Wednesday, August 20, 2014

An Interview with Sandra Merville Hart - Day 2


Sandra Merville Hart loves to discover unusual facts in her historical research to use in her stories. She serves as Assistant Editor for DevoKids.com where she contributes many articles about history and holidays. She has written for The Secret Place, Harpstring, Splickety Magazine, Pockets Magazine. Common Ground, Afictionado, and ChristianDevotions.us. Sandra and her husband live in the Midwest. Her inspirational Civil War romance, A Stranger on My Land, released on August 21, 2014.

Her new novella, Stranger on My Land, may be purchased at this link.


Sandra is giving away a copy of Stranger on My Land to someone in North America who can answer this question in their comment: My novella, A Stranger on My Land, is set during the Civil War. On the day after the Battle Above the Clouds on Lookout Mountain, where did the fighting occur?



Welcome back, Sandra. What are you working on now?

My next book will be another Civil War romance set in a place that captivates my imagination, Gettysburg. I'm planning another trip to Gettysburg to research it. A beautiful seamstress and a war-weary soldier would never meet if not for the battle that raged outside her Gettysburg home.
 
In the meantime, I had a story idea for a romantic suspense novel. Even though it's contemporary, history plays a part in this story, too. I'm having a lot of fun with it.

A reader once asked me this question, and I thought it was a good one. Is there ever a time when you feel like your work is truly finished and complete?

I don't think so. Whenever I submit something to an editor, I always think it's ready. Then within a few weeks, I think of ways to improve it. The truth is, as we continue writing we  constantly sharpen our skills. Our next work should always be better than the last.

Describe your workspace.

I can't put anything away until I'm done with it or I forget about it. Unfortunately, the only time I have a clean desk is between projects. Right now there's a book of synonyms on the left side of my desk to help locate that elusive "just right" word. I have a stack of folders and lists in the middle of my desk to remind me of my next task, and my Bible on top of another haphazard stack of papers and folders on the right. It's an organized mess.

Describe your dream workspace.

More organized and definitely neater. I'd love to own a large bookcase or open storage shelves dedicated solely to store my supporting research for each novel I've written.

If you could be a character from your favorite historical novel, who would you be?

I suppose we are transported back in time with every well-written novel so I don't think I can pick a particular novel. I'd rather choose a time-period and a place. I think I'd choose Tennessee during the Civil War, for that's where my ancestors lived. What was it really like? I'd love to know.

What is the biggest misconception the general public has about authors?

That we're famous! I've had a few people find out I'm an author and say, "Now I know someone famous." I have to laugh and reply, "No, you still don't."

What is the biggest misconception beginning writers have about being published?

The biggest misconception may be that it's easy to become a writer. The truth is that it takes a lot of long hours and years of writing for most people before they capture an editor's eye. We must improve our skills by taking writing classes at colleges, correspondence courses, and at writers' conferences. There's a lot of hard work and rejection along the way.

What would you like readers to gain from reading your novella?
 
I'd like to take them back in time to the American Civil War when wounded soldiers were sometimes left behind after the battle and to the single young ladies who found them.
 
Thanks for joining us here on Favorite PASTimes. Any final words for readers or writers?
 
To all the readers -- for all writers are readers, too! -- I've enjoyed the opportunity to talk about writing with you. It's definitely one of my favorite topics!
 
Thank you, Tamera, for inviting me to join you today. You've been a wonderful hostess and I've had a blast!
 
Thank you, Sandra. For those of you in North America, you can enter to win a free copy of her novella, Stranger in My Land, by leaving a comment with the answer to this question: My novella, A Stranger on My Land, is set during the Civil War. On the day after the Battle Above the Clouds on Lookout Mountain, where did the fighting occur?