I must admit to being excited to feature Sandy Wolters on my site. I haven't known this lady very long but what I do know, I admire. I
haven't been feeling well recently and she has been almost like a mom, in offering words of wisdom and encouragement; she'll never know just how much those little gestures have been, and are,
Sandy has written a few books; in fact, I've already reviewed
Justice for Emily and, though I am tempted to buy her other books right now and start reading them, I am trying to be fair to other authors, too - in terms of providing reviews - so I must hold off for a little while.
At any rate, Sandy Wolters has been kind enough to answer a few of my questions, enabling me to get to know her a little better. I thought I would share what I have learned with you.
Budden: What does being an author mean to you?
Sandy: I love the freedom of sitting at the computer and letting the characters write the story themselves. It's liberating. There are times that I just can't believe where they take me. They have made me cry, laugh out loud, and squirm by their behavior, which I might add is quite disturbing at times.
Budden: When did you first realize that you wanted to write and publish a book? How old/young were you at the time?
Sandy: I've always had a great imagination, but when I turned 50, these strange people started popping up in my mind and wouldn't let me be. They wouldn't let up until I sat down at my computer and started writing their stories. I love meeting some of the characters as they make their appearances, but there are also those characters that are so twisted that you just want to cringe and hide. There was a scene in Justice for Emily where one of the character's actions disturbed me so much that I had to stay away from my computer for a few days. It was disconcerting, to say the least, that I was able to write such a scene.
Budden: From its inception, how long did it take you to write and publish your first book? Was the experience mostly rewarding or filled with varying levels of frustration?
Sandy: I started writing my first book, Maggie Mae, in July 2010. I wasn't sure what to do with it when I finished it. I gave it to my husband, who reluctantly said he'd read it, and he loved it! He was instrumental in pushing me to do something with my book.
At the time, I had never heard of an indie author. I went on-line to research agents and submitted query letters to them. Several months later, my husband asked me what was happening with the book. I explained that I had sent communications to agents, but I was getting either no response or rejection letters. My brilliant husband then said to me, "Well, you have a Kindle. What do you have to do to get your book on that?" So in late February, early March of 2011, I published my first ebook on Amazon.
The entire journey has been exhilarating and yet riddled with frustration because it's like learning a whole new profession on the spot. I've really learned to hate the phrase, "Learn as you go." Even with the frustration level being so high, I've loved every minute of it. I've found that indie authors are the most generous, helpful people on this earth. They are all so open to giving advice and helpful hints. It's truly an amazing experience being a part of this community.
Budden: Are you currently writing another book which you hope to publish at some point? If so, we'd love to hear more about it.
Sandy: I'm in the research phase of my fourth book at the moment. It's different than anything I've written so far; the name of the book will be Soul Mates. It will primarily be a steamy historical romance with a few magical twists thrown in. The characters are getting excited and can't wait to get their words on paper, so I'll probably start writing the book next week.
Budden: If you have published multiple titles, which book is your favourite and why? If you can't decide on one favourite, that's OK; break the rules and give us two or three.
Sandy: I've published three books, as of Nov. 13, 2011. They are all so different, and each book is so close to my heart that I don't know if I could possibly choose just one favorite.
My first book, Maggie Mae, is a steamy contemporary romance with a ghostly paranormal twist. This book is really close to my heart because it shares the deep, lifelong love that I have for my husband, Michael. He was the inspiration for the lead male character in the book; we have just celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary.
My second book, Justice for Emily, is a steamy romance, suspense, thriller with a ghostly paranormal twist. I wrote this book as a tribute to my father. He was the most honorable man I've ever known in my life, and I wanted my lead character to have his wonderful qualities. The story takes place in my dad's hometown, Brownwood, Texas; the lead female character, Rachael Merchant, carries my father's family name. This is a very dark story, but in the end, justice prevails.
My third book, A Brother's Love, is also romance, suspense, thriller with a paranormal twist. The lead female character is based on my youngest daughter, Pilar; I tried to portray her in the story as she is in real life. She is a strong woman that works in a man's world, and she can be more stubborn than any person you may know. She also has this almost supernatural ability with animals that puts many people in a state of awe.
Budden: Who has been a major source of inspiration for you as a writer/author?
Sandy: Without a doubt, my daughters, Shandelle and Pilar, have been my inspiration. They are both beautiful, independent, strong, well adjusted women living their dreams. The main female character in my books will always have these attributes.
I also pull experiences from my life and my husband's life. For example, there is a fly swatter that has a prominent role in my book, A Brother's Love. This was actually based on a funny childhood experience my husband had with his mother; we still tease her about it. For anyone who has read, A Brother's Love, I know that you will appreciate the fact that the dog biscuit scene was a true story as well. Sometimes real life is funnier than fiction.
Budden: What is your ultimate dream, in terms of being a writer/author?
Sandy: My dream is for readers to pick up my book and get totally absorbed in it. I want them to care about the characters as much as I do. If a reader is having a bad day, I want him/her to be able to pick up one of my books and escape for awhile, just like I have done many, many times with other authors. I really enjoy hearing from people about how my books have affected them.
Budden: What is one of your favourite quotes? It can be from a book you wrote or something you heard throughout your life. If you did not write it, please cite the source, if possible.
Sandy: This may sound silly, but here goes: When it's raining and the sun is shining at the same time, my mom always used to say, "The devil is spanking his wife with a frying pan." I smile every time I think of her saying it. Mom had a thousand funny sayings like that but I have no idea who originally said it.
Budden: Tell us a little about your life. What does an average day look like?
Sandy: I'm on the computer from about 5:00 in the morning until about 6:00 or 7:00 in the evening. I'm either promoting myself or other authors, or writing. That may not sound really exciting to a "normal" person, but I love it.
Budden takes a few moments to laugh before asking: What are three of your favourite hobbies?
Sandy: My three favorite hobbies are reading, doing anything outdoors - camping, fishing, watching wildlife, and last, but not least, blogging. I am afforded the opportunity to read really great books, review them, and interview authors on my blog, Sandy's Spotlight. I've always enjoyed telling friends and family about new authors I've discovered. I'm just doing that on a larger scale now; I interview fabulous authors and introduce them to avid readers every other week. I couldn't possibly be having more fun with it.
You can catch up with Sandy Wolters by visiting her website and through Twitter and Facebook.
Budden's closing thoughts: Sandy, it's obvious that your love for family plays a vital role in your writing. I think it's wonderful that your characters are based on people you know and love. I truly do appreciate the time you have taken to answer these questions for me and I wish you continued success in your writing endeavours. It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know you.