Time for Author Spotlights on Mondays again! Please give a warm welcome to my friend and IRWA sister Sandy James. Her latest book, The Bottom Line, releases tomorrow and kicks off a new series, The Ladies Who Lunch! She's sharing some insight into her writing process and giving away an e-book copy of The Bottom Line to one lucky commenter!
When life gets tough and love is hard to find, four friends take their troubles to lunch. Surviving a failed marriage and an illness that almost takes her life, high school teacher Mallory Hamilton needs the Ladies Who Lunch more than ever . . .
After a year of upheaval, Mallory has had her fill of change--with one exception. Her house is a disaster, and she wants it fixed. Hiring a contractor to finish the projects her ex-husband started will help her banish the past so she can return to the life she had before everything went awry. But her contractor is sexy, sweet, and single which threatens the peaceful, solitary life Mallory has planned for herself.
Ben Carpenter has had a hard time raising his daughter without his ex-wife's help. His new client's projects will give him the extra income he needs, not to mention afternoons alone with a gorgeous woman. Though their attraction is undeniable, Ben sees the fear and pain hiding in Mallory's beautiful eyes. But how can he help her if she won't let him in? Ben can fix about anything, but can he fix Mallory's broken heart?
Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Bottom-Line-Ladies-Who-Lunch-ebook/dp/B00CO7GHJK
Me: What inspired you to write your first book?
Sandy: There were two things that prompted my writing. The first was reading a book by a fairly well-known author and being thoroughly disappointed in her portrayal of an older heroine. The book was about a married couple who had been apart and were thinking about reuniting. More than once, the author said the thirty-nine year old heroine still looked seventeen. Nope. Not buying that for a minute.
Add the second reason—I was getting “stale.” My youngest was close to graduating high school, and it dawned on me just how predictable my life was getting to be. Writing became something new and fun to do. So I set out to write a romance about a married couple with an older heroine who looked and acted her age.
The first book got me addicted pretty quickly. The whole process was fun, frustrating, invigorating, and just plain great. So I wrote another book. And another. And… Just couldn’t stop.
Me: Do you see writing as a career?
Sandy: I do now, yes. At first, it was more of a hobby. A few of my friends asked to read that first book, and they enjoyed it. They started encouraging me to try publishing. I figured it was worth a shot and haven’t looked back since.
I’ve been teaching social studies for close to twenty years, and now I look at that career as approaching the finish line while my writing career is just now getting out of the starting gate. Writing will be something I can do to keep myself active as I get older.
Me: This book is the first in a new series. Do you prefer to write single title or series? Why?
Sandy: I love writing both, but if pinned down for an answer, I’d go with series. I’m not sure about other writers, but I feel like I “know” my characters. To be able to bring back the people I’ve grown to love, even if in secondary roles, makes me happy. I also think it’s easier to build an audience when you have a series. If the first book pleases a reader, she’s likely to look into other books in that storyline.
Me: Give us some insight into your main character. What makes him/her special?
Sandy: Mallory Hamilton is one of my favorite heroines. She’s plucky while still being fragile. I love how she takes life as it comes and never feels sorry for herself, even when she gets thrown a curve ball or two.
Me: Is there a message in your novel you hope to convey to your readers?
Sandy: Life’s going to get tough sometimes. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still live it to its fullest.
Me: I love a good conflict. What draws your main characters to each other and keeps them apart?
Sandy: Physical chemistry is the first thing they notice, but both Mallory and Ben resist that pull. They’ve both been burned before and have no desire to stick their hands back into the fire. Add the fact that he’s the contractor remodeling her house, and getting involved with each other could end up being more than a little uncomfortable.
Me: How did you come up with the title?
Sandy: It’s based on something Ben says to Mallory early in their relationship. The words seemed to click for me.
Me: What’s your favorite sub-genre (contemporary, sci-fi, etc.) to write? To read?
Sandy: I love writing contemporary. Our modern world is full of so many delicious situations ripe with conflict. Relationships nowadays are complicated! To write stories about the people living in that world is a lot of fun.
I tend to enjoy historical romances best, perhaps that because the genre is so different from my contemporary stories. I don’t have to worry about being subtly influenced by another book’s plotline.
Me: I usually get plot ideas in the shower and while driving. When/where does inspiration strike you?
Sandy: The most inopportune time—when I’m trying to fall asleep. Tends to be very disruptive to a good night’s rest.
Me: What new stories are you working on?
Sandy: I just finished writing the third in The Ladies Who Lunch series. Since there are four ladies, I’ll be diving into Danielle’s book next. I’m also working on the fourth book in my Safe Havens series that’s set in the Old West. It’s been a very popular series of books, and I have fans emailing me to write another story. So I will!
Sandy lives in a quiet suburb of Indianapolis with her husband of thirty years and is a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband own a small stable of harness racehorses and enjoy spending time at the two Indiana racetracks.
She is published through Forever Yours, Carina Press, and BookStrand, as well as indie-published. She has been an Amazon #1 Bestseller multiple times and has won numerous awards including two HOLT Medallions. Represented by Browne & Miller Literary.
Social Media Links:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sandy-James/e/B002BLZOFW
Thanks for visiting, Sandy! Wishing you lots of sales!
Remember to comment by midnight (EDT) on Wednesday, May 7, for a chance to win a copy of The Bottom Line!
Romance...With A Kick!