Monday, July 8, 2013

Featured Author Interview: Sandra Orchard

Sandra Orchard is an award-winning author of inspirational romantic suspense with Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense imprint, and Revell Publishing. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America and The Word Guild (Canada). 

From a young age, Sandra dreamed of being a writer, even as she majored in math at university. Then following her mother’s death, Sandra discovered Christian fiction. Seeing characters battle the same questions, yearnings and frustrations she battled, and triumph over them through God’s grace, restored her hope and rekindled her passion for writing. Six years and several much-revised novels later, Sandra received her first contract.

The following is a July 2013 interview with Sandra.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a mother of three grown children, grandmother of one, soon to be two, and wife to the most supportive husband. I hail from the Niagara Peninsula in Ontario, Canada. I have an Honours Bachelor of Arts and Science degree, and taught high school math before staying home to raise and home educate my children. I used to do a lot of renovating and gardening and crafts and painting before taking up fiction writing, but now…I write full-time when not doting on my grand daughter.

How did you become a novelist, and did you always want to write? 

I always wanted to write, but didn't think I had enough imagination to write fiction. But after reading many, many, many Christian romances and romantic suspenses, I started to get a few ideas. Then I blew a disk in my back and was unable to do many of the activities that had filled my days. I could, however, sit and write. I love to learn and study, too. So in addition to actually writing, I read every how-to book I could find on the subject, dissected novels I loved, took lots of courses and workshops, eventually attended conferences and connected with other writers.

What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?   

 I discovered Christian fiction soon after my mom died, and “seeing” and "experiencing" how characters journeyed through many of the same emotions and situations I was experiencing, inspired and challenged me, and gave me hope…often in more compelling and memorable ways than any non-fiction book I read.

How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write?

 I hope they enjoy them, have fun trying to figure out the villain. But on a deeper level, my prayer is that my stories, and the opportunities to minister to people opened up by them, will point others to a deeper faith and walk with God.

What responses to your novels have affected you the most and why?

The heart-warming letters I receive from readers when an aspect of a story has touched their heart, often in ways I would never have imagined, like this one from the mother of a special needs child, much like the heroine’s sister in I: 

"It has hard for me to read about Ginny sometimes as I found myself projecting my own daughters into that role with their sister Carly."

She went on to give details of her life and then ended with…

"Deep Cover helped me think through some things I don’t ordinarily spend much time thinking about. More than that, it got me praying more about things that need to be taken to Jesus."        

Receiving letters like these is the best part of being a writer. And is the heart of why I write.
How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ? 

Wow, far more than I expected or imagined possible. Dissecting the lies my characters believe and unfolding the truth that will set them free has transformed the way I look at my own spiritual journey.  Research I've done, for my novels, into everything from ADD and making peace with your past, to working with special needs children or young offenders, has changed the way I relate to people, and by extension, has made me more sensitive to Christ's still small voice…I hope.

Other than writing great novels, what other goals do you have for your life?

 To be open to however God wants to use me, which I say with fear and trepidation about what that might look like. My other goals are very family oriented, being a good wife and mother and grandmother and friend.

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

 Play with my grandchild…soon to be grandchildren. :) I enjoy hiking and kayaking, and of course, reading. 

PictureDeadly Devotion - Hardcover Edition
What can you tell us about your latest novels? 

Deadly Devotion is the first book in a three-book romantic suspense/mystery series called Port Aster’s Secrets. Each book will have a standalone mystery, but the romance and an underlying suspense plot will arc the series.

In book 1,  herbal medicine researcher Kate Adams knows her friend didn’t commit suicide, as the police suspect, and is determined to prove it. But standing in the way is Detective Tom Parker who has the niggling suspicion that Kate might be the killer.  When Kate’s investigation unearths a web of suspicious goings-on in the sleepy town of Port Aster, will Tom believe her innocence and catch the real murderer before Kate becomes the next victim?

PictureDeadly Devotion
Deadly Devotion

Kate knows the truth is out there--but if she's right, that means a killer is out there too.
Research scientists Kate Adams and Daisy Leacock were on the brink of a breakthrough for treating depression with herbal medicine when Daisy was suddenly found dead. Kate knows that her mentor's death wasn't suicide or a careless accident--and she's determined to do whatever it takes to unearth the truth about what happened to the woman who changed her life.

Former FBI agent Tom Parker is finding it hard to adjust to life back in his hometown of Port Aster. Though an old buddy gave him a job as a detective on the local police force, not everyone approves. Tom's just trying to keep a low profile, so when Kate Adams demands he reopen the investigation into her friend's death, he knows his job is at stake. But despite his attraction to her, Tom thinks Kate may have something to hide.

As evidence mounts, a web of intrigue is woven around the sleepy town of Port Aster. Can Kate uncover the truth? Or will Tom stand in her way?

Deep Cover 
[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle]

Shades of Truth 
[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle]

Critical Condition
[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle]

Deadly Devotion (Port Aster Secrets #1)
[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle]

Fatal Inheritance 
[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle]

What stories can your fans expect from you in the days ahead?

My next Love Inspired Suspense, Fatal Inheritance, about a woman who inherits her grandparents century farmhouse only to be terrorized by someone who wants her to sell, releases in North America in August 2013 (available internationally through with free shipping). 

Next June, Book 2 in my Port Aster Secrets series will release, which will follow Kate as she searches for the truth about her father, while trying to figure out who is really behind the counterfeiting she and her neighbor are implicated in.

Another Love Inspired Suspense that takes place on an Alaskan cruise--I had so much fun doing research for this one--will also release mid 2014.

What would you like to say to your fans in New Zealand, and others worldwide?

 Thank you for taking the time to get to know me! I so enjoy connecting with readers.

Do you have any parting words? 

I've posted fun bonus features for all my books such as deleted scenes and location pics on my website.  If you've read the books, or think you might like to, I hope you'll check them out.  

Buy Sandra's Books at The Book Depository

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