A wonderfully warm welcome to my dear friend, Sandra M. Hart. She is one of the sweetest and dearest of my friends, and I'm sure you're going to enjoy both this interview and her book. Please do check it out and leave a review!
And don't forget to leave a comment and your email addy for a chance to win a copy of her book!
Now tell us, Sandy:
How long have you known that you were a writer? Did you receive a clear “call?” Or have you just loved writing all your life?
I wanted to be a writer in elementary school and even wrote my first book while in the sixth grade. I desperately needed someone to believe in me and to encourage me but it didn't happen. I gave up the dream. Several years ago the desire came back. It felt as if God led me back to my childhood dreams.
What is the genre you write in? Would you explain what it is?
I most often write inspirational historical romance. These books have historic settings with a faith element. I like writing stories where my characters live somewhere in American history. I love reading historical romances, too.
How do you spend your writing days? Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day? Can you give us a general idea of how long it takes you to write a novel?
When I'm writing a novel, the daily word count is normally about 2,700 words a day. When I first began writing, 1,200 words a day challenged me, so hopefully this will continue to grow.
Depending on how long the novel will be, it may take three months or more to write. Since I write historical novels, I may spend two to four months or longer researching before writing a single word.
Where do you get ideas? Character names?
I never know what will inspire me: a random comment, a news article, a sermon, a stranger in the grocery story, etc. For my novella, A Stranger on My Land, that released today, August 21, 2014, most of the inspiration came from my Civil War research. As Chapter 1 begins the day after the Battle Above the Clouds, I also traveled to Chattanooga, Chickamauga, and Lookout Mountain where the museums, history, people and scenery inspired me and deepened the story.
Character names can be challenging. I might choose first names from research books or a name with some family or friend connection -- but not their character traits. Last names are easier. When a name doesn't come to me readily, the phone book supplies plenty of ideas.
Do you ever feel like giving up? Most people don’t understand the stress, the work, and the joy of being a writer. How tenuous becoming a writer is. Do you care to share how it feels, what discouraging/encouraging times you’ve gone through? Who’s inspired you the most?
There have been a couple of times when I've felt like giving up. Rejection is difficult to take and writers experience plenty of it. Writing is a lonely journey. It encourages me to have author friends. They have withstood rejection, too.
After receiving several tough rejections in the space of one week, both my agent and I felt pretty beat up. My heart broke. My self-esteem took a nose dive. I spent a lot of time praying for direction. I asked for guidance about whether to continue. It's not an easy profession.
Now, that you’re published, can you sit back and relax from the success you’ve experienced?
Not at all! I'm working even harder. A Stranger on My Land is my debut novella.
Would you like to share links to buy your book?
Though I expect it be available on a few other sites, it's available now at Amazon.
Carrie and her little brother, Jay, find a wounded soldier on their land after a battle which later became known as "The Battle Above the Clouds." Adam, a Union soldier, has been shot twice in the arm. Though Carrie is reluctant to take Adam to their cave where her family hides their livestock from both armies, she cannot turn her back on him.
But her Aunt Lavinia, bitter over what Yankees have done to their land, urges Carrie to allow Adam to die. Carrie refuses, but cannot remove the bullets. Adam's friendship with Jay softens her heart toward him. It's not long until his gratitude and teasing manner spark a friendship between the young couple. Even though Carrie's father fights for the Confederacy in far-off Virginia, her feelings for the handsome young soldier begin to blossom into love.
When Adam's condition worsens, Carrie knows a Union surgeon is needed to save his life. How can she accomplish this and keep her family's hiding place a secret?
Sandra Merville Hart loves to find unusual facts in her historical research to use in her stories. She and her husband enjoy traveling to many of the sites in her books to explore the history. She serves as Assistant Editor for DevoKids.com where she contributes articles about history and holidays. She has written for several publications and websites including The Secret Place, Harpstring, Splickety Magazine, Pockets Magazine, Common Ground, Afictionado, and ChristianDevotions.us. Her inspirational Civil War novella, A Stranger on My Land, released on August 21, 2014.
Thanks, Sandy, for joining me today!
Don't forget, readers, to leave a comment and an email addy for a chance to win her book!