Today I’m pleased to welcome author Sandy Spencer (pen name S M Spencer). Sandy lives in beautiful Australia with, as she describes, her “husband, horses, cats and dogs–not to mention the kangaroos that share the paddocks with the horses from time to time.” Sandy has written a variety of genres, including a young adult vampire/ghost trilogy as well as romance novels for adults and young adults that take place in Australia.
Linda Covella: Sandy, thank you for joining us today! When and why did you decide to become a writer?
Sandy Spencer: I wanted to be an author from in my teens, when I was reading books by inspiration authors such as Daphne du Maurier, Mary Stewart and Ray Bradbury. My first attempt at college was as an English major, however I soon realized that I’d need to earn money to live on so I changed to Business Administration and became an accountant. Hence, the late start at actually publishing anything!
LC: Having to make money always gets in the way, doesn’t it? 🙂
What is your writing process: where do you write, how often do you write, are you a full-time or part-time writer, do you outline or do you plot as you go, etc.?
SS: I have a separate study where I write—it gets the sun most of the day and has a lovely outlook over our paddocks. I don’t stress about when I write, I just write when the muse calls me.
LC: Where do you find your inspiration for your stories? Do you draw from your own experiences?
SS: I always wanted to live on a property and have horses and other pets. So, most of my romance books have that as an underlying desire for the main character. However how they get there, and indeed, if they do get there, all comes from my imagination!
LC: The characters’ desire for pets sounds like a fun aspect to your stories!
Who is one of your favorite characters from your story(ies), one that you enjoyed creating and writing about, and why?
SS: I love all my main characters … they are like my children, and it’s hard to have a favourite. However I particularly enjoyed my small-town cop, Rob Andersen, who was the hero in my latest book, Murder at the Creek. It was fun writing the main story from the male’s perspective. My books are written in multiple points of view, but they are usually driven from the female’s perspective primarily, whereas this one was more from the male’s point of view.
LC: That must have been an interesting challenge writing from the male perspective.
Do you incorporate (or inadvertently find) any of your own personality traits into your characters?
SS: More than likely—friends who have read them tell me they see me in the female characters 🙂
LC: Do you find your stories are more plot driven or character driven? Please explain.
SS: My first series, Absent Shadows, was primarily plot driven. It’s a YA vampire and ghost story done as a trilogy. With my romance series, Copperhead Creek Australian Romances, I try to make them character driven, with interesting plots that move the characters along. My latest book, the murder mystery, is probably more plot driven, as it’s a chase to find the killer.
LC: Did you read much as a child?
SS: Absolutely. Winnie the Pooh, Nancy Drew and EVERY BOOK EVER WRITTEN ABOUT A HORSE OR PONY, were some of my earliest favourites.
LC: How important do you think reading is for writers?
SS: I believe it is critical. And not just the genre you write in. I read a wide range of books, from fantasy to thrillers, and everything in between (although I don’t tend to read much non-fiction these days and I stay away from books with lots of violence). I learn about technique from reading other authors—both things I want to do, and things I don’t want to do or want to stop myself from doing.
LC: Who are some of your favorite authors and/or books? What draws you to them?
SS: I have so many favourites: Jodi Picoult, J K Rowling, Paula Hawkins, Jane Harper, Ray Bradbury, Daphne du Maurier – they are some of my favourites but there are so many more as well. What I love about a book can vary depending on my mood. Sometimes, it’s fast pace. Other times it’s imagery. And other times it’s a mystery that needs to be solved. Aren’t we lucky to be so spoiled for choice?
LC: Yes, there are so many great books to read!
Do you have anything new in the works?
SS: Yes, I’ve just started working on a new series, set in the gold country of California. I live in Australia now, but I was born in San Francisco, and take many trips to California—it’s always in my heart and will now be the key in my newest series.
LC: As a Californian living in the Bay Area, I have to agree 🙂 I’ll look forward to your latest series!
Bonus question! Do you have anything you’d like to add?
SS: My romance books are Clean Romance, with a touch of spice. The characters are adults, and there are adult situations, but very limited foul language, and sex takes place behind closed doors. 🙂 From time to time I feature the books in my Copperhead Creek Australian Romance series books at special prices—some will be free for short periods, some will be $.99 for a time. You won’t miss a special if you follow my blog at https://smspencer.online/books/
In fact, book 1,, is currently just $.99 US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018JNTALO
All books can be read as stand-alone because each has a new couple as the love interest, however at the books are set in a small town, lives do tend to overlap and tangle.
Or you can follow me on Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B00PGE0G9U
LC: Thank you, Sandy! Readers, thank you for stopping by. Feel free to comment or ask a question here for Sandy. I’m sure she’d love to hear from you! Until the next “10 Questions” interview, happy reading!