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Sandra, introduce yourself to our readers.
I’m the youngest of three girls. I grew up in the country and came to know the Lord soon after watching the movie, A Thief in the Night at a youth event my friend had invited me to. Before that I had no idea that all those Bible stories I’d learned as a child had any relevance to today. Sure I’d recited the apostle’s creed that Christ would “return to judge the quick and the dead,” but I’d never imagined what that might look like.
I majored in Math at university and married my highschool sweetheart at 20. I was the first to be engaged in our family, but my much older sisters beat me to the altar. Our poor parents had 3 weddings in 5 months. Of course, they were thrilled when two years later they had 3 grandchildren in 5 months. I had to get my sisters started on that, too. I went on to have three children of my own, who I home educated through to the end of high school. And now I’m enjoying the joys of grandparenting.
I remember watching A Thief in the Night as a child too. It had a profound impact on me. I also homeschooled my kids so we have more in common than writing. Tell us three things about you that would surprise readers.
I competed internationally in orienteering (a mixture of cross-country running and map reading) as a teen, bringing home silver medals from both the Ontario Summer Games and the North American Championships.
For many years, I thought I’d never be able to write fiction, only non-fiction, because I figured that I didn’t have enough of an imagination.
I’m a Jill-of-all-trades. At least I was until I blew a disk in my back. I’ve moved walls, installed bathroom fixtures, windows, siding, flooring, trim, and built a couple of out buildings.
As a child or teenager, did you ever dream of being an author?
Always. At 12, I found a publisher’s guide in the library and started sending off short stories. If only I’d understood what SASE (self-addressed-stamped envelope) meant, maybe I would have gotten more than one response. LOL
Oh, that is so funny! How many years did it take to sell your first book?
Although I had taken writing courses years before, I didn’t start writing fiction until the fall of 2004. I sent out my first manuscript for consideration a year later. I received my first contract in September 2009, four years and four manuscripts later (not to mention the umpteen revisions).
We’re all glad that you kept pressing on until you got a “Yes” from the publishers. How many books do you have published?
Tell us about Critical Condition.
It’s a medical mystery/romantic suspense about a nurse. An undercover cop. And a killer who’ll stop at nothing to avoid being caught.
There’s a murderer in the hospital, and nurse Tara Peterson is determined to prove it. With mysterious deaths in the cancer ward, anyone could be next. But no one wants to believe her…except for undercover agent Zach Davis. The murderer wants Tara’s suspicions silenced, permanently. To protect Tara, Zach lets her in on his secret, and unwittingly into his heart. Tara and her three-year-old daughter are like the family he lost years before. Zach will risk everything to keep them safe, no matter the cost.
This book sounds very intriguing! What inspired you to write it?
My dear writing friend was battling cancer and, over the years, had tried a slew of different alternative and experimental treatments.
Loved ones, patients and professionals have such varying opinions on treatments, that I thought it would be intriguing to build a cast of characters around a murder mystery in which every character has a different perspective, from the nurse heroine who sees prayers for healing go unanswered and doesn’t know what to believe. To the hero who lost his wife to cancer eight years earlier. To one doctor who advocates for experimental treatments, even when they don’t seem to be working. To another doctor who is supportive of alternative treatments, having seen his own brother forced to leave the country in pursuit of a cure. To a young couple who must grapple with the choices. From the early reader responses I’m receiving, I’ve kept them guessing to the end.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on two books. My next Love Inspired Suspense, which will release next fall, is about a woman who has inherited her grandparents homestead and antique car, but someone’s determined to make sure she doesn’t stay.
I’m also working on the second book in a mystery series for Revell called Port Aster Secrets. A romance and suspense arcs the three books in the series, but each book is a stand-alone mystery in which herbal medicine plays a central role. The first book, Deadly Devotion, releases June 2013.
You are a busy girl! Now share something about your day-to-day life that might help readers feel as though they know you a little better.
Weather permitting, I start every day with a three kilometer walk with my neighbor and Alaskan husky. My wonderful husband will often have a hot bowl of porridge waiting for me when I return. Then after spending time in God’s word, I typically spend most of the day doing something writing related, although I always welcome those sweet interruptions when my daughter and granddaughter drop by.
Do you have a favorite scripture? If so, why is it your favorite?
Yes, at the moment it’s Isaiah 26:3. “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” It’s easy to get bent out of shape when deadlines are approaching and my story isn’t working the way I’d imagined it would, and I have a to-do list a yard long. This scripture reminds me to keep my focus on God.
That’s beautiful! Have you won any awards with your writing?
Before I was published my manuscripts placed in several contests, and Escape to Terror, won the Daphne DuMaurier contest, both the inspirational category and the overall prize. My debut novel, Deep Cover, won the Canadian Christian Writing Award for romance, and was voted one of the top 5 books of 2012 in Family Fiction magazine’s Reader’s Choice Awards.
Congratulations on those achievements. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us? Maybe a writing tip or advice for aspiring authors?
Don’t be in a rush to publish. Take time to learn the craft of writing and hone your skills. Enjoy the journey. And persevere.
Where can fans find you or your books on the internet?
My website: http://www.SandraOrchard.com
My Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/SandraOrchard
My books are available from most online retailers, including:
Thank you, Sandra, for joining us today!
Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win her book.