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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Interview with Sandra Robbins

Congratulations to T Warner for winning a copy of Deadly Exposure by Cara Putman. If you'd like to be entered in the book drawing to win Pedigreed Bloodlines, post a comment below.

Pedigreed Blood Lines is the first in a series. Tell us how your book and series came about.

I began writing with a goal toward becoming published in historical romance in early 2004. I attended my first ACFW conference in 2005 and met a lot of wonderful writers who offered me encouragement. I heard a few months later that Barbour was developing a line of cozy mysteries. Although I’d read mysteries since I was a child, I’d never written one. I began to research the elements of a cozy mystery, developed the characters and plot, and was ready to submit my proposal some months later.

As I came to love my heroine, I knew her story couldn’t stop with just one book, so the idea for a series began to take shape. Now as I’m working on the third book, I think I could go on for a long time with the escapades of Leigh Dennison.

How do you keep track of the clues, red herrings, and other story threads while writing your mysteries?

I found that I had to be very organized as I began to write the book. I plotted the entire story and decided on the clues and red herrings. Then I decided where I would plug them into the manuscript. I completed a synopsis before I began. Then I drafted a chapter by chapter synopsis as a sort of road map for me to travel in the story.

Of course along the way there were some twists and turns, and some scenes had to be rewritten. At one point even the identity of the killer changed, but in the end everything was tied together.

What have you enjoyed most about writing this book series?

I enjoyed developing the character of the heroine Leigh Dennison. Quirky characters inhabit the pages of a cozy mystery, and Leigh is no exception. She is an adult who struggles with Attention Deficit Disorder and has to find ways to cope with her inability to concentrate on tasks.

How did you discover this unique aspect of your heroine?

As a teacher and principal in the public schools for many years, I had opportunities every day to observe children suffering with the disorder. However, there are many adults who suffer the same symptoms.

Many people believe that individuals coping with ADD aren’t very intelligent. Nothing could be farther from the truth. They are very smart people who approach life differently from most of society. I hope in showing Leigh’s skills and determination as a sleuth that I have been able to shed some understanding on this disorder.

What has been your biggest obstacle in your writing journey?

I suppose we as writers all tend to think that rejections pose the biggest obstacle in our writing journey, but I don’t think that’s necessarily true. Although rejections hurt, we learn from them—what the market is or isn’t buying, publishing houses where our work doesn’t fit, and whether our writing is strong enough to grab and hold a reader’s attention.

For me I think my biggest obstacle has been settling into one genre and concentrating on that. I enjoy reading mysteries, suspense, and romance, both historical and contemporary. Since I began writing, I’ve dabbled in all those genres. I wish I could write in each one, but I know that may be impossible. At the present I’m trying to hone my skills at writing mystery. I’ve branched out some and am attempting some romantic mystery/suspense. If you check my website at http://sandrarobbins.net, you’ll find my tag line—Mystery and Romance, a deadly combination.

What do you read when you’re not writing?

I read mysteries, suspense, and romance. At present I’m reading the cozy mysteries that have released in Heartsong Presents Mysteries book club. The next release will have my book in it. If you haven’t read these mysteries, you can sign up for the club at my website.

What’s next after Pedigreed Blood Lines?

Murder in Small Doses, the second book in the Leigh Dennison series, will release in February, 2009. I’m presently working on the third book, Rock Around a Murder. I have a few more projects in the works and hope that some of them will find a home.

Any advice you can share for aspiring mystery and suspense writers?

I would suggest that aspiring writers study the genre and read the books that are being published. After that, the best thing to do is plant yourself in front of the computer. Begin to develop your characters and your plot and then write.

Professional organizations like ACFW offer tremendous resources and expertise for the beginning writer. Attend workshops and conferences to develop your craft, and join a critique group that will help you polish your work.

However, all these things won’t help unless your life is centered in God’s will. Pray and ask for His guidance, and let Him direct you. Whether or not you’re ever published, you can be assured of success in life if you let Him lead.

Thanks to Sandra Robbins for a great interview! Don't forget to post a comment to be entered in a drawing to win Pedigreed Blood Lines.


Blogger ChristyJan said...

I enjoyed reading this interview with Sandra. Pedigreed Blood Lines sounds like a great read and I look forward to reading this cozy mystery series.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Krysten said...

I liked what she had to say about learning from rejections. She's right--they hurt, but you can see where the market's going & who's buying what. great interview!

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Ruth Dell said...

Good day!

I would love to get to know Leigh so please enter me in the drawing. I think it's great that readers will see a positive view of ADD in this book.

God bless

Ruth Dell

4:33 AM  
Blogger Bev (froggieb) said...

Good interview. Sandra sounds like a writer I would enjoy. I like series books. Now off to check out her website.

7:31 AM  
Blogger Stacey said...

I love reading cozy mysteries, particularly series, and someday I hope to write my own. I look forward to reading Pedigreed Blood Lines.

9:29 PM  
Blogger Ausjenny said...

dont enter me I subscribe to this line.
i love these books and the fact so many are series. I love the different styles of solving murders and i have learnt keep an eye on the poker! Also learnt strawberries are as evil as i always thought.
this one looks great too. cant wait till i get hold of it.

12:14 AM  
Blogger windycindy said...

Greetings, I enjoy "Heartsong Presents Mysteries!" The fact that this book is the first in a series is fantastic. I love a good mystery to read. Please enter me in your drawing. I appreciate it! Thanks, Cindi

10:14 PM  

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