Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Welcome novelist Sandra Ardoin!

Sandra Ardoin is a multi-published author of short fiction who writes inspirational historical romance. Her Christmas novella, The Yuletide Angel, releases October 2014 and can be pre-ordered on Amazon. She’s the married mother of a young adult and lives in North Carolina. Visit her at www.sandraardoin.com and on the Seriously Write blog. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

This week, Sandra will be giving away a copy of The Yuletide Angel to one of our U.S. visitors. Answer one of these questions in the comment section for your chance:

What is your happiest Christmas memory from childhood? 


If you could change one thing about your current Christmas celebrations, what would it be?

Congratulations on the release of your novella, The Yuletide Angel! Let’s start by learning a bit about the storyline.

The Yuletide Angel is historical romance set in 1890. Here’s a summary:

It's Christmastime in 1890s Meadowmead, 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, prepared to clip the wings of The Yuletide Angel.

Now please introduce us to your main characters. What’s your favorite thing about each of them?

Violet Madison is a plain and shy spinster-in-the-making who lives with her unmarried brother. When he announces his engagement, Violet fears she’ll no longer be needed and will lose her home. She has a talent for baking and adores her neighbor. My favorite thing about Violet is that underneath her shy demeanor lies a bold and adventurous soul.

Burned by love and his brother’s betrayal, Hugh Barnes avoids vain and silly women. He’s already smitten with Violet’s beautiful heart when he discovers her charitable endeavor. He seeks to protect her and wants to ask to court her, but he’s not sure she feels the same about him. I love Hugh’s chivalry. He’s a gentleman who looks below the surface and isn’t swayed by a pretty face. He holds Violet in high esteem.

They sound wonderful! How did the idea for Yuletide Angel come together?

I wanted to write a Christmas novella. I tried several ideas and settled on a contemporary, almost finished it, and hated it. Time was running out. I went back and reread the 1,800 words I’d already written on this one. They were a total pantser effort and I had little idea what was happening, but I liked it. Before I knew it, the words were gushing. I like to say that God spit this one out. Within six weeks, it was ready for submission and sold within days.

You’ve also written a lot of short stories that have been published in various magazines and book compilations. What kinds of challenges did you find in switching from a short story to a longer tale like Yuletide Angel?

When it comes to writing, short stories and novels are like the old apples and oranges comparison. I was used to writing 1,200-word (max) stories for denominational publications—straight and to the point with little room for description. I never thought I’d think of enough to say to write a novel or novella.

My short stories contained mostly one setting or scene—maybe two. With the longer word count, characterization must be even deeper and the setting needs more description. Where I could sit down and write a short story (draft) in a day, it takes months for a novel, so patience and perseverance is a must.

On the flip side, what kinds of things about writing short stories do you think helped when you wrote the novella?

When I felt God giving me the go-ahead to write novels six years ago, I soon found out I knew nothing. It was like starting from scratch. Writing the novella was more like writing a novel to me, but there is a short story aspect that comes in making sure you don’t over-do the plot. The story has to be simple with no side trips for subplots. In creating short stories, you learn to write tight, something I sometimes forget when I’m looking at per day word counts. Though this novella was never rejected, my experience with submitting short stories gave me an inkling into rejection. It’s part of the job and, as frustrating as it is, you can’t taking it personally or let it defeat you.

What’s the most interesting (or unusual) thing you’ve done in the name of research for one of your projects?

Visitors, come back tomorrow for Sandra’s answer to this and other questions. And don’t forget to enter for your chance to win a copy of The Yuletide Angel! Just answer one of these questions in the comment section and include your email address (spelling out ‘at’ and ‘dot’ to help cut down on spam):

What is your happiest Christmas memory from childhood? 
If you could change one thing about your current Christmas celebrations, what would it be?

Thanks for stopping by – we’ll see you tomorrow! 
~ Leigh


Sandra Ardoin said...

Thanks for having me, Leigh! I'm looking forward to reading the answers to my questions. :)

Jennifer said...

If I could change anything about my current Christmas, it would be to add a big room on my house to hold everyone. My house is always overflowing on Christmas Eve... :)

Sandra Ardoin said...

You could call it The Christmas Room and leave the decorations up all year! Enjoy those times, Jennifer. We have such small Christmases these years because everyone is so spread out.

Deanna Stevens said...

I would love to have ALL of my children home for Christmas. Haven't had any grandchildren in the house for Christmas for 3 years now. Christmas just isn't as festive without them. dkstevensne (at) outlook .com

Sandra Ardoin said...

Hopefully you'll have them with you this year, Deanna!

Myra Johnson said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous cover, Sandra! So perfect for this story (which I had the sweet pleasure of reading early, and it's delightful)!

No need to enter me in the drawing, but if I could change one thing about my current Christmas celebrations, it would be to have ALL the kids and grandkids closer at hand so we could celebrate together. This is shaping up to be another holiday season when we are all too far apart to be together.

Sandra Ardoin said...

Thank you, Myra. You've been a huge support and I appreciate it so much! I'm looking forward to reading your upcoming release Every Tear a Memory.

It's sad when everyone is so far apart at the holidays, especially when there have been years with a houseful of people ... lots of action ... lots of noise. :)

Amy C said...

Your book sounds great!

I would change my Christmas celebrations by having my father involved in them. Especially since my children just lost their other grandpa last month. Maybe one year, I will have a Christmas present of reconciliation.

campbellamyd at gmail dot com

Sandra Ardoin said...

Thank you, Amy.

I'm so sorry about your situation. It's hard to enjoy a holiday if there's friction in the family and especially hard to explain it to children. Praying reconciliation happens for you very soon!

Merry said...

I would love to have all my children and grandchildren together to celebrate Christmas. I also would love to just slow down, play games and just enjoy the time with less hustle and bustle!
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

Sandra Ardoin said...

Oh my, Merry! Slowing down ... what a worthwhile Christmas present. :)

We had a little tradition when I was growing up. The family would get a new game each year and we'd play it like crazy over the holidays.

Unknown said...

Hello Sandra, This looks like such a lovely story... I can't wait to read it! The cover had me captured from the start!

My favorite childhood memory would be when we would go out to buy our tree. We went to a Christmas tree farm for several years that took you out by hay wagon. You cut your own tree that you chose and then "hitched" a ride on the hay wagon back to the barn. There was always hot cider at the barn and we wrapped the tree to put n the truck or on top of the car. I remember when we would get home, there always a crock pot of vegetable soup waiting. We would eat that and triangle peanut butter sandwiches. Oh... my favorite years (and I have so few childhood memories!).

Kelly Y.
kelly *at* dkcountryarts *dot* com

A.M. Heath said...

If I could change anything, I would add more days to the season. There always seems to be more gatherings than we have time for.

Sandra Ardoin said...

We did the Christmas tree farm thing for a couple of years, Kelly. Lots of fun!

I hope you enjoy The Yuletide Angel!

Sandra Ardoin said...

Time is always precious, but especially so at Christmas! I wouldn't mind having a few more hours in the day. :)

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