FICTION FRIDAY -- BONUS DOUBLE FEATURE
Thanks for stopping by. This is my second interview for the Fiction Friday feature in a row because I'm playing catch up. Now I'm caught up. The next feature will appear on time next Friday. Thank you for your patience. Now on with the interview...
Author Sandra Orchard
Tell us about your journey to become a published author?
I began writing fiction in late 2004 and attended my first writers' conference in 2006, where I signed my first agent. Although I received some requests, intense interest didn't grow until I won the 2009 Daphne DuMaurier Award of Excellence. The next year I signed my first contract and this year will see the release of books 11 and 12. Networking with authors through conferences, online groups and workshops, exchanging critiques with others, paying for some critiques, contest feedback, reading tons of books on writing craft, and of course, writing, writing, writing were all part (and continue to be part) of the journey.
What sparked the idea for this series?
It was a combination of wanting to write a more light-hearted series with a couple of potential love interests (think Stephanie Plum), but with a competent heroine. And reading a newspaper article about Alain Lacoursière, a Montreal police detective who founded one of the top art-theft units in the world. The FBI estimates that the international black market in art is worth about $6-billion a year and it is now believed to be the second biggest source of income for at least one terrorist group. Sounded like great fodder for a series, right?
Tell us about your latest release.
A Fool and His Monet is the first book in Serena Jones Mysteries. Serena is a plucky FBI art crime agent forging her way through a museum of lies to expose the ruthless mastermind behind the recent theft of a priceless painting.
Her passion for uncovering lost and stolen art is surpassed only by her zeal to uncover the truth about the art thief who murdered her grandfather. She’s joined the FBI Art Crime Team with the secret hope that one of her cases will lead to his killer. Now, despite her mother’s pleas to do something safer—like get married and give her grandkids—Serena’s hot on a new case--a Monet stolen from the local museum. The clues point in different directions and her boss orders her to cease investigating her most promising suspect. But determined to solve the case, and perhaps discover another clue in her grandfather’s case, she pushes ahead, regardless of the danger.
Give five words that best describe this book. What message do you hope readers get?
Laugh-out-loud-funny, mind-spinning adventure, fun, fast-paced whodunit
I hope readers will gain a new perspective on the value of pursuing art crime investigations, and do a little soul-searching on what their price might be.
Give us one or two of your favorite lines from this book.
I'm pretty sure this is not what my mom meant when she said I needed more men in my life.
His gaze skittered from my Glock to my face, his lips curving into a grin. "Is today's word of the day 'paranoia'?"
Tell us about your writing space and your daily routine.
I have a fabulous office. One wall has a huge bulletin board on it that I use as a storyboard and a long counter sits below it to organize notes and research material. I have a U-shaped desk with all reference materials easily at hand, not that I use my desktop computer much, because...I have a gravity chair in the corner where I do most of my writing on my laptop.
What’s one of your favorite reviews/comments you’ve ever received about your writing (on this book or any other)? Who did it come from and how did it impact you?
My favourite notes from readers are ones that inform me that my book kept them up half the night, because they couldn't put it down. I received the same comment from different readers and reviewers for many of my Love Inspired Suspense titles and my Port Aster Secrets titles.
What’s your biggest struggle as a writer (or what was your worst critique)? And how do/did you handle it?
My worst critique came through a contest in which my entry came dead last. Basically my heroine wasn't likeable. I dug in and rewrote and rewrote to supply the motivation to justify her actions and thoughts and in the end, the manuscript became my debut novel with Harlequin.
What is the high point of your career, so far?
Winning the 2015 National Readers' Choice Award with my editor at my side at my first RWA in NYC was a lot of fun. I'm also excited to be nominated for an RT Book Reviews Reviewers' Choice Award. I won this award in 2012 and especially appreciate it, because it's not based on who decided to enter. Your book is up against every single book the reviewers read in that category, which in mine is 72.
What was the low point of your career? And how did you handle it?
When my sixth Harlequin novel didn't rank high enough in the newly expanded line (ranks are based on the number of books each author releasing that month has already published) and the book never made it into any of my local Walmarts. It was extremely frustrating. I urged fans to order online, but many of my older readers were not comfortable doing that. My income was cut in half.
What’s your favorite book on the writing craft or your favorite piece of advice to writers?
Sol Stein On Writing is a great book on writing for both fiction and non-fiction writers.
What’s next on your writing journey?
I am working on the third book in my Serena Jones Mysteries series and planning a fourth.
And to buy Sandra’s books, check out…