Before we hear about her awesome books, here's a little bit about Sandy:
Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Sandy has been writing one thing or another since childhood. She still has diaries from her school days, one of which inspired her first book I.O.U. Sex, co-authored with Sandra Allen.
Besides Dallas, Sandy has lived in Irving and Beaumont, Texas; Miami, Florida; and now Washington State. During her years in the work force, she was employed by a “wildcatter” oilman (a real-life J. R. Ewing); a plastic bag factory; a NASCAR race track; a CPA firm; an electric utility; and a bunch of other less interesting places. Her stories have appeared in Woman’s World magazine, Sasee magazine, and local publications. People tell her she still has her Texas accent, but she thinks they’re the ones who talk funny.
When not writing, Sandy likes to quilt, read, sew, garden, take photos, lunch with friends, and (like Granny in her most recent book, Bluebonnets for Elly) spend as much time as possible with her granddaughter. She also enjoys eavesdropping on conversations at restaurants, parks, and other public places, so be careful what you say around her. It may end up in her next book!
Pour yourself a cup of coffee, sweet tea or whatever relaxes you on a hot summer day and enjoy Sandy's answers to my questions.
Q: Sandra, can you tell us about your current book?
A: Here's a brief blurb:
When Elly Macauley moves to Shannon Ridge, Texas, she expects to fill her days helping her grandmother -- doling out medications and running errands. Still smarting from her fiance's betrayal, the last thing she needs or wants is a man, especially a good lookin' one. She's been down that road before. But then she meets Derek White.
Derek's wife left him without a word, and he's reluctant to make the same mistake twice. He still doesn't understand why Jeannette left him, so how can he explain that to another woman? And can he be sure he's legally free? But Granny Macauley's granddaughter sure is tempting.
Granny says some things come along only once and you have to grab them while you can. But when Elly and Derek's pasts invade the present, they'll have to decide whether to take a chance on love or protect their hearts.
Q: Were there real life experiences that inspired this book?
A: The book's plot is completely fictional; however, the setting is definitely from real life -- even though a town named Shannon Ridge doesn't really exist. Growing up, my family had a cabin on Lake Texoma, located at the Texas-Oklahoma border. We went there almost every weekend -- fishing, swimming, hiking -- and I came to know and love the area. When I started writing Bluebonnets for Elly, that's where I wanted Shannon Ridge to be. It helped that I have a good friend who lives near Lake Texoma now. She read through my manuscript and brought me up-to-date on details I'd forgotten.
Q: Our characters surprise us sometimes. Certain traits, habits, ways of dealing with things, and more, can emerge that we hadn't planned on when we started our story. Did this happen with your characters, Elly and Derek?
A: I expected this to be a love story about Derek and Elly -- and it is. But Elly's grandmother kept intruding. So she became an integral part of the plot, which is something I didn't plan. She was more like a friend to Elly than you might expect a grandmother to be -- not an authority figure at all. In fact, Granny Macauley is much more daring than Elly. I think she adds warmth, humor, and realism to the book, and I had a lot of fun writing abut the relationship between the two women.
Q: When writing Elly and Derek's story, were there moments when they got the best of you? By that I mean, did you laugh or cry or want to put them in a headlock until they behaved the way you wanted them to?
A: Yes! Derek kept being too nice. I wanted to shake him and make him reveal his dirty secrets. He's still a really good guy, but it took a while before he'd finally tell me about his past.
Q: Did you know the ending before you started their story? Did it change or stay the same the closer you got to the end?
A: I really wish I could be one of those authors who outlines her books and sticks to a plan. That would be so efficient and save so much time! Unfortunately, it just doesn't work that way for me. I have a general idea of how the story will go, but I get to know my characters as I write about them. I go off on tangents and explore possibilities, some of which work out and others that don't, and I think up things that could go wrong for them as I go along. Since I write romances, I know the story is going to end with happily-ever-after or happy-for-now, but I'm never quite sure how my hero and heroine will get there. To me, that's what make romances fun to read and to write.
Q: Can you tell us about your other books? Is there another book on the horizon?
A: My first book, I.O.U. Sex, was co-written with Sandra Allen. It's the story of three women, friends since junior high school, who make a pact to track down their high school boyfriends decades after graduation. Like the three women in the story, Sandra and I have been friends since 8th grade and have remained close ever since -- but we haven't tracked down our old boyfriends!
I'm currently working on a couple of books, but it's way too soon to tell much about them. They both take place in Florida (where I lived for 18 years), and they're both post-chicklit stories.
Q: Could you share a snippet from Bluebonnets for Elly to whet our appetite for more?
A: Sure! Here's a scene you might enjoy. By the way, Derek is a landscaper so he knows all about armadillos.
Derek strode around the truck and opened Elly’s door, then took a large picnic basket from the truck’s storage bin. Together they walked down a well-worn path. Winding beneath overhanging branches, they made their way through a stand of cedars. Their clean, fresh scent made Elly think of summer.
Derek squeezed Elly’s hand and whispered, “Shhh.” He nodded toward a patch of wild greens growing near the path. Leaves rustled and within seconds, an armadillo scuttled ahead of them, its armored body hobbling along on short stubby legs. It paused, studied the two humans for a second, and then disappeared into the underbrush.
Derek nodded toward the retreating critter. “A nine-banded armadillo—the official small mammal of the State of Texas.”
“No kidding?” Elly giggled. “They’re weird little animals, aren’t they?”
“Sure are. They won’t hurt you, but they can cause plenty of trouble for landscapers, rooting up plants and digging in lawns.” He tugged Elly’s hand and led her farther down the path.
After about ten minutes, Derek stopped and pulled a red bandana from his pocket. “From here on out, you’re blindfolded.”
Elly laughed. “You don’t have anything kinky in mind, do you?”
“Not at the moment, but don’t tempt me.” He folded the bandana into a triangle, draped it across Elly’s eyes, and tied a knot at the back of her head. “No peeking.”
Derek grasped her hand firmly and guided her along. He stopped at times, warning Elly to lift her foot for a tree root or to veer left or right to avoid a rock. At times she leaned against him, relying on his firm grasp and steady voice, giving him the trust he’d shown he deserved.
After a few more minutes, Derek stopped, took her hand, and curled her fingers around a branch. “Hold on here while I take care of a few things.”
The swoosh of wind in the trees, accompanied by the calls of birds, surrounded her. A woodpecker hammered away in the distance, and a sweet earthy scent made her wrinkle her nose. With her eyes covered, sounds and scents seemed more intense and closer than before. Even the buzz of insects seemed loud in her ears. A warm breeze brushed her cheeks and ruffled her hair. Then she smelled Derek’s clean soap scent and sensed his presence beside her.
When he loosened the blindfold, she blinked and squinted in the dappled light.
Thank you for being here today, Sandra! It's been great getting a glimpse of who you are and what you write. You're welcome back to my blog anytime.
Dear readers and fellow authors, you can find out more about Sandra and her books here:
Sweet Cravings Publishing - http://store.sweetcravingspublishing.com/index.php?main_page=book_info&cPath=4&products_id=213
Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Bluebonnets-Elly-Sandra-Nachlinger-ebook/dp/B00I86E3F6/
Barnes & Noble - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bluebonnets-for-elly-sandra-nachlinger/1118893079?ean=2940045749961