Friday, March 25, 2016

INTERVIEW WITH SANDRA ROBBINS By Cynthia Hickey



Sandra Robbins, former teacher and principal, is a best-selling and award winning multi-published author of Christian fiction who lives with her husband in Tennessee. To date she has published ten romantic suspense novels, one cozy mystery, one novella, and eight historical romances. Angel of the Cove, her first book in the historical romance series Smoky Mountain Dreams, was 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. Also in 2013 her Love Inspired Suspense books Shattered Identity and Fatal Disclosure were both awarded HOLT Medallions in different categories of the Virginia Romance Writers of America contest to honor outstanding literary talent. In addition her books Final Warning (Love Inspired Suspense) and The Columns of Cottonwood (Barbour) have been finalists in the ACFW Carol Awards, and her cozy mystery Pedigreed Bloodlines (Barbour) was a finalist for the Daphne du Maurier Award given by the Kiss of Death Chapter of Romance Writers of America. Her novella Christmas Comes to Bethlehem Maine released in November, 2014, and made the Evangelical Christian Publishing Associations Best-Seller list.

 
Her latest book Fugitive Trackdown in the Bounty Hunters Series released in February, 2015, and will be followed by Fugitive at Large in May, and the third book December.



When did you decide to pursue writing and eventually publication?

I had always dreamed of writing a book, but I was busy teaching school and raising four children. One day about 2003 it occurred to me that time was passing by and if I wanted to write a book, I needed to get busy. I sat down at the computer and began to write. I attended my first ACFW conference two years later and sold my first book soon afterwards.

 

What is your writing process like?  Do you write daily?  Are you a plotter or a pantster? 

I try to write daily during the week. Since I’m a night person, I like to write in the afternoons and after dinner. Sometimes I write late into the night. I think at different times I’m either one or the other. I write a synopsis when I begin a book, but I often find myself going in a different direction as the story develops. That’s always exciting to me because I feel like my characters are leading me into new territory. So, I suppose I would describe myself as eclectic. My ideas come from a wide range of sources.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?  Least favorite?

My favorite part is beginning a new book. I’m always excited and just brimming with ideas. As the words flow, the story begins to speak to me, and I begin to really embrace my characters and their feelings. My least favorite part is wondering how readers are going to receive my work. I try not to read my reviews, but sometimes curiosity overcomes me. It hurts when you see that someone didn’t connect with what you were trying to say. However, my job for seventeen years as a school principal helped me develop a thick skin, and it’s come in handy as a writer.

What is one of the most interesting things you’ve discovered in your research? 

I love doing research, and I get excited when I find something that will make my book even better. A few years ago after visiting Ocracoke Island I wrote a three book series set on the island. One of the stories revolved around the lighthouse that is located there. However, the lighthouse was no longer open to visitors, and I needed to know something about what it looked like inside. I got on youtube and found a video that had been made of a tour for a group right after an intensive renovation had been done on the structure. So I watched the video and felt as if I was right there touching the inside walls and climbing the stairs to the widow’s walk at the top. Another time I found a video on youtube of a group hiking up Gregory’s Bald in the Smoky Mountains. I got to experience it without actually having to do the hike. That’s the kind of research I like.

Please tell us about your latest release. 

My latest release is Igniting the Flame: Firebrand Begins, and it is up for preorder at amazon now. It is a novella that introduces the three books that follow about the exploits of a band of brothers who were covert operatives for the government. Now after ten years they have retired from their dangerous lifestyle and have built a training center where they will teach law enforcement officers, military personnel, and security guards the techniques that they’ve learned. However, during their years of performing missions around the world, they made enemies. Those enemies have now resurfaced and are intent on getting vengeance on each of them and the people they love.

Igniting the Flame releases March 25, Targeted releases in April, Hunted releases in May, and Betrayed releases in June.

Who or what inspired this special story? 

In the last few years media news reports have been filled with exploits of professional operatives who provide services to government agencies. As the American public has become more educated about the individuals who provide added assistance to the military, interest has grown in knowing more about the individuals who choose to live such a life of danger. This series provides a glimpse into the lives of three men who served their country by planning and executing covert missions and how their exploits put themselves and those they loved in danger. 

 

Is there anything else you would like to share?  What will you be working on next? 

I am presently working on a four book contract for Love Inspired Suspense that is titled Smoky Mountain Secrets. In a Killer’s Sights the first book releases in July, and Stalking Season book two releases in December.

Can you tell us something about yourself that few people may know?

I have played the piano since I was six years old, and I received a college degree in music. Through my college piano teacher who studied at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, I can trace my piano teachers back to Beethoven.

What is your most treasured possession?

