Interview with Sandra Marshall

Jen: This weekend we welcome Sandra Marshall to Book Talk. Sandra, will you please share a short bio with us?
Sandra: Sure, I’ll be glad to Jen. First, I want to thank you for having me here today.

My first career was in the aviation field. I spent 36 years at the now defunct airline, Trans World Airlines or TWA as most people called it. I loved working for the airlines, but the last few years there it became very stressful. I traveled a lot, which was fun and educational at the same time.

I started writing while still working for TWA on a dare from my hubby. Men, they always think things are so simple. They think you can whip out a book and sell it right now. lol I have been writing for nearly 22 years, and I believe I would never have been published if it weren’t for my mentor, Lee Morris. Lee and her sister have been in the publishing industry for a long time, and when their uncle, a historian, was dying, he made them promise to help aspiring writers. I consider myself very fortunate that they considered me worth helping.

Jen: Tell us about ADDICTION and where it’s available.
Sandra: ADDICTION is about a young woman battling several addictions, including alcohol addiction. At the same time, she is battling for her life. Someone is stalking her, and she has no idea who it is. She has low self-esteem issues and has allowed men to use her even though she’s a gorgeous woman.

An FBI agent who has been pursuing a serial killer through many states comes to her rescue. ADDICTION is available at Eirelander Publishing, http://www.eirelander-publishing.com

Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Sandra: Jen, I was a reader, but in my 40’s my husband decided that writing would be more productive than reading all the time. For years, I put him off, but one New Year’s Eve, we sat in front of the fireplace with a glass of wine making our New Year’s resolutions. I gave in and told him I would start writing February 1, 1988. I was hoping he would forget. Wink! That man never forgets anything.

I was first published in 2008 at Forbidden Publications, which is now closed. Actually, my first call was for ADDICTION. The owner of Forbidden said, she couldn’t stop reading it. She also contracted the first book in the trilogy, THE CATALYST. I was excited, and I did a lot of promotion for THE CATALYST, but didn’t get to do much for ADDICTION because shortly after it came out my publisher closed.

ADDICTION is to be released again on November 26, 2009 with Eirelander Publishing. At some date, they will bring The Catalyst back, but the third book in the trilogy will be released next May. Eirelander is a great new publisher, and they are always looking for submissions.

Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?
Sandra: My writing approach has changed over the years. That first book, I just wrote and sometimes took notes. Now, I do character profiles of all my main characters and some of the secondary ones, too. I make an outline of the different scenes I want in the book. Of course, while writing something new might pop into my head, and I’ll add a scene here and there. Smile.

Jen: Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?
Sandra: I must have quiet while I write, and a glass of water nearby. I use my laptop for writing, and my PC for email and promotional stuff.

Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Sandra: The setting for all three books is the riverboat gambling casinos in the mid-west. I had retired from TWA when I came up with the idea for the first book, and I knew I needed to learn all I could about this industry. What better way to do that than to go to work for a riverboat casino? I worked for one for nine months doing research, and I also did some searches on the internet. The job was very enlightening.

Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?
Sandra: The most challenging thing for me is to get my thoughts down on paper the way I mean them. The easiest thing for me is revisions. I love them. When you do them everything is coming together, and you know it’s going to be a great story. I have the best editor. She really challenges me to do the best I can.

Jen: What’s the most rewarding aspect?
Sandra: To see your story become better and better with each revision.

Jen: Is there a genre that you’d like to write? Is there a genre you’ll probably stay away from and why?
Sandra: I like the genre I’m in best, Mystery Romance, but I’ll never say ‘never’ to anything. lol I find that most people who say they’ll never do something end up eating those words.

Jen: What five authors or people, from the past or present, have been important to you as an author? What question or comment have you always wanted to say to them?
Sandra: Oh gosh, there have been so many. Carla Cassidy has been an inspiration to me ever since I met her. The most recent author who has been important to me is T.J. Killian, and she weaves mystery, romance, fantasy and even time travel in some of her stories. She has mentored me, and her help has been priceless. Another author who has helped me a lot is Zaynah Monodee writing as Aasiyah Qamar has offered me in-depth critiques on some of my work, which has been very helpful. These are just a few of the new authors who are important to me. Many of the classics were my early reading material, and I will always love them.

Jen: Do you do anything special to celebrate a sale, new contract, or release?
Sandra: We went out to dinner with friends the day, I got the call. Also, I called all of my friends.

Jen: What has been your highlight of your career to this point?
Sandra: I don’t think I’ve had the highlight yet. I think it is to come.

Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Sandra: What free time are you talking about? lol It’s been awhile since I’ve had any free time, but I like to watch my favorite shows on television, read, spend time with hubby and family.

Jen: What’s next for you?
Sandra: My next release is THE DECEIVED in May. After that, I’m going back to the book I wrote about an airline overhaul maintenance base. It needs a major revision, but I think it will be one of my best books when it’s done. It’s also a mystery romance.

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Sandra: Oh, I’m all over the place. lol My website is at http://www.skaymarshall.com I have a blog at http://www.sandramarshallblog.blogspot.com I’m on Twitter as secondcat2 if you want to find me there. I’m at MySpace http://www.myspace.com/s_zinn_marshall/ and I’m on Facebook.

Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

Sandra: Yes. When are you going to get tired of the Paranormal Romances? lol Actually, I’m developing a paranormal aspect to my next book. Grin.

Jen, thank you so much for having me here. You have really worked hard to get this all set up.

Jen: Readers, Sandra is giving away a small bag of body lotions, or a surprise bag with body lotions in it and other things to one lucky commenter. Everyone who comments and leaves an email address (or sends a message to contests.bookblog@gmail.com after commenting) will be entered in the drawing. The contest will end on Wednesday, November 25.