Glowing Author #22
Talk about hot off the press! Today’s Glowing Author, Sandra Robbins, had a book released yesterday! Come and meet her.
Hi, Sandra. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in a small college town in Tennessee, and I still live there with my husband. We have four children and five grandchildren. I was a teacher and then a principal in the Tennessee public schools, but I’d always had a dream of being a writer. When God opened the door for me to do that, I was thrilled. I am so thankful for the journey God has taken me on as I’ve traveled the road to publication.
You just had another book released! Wow! Tell us about Yuletide Defender.
It’s a romantic suspense from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. An anonymous source tells Rachel Long, a determined newspaper reporter, that he believes a vigilante is responsible for the deaths of gang members in their city. Rachel, who needs a big story to advance her career, decides to find out the truth. Matt Franklin, a police detective, is worried for the feisty reporter who keeps showing up in the wrong part of town and becomes her protector. The two of them find that a threatening gang war is propelling them to a showdown—just in time for Christmas.
So who is your favorite character?
I like Rachel and Matt both, but I think Rachel is my favorite. She struggles with unanswered questions about why her father deserted their family when her younger sister, a special needs child, was born. Now with her mother getting older, Rachel knows she will be the sole provider for her sister she, and has made her the most important thing in her life. She wants to love Matt, but she doesn’t think any man can ever care for her sister. She has decided she must sacrifice her own happiness for the sister she loves.
Do you put a little of yourself into your main characters?
I put my own feelings into my characters. I come from a very close family, and although I’ve never had to deal with a special needs family member, I could feel Rachel’s pain in wanting her sister to have whatever she needs. Even my villains have at least one good characteristic, and I draw that from my own life also.
Do specific locations or experiences pop up in your books?
I try to set my books in areas I know and understand. Having lived in the South all my life, I’ve grown up with stories about the Civil War and lived close to battlefields. I put that knowledge to use for the three historical romances I wrote for Barbour’s Heartsong Presents Romance—The Columns of Cottonwood, Dinner at the St. James, and Blues Along the River. Those stories are set in Alabama after the end of the Civil War and deal with people trying to rebuild their lives. In the fall Barbour will release Alabama Brides, with all three stories. I also tend to include experiences that have happened in my life or in the lives of people I know. I think that’s what a writer does. Of course I don’t want to live any of the experiences like the mayhem some of my villains cause.
I know what you mean! How do you feel about the editing process?
I look at it as my last chance to make my book the best it can be. I edit right up until the time I send it to my editor. Then I’m thankful to those at the publishing house who have the same goal as I do. I consider us a team to put out a book that is going to appeal to readers.
Great perspective. Tell us, Sandra, how do you balance your writer’s life with the rest of your life?
Balancing all the people and responsibilities can be difficult. I’ve always been a night person and never liked getting up early. When I was working, I had no choice. I had to get up early to go to work. Now that I no longer have a job outside my home, I like to stay up late and write. Some of my best work comes in the late night hours. I do try to be very careful about ignoring friends and family. My father passed away in 2000, and missing him has made me more aware of how fleeting life is. I don’t want to miss anything that’s happening in my children or grandchildren’s lives because I know I’ll never get those moments back.
Is there an established writer you especially admire and emulate in your own writing?
There are many writers I admire, and I study their writing to help me with my stories. Terri Blackstock’s suspense has been an inspiration to me, and I enjoy seeing how she plots her stories. Julie Lessman has the gift of making her characters become like your best friend, and the romance she writes is filled with passion. For humor, I love to read Tim Downs. His Bugman series made me laugh through all five books, and I’m waiting for a sixth.
In regards to your writing career, is there anything you’d do differently if you could?
If I had it to do over again, I’d start writing earlier. I’d had a dream since I was a child that one day I would write a book. When I grew up, there were responsibilities with a family and with my job. I felt like I didn’t have time to write. Now I realize I could have found a few hours a day to do what I love. But I am so thankful that God blessed me so greatly when I did start writing.
Sandra enjoys hearing from her readers. Her contact information is firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more about Sandra and her books, go to her Web site at http://sandrarobbins.net.
“If you haven’t followed your dream, get busy and revise your life. You never know what you can accomplish until you try.”