Sandra Robbins, former teacher and principal, is an award winning multi-published author of Christian fiction who lives with her husband in Tennessee. Angel of the Cove, her first book in the Harvest House Publishers historical romance series Smoky Mountain Dreams, released in August, 2012, and was recently named the 2013 winner in the Single Title Inspirational Category of the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. This award is given by the Birmingham Southern Magic Chapter of Romance Writers of America for excellence in writing romance. In addition in 2013 her Love Inspired Suspense books Shattered Identity and Fatal Disclosure were both awarded the HOLT Medallion in different categories of the Virginia Romance Writers of America contest to honor outstanding literary talent.
Dangerous Waters the first book in her Cold Case Files Series released the first of August and will be followed by Beyond These Hills, the third book in her Smoky Mountain Dream series in September.
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INTERVIEW WITH SANDRA ROBBINS
S.S: How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for about nine years now. I’d always told myself that someday I’d write a book. One night I sat down at the computer and just began to write. I knew nothing about the craft, so I got online and found an organization then called ACRW (American Christian Romance Writers). Suddenly a life long dream was becoming a reality.
S.S: Do you write full time? If the answer is no, what else do you do? If you are a full time author, what other jobs did you have in the past?
I do write full time now. I didn’t when I first started. I was working as the principal of an elementary school at the time. I loved my years in education and wouldn’t take anything for them. Now I feel fortunate to be able to work at home and set my own hours.
S.S: Tell us about the moment you finally felt like a “real author”?
I knew I was an author when I got the call that I’d sold my first book, but the realization hit me when I held that published book in my hands. Although I’d longed for such a moment for years, I never thought it would happen. That was a precious moment in my life.
S.S.: Who has been your greatest supporter as an author?
My family has been my greatest supporters. My mother who was an avid reader prodded me to follow my dream and never let me give up on it. My husband has been my rock and has encouraged me at times when I didn’t know if I could go on. My four children have been my champions and cheerleaders. I’m so thankful for all of them.
S.S: Do you write in any other genres? If so, what?
Besides suspense, I also write historical romance. I’ve always loved studying history, and I enjoy doing the extensive research needed to write a historical. This year has been a good one for me in both genres. Angel of the Cove, the first book in my Smoky Mountain Dreams series, recently won the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence in the Inspirational Single Title Category. This award is given by the Birmingham Southern Magic Chapter of RWA. Shattered Identity, the second suspense novel in my Ocracoke Island series, won the Virginia RWA’s HOLT Medallion in the Short Contemporary Category, and Fatal Disclosure, the third suspense in that series, won the HOLT in the Short Inspirational Category. I was thrilled that two of my novels won HOLTS in the same year.
S.S: How does your faith play into your writing?
My faith guides my writing. I knew when I first began writing that I would only succeed with God’s guidance. He has directed me to places that I would never have gone on my own, and He’s put people in my path who have enabled me to achieve my dreams and goals.
S.S: If you couldn’t write, what else would you want to do?
It’s difficult to know what I’d do if I couldn’t write. I was an educator for years, and I’d probably go back to that in some way. I did some online teaching for the university in my hometown when I first began writing, and I enjoyed that. I’ve come to enjoy being at home after so many years of rushing off to work every day, and I’d want to do something that I could do from the comfort of my home.
S.S: Tell us about your current release.
My current release is Dangerous Waters. It is the first book in my Cold Case Files series and is set in Memphis, TN. The three books feature a team of detectives who work the cold case unit and solve crimes that have gone unsolved for years. The heroine in the first book was introduced in Fatal Disclosure. In Dangerous Waters Laura Webber returns to Memphis to find out who killed her parents in a car bombing when she was a child, and she enlists the help of her former fiancé who is one of the cold case detectives.
S.S: Where did you get your inspiration for this book?
The idea for this book, in fact for this whole series, came about because of a family in our church. About thirty years ago a grown daughter of our friends disappeared from where she lived in another state. They had no idea what had happened to her and lived with this loss until last year when they were finally able through a DNA database to find her. There was a police officer who had never given up on trying to reunite his unidentified murder victim with her family. Although they were able to bring her remains home for burial, her case is still cold.
S.S: What is the main thing you hope readers remember from your story?
I know how difficult the years have been for our friends who didn’t know what had happened to their loved one. I hope readers will understand the pain and heartbreak that many families in this country are suffering each day because of an unsolved crime that affected someone they love.
S.S: Who is your favorite character in this book and why?
My favorite character is Brad Austin. He fell in love with Laura when he first met her outside the door of their high school freshman English class, and he’s tried for years to get over her after she broke their engagement and left Memphis. Now that she’s back and someone is determined she won’t find the answer to who murdered her parents, he finds she is once again at the center of his world. In my favorite scene Laura has been injured and is taken to the hospital. Brad, upset and scared, begins to talk to a little girl whose seated next to him in the waiting room. When she asks him if he’s prayed for his friend, he tells her he doesn’t know God very well. With the wisdom of a child, she pats his arm and says, “It’s okay, mister. He knows you.” Those words break down the wall of resistance Brad has put up to keep God out of his life, and he suddenly realizes that although he left God a long time ago, God had never forsaken him.
S.S: Who is your least favorite character in this book? Why?
My least favorite character is the villain who wants to see Laura dead. This character puts all kind of danger in her path.
S.S: What are you working on now?
I am working on the third book in the Cold Case Files series. This book is loosely based on the story of the disappearance of our friends’ daughter. It doesn’t have a title yet and will be released sometime around May next year.
S.S: Any writing goals you still hope to achieve?
I would love to see one of my books on the NYT best-seller list, but I’m sure I’m not alone in that regard. That’s probably a goal we’d all like to see. Knowing that the chances are slim that I will ever achieve that goal, I’ll just keep on writing the stories that God places on my heart. He knows who needs those stories, and I’ll depend on him to help my books find their way to where they need to be.
S.S: Now let’s get a little personal. Name two things on your “bucket list” that you haven’t done yet.
I got to do one of them this summer when I took a cruise to Alaska. Now I’d really like to go to New England in the fall and see the colorful foliage. I’d also like to visit Mackinaw Island and stay at the Grand Hotel. I’ve wanted to do that ever since I saw the movie Somewhere in Time.
S.S: What is the silliest thing you have ever done?
I don’t know if this qualifies for the silliest thing I’ve ever done or not. Believe me, I’ve done some silly things in my lifetime. But some years ago three friends and I, without bothering to call for reservations, drove two and a half hours to a popular restaurant for dinner. When we got there, we were told we would have to wait three hours before we could be seated. We sat there and waited and finished eating sometime around 11:00PM. Then we drove the two and a half hours in a blinding rainstorm along an interstate with huge eighteen wheel trucks passing us and throwing water all over our car to get back to where we started. I said a prayer of thanks when we arrived safely.
S.S: What is the hardest thing you have ever done?
The hardest two times in my life were when when I lost both my parents. I miss them every day, but my faith has enabled me to get through those difficult times.
S.S.: Where can readers find you on the internet?
Readers can find me at my website at www.sandrarobbins.net and at Facebook or Twitter. I can also be reached at my email address email@example.com
S.S.: Anything else you’d like to share with us?
Thank you for having me as a guest today. I love to hear from readers and get to know them. So I’d like to invite your readers to leave a comment today and let me know what kind of stories they like to read. Romantic suspense? Cozy mysteries? Thrillers? I think the great thing about being a reader is that there’s something to suit everybody’s taste.
I pray the Lord blesses each of you.
Sandra is giving away a copy of DANGEROUS WATERS. For a chance to win, read her interview, answer the question she asked, and leave us your contact information!