Today I’d like to welcome the wonderful Sandra Owens to the blog. Not only is she a writer you should know about, she’s a fantastic person. I sat down and asked her some questions about life and writing recently. Here’s what she had to say…
I’ve always liked to write, Merry. More years ago than I care to admit to, I started writing a book. About halfway through it, we relocated from the west coast to the east coast, and I allowed life to get in the way. About four years ago, I decided to get serious about it.
What is your favorite part of writing?
The revisions! I’m a panster and I start at the beginning and write straight through to the end. Of course, that makes for a manuscript in need of some tender loving care. Going back and polishing up that very rough draft is when I start truly falling in love with it.
What is your least favorite part of writing?
Choosing a title, even if it’s a working one. For some reason, I can’t even write the first word until I have a title and my H/h names.
Was your road to publication fraught with peril or a walk in the park?
I’d have to say somewhere in between the two. I finished my first manuscript, a Regency, before I knew the meaning of POV and that head hopping was a bad thing. It was also 147,000 words! I started submitting it and the rejections poured in. I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Jessica Alvarez at Bookends, though. She took the time to write a rejection, informing me that I’d likely not sell a romance that was much over 100,000 words.
A little embarrassed that I didn’t know that, I went searching for help. I discovered RWA, started signing up for their on-line classes and found critique partners. I’ve since sold my second and third books, THE TRAINING OF A MARQUESS and THE LETTER to The Wild Rose Press.
Do you write under a pen name? Why or why not?
No, but I considered it. The name I wanted was Sandy James (James is my husband’s name), but my author friend, Sandy James, already had the name. I told her I wanted the name and she said, “Too bad.” All of a sudden, I had a two-book sale and still couldn’t decide on a name, so just went with my legal name. Growing up, I only got called Sandra when I was in trouble, so every time someone calls me Sandra now, I cringe a little, wondering what I’ve done now.
What drew you to the era in which you write?
I write in two eras, Regency and contemporary. The Regency era fascinates me. I love, love, love reading Regency stories. In real life, that time in history probably wasn’t as romantic as we Regency writers make it seem, but I can easily fantasize lifting my eyes to see a beautiful man staring at me from across a crowded ballroom, my heart fluttering as he makes his way to me. He sketches a bow (his eyes never leaving mine) and requests the honor of a dance…a waltz, of course.
My contemporary, CRAZY FOR HER, is a Golden Heart® finalist and the first book in a series of the men of K2 Special Services, all ex-SEALs in need of the love of a good woman. The first draft of the second book is finished and in the hands of my critique partners.
If you had the chance to travel back in time to that the Regency, would you take it? What would you want to do?
Absolutely, I would take it. Only for a week or so, mind you. Not sure I could give up my hot showers or get used to chamber pots to stay longer than that. But to have an opportunity to live—even if for a limited time—in an era about which I write, well…just wow. There are so many things I’d wish to do, but if I had to choose just one, then I’d attend that ball where that gorgeous man settled his attention on me. Second choice would be to dress up as a man and go to a gaming hell. Would love to observe what my men do in those places and how they act, all the better to write realistic scenes.
What other genres would you be interested in writing?
What book or books are you currently reading?
I just finished Highlander’s Hope by Collette Cameron, one of my critique partners, and now I’m reading Ethan by Grace Burrowes. I love her books, they sing to me.
What advice would you give to writers who are just starting out?
First, write, write, write. Seriously, the more you write the better writer you will be. After that, read. Read the genre you write, read the ones you don’t. Just read! After that, study. If you’re a romance writer, join Romance Writers of America. Take their classes. Join the forums that pertain to you, find chapters that interest you. There are many other things I could suggest, but I’ll just end this question with find a critique partner who fits you. Not an easy thing to do but she/he is out there, just waiting to connect with you.
Thank you so much, Merry, for inviting me here today. It’s been so much fun!
My pleasure, Sandra (or should we be calling you Sandy now?) You can follow Sandra at her website: http://www.sandra-owens.com