On Sunday (October 29th, 2017) I’ll be reviewing The Astonishing Thing by Sandi Ward. Here’s an interview with the author.
Q1: Hello, Sandi, and welcome to my blog! How about we start with you telling us a little bit about yourself? How and when did you start writing?
Hi, thanks for having me! I have loved to write ever since I was a kid. I tried to write my first novel when I was ten years old, but didn’t get very far. After I won a short story contest in high school, I thought about writing seriously. I ended up being an English major in college and went to NYU Graduate School for creative writing.
After getting a job as a copywriter at an advertising agency, I didn’t write fiction for many years. Once my kids got old enough where I could carve out a little time for writing each day, I picked it up again.
Q2: Who are your favorite authors and do you think they’ve influenced your work?
I have many favorites! Elizabeth Strout, Jojo Moyes, and Anton DiSclafani come to mind. In YA, I enjoy Jenny Han and John Green. Everytime I read a fantastic novel, it influences me to try and become a better writer.
Q3: What are your biggest achievements? You can include professional and personal ones.
My two teenagers are great readers, writers, and overall my favorite people to hang out with. So they’re my greatest accomplishment! But signing with my agent (Stacy Testa, Writers House) and getting a two-book deal with Kensington Books is also a dream come true.
Q4: Your book The Astonishing Thing is coming out soon; tell us about it. When can we expect it? What kind of audience is it aimed at?
The Astonishing Thing launches October 31st, 2017. It’s general fiction that may also appeal to Young Adult readers.
This novel is a family drama told from the point of view of a cat – but it’s not just for cat lovers! The story is really about how families cope when a loved one has mental illness. I hope it makes readers laugh and cry.
The book is available for pre-order now from booksellers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebooks and Walmart. Readers outside of the US can find it on the international Amazon sites.
Q5: I know your Young Adult novel Everything He Wants is on Wattpad; as a traditionally-published author, what do you like about Wattpad?
I think Wattpad is a fun place to meet and interact with other writers and readers from around the world (whether they are published or not). For those just starting out, it can be a great site to learn more about the craft of writing. Writers can post drafts of stories to see what works, and find out what audiences respond to.
Q6: What can we expect from you in the future?
My next book for Kensington is called Something Worth Saving, and it will come out November 2018. I’m very excited about it! It’s another story about a broken family trying to hold it together, with humor and romance.
Q7: Who is your biggest supporter and what would you like to say to them?
My family – thanks to my husband and especially to my kids, for all the times I brought a book or my laptop to your baseball and softball games and you let me get away with reading and writing when I should have been watching every pitch.
Q8: If you could give other authors one piece of advice, be it about writing, editing, promoting or increasing their audience, what would it be?
For young writers who hope to one day be published, I know how you feel! I was there. I remember.
I would advise you to read everything you can – including classic literature and the books they assign you in school, especially Shakespeare’s plays, which I love (so full of drama). Go to the library or bookstore and read newly published books, and ask yourself why the books were published – what makes them special, different, and exciting? And don’t try to follow trends. Think about your own life experiences, and the lives of your own family and friends. When you write from the heart, you’ll get closer to a truly great story that keeps readers up at night.
Then, learn about how the publishing industry works from reliable sources. One website I recommend is Jane Friedman: Writing and Publishing in the Digital Age. I think she’s very smart!
Q9: Thank you for the interview, Sandi! And to our readers: you can find Sandi here:
PS: Authors, if you’d like to get some writing tips from Sandi, you can check out her guest post on my blog.
Books by Sandi that I’ve reviewed: