Wednesday, August 31, 2011

This Lady Carries Around a Needle and Thread to Keep Up That Tension!

We're about to take a few minutes with Sandra Orchard, the needle and thread lady. Read on and you'll see what I mean.

Who is Sandra? We'll have to venture up Canada way to discover that.

Sandra Orchard lives in rural Southern Ontario in a one hundred year old farmhouse with her husband of over twenty years. I understand she has a menagerie of animals too. My kind of gal. 
Sandra is one of those who dreams of being a writer, while majoring in the logistical studies, such as math at university. (Sounds like a left brain, right brain lady.)

She discovered Christian fiction, she writes, following her mother's death. It was then that she gained her passion for writing. (You can read more details about this at her website.)
SDC: As we look forward to learning more about you, Sandra let’s take a couple of minutes to learn what you do after a long day of writing or revisions in a story.  What is the very first thing you do?

SO:  Play with my young pup. She never fails to bring a smile to my face.

SDC:   Doggies do have a way of demanding our time. On the subject of writing, can you remember how many rejection slips you received before you got your first contract, and if so, what did you do when you got your very first one? What then encouraged you to continue writing?

SO:  Since the CBA market for the type of books I write is fairly small, I haven’t accumulated a great deal of rejection slips. The first came from Love Inspired on my very first novel following a request from them for a full. It was so encouraging, and I’d been so surprised to get a request for a full with my first query that I wasn’t upset at all. Disappointed, yes. But more determined than ever. I immediately visited my local Christian bookstore to scout out other potential publishers. In the process, I discovered the Write! Canada conference and an entire online writing community I hadn’t known existed.

SDC:     That's great! I always seem to find at least one ghastly mistake in my novels AFTER they are published, and if anything keeps me humble that does, because it is too late to fix what is already in print.  What is the one thing that keeps you humble about being a published author, Sandra?

SO:  Becoming stuck in the middle of writing a novel. Without my brainstorming buddies, critique partners, and the Lord’s inspiration, my novels wouldn’t be nearly as strong.

SDC:   This is one of my favorite questions to ask my fellow authors. What is the SANDRA secret to writing a good book? Willing to tell us?

SO:  Have tension on every page. I write inspirational romantic suspense so there are lots of threads to juggle, and it’s imperative that the tension in all threads remains high and drives the reader forward.

SDC:   You sound like quite writing seamstress. It’s been so great having you here. Were you wanting to donate one of your books to one of our readers here at A Pen for Your Thoughts? If so, tell us about it, and also where people can go to find your books when they go searching. (We would also love a blurb)

SO: Yes, I’m giving away a signed copy of Deep Cover, the first book in my Undercover Cops series with Love Inspired Suspense. The book is available in stores like Walmart, Barnes & Noble, Chapters & Coles in Canada, as well as many grocery stores during the month of September.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

Maintaining his cover cost undercover cop Rick Gray the woman he loved. Sweet Ginny Bryson never really knew Rick. He never gave her the chance. Not then, and not now, when he's back with a new alias to gather evidence against Ginny's uncle. The man's crimes led to Rick's partner's death, and Rick wants justice to be served. But his investigation is stirring up trouble, and Ginny is smack-dab in the middle. Someone wants Ginny to pay the price for what her uncle has done. But how can Rick protect her without blowing his cover, jeopardizing his assignment...and risking both their lives?

SDC: Thank you so much for that. And your website and any online purchase opportunities you might have for us?

SO: My website is I’ve also started a blog for readers called Conversations about Characters at Deep Cover should be in bookstores this coming week, but for those who prefer to purchase online, it’s available at eHarlequin (Shirley, use hyperlink: Amazon US (hyperlink: ) and Amazon Canada (hyperlink:  ) as well as other online stores.

SDC: And one final question: If you were doing a film of your book, who would you choose for your hero and heroine and why?

SO?  Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman, because hey, if I’m going to dream big, I might as well have the big name actors to entice viewers to watch!

Thanks so much for sharing with us, Sandra. To our readers and viewers, I asked Sandra the question, WHAT IS HER SANDRA SECRET TO WRITING A GOOD BOOK. Now, to you the reader and writer. WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU LOOK FOR FIRST WHEN YOU OPEN A BOOK TO READ IT? Drop us a line and let us know. Don't forget to add your email. And we will slip your name in our random basket!



  1. You're welcome, Shirley!

    Thanks for having me.

  2. I look for lots of conflict when I read a story.
    thanks for a great interview. I hope to win this time.
    Janice Ian

  3. I hope you'll be pleased with the amount of conflict in this one, Janice. I'll be rooting for you...of course, I need to root for everyone, but...being the first commenter deserves an extra chance, don't you think?! :)

  4. I really look for that first paragraph to really open the book with a bang! I love when I am pulled in right away and that normally happens with a good opening:) I am a fan of suspense and I will be picking up Sandra's book when I get the chance. Thanks for the great interview, Shirley! And your book sounds wonderful, Sandra:)


  5. Great interview. The book sounds great and I am hoping to win it.


  6. Thanks so much, Charity. I really appreciate that.

    Jo, so pleased that I've intrigued you. :)

  7. Hi Sandra!

    Can't wait to read your new book. I'm so excited for you!

    I look for the author to grab my attention on the first page, and not let go until the last one.

    Jodie Wolfe

  8. Hi Jodie,

    I hope I succeed :)

    Big hug!


  9. The first page has to come alive for me in order to continue reading it. I love it when the whole book keeps me in suspense. Congratulations on your new book. Thanks for the chance to win.

    Debbie Clark

  10. Thanks Debbie, I hope I succeed in making the book come alive for you. If you're interested, I noticed the first few pages are up on Amazon.

  11. Sandra, I read it on Amazon and WOW, did it ever get my attention. That is a book that I definately will have to read! :)

  12. The first thing I need is to connect with a character and care about what happens to them. If I don't care about the character... I don't care about their story.

    twinwillowsfarm at gmail dot com

  13. Absolutely, Pegg, this was something I had to learn through many rewrites as a new writer. In an effort to make my heroines have a strong personality, they came off as too unlikable. So like you say, most people won't be interested in her story. Now, I make sure to give even the villains some redeeming quality.

  14. I like a new book to peak my interest in the beginning and keep me guessing the whole way through. It's especially exciting when I think I know what is going on and then BAM the author throws in an unexpected loop to wow me at the end. I am looking forward to reading your book when it comes out. Thank you for the chance to win it.


  15. I love when a book starts out suspenseful. It makes me want to continue to read it!

    frequentreader19 (at) gmail (dot) com

  16. Ooh, Cathy, that's my favorite part of plotting too, trying to throw you off on who to really be worried about. :) You'll have to let me know if I surprised you in Deep Cover.

    Melanie, you and my editor! -grin- She's always reminding me to start out with that hint of danger/suspense as soon as possible.

  17. I love all the Love Inspired books. Sandra, I know your book will be great! I know you are so excited about it!