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Friday, March 23, 2012

An Interview with Author, Sandra Orchard!

It's my pleasure to feature Sandra on my blog today. For those of you who aren't familiar with Sandra and her work, here's more about her:

Sandra Orchard hails from rural Ontario, Canada where inspiration abounds for her Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense novels set in the fictional Niagara town she's created as their backdrop. Winner of the 2009 Daphne DuMaurier Award of Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, she is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and The Word Guild. Sandra enjoys offering her readers “extras” to enhance their experience of her books (think DVD extras). You can check out these, along with other resources for readers and writers, at her website: http://www.SandraOrchard.com
You can also connect with her on Facebook at: http://www.Facebook.com/SandraOrchard and visit her blog: http://www.SandraOrchard.blogspot.com



Now for the interview:

1)  What’s your favorite part of being published?
Hearing from readers. My dream has always been to touch readers’ hearts through my stories with the message of God’s love for them. I love to hear how readers have related to the story. 

2)  Outside of writing, what accomplishment are you most proud?
Raising and educating three wonderful, hard-working children who love the Lord (and their mom ).

3)   Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.
One that became dear to me while writing Shades of Truth, in which the hero can’t forgive himself for a terrible mistake in his past, is 2 Corinthians 5:18-19a “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.”

4)    How did you come up with the Shades of Truth story? Was there a specific 'what if' moment? 
I introduced the heroine, Kim, in Deep Cover as that heroine’s sidekick. While I was in the middle of revising that book, a young woman from our church shared her experiences working at a Christian youth detention center. I was enthralled by her passion for the youth, and her sincere insistence that she learned far more from them than she was teaching them. That very night I decided Kim would work at a youth detention center.

A year later I began her own story. I decided the hero would work undercover at the facility and be haunted by an action in his past that had landed him in a similar facility. The story started to really meld when I asked, “What if a loving daughter fighting to preserve her dying father’s legacy must choose between protecting her father or acting on the moral principles he raised her to live by?”

5)     Have you drawn on any of your own life experiences or interests in the novel, or done any special research that might interest readers?
There are a few tidbits in the novel that are drawn from events in my lift. But for the post part, I relied on research and my imagination. I interviewed the young woman who was the inspiration for my heroine’s occupation and studied her training manual. I also attended a Writers’ Police Academy where I learned—and experienced hands on—a wealth of the small, but significant details that make a cop story come alive. The highlight was participating in firearms simulation training, in which we had to make split-second decisions on whether to use lethal force to subdue a suspect—and experienced the full range of emotions and visceral responses that go along with them. I also interviewed several police officers, and joined an online writing group on which LEOs and other experts answer author’s questions.

6)    The cover is eye-catching. What’s the setting?
All of the books in my Undercover Cops series take place in the fictional community of Miller’s Bay situated along the shores of Lake Erie in the heart of the Niagara Region of Ontario, Canada. I’ve lived in Southern Ontario all my life, half the time in cities, the other half in rural settings. In creating Miller’s Bay, I borrowed aspects of various real towns and blended them together into one that suited my needs.

The focus in this particular story is on Hope Manor, which sits on the outskirts of town, surrounded by farmland. The book jacket effectively portrays the tension between the serenity of the countryside (i.e. the bright colors and pastoral scene) and the danger that lurks nearby (i.e. the dark clouds, the shadow over the right side of the barn, the barbed wire). I think the artist did a fabulous job.


7)    Which was your favorite scene to write?
Oh, without question, it’s when Ethan reveals his past to Kim. I love writing a hero who’s not afraid to bare his heart, be vulnerable, no matter the consequence.

8)    The theme that seems to span all of the books is the battle between truth vs lies and secrecy vs deception. How does this impact your characters and their stories?
Yes, each main character grapples with some form of deception. At the root is a kind of self-deception that they’ve convinced themselves is true, for some it’s to protect their hearts, for others it’s out of a misguided sense of protecting others.

9)      Will there be more books in the series?
Yes, the next book, Critical Condition, is due to release October 2012. ~A nurse. An undercover cop. A killer who’ll stop at nothing to avoid being caught.

Zach, the hero, was first introduced in book one as Rick Gray’s mentor and I’ve been longing to write his story ever since.

10)    What are you working on now?
I just finished final edits for Critical Condition, and am working on a proposal for a fourth. And…I just received an offer for a new trade-length romantic suspense series with another publisher! I hope to be able to announce details very soon.  


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