Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Interview with author, Sandy Lender

My guest today is author, Sandy Lender. Sandy, thanks for taking the time to visit with me again. I’d like to ask you a few more questions about your writing.

1. What made you decide to become a writer?

Sandy Lender: I don’t think I had any choice in the matter. I became a writer because I always “did” it. One of my bios, which I think is still active on my www.filedby.com/sandylender profile, talks about me writing little stories for my great grandma when I was a little girl. That kind of thing just always pleased me. I couldn’t stop! Even when I was out in the “real world” writing articles for trade magazines, I had to have that fiction outlet. I had to write my fantasy stories and build the world that the Choices trilogy would pop out of.

2. Describe your typical writing day/week.

Sandy Lender: I don’t have typical writing days or weeks any longer, much to my disappointment. My day job is hectic and flurried and involves writing and editing construction-related articles, and traveling quite a bit. My promotional activities for the fiction-writing career involve quite a bit of online activity and more traveling, morphing presentations to fit specific audiences, etc. Writing is something I have to steal time to do these days. Once the day job settles a bit, I think the writing will see a better schedule.

3. Do you ever lose the focus of your story or writer’s block, and how do you overcome them?

Sandy Lender: I have no trouble with writer’s block, but my characters are constantly trying to get me to lose focus. They have a direction they want things to go, and it’s not always viable. It’s not always right. I can sometimes overcome that by letting them have their way while I go on a writing binge and then edit while they “sleep.” I can also push them aside and give other characters and other stories my time. This typically gets fussy characters to settle down and cooperate.

4. How do you keep yourself organized and on task?

Sandy Lender: What?

5. What is your process for keeping track of your characters and world through a trilogy?

Sandy Lender: I have one of those huge, multi-page desk calendars that I bought at OfficeMax. I write in the squares and stick post-it notes to it. Without that “map,” I’d lose track of when the moons are full and waning, etc. It’s got LAYERS of white-out built up on some squares… I also have spiral notebooks of old histories and legends from this world. I have a recipe box of vocabulary words and place names. I have a big map that the award-winning artist Megan Kissinger created for me (printed in the front of each of the books of the trilogy). I also have a couple fans who read for me and freak out if I write something incorrectly.

6. What is the difference between traditional fantasy and romantic fantasy?

Sandy Lender: Romantic fantasy gives me hives. He he he.
Seriously, traditional fantasy focuses more on the plot and the world and the devices and what’s driving the storyline. What’s making the dragons all lose their power…What’s making the suns turn green…What’s bringing such-n-such king into power…Romantic fantasy, to me, tends to focus more on who ends up in bed with the damsel who was in distress over something she probably could have solved without the too-perfectly-muscled hero.

7. What is your marketing plan for this series?

Sandy Lender: Lottery tickets and prayer.

8. What are your plans after you finish the Choices trilogy?

Sandy Lender: I’m letting Nigel Taiman write a sequel and I’m working on a prequel to the trilogy. But I also have a young adult sci-fi/fantasy novel out with an editor right now, a paranormal holiday romance out with another editor, a young adult fantasy that I’m working on…I have a ton of plans to keep driving myself mad with the writing and marketing game. I seem to be addicted to it.

9. Where can people learn more about Sandy Lender?

Sandy Lender: Google the name “Sandy Lender” and see what happens (you need the quote marks because mortgage lenders have figured out how to use my name in their marketing schemes to get “up” in the search engine listings). It’s insane. But I do have a lovely Web site at www.authorsandylender.com that gives some insight into the mind of a fantasy writer. I also encourage people to do a search for “Sandy Lender” at www.amazon.com. I’m on twitter, facebook, goodreads, http://www.todaythedragonwins.blogspot.com, authorisland, Authors Den, and tons of other sites. It’s marketing insanity.

10. Any words of wisdom for new writers?

Sandy Lender: I always suggest that new writers keep at it. There are plenty of stumbling blocks and brick walls out there (commonly referred to as “literary agents”), but I would hope that the will to write and the desire to have your characters shine before the world will outweigh form rejection letters. I got my contract by doing a face-to-face, in-person pitch with my publisher. He was a real person with real questions and the real power to accept my manuscript. That’s what you want to do. Get your work ready and find the right person who can make your dream happen. Go after it. Don’t let someone stand in your way if it’s something you want.

Thank you for being my guest today. It’s always interesting hearing how other writers tackle the job of creating stories.

Sandy Lender: It’s been a joy, Penny! Thank you for taking the time and sharing your space with me!


  1. Good morning, Penny! I wanted to add something in here for the "time to write" concept. At a conference I attended over the weekend, I participated in a workshop about finding time to write. It was wonderful. One of the exercises the workshop leader suggested for us was to first keep a journal for about a week or two of how we spend our time. Once we can see on paper just how we're spending time and where we're using time "unwisely," we can sit down and prepare a writing schedule to try out for several months. It takes a commitment, but it sounds worth it.

    From Sandy Lender
    "Some days, you just want the dragon to win."

  2. Thanks, Sandy,for sharing your thoughts about your process--and for the encouraging words. As one who is tackling a trilogy, also, I can dig it. I'm looking foward to your next book.

    Tina Murray

  3. Sandy, thanks for adding the new information.

  4. Tina, welcome to my blog, and thanks for stopping by. It's great to see a new reader.

  5. It was nice reading about you and your writing, Sandy. Yes, characters sometimes have a mind of their own.

    Super interview, Penny.


  6. Hi Bev, good to "see" you here. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Thanks Penny and Sandy for a good interview. It is nice to learn more about the author's background, writing process and plans!

  8. Martha, thanks for stopping by. My thoughts, exactly.

  9. To Beverly, MarthaE,
    Thank you for stopping in to check out the information. If I can keep the characters in line, I can stick to the plans. Now we just watch what the characters do...
    From Sandy Lender
    "Some days, you just want the dragon to win."

  10. Penny,
    Thank you for a lovely couple of days hanging out with friends at your blog. The interview was a great way to take a look at the writing task before me. I spend way too much time on the day job! He he he.

    From Sandy Lender
    "Some days, you just want the dragon to win."

  11. Sandy, thanks for checking back. It's been a pleasure.