It's my great pleasure to welcome award winning author Sandie Bricker to the blog!
Sandra D. Bricker has been publishing in both the Christian and general market for years with novels for women and teens, magazine articles and short stories. With 11 novels in print and 4 more slated for publication through 2011, Sandie has carved out a niche for herself as an author of laugh-out-loud comedy for the inspirational market. Last year’s Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas garnered three readers’ choice award nods. Sandie was an entertainment publicist in Hollywood for 15+ years and now lives in Tampa, Florida. To keep up with her blog, readers can visit http://sandradbricker.blogspot.com/
Q: What inspired you to write this book?
A: It’s a pretty UNfunny reason for writing a comedy, actually. I was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer some years ago and, if you know much about this disease (called “the silent killer”), it’s quite a battle without a lot of encouraging statistics about beating it. Well, by the grace of God alone, I did, and I’ve been cancer-free for six years now. I was recounting that feeling, after three surgeries and 5 weeks of daily radiation treatments, when they told me I’d won the battle. It was a strange, disoriented haze where you wonder, “Hmm. What now?” I wanted to write about that, but with humor. The Big 5-OH! provided the perfect opportunity to do that.
Q: How does your faith impact your writing?
A: My faith impacts everything I do. It’s so much a part of me that I’m not sure I have the ability to tell a story without that thread running through it. Every decision I make, every relationship I have, even what I do for fun … it’s all motivated by my belief in God and my kinship to the rest of the world through the blood of Jesus Christ. I think that sounds corny in some circles, but I’m guessing I’m among friends here who totally “get it.”
Q: How long does it take to complete a novel? How many drafts do you go through?
A: I’m one of those writers that also works a “day job,” so 40+ hours a week belong to someone else. When we’re especially busy at work … which we always seem to be when I’m on deadline! What’s up with that? … my weekends are all I have. There are good and bad sides to that, but the good part is I can grab big chunks of writing time rather than an hour here and an hour there. Working that way, it usually takes me about 3-4 months to complete my first draft. I’m an editor on the “day job,” so I edit as I go along, chapter by chapter. Then I do a significant final edit on the completed manuscript.
Q: Do you plot out your story ahead of time, or do you dream it up as you go?
A: I’m a seat-of-my-pantser. I normally start out with several key scenes in my head, but I don’t write them until I get to that spot in the novel. So I sit down at my computer and start from the very beginning without an outline. The only structure I really need is a timeline for those stories that require one. For instance, with Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas, the story was wrapped around a singles retreat for a set amount of days, so I had to track my timeline as I went along to make sure they weren’t on the site for weeks instead of days!
Q: Do you treat yourself to something special when a project is completed?A: Working all week and writing all weekend can be pretty grueling over time. So after I complete a book, I always allow myself about a month of weekends to do whatever I want to do. And since my dog Sophie is a bit of a muse for me when I’m in creative mode, at the end of each book, she gets a new toy. After Love Finds You in Holiday, Florida, which starred two neon pink flamingos, I found a really fun flamingo dog toy. When The Big 5-OH! was complete, she got an alligator toy (which she has already completely destroyed).
Q: What do you think about writing contests? Have you participated in any? What’s the benefit to an unpublished writer?A: For unpublished authors, I think contests are important for getting input from professionals and for getting your name out there. Unfortunately, I didn’t really figure that out while I was coming up, and I never entered them. Now, I find the various readers’ choice contests really helpful because it gives a writer a sort of gauge on reader response, and that’s ultimately why we’re writing to begin with.
Q: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?A: I would probably still be a publicist. I operated my own business as a publicist to actors for about 15 years when I was in Los Angeles, and I really loved the work. Even though God had a different road for me, my background in promotions and PR has been a great skill set to support my career as an author.
Q: What event, writer, or book has most impacted your writing life?A: When my mom became ill in Florida, and I had to give up my life in Southern California to move here and provide care for her, I pretty much thought my life was over. I remember the afternoon I crossed the state line out of California in my U-Haul truck and looking back, thinking, “Well. My life is over.” The Lord brings that moment to mind so often as a reminder that it was actually the moment that things began for me. I put my old life behind me, and started a new one. Not just as an author either. A new relationship with my mom unfolded in Florida; there was healing and restoration in a very profound way, and I wouldn’t trade those three years with her for anything in the world.
Q: Have you ever had a horrendously embarrassing moment that you ended up using later in a novel?A: Countless embarrassing moments!! I’m a bit of a klutz, and really one of the biggest dorks you’ll meet. So writing romantic comedy is just an extension of me. There’s a scene with a bat, and another with a moose, from Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas that were real-life occurrences. And in The Big 5-OH!, when Olivia is on a date with the spectacular Jared Hunt, she glances down at her legs to find that the bronzer she used earlier has now turned to bright orange streaks of permanent color that she can’t hide … True story! And her experience on a bike ride with Jared … Well, you get the idea. Destiny is an interesting thing. I really was born to write comedy.
Q: What’s the one far out sci-fi technology you’d most like to see become a household item?A: Oh, that’s easy! I want The Starship Enterprise’s teleporter thingie. I HATE TO FLY, so if I could just step into the closet at my house and come out a few minutes later in a pantry somewhere else across the country, my life would be very, very different. But since experience teaches that I would be the one world traveler with the highest chance of my molecules coming back together with my elbow sticking out of my nose … I don’t know. Maybe not so much.
I completely agree with you Sandie! I want the teleporter, too. Thanks so much for sharing your musings with us today.
ABOUT THE BOOK - The Big 5-OH!
© 2010 Abingdon Press Olivia Wallace can’t remember a birthday that wasn’t marked by illness, tragedy or both. And now, as she emerges victorious over cancer and approaches The Big Five-Oh, she is determined to change her course. Better late than never, right? That’s what Liv believes when she leaves a snowy Ohio winter behind and runs away to Florida to regroup. Amidst a crazy cast of characters that include a dog with a lampshade collar, a rogue alligator and a flirtatious octogenarian, Liv finds the biggest birthday surprise of all … A second chance at love.
Read the first three chapters of The Big 5-OH!
View the video trailer on YouTube
WIN THE BOOK
If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of The Big 5-OH!, just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on February 5th. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) Good luck!