Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sandra Orchard {Writer Wednesday}

A little bit about Sandra...

Sandra Orchard writes fast-paced, keep-you-guessing romantic suspense and mysteries with a dash of sweet romance. Her novels have garnered six Canadian Christian Writing Awards, a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, a National Readers’ Choice Award, a HOLT Medallion Award of Merit, and a Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. In addition to her busy writing schedule, Sandra enjoys speaking at events and teaching writing workshops.

Connect with Sandra...

Purchase: Another Day Another Dali

Get to know Sandra...

You and Writing

I live in the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada with my husband of almost thirty years, and an energetic husky who frequently drags me out of my fictional worlds to walk in the real one. I also have four adorable grandchildren with whom I love to hang out. In fact, following a near fatal accident in late May, I put my writing on hold and spent all my time with them. But happily we are all home again now and the creative juices are flowing.

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book. Why did you write it? Another Day, Another Dali is the second installment in my FBI art crime mystery series with special agent Serena Jones. When her grandmother asks Serena to investigate the switch of a valuable Salvador Dali painting, Serena hopes tracking down the original will also mean finally measuring up to Nana’s expectations. But when the evidence points to members of the owner’s own household—friends of her grandmother’s—it becomes increasingly clear that Serena won’t be winning any popularity contests.

To make matters worse, the Dali isn’t the only painting that’s fallen prey to the forgery-replacing thief, raising the specter of a sophisticated theft ring–one with links to dirty cops, an aspiring young artist, and the unsolved murder of Serena’s grandfather. The theft of a Matisse from a Venezuelan museum that went undetected for more than two years, because a forgery was hung in its place, was the inspiration for this story.

And those who read A Fool and His Monet will be happy to know that Serena’s zany aunt is still as eager as ever to help solve Serena’s cases, as are the two handsome men in Serena’s life…or so it would seem.

Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
A toddler with a contagious, dimpled smile, named Jed, who although he is only in one scene, is my favorite character in this book, because my grandson was his inspiration. At the time, he basically said one word—“uh”—but he said it with so many different inflections, you knew he meant it to mean different things. Serena just couldn’t decipher them. Nate fans will be happy to know he is great with Jed. And Serena’s foray into babysitting inspired this thought that all moms should appreciate:

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
In Another Day, Another Dali, Serena realizes her closely guarded secret has caused her to misinterpret her grandmother’s feelings toward her for years. Too often we see only what we expect to see in situations and in others. Sometimes it takes an appraiser’s objective perspective to recognize the forgery, whether in art or life. But identifying the forgery is only the beginning. As Serena discovers, getting to the truth requires a willingness to search, no matter how painful the outcome might be.

Is there a funny story associated with writing the book?
One night I woke up from the most bizarre dream. I was being chased by a giant zucchini. So…I decided to give the dream to Serena and include it in the novel, which made for some amusing asides in the pages that followed. Not to mention, the hilarious commentary my critique partner had on the matter.

What's the most random thing you had to Google for the story?
Obscure words that are funny to say. Serena has a neighbor who shares a word of the day and I like to keep them entertaining as well as relevant to the storyline. The one he shares the morning before Serena’s babysitting stint is particularly apropos.


Let’s talk about your writing life...

How long did you write before you got published?
I was offered my first contract almost six years to the day after beginning my first novel.

What’s your encouragement for younger writers aside from “keep writing”?
God can and will use your writing journey, long before you’re published, to teach and minister to others and to strengthen your own faith in ways you’d never imagined.

What is your favorite and least favorite part of the writing process?
Brainstorming new stories is my favorite part. Writing them is my least favorite part, except on the rare occasions when the story just flows effortlessly from my fingertips.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
Don’t be in a hurry to get published or to self-publish. Take time to develop your craft.

Are there any books or resources you could recommend to younger writers looking to grow in their craft?
I have reviewed several books and listed many others that helped me get started, as well as compiled a list of blog posts I’ve written on various aspects of writing craft here:

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In honor of the fall, what’s your favorite fall treat?
Pumpkin bread.

When you were a child, what did you dream of growing up to be?
A gymnast like Nadia Comaneci who scored perfect 10s in her routine in 1976 in the Olympics held in Montreal. I can still remember watching her on TV as an awestruck young girl.

Will you participate in National Novel Writing Month? If so, what’s your plan to keep your writing on track?
Nope. I tend to edit as I go along and strive to meet a word count goal each day. The size of the goal varies, depending on deadlines and other writing obligations, such as interviews like this.

What are you currently reading?
A yet-to-be published mystery in a series for which I’m writing an installment for a book club called Annie’s Attic.

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