Interview with Sandra Byrd
About the Author
After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published more than forty books.
Sandra's new series, Daughters of Hampshire, historically sound Gothic romances, launched in 2015 with best-selling Book One: Mist of Midnight. That book earned a coveted Editor's Choice from the Historical Novel Society. The second book in the series, Bride of a Distant Isle, released in March 2016 and has been selected by Romantic Times as a Top Pick. Her latest nonfiction title, The One Year Home and Garden Devotions, published on October 1, 2015.
Check out her contemporary adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, which was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. To Die For was also named by Library Journal as a Best Books Pick for 2011 and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr, was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012.
Sandra has published dozens of books for tweens and teens, including the best-selling, The One Year Be-Tween You and God, Devotions For Girls.
She is passionate about helping new writers develop their talent and their work toward traditional or self-publication. As such, she has mentored and coached hundreds of new writers and continues to coach dozens to success each year via novelcoaching.com
Please visit www.sandrabyrd.com to learn more or to invite Sandra to your book club via Skype.
1. How did you get started as an author? What or whom inspired you?
When I was a kid, I wanted three careers: to be a hair stylist, to be a waitress, and to be an author. After I mohawked my Barbie I knew I wasn’t cut out for the hairstylist career. I was a waitress in a Jewish deli when I was a teenager, and then I worked for a caterer. Writing, however, was the real passion. I went to college on a writing scholarship but then I got nervous - I mean, who gets published? No one! How will I pay back my student loans? The odds seemed stacked against success, so I changed my major to business and got a degree in real estate/construction management.
Later, after I became a Christian, I felt like the Lord was showing me: Don't look at the odds, keep your eyes on me, God, like Peter did when he was upon the water. God is not subject to odds. We will achieve all the good works he has prepared for us, in advance, to do. There is nothing you are called to do that you cannot do, but also no way to open a door he has shut. Once we get a hold of that, it's easier to step away from fear.
2. How many books have you written and in what genres?
I have written everything from a picture book for young children, novels for tweens and teens, contemporary and historical novels for adults, and nonfiction for all. I just love writing!
3. What writing projects are you currently working on? What can you tell us about these projects?
Right now I'm working on the third book in my Daughters of Hampshire series; the second one, Bride of a Distant Isle, is now into production for a spring release! I'm so eager for the cover reveal...
I'm also getting ready to launch my new book, The One Year Home and Garden Devotions. So excited about that! It will release on October 1st.
4. Where is your favorite place to write?
I almost always write in my office. It's set up with the lighting, the music, the view, the comfortable chair and the keyboard I need. I have an amazing set of headphones and a big fridge with cold drinks nearby as well as an espresso machine. I'm set!
5. How important are the names in your novels? How do you choose names for your characters? Do you have any name resources you would suggest?
Names are extremely important! I usually go to lists online that show names of the place/era when I'm writing historicals, and choose from among them. Certain names sound like they fit better within an upper or working class, and I use those. Some have a harder or softer feel. For example, I chose the name Violet in Mist of Midnight because it has a soft feel to it, like Violets. Michelene just sounded very French, like Michelin, and that fit well, too. Although one of the most famous Gothic novels has a main character named Rebecca, that's not really why I chose it. It sounded like a missionary name, and I like alliteration in first and last names with my characters, Rebecca Ravenshaw.
I have never named a character after someone I know, for good or for bad. I just see my characters as their own people, so that wouldn't work for me. I do try to keep in mind if anyone famous shares a name. My copyeditor just alerted me that I need to change one of my character's names because Charlie Watts is a member of the band, The Rolling Stones!
6. Where is your favorite place to read and why?
Right now, in the big comfy chairs in my backyard. The days and evenings are perfect for that!
7. What period of history interests you the most?
I love them all, but I'm mostly interested in England, France, and the US. It was a dream to write in the Tudor era, as I have always loved that period, and Victorian England is just as fun. Who knows what is next?!
8. If you could choose someone famous to star in one of your books made to a movie, who would you choose and for which character?
I love figuring this out and have cast characters for all of my historical novels. Maybe you'd like to pop over to my Pinterest Page and see which I've chosen for Mist of Midnight?
9. What inspired the idea for Mist of Midnight? The Ladies in Waiting series?
Mainly, I loved reading books in those genres. I spend hundreds and hundreds of hours researching, writing, and rewriting. More time than I spend with any single person on most given days! So I write about topics that I'm fascinated by, and Tudor England and Gothic Romances, just interest me. They have a slightly ominous feel, but because I believe in Happy Ever After, I have to somehow, always and hopefully unexpectedly, bring them around!
For To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn, I wondered what it would be like to be Anne's best friend, walking through everything she went through with her. And did you know that Anne Boleyn was a woman of strong faith? She was!
For Mist of Midnight, I blended my love of Victorian England, India, and Christianity into a historically sound novel that fused many of the things I love.
10. What other hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
Gardening! We just bought a beautiful Judy Garland Rose to go next to our patio dining table. And I love to cook. My daughter and I made S'more Cake Pops last weekend. Super sweet, and super fun!
Thank you for inviting me to your page! I hope your readers will visit me at sandrabyrd.com, and sign up for my monthly, very brief newsletters. I offer a fun recipe and a unique giveaway each month.
Note: This interview was originally from the author in August of 2015, but is just now being posted.
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