Sandra Orchard's Shades of Truth

My guest today is Sandra Orchard. Sandra lives in rural Ontario, Canada where inspiration abounds for her romantic suspense novels set in the fictional Niagara town she's created as their backdrop. Married with three grown children, when not writing, she enjoys hanging out with family, brainstorming new stories with fellow writers, and walking her dog in God's beautiful creation. An active member of ACFW, RWA, several of its chapters, and The Word Guild, Sandra likes to encourage aspiring writers. She also enjoys offering her readers “extras” to enhance their experience of her books

Anne – Welcome to my little corner of bloggerland, Sandra. When did you first realize you were destined to be a writer?

Sandra - In Grade One when one of my stories was printed in the school yearbook. Eventually school killed the creative side of my writing. I thought I’d write non-fiction. Then after my mom died, I discovered Christian fiction. Seeing characters face and triumph over trials similar to my own helped me tremendously. After several years of reading novels, a yearning grew to write them.

Anne - Tell us about your latest release.

Sandra - Shades of Truth is the second book in my Love Inspired Suspense series, Undercover Cops: Fighting for justice puts their lives—and hearts—on the line. However, you won’t be lost if you haven’t read the first novel. Each story stands alone. They simply share the same setting and some of the same characters. For example, the heroine in this book was the friend of Deep Cover’s heroine.

Here’s the blurb:

Big city detective Ethan Reed is working deep undercover at a Christian youth detention center. The kind of place he spent some harrowing time in as a kid. Ethan’s mission: ferret out who’s recruiting resident teens for a drug ring. He expects help from the lovely, devoted director of Hope Manor. But Kim Corbett won’t tell Ethan anything— even when she’s threatened and attacked. When Ethan discovers what Kim is protecting, his guarded heart opens just a bit wider. Enough to make this the most dangerous assignment of his career.

Anne - I LOVE the cover, btw. It's gorgeous! What do you enjoy most about writing? What part do you loathe?

Sandra - I enjoy brainstorming new stories. I love the energy and creativity and the feeling that I can take this story anywhere. I loathe getting bogged down in the middle of writing the story, feeling like it’s not interesting enough, or that the pace is wrong and then grappling to know how to fix it.

Anne - What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself from writing?

Sandra - That I really can dream up stories. For many years, I didn’t think I had the imagination needed, but I cultivated (or perhaps revived it) and now story ideas continually crop up everywhere I look!

Anne - Tell us about the defining moment when you felt as if you’d finally made it as an author.

Sandra - July 16, 2009. The night of the Daphne DuMaurier Award presentation at RWA’s national conference. The coordinator called me at home during the ceremony to tell me I won. I was thrilled. Over-the-moon excited. She tried to tell me more, but the event was too loud so she said she’d try later. After I hung up, I squealed and jumped up and down and hugged my family and squealed some more. Then I emailed a few writing friends who’d been rooting for me. Author Sandra Robbins emailed me back with “you didn’t just win your category, you won the whole show and an agent has requested it!” Needless to say, I went into another round of squealing and jumping. 

Anne – What a wonderful tale! I’m jumping up and down screaming, too! Would you share an excerpt of Shades of Truth with us?

Sandra – I thought you’d never ask!

EXCERPT (from front of book)

Kim’s expression hardened. “I was thinking about the damage that rumors of a hit and run by a former resident would do to the manor. I don’t expect you to understand, Ethan. You’ve only been here a day. You couldn’t possibly care about the manor’s survival the way I do.”

The woman was as loyal and compassionate as they came. How could he have suspected her of trying to protect a drug dealer?

“I’m sorry, Kim. I was out of line. Believe me, I want to help you.” More importantly, he wanted to get her out of here before the police connected her—or him—to the shooting. The last thing he needed was a cop unraveling his cover. “Come, on, I’ll drive you home.”

In the meantime, he needed descriptions of the kids vandalizing Kim’s car, because chances were good one of them shot Blake, or had seen who did. And Ethan needed to talk to them before the wrong cop got to them. Or Kim.

Witnesses in this case had a bad habit of showing up dead.

Anne - How many rejections have you received? Was one more memorable than others? Why?

Sandra - Since the CBA market is fairly small, I haven’t accumulated a great deal of rejection slips. The most promising one came from a senior editor at a major publishing house who I’d met at a conference. He told me that he took my book to the pub board, and although they didn’t pick it up, he invited me to submit whatever else I had.

Anne - Any words of advice for struggling, unpublished writers?

Sandra - One word. Persevere.

Anne - Outside of writing, what accomplishment are you most proud?

Sandra - Raising and educating three wonderful, hard-working children who love the Lord (and their mom <grin>). It was also pretty cool earning full scholarships to university and graduating summa cum laude, but that seems like a lifetime ago.

Anne – Where can readers find you online?

Sandra – At my website, sign up for my newsletter, on Facebook, and my blog.  

Anne - Thanks for chatting today, Sandra. I had a thoroughly wonderful time and especially loved your "made it" moment! 

Reader comments are always welcome and appreciated. Become a follower to ensure you receive every author interview, announcement and/or blog post on the Piedmont Island Trilogy. Until next time, happy reading! J

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