What an honor to have Sandra celebrating with Peering Through Life's Window on release day! To enter to win the e-book of The Yuletide Angel, leave a comment and an e-mail address.
Hi Sandra. First, tell us a little about yourself.
Hi Sandra. First, tell us a little about yourself.
I write historical romance, am married to a retired man (he robbed the cradle … okay, maybe not) and am the mom of a young adult. When I’m not recording the lives and loves of fictional people, I’m cooking, cleaning, reading, gardening, watching NASCAR, or cheering on the Carolina Panthers football team.
Sounds a lot like the things I'm doing. Lots of writers loved to read as children. How about you? If so, what did you read?
Absolutely. I discovered the joy of reading in the third grade when I devoured the Little House books. As I grew older, I moved on to gothic romances—like Jane Eyre—and romantic suspense. In high school, Mary Roberts Rinehart was a favorite of mine, along with Phyllis Whitney. My favorite of the classics is Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier. Even today, I prefer a bit of mystery/suspense in my choice of books, though romance is a must.
I'm a fan of mystery too. What would you be doing if you weren’t writing?
I’d do more gardening. It’s something I’ve had to cut way back on due to lack of time. With my husband retired, we might do more day trips.
How about your writing? How do you get to know your characters?
Good question. When an idea for a story comes to me, it usually comes with some type of scene that gives me a character idea. Character traits stem from the type of story I want to tell.
For physical traits, sometimes I see the person in my mind as portrayed by a certain actor. Sometimes, I only have a vague idea of what the character looks like, so I go searching for a photo to keep in front of me. On my Pinterest board for The Yuletide Angel, you’ll find photos of how I see my hero and heroine.
I used to do in-depth character trait forms, but not so much anymore. I got hooked on Susan May Warren’s Book Buddy system of plotting, though. In that, the writer gets down to the nitty-gritty of what makes a character tick, which is all-important.
What themes do you write about?
I find I repeatedly focus on the need for forgiveness between characters or a character’s need to forgive himself/herself. I’m not sure what that says about me, but I think it’s pretty universal to a lot of stories. In my novella, my hero must learn to forgive his brother and trust him again, while my heroine deals with an issue of pride.
What is your writing schedule and where do you write?
Weekdays, I’m generally at my desk in my office—actually our guest room—by 7:30 a.m. and work until somewhere between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. I have great admiration for those who work other full-time jobs and still have the responsibility of writing and publishing. I don’t know how they do it. I don’t work on Sunday.
Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
When I’m asked this question, I say I’m half-and-half. I need some kind of roadmap—the basic plot points and few ideas for scenes—but I’m not a writer who plots every scene before starting. First of all, I don’t have the ability. Second, I don’t have the patience.
Does your faith affect your writing? How?
It definitely does. I like to consider my writing a ministry. I’ve been writing for the Christian market since 1986—short pieces for denominational publications, etc. Although, I’d try on occasion to write a novel, I always felt the Lord telling me it wasn’t time. Christian fiction was near non-existent, at least what I wanted to write, and I feared a secular editor requesting changes to include language or situations I had no desire include. Six years ago, when God told me it was time to tackle novels, He confirmed it with a growing Christian market, my discovery of ACFW, and the completion of a full novel.
Tell us about your latest book.
Today is the release date of The Yuletide Angel, a Christmas novella set in December of 1890. It’s about a shy spinster-in-the-making, Violet Madison, who anonymously delivers gifts of food to the poor in the middle of the night. Hugh Barnes, her neighbor and a confirmed bachelor, discovers that she is the celebrated Yuletide Angel and vows to protect her—in secret. Neither of them realizes someone else waits in the shadows, threatening to ruin her generosity and reputation.
What a neat story. What inspired you to write this particular book?
I wanted to write a Christmas novella and experimented with different ideas. I actually wrote about 1,800 words on this one before choosing to start a contemporary. After almost finishing the other novella, I found it didn’t work for me. Between my dislike of the contemporary and receiving a disappointing rejection (another contemporary), I decided I needed a fresh start and went back to the ideas I’d come up with in the beginning. When I reread what I had written for The Yuletide Angel, I really liked it and the words flowed easily. My writing genre preference is historical, because I believe that’s where God wants me. I always find it amazing—and sometimes entertaining—when He nudges me back on track when I stray.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Persistence. Don’t give up. Keep writing. Keep submitting.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
I want to thank you for having me on your blog, Gail. I hope everyone enjoys reading Violet and Hugh’s love story.
Also, I’m excited to announce that I’m writing a follow-up novel. A Reluctant Melody (working title) is scheduled to release from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas’ historical imprint, Heritage Beacon (publisher of the novella), in January 2016. The story involves Hugh’s brother, Kit, a secondary character in The Yuletide Angel.
Today, I’m celebrating the release of the novella with a Facebook party from 11:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. Come on over, y’all, and let’s have some fun!
Congratulations! Having you was my pleasure.
About the Yuletide Angel
It's Christmastime in 1890's Meadomead, and someone is venturing out at night to leave packages at the homes of the needy. Dubbed The Yuletide Angel, no one knows the identity of this mysterious benefactor.
No one, except Hugh Barnes, a confirmed bachelor who finds himself drawn to the outwardly shy but inwardly bold Violet Madison, a young woman who risks her safety to help others.
When Violet confesses her fear of eviction from her childhood home, Hugh longs to rescue her. His good intentions are thwarted, however, when Hugh's estranged brother shows up in town...and in Violet's company.
But Violet faces an even bigger threat. A phantom figure lurks in the shadows, preprared to clip the wings of The Yuletide Angel.
Passionate about horses and a fan of old westerns, it's only natural that Sandra Ardoin sets her stories in the days of the horse and buggy. Her Christmas novella, The Yuletide Angel, is no exception.
Her short stories have been published in both adult and juvenile denominational publications, and her story "Get a Clue" is part of the Family Ties: Thirteen Short Stories collection.
Sandy is the married mother of a young adult. Visit her at www.sandraardoin.com and on the Seriously Write blog. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Goodreads, and Pinterest. To receive updates, fun facts, and special offers, sign up for her newsletter.