choices Meant for Gods and Sandy Lender. I network through online groups. I host other authors at The Dragon (http://www.todaythedragonwins.blogspot.com/). Henry Bakerson hosts other characters at his blog (http://friendsofdragons.wordpress.com/), which Nigel and I help him with. It's been a tiring routine, but a successful one so far. I've seen a consistent good ranking on Amazon and positive results with my publisher.
TWL: Do you have a mentor?
Sandy: My great grandmother, to whom Choices Meant for Gods is dedicated, is my mentor, but I don't think she ever knew it...
TWL: What future projects do you have in the works?
Sandy: The internet doesn't have that much room...Obviously, the sequel to Choices Meant for Gods (Choices Made by Gods, Book II of the Choices trilogy) is next in line. It's finished and in the editing process. The third book is almost finished. Then I have a prequel in the works. I also have a set of short stories that all take place in the fantasy world I created for the Choices trilogy.I have a vampire series under way.I have a paranormal romance already completed.I have the online serial novel (vampire/comedy/romance/thriller) under way.And there's this military-like fuse fiction novel bouncing around my brain with a couple of characters who won't let me get a good night's sleep...
TWL: Can you give aspiring authors words of advice towards getting published?
Sandy: First of all, please don't give up. If getting published is a dream you believe in, then I encourage you, right here and now, to pursue it. Pray often, but don't give up. Don't bother with query letters to agents, but polish your communication skills toward being a consummate professional when you have your face-to-face meeting with an agent at a literary event some day. Take your polished novel treatment and synopsis with you and knock her socks off. You know your book/story better than anyone else, so when it's time to sit down across the lunch table from an agent to pitch your novel, you're going to exude confidence and knowledge. Believe it and you'll be able to do it. (Trust me on that one.)
TWL: What’s one thing about your life that you think is important, but nobody asks?
Sandy: Jesus isn't going to let me fall without helping me get back up on my feet. That promise keeps me going...My mentor taught me that.
TWL: Thank you for the interview, Sandy, and happy sales to you! If you are an author and you would like an interview, click here for more details.
Tags: The Writer's Life, author interviews, Sandy Lender, Choices Meant for Gods, dragons, Archebooks, Harry Potter