That is a difficult question. I am an antique lover and have many beautiful pieces that I’ve bought through the years including a large collection of flow blue china and blue and white stoneware. However, a wise elderly antique dealer once gave me some good advice when she said, “Honey, they are just possessions. Nothing more.” I’ve always tried to look at the things I have in that light, and I am thankful that God has let me enjoy them.

If you had to leave your house suddenly, what is one thing you would grab, other than family and pets?

There is one thing that I would grab, and that’s the framed picture of my mother and me taken when I was about three years old. She is seated with me standing beside her with my hand in hers. She’s passed away now, and that picture is very dear to me.

Thank you so much!  Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

Readers can connect with me at my website http://sandrarobbins.net by email at sandra@sandrarobbins.net, Facebook, Twitter
 
 Leave a comment for a chance to win an ebook copy of "Igniting the Flame".
Multi-published and Amazon Best-Selling author Cynthia Hickey had three cozy mysteries and two novellas published through Barbour Publishing. Her first mystery, Fudge-Laced Felonies, won first place in the inspirational category of the Great Expectations contest in 2007. Her third cozy, Chocolate-Covered Crime, received a four-star review from Romantic Times. All three cozies have been re-released as ebooks through the MacGregor Literary Agency, along with a new cozy series, all of which stay in the top 50 of Amazon’s ebooks for their genre. She had several historical romances release in 2013, 2014, 2015 through Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents, and has sold half a million copies of her works. She has taught a Continuing Education class at the 2015 American Christian Fiction Writers conference. She is active on FB, twitter, and Goodreads, and is a contributor to Cozy Mystery Magazine blog and Suspense Sisters blog. She and her husband run the small press, Forget Me Not Romances, which includes some of the CBA’s well-known authors. She lives in Arizona with her husband, one of their seven children, two dogs and one cat. She has seven grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”. Visit her website at www.cynthiahickey.com
 

 

15 comments:

  1. I love what you said about possessions just being possessions. I thought a lot about this when my mother-in-law passed away. She had many things she treasured and enjoyed but they were left behind for her daughter to enjoy.
    Only what you do for the Lord counts when you leave the earth.

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    1. Gail, you are so right that the things we do for the Lord are the only things that matter. We may never know the impact a small act of kindness or a word of encouragement spoken in the Lord's name will have on someone else.

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  2. I think about the life's saved when people escape fires, tornado, hurricanes and are
    left without anything. My family and dogs are my most important to me and if I
    had to leave suddenly I would make sure they were out first.
    Blessings for a Happy Easter.
    Carol Smith
    penelope223(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Carol, I hope you have a happy Easter, too. Today I've been recalling some of my happy memories of past Easters when my parents were with us. You are so right that family is the most important thing in our lives.

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  3. I really enjoyed the interview. That is good advise you received that we all need to realize. So many people are so materialistic and do not stop to think it is all temporary. I do a little collecting i.e. Tiara glassware and I have a set of Frosted Cactus glassware from Blakley (by Anchor Hocking) that I love. But if I had to get something out in a hurry it would be my family photographs because those are irreplaceable.

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    1. Stella, you have some wonderful pieces that you've collected through the years, but nothing can replace the personal items that mean so much to us. I recently gave my daughter my grandmother's locket. If it were for sale in an antique store, it probably wouldn't be worth more than a few dollars, but to her it was priceless.

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  4. I really enjoyed your Smoky Mountain Dreams Trilogy. Thanks for having the giveaway.

    harnessrose(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Rose, I'm so glad you enjoyed my Smoky Mountain Dreams Trilogy. I've always loved the Smokies, and especially Cades Cove. I go every chance I get. My husband and I rented a house in the mountains last summer and took our children and grandchildren there. There's just something about those rolling mountains with the blue haze on top that thrills my heart.

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  5. Great interview, Sandra! I agree that the best part of writing is the beginning - so much better than the dreaded saggy middle! Lol! I love your suspense, but I have to say your Smokey Mountain Dreams trilogy is my favorite - and is very popular in my library, as well!!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Regina. I'm so glad that readers at your library have enjoyed my Smoky Mountain Dreams trilogy. That series is one that was written from the heart. I'm also thrilled that you are writing again. Can't wait to see you again.

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  6. I enjoyed the interview very much. Keep writing those stories, Sandra!

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    1. Thanks, Susan. I'll keep writing as long as I have friends like you who encourage me. You've been such a help and a blessing to me on this writing journey. You keep writing also.

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  7. Enjoyed the interview. It is always interesting to learn more about the authors of the books you enjoy.

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  8. Thanks for stopping by Beth. I really enjoy writing, and I pray the words God gives me will touch the hearts of my readers. I hope you have a wonderful Easter.

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  9. Sandra, you are a great inspiration to many as well as a gifted writer. Keep "singing your song" for you never know who may pick up the tune.

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