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Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday Spotlight: Sandy James

Story Ideas

When my local chapter of Romance Writers of America meets, one thing we always do is introduce ourselves and tell the genre we write. I don’t have too much trouble with the name, but I never really knew how to answer about my genre. I finally found the right thing to say. I’m a shape-shifter. If you look at my catalog of books, you’ll see that I write a little bit of everything.

Turning Thirty-Twelve is very mainstream with strong romantic elements. Murphy’s Law and All the Right Reasons are purely contemporary romances. Free Falling and Faith of the Heart have paranormal elements, but Free Falling is also a romantic suspense. The Amazon series is urban fantasy. I write a little of this and little of that. But I think it keeps me excited about my stories as I always try to stretch my wings and improve my skills.

The ideas for all these stories are as varied as the genres. Sometimes I’ll be inspired by family members. For example, many of the characters in All the Right Reason are tributes to my Hungarian relatives. Sometimes I’ll give my characters physical characteristics of my students or name them after them. Obviously the people and animals we know from racing are major influences. Faith of the Heart was inspired by a Christmas Eve church service. The Amazon series was dreamed up by my son and me as we waited in a dim theater for a movie to start one Sunday afternoon. I’m grateful to all the people I’ve known for their inspiration and undying support.

Jackie Delgado didn't want a new man in her life until a dreaded blind date turns out to be more exciting than she'd ever imagined.

When her youngest son leaves for college, Jackie is hit hard by empty nest syndrome and pours herself into her work as a teacher. Bowing to pressure from friends, Jackie agrees to a blind date. But when Mark Brennan calls, she realizes the date won't be "blind." He's the father of one of her students.

Widower Mark Brennan isn't looking for love. After only a few dates with Jackie, he realizes he's quickly forming deep feelings for her. Wracked with guilt that he's "abandoning" his late wife, Mark resists the pull toward dynamic Jackie. When Mark's daughter begins to date Jackie's son, things become more complicated.

Can Jackie and Mark find the courage to leave the past behind and embrace a new love? And how will Mark's daughter's pregnancy affect all their lives?


Kathleen O said...

I love this book Sandy.. I will be putting it on my to be read list for sure..

lainey bancroft said...

You should, Kathleen. It's a great story!

I write a little of this and that as well, Sandy--elements of paranormal in mixed Blessings and Worth Every Risk, Comedy in the 3-D Club and Cozumel Karma, straight contemp for Settling Back and Jackpot, hints of suspense. I do think 'branding is important, but I also think if an author has a consistent voice and tells a consistently good story, readers will stick with them through a bit of genre mixing and matching.

Sandy James said...

Thanks, Kathleen!! I sure hope you enjoy it! :-)

Sandy James said...

I agree Lainey!! You have to write what is in your heart!

Hywela Lyn said...

I think it's great to write in different genres, Sandy, one can get 'stuck in a rut' sometimes> Your stories all sound really interesting and varied.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Sandy,
Souhds like a great read.
Nice to read about older heroines.

Sandy James said...

Thanks, Hywela! I agree with the "stuck in a rut" comment. Definitely something I want to avoid. :-)

Sandy James said...

Hi, Margaret! I'm so glad the book and its older heroine have been so well received! :-)