The best way to get to know someone is to let them tell you their story. So Sandra, start us off by telling us a little about you.
I am one of those baby boomers, born May 16, 1946. My parents were divorced when I was six and this was a sad time for me. I had learned to read early and it has been a comfort for me my entire life. After my Dad read me one of those alphabet books: A is for Apple, B is for Ball, etc. I figured it out from there. I was reading adult books by the time I started first grade although I kept that a secret and tried to act like a kid. I did attend one year of college at St. John's (the "great books school") in Annapolis but met and soon thereafter married my first husband whom I persuaded to go "back to the land" in the early seventies. We lived in a shack with an outhouse and grew our own food in a West Virginia holler for three years before he persuaded me to go "back to civilization" after our second daughter was born in the back seat of the car en route to Roanoke Community Hospital. Sara has been in a rush ever since! Not long after the move, we divorced, I finished a BA in Psychology with a minor in Women's Studies at University of Md. and then moved back to Colorado. After a year working as a hostess in a fancy restaurant I decided to go to law school. I was all set to change the world for women. That did not happen but I did manage to change a few women's lives for the better. I married Ed Sanchez in 1994 and we moved up to the mountains in 2005
Tell us about your writing - why you write, the genre you prefer, what started your journey into being and author.
Loving to read as much as I did I think it was inevitable that I would one day want to write. When I was in 6th grade I read Wuthering Heights and was transported to that time and place. When I read the last page I turned back immediately to the first and started all over again. I was not ready to leave the Yorkshire Moors. I think I had this vague idea that I wanted to write like that: transport myself and others to another time and place, but I didn't actually start writing stories until I was a senior in H.S and took a creative writing class. My teacher loved my stories, read them to ALL his English classes, and by the end of the day, kids were coming up to me to say they'd heard my story in class and really liked it and soon everyone was telling me "do something with your writing." I had an opportunity because of a contest to write for Seventeen Magazine and I did write a column about books. By the time they were ready to run it and called me to say they needed me to cut it down to 800 words, I had started college and didn't take the opportunity with sufficient seriousness and didn't follow through. Needless to say I am sorry now. One funny thing is that I read adult novels when I was a kid but didn't discover fairy tales until I was an adult looking for Jungian undercurrents. I had discovered mythology however as a child in the Book of Knowledge. And my mom used to talk to me about dreams and dream interpretation. So it made sense that I would write magical realist fiction although when I first started doing it I didn't know that was what it was called. Gabriel Garcia Marquez did not influence my writing but reading his work validated my writing. It gave me a way to describe it.
Now that we know how and when you started reading and writing, tell us about your work.
I write very short novels or very long short stories. Well I think it would be fair to say I write novellas with a very wide range. I feel like the story dictates the length. So my first novel, The Nun, published by Plain View Press in 1992 was only 127 pages and some of those filled with poems as the 20th century character is a poet. It is in two parts: a 10th century Nun who becomes a recluse and a sculptor and a 20th century incarnation of same character as a poet who also becomes a woodland recluse. My second novel, Stillbird is 124 pages and has been called "an epic in less than 200 pages". StillbirdStillbird with the help of Peter Burnham, the editor of The Long Story these past thirty years. We started The Wessex Collective together in 2005. During this time I wrote a few short stories and have collected the ones I consider the best into a collection titled A Mile in These Shoes. I also wrote novellas and collected my three favorites in another Wessex book: Three Novellas. My last novel (so far) The Road Home, a magical realist historical novel about crypto Jews in the southwest is supposed to be released by Floricanto Press in California this year but business is bad and they are not in a hurry to "rush to market". I am hoping to raise some money to publish a collection that would include a 2nd Ed. of The Nun, Stillbird, two of the three novellas and two of the nine short stories. In the meantime Three Novellas is still available as a real book (email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested). I have about a dozen copies left of Mile in These Shoes and Stillbird is available as an e-book at:
as are my other two Wessex books plus 17 titles by 10 other authors. Since we don' t have to pay to reprint e-books once they are out there in the cyber world (although we do have to cover commissions), we are all agreed that we will donate $3 for every $5 download to various charitable organizations. Different authors have different preferences. Mine will be donated to people doing dog rescue.
When did you start writing reviews?
I used to write reviews for the Boulder Daily Camera when they ran them: I'd be paid $50 per review plus of course getting free books. I started doing reviews for Book Pleasures after one of their other reviewers reviewed my book Three Novellas. Initially it was a way for me to get our Wessex link out there but of course it is wonderful discovering so many fine books by fine authors. Norm Goldman sends out the requests for reviews with the descriptions of the books and I only request those that I am pretty sure I will like. I did get one book that I thought I'd like based on the hype (published by Simon and Schuster) but after 60 pages I realized I wasn't going to have anything positive to say about it so I wrote the PR person and just told her in all sincerity I could not give this book a good review. I see no point in posting a negative review. Someone else will like it and apparently a lot of people are already fans of this author so she doesn't need my opinion.
Good to know!
I'm so happy to welcome Sandra and her positive input here at Page Readers!