Foster an Author Interview – Sandra R Neeley

Who is your favorite author…someone that you will buy their book even without thinking?

Laurann Dohner

 

Who is the 1 person in the writing profession who has inspired you the most?

I don’t really have anyone. But you know what? Now that I’ve thought about it, there are two pieces of advice that I received from established authors that have stuck with me. First, Susan Bliler told me when I published my first book, “F*** the haters. They’re going to hate you no matter what you do, so do you and do you proudly. Don’t let them change who you are.”  And, Michelle Pillow told me,  “Always stay true to your heart , it won’t steer you wrong, and never forget that you are your own brand. Conduct yourself professionally at all times.”  And they were both right.

 

Who is the 1 person in life who has inspired you the most?

My son, and now my daughter. There were times I wanted to just stop doing everything, personally, professionally. All of it – I’m done. But then I’d look at him and realize that I was all he had. And now my daughter is the same. They look to me for guidance and to know how to proceed in their own lives. They need me. They need to see me continue to move forward and continue to keep getting up. And I need them to need me. So,  my kids. They inspire me to continue striving to always be better than I was yesterday.

 

Would you consider collaborating a book with anyone else? If so…who?

That’s tricky. I’m unique in the way I write things. I never know where it’s going and who’s going to show up in a story. They are never planned, so collaborating would be difficult, but I’ve often said that it would be fun to write with Jeanette Lynn, her sense of humor is unmatched.

 

What is the hardest thing about writing for you?

Editing.  I hate editing. Oh, and blurbs! You spend months pouring your heart into 80,000 plus words, the passion is there, the emotion, the feels. Then they tell you, here, break this down into about 100 words so we all know what it’s about without having to actually read it. Wait – what???!!

 

Which character is your favorite? Which character was the hardest to write? Why?

Maverik is my favorite character to date. The hardest character to write was Bam, until now. I’m working on a WIP right now that has been the most difficult. His name is Quin (pronounced Keen).

 

Do you have any routines or superstitions that you go through whenever you release a book?

Well, I like my release parties to be in conjunction with Romance Readers Recommend.  Other than that, not really.

 

What is your 1 piece of advice for anyone wanting to write?

Write your heart. There is no right or wrong way to write a story. There is no secret formula to use to get it right. But if you write your heart, and write with passion –let the emotion bleed through rather than trying to censor yourself or trying to sculpt to adhere to a format, the right readers will find you and you’ll be just fine.

 

If you could ask your readers 1 question and have them all answer…what would it be?

What do you dislike the most about my writing?

 

Do you have anything specific that has to be done for you to write? Such as a specific room to write in, certain drink, same pen/pencil everytime, specific music or noise?

My voices have to speak. My characters live in my head. I am not externally motivated or inspired, my stories come from my characters, who all live in my head. If they aren’t talking, I’m wasting my time. I can’t force anything. If they are telling me their story, they are showing me the scene over and over again in my head as though it’s a movie. I write down what they are showing me and that leads to another and so on and so on. If I’m not seeing a scene, or in effect hear them speaking, I have nothing to write. These are their stories, and they tell them to me when they are ready.

Edited to add; My husband says when I come out of the bedroom with my oldest, faded pair of leggings and oversized T-shirt with mismatching socks on, and my favorite super-soft blanket thrown over my shoulder, he knows I’m headed for my laptop and I’m lost for the day.

 

What is your writing kryptonite?

My husband and my daughter.  The “Mom can I haves?” and the “Honey, when you get a minutes…” drive me nuts. I can sit there for 3 hours and no one will say a word to me or even notice that I’m breathing. Let me open that laptop though, and they stand in line to ask me questions.

 

Do you plot out your book or do you write as you go?

I never plot. I type what my people show in my mind. They show me little “mini-movies.” I type what they show and it always leads to another scene and another and so on. I never know where a story will go, and have even been surprised by the places they take me. Some characters I never knew existed until they walk into the scene, and it’s like, “Wait! Where did you come from?” I honestly do not know the ending until I type it, ever.  The loudest voice and most insistent scene gets the story told first. The others have to wait their turn.

 

Do you want each book or series to stand on its own or are you building a universe where all the books/series connect with each other?

I build a world for each series and just see what happens as I go.  I do have another series coming up soon, and it’s started as a result of another character leaving my original series. But he just didn’t want to go. He started showing me pictures of all these scenes and I realized he had his own story to tell, it’s just not in the world he originated in. Some may connect later, but I have to wait and see what they show me, just like everyone else.

 

If you could tell your younger writing self anything what would it be?

Don’t be afraid.  If I’d not worried about what other people would think, I’d have written them down years ago. Only when I finally decided that I was writing them for my own pleasure, did the stories become organized enough to flow onto “paper.” They’ve been in my head since I was a preteen, maturing along with me.

 

What is the biggest lesson you learned after you published your first book?

Patience! Be patient enough to allow for edits. Wait. Set them aside and read them again after you’ve moved on to something else. You see them with fresh eyes, find things you missed originally and put out a better product.

 

What is a guilty pleasure?

Hot tea with milk and sugar on a cold day.  Or my favorite candy, Ferrero Rocher, anytime.

 

Do you have a favorite vacation spot?

Mountains.

 

What’s an Item on your bucket list?

Own a mountain cabin that isn’t easily accessible.

 

What’s your favorite Halloween candy?

Halloween candy is little Almond Joys or Krackles.

 

Do you have a spirit animal? If so, what is it?

Dragon. A mama Dragon.

 

What is your favorite holiday & why?

Christmas.  It’s always been my favorite. Family, food, watching the faces of my kids light up when they get that special gift, or better yet, something they didn’t expect at all but are thrilled with. It’s cold outside and the fireplace is going and everyone is smiling and loving each other.  Best times ever.

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