Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I’m so excited to welcome award winning, bestselling author Sandra Robbins to my blog. Sandra, Thank you so much for stopping by.                                                                      
Tell us about your new book Angel of the Cove, your first full length historical from Harvest House and book one in the Smokey Mountain Dreams series.

            Angel of the Cove is a historical romance set in 1894 in Cades Cove, Tennessee, a remote valley in the Smoky Mountains. Anna Prentiss has never wanted to be anything but a nurse. Before she can start school in New York, however, her brother sends her to Cades Cove, deep in the Smoky Mountains, to spend a summer apprenticing to the local midwife. Anna is determined to prove herself and then head to the big city.     
    But nothing could have prepared Anna for the beauty of the Cove, or the community and friendships she finds there. And she certainly wasn't prepared for Simon Martin, the handsome young minister, or the feelings he arouses in her. Has God's plan for Anna changed? Or is she just starting to hear Him clearly?

Mountain Homecoming, Book 2 in the series, will release in March, and the third book will release later next year.

Most readers know you from your exciting Love Inspired Suspense novels. Angel of the Cove is a new direction for you. How did that come about and do you have any difficulty moving between the two different genres?

When I first began to write, I wanted to write historical romance. When I went to my first writers’ conference, I discovered that editors were more interested in other genres at that time. I’ve always been a big fan of mystery/suspense/ thrillers, so I decided to try my hand at writing a cozy mystery. I sold that book and then sent a proposal to Love Inspired Suspense for a romantic suspense novel. It’s been wonderful writing for that line, and I’ve really enjoyed it. I recently signed a new contract with them that will bring my total in the LIS line to nine books.

However, historical romance is still dear to my heart, and I kept persevering with Anna’s story. I seem to move between my stories set in the past and my contemporary ones without any problems. In my suspense stories my research tends to revolve around police procedurals while my historicals deal with how life was lived in days gone by. I find both fascinating.

Is there a part of writing a book that is most enjoyable to you? Such as, laying out the plot, creating the characters, doing the research?

Although research takes a lot of time, I think that is the most enjoyable to me. I like finding the answers to questions I have that relate to the book. Also you never can tell where your search is going to lead. I may start out looking for one thing and I may find myself going in an entirely different direction. For instance I was recently researching the first hospital in a particular area and came across an article about a hotel that was connected to the grounds of this hospital by a footpath. Since this hotel had been important to the area, I had written it into the story, but I had it miles away from the hospital. So I had to go back in the manuscript and change that.

Every author and aspiring writer has a different faith journey. How has yours unfolded?

I’ve always had a deep faith in God and have known He was guiding me throughout my life. However, my eyes have been opened so much more to this since I have been writing. I was a teacher and a principal. I had no idea how anybody went about getting published, but I knew I wanted to write. And I wanted to write books that would uplift people and strengthen their faith in God.

I can only shake my head in amazement at how God put people  I’d never heard of in my path and blessed me through them. I have had the opportunity over the past few years to work with some wonderful editors, and my agent Natasha Kern is amazing. I can never thank her enough for her guidance and support. Then there’s the thrill I get when a reader sends me an email and tells me how my book has touched her life. I thank God for what He’s done in my life.

If you could offer one piece of advice to struggling writers, what would it be?

            It would be—Never give up. I recently read that Kathryn Stockett received over 70 rejections for the book The Help, but she persevered. She now has a best seller and a movie. That’s not going to happen to all of us, but publication is a real possibility. So keep trying.

I want to mention your latest Love Inspired Suspense book, Fatal Disclosure that released this past spring. (It’s a wonderful book and I urge everyone to pick up a copy.) There was a time when romance publishers wouldn’t touch a suspense plot. Now they can’t get enough of them. Why do you think that is? What the universal appeal of romantic suspense?

I believe one reason romantic suspense sells is because it is a subgenre of romance. Romance novels sell more than any other kind. So women are going to buy a book that promises a good romance. Mystery and suspense novels have always thrilled readers and are still doing it today. I enjoy reading romantic suspense, and I really enjoy writing it. At present I’m working on the first in a LIS three book series about a Cold Case Files Department. I’m looking forward to solving some fictional crimes that have gone unsolved for years. The first book will release next year.

Thank you so much Sandra. I know everyone will be eager to read Angel of the Cove and we’ll be looking forward to book two later this year.

Mountain Homecoming releases in March, 2013.
A Lady’s Choice (Summerside Press) releases in April, 2013   

Sandra Robbins and her husband live in the small college town where she grew up. Until a few years ago she was working as an elementary school principal, but God opened the door for her to become a full-time writer.  Her books have been finalists in the Daphne du Maurier Contest for excellence in mystery writing, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the Holt Medallion, and the ACFW Carol Award. Since Sandra is a Southerner by birth, she enjoys setting her historical romance and romantic suspense books in both the past and present-day South. Her latest book Angel of the Cove releases August 1 from Harvest House Publishers. To find out more about Sandra and her books go to http://sandrarobbins.net  or send her an email at sandra@sandrarobbins.net

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