Osiyo~ Welcome one and all! Grab a beverage of choice, something sweet and sinful. No-no, not the men. What’s the matter with you? You know the hands-on rules… The guest gets first pick! Take a comfy seat for another, or a first, spin in the Round Pen. I’m thrilled to welcome my wonderfully talented guest today, Sandy Bruney, who is sharing her new book. Please, show Sandy some real Ranch love!
Before I get to the nosy 5-3-4 part of this interview, we’d like to know a bit about you, the person wearing the writer’s hat.
I live in N.C. with my husband and 2 cats. We have three sons and three grandkids, two boys and a girl, all teenagers now. When not writing I am reading. I have a library card, Nook and iPad, all of which I load with books. I also do some volunteer work with our anti-poverty program and for some reason, end up as secretary for any club I belong to. My favorite club, next to the writer’s group, is our book club. I like it because we don’t have minutes!
My writing area at the moment is a corner of the couch in my living room. What does your writing space look like?
My “office” (formerly the dining room) looks like Hurricane Sandy just swept through, only without the water. I honestly try to keep things in file folders, but the minute I file something, I discover I need it. Then there are all the little notes jotted on scraps of paper, used envelopes, post-it notes. Lots of pens and pencils scattered about, and of course a piece of candy or two and a glass of tea. And my phone. And the cats, who keep me company.
For a lot of writers it’s a life-altering event coming up with titles and character names. Others it comes as naturally as breathing. Which is it for you?
Sometimes a name pops into my head along with a mental image of the character. Other times I go through the phone book or even the obituaries, trying to find a name that fits. I try them on like hats until I reach that aha! moment.
What advice would you offer aspiring and new writers?
Read, read, read. Get out of your comfort zone and read books you’d ordinarily avoid. Join a writers’ group and take advantage or workshops and presentations. If possible, attend conferences. Be around other writers. You don’t need to— and you can’t—go it alone.
Here’s a toughie for ya. The constant shift of the industry makes me often scratch my head and ask ‘what next?’ So, what do you think it takes to be a successful author at the moment?
That’s a tough one. If I knew, I’d jump on it. Readers may be getting tired of paranormal (although the success of Twilight II proves that theory wrong) and I like to think readers will want to get back to values again.
Who would you like to meet in the publishing industry- dead or alive- and why?
Maeve Binchey (sadly, she died this year). She wrote the kind of books I aspire to write, and was close to my age. We’d have a lot to talk about.
It’s time for 3 in 1! I’ll ask the questions and you answer them in one word.
Favorite animal? Cat
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter? Fall
Favorite food? Chili
Okay, Flash four. Ready–
What are you working on now?
A story about two people who are attracted to each other, but because of their children, keep pulling away. She wants her twins to find closure after their father’s disappearance and he is trying to win his daughter back after he quit a very comfortable life-style to become a minister. Because he pulls back, she thinks it’s because he sees the flaw in her that her ex-husband saw. He thinks she can’t accept the fact that being with him might mean she’d have to leave the town where she was born. A shocking discovery shows them both how wrong they are about each other.
What are you sharing today?
The Almost Bride
Lily can’t forgive her sister for stealing her fiance, but when Jill leaves Paul and shows up on her doorstep one rainy night, Lily takes her in. Lily secretly hopes that when Paul is free he will come back to her. But as details of Jill’s marriage are revealed, Lily begins to see that the man she thought she loved was an ideal she only imagined — and that the real Paul doesn’t deserve the love of either sister. Free of her infatuation, Lily realizes that her best friend and boss, Grady, is the man she truly cares for. When Grady hints that he is in love with someone who isn’t free, Lily has to wonder –is that person her sister, Jill? And will Jill once again win the man Lily loves?
Excerpt: Just then the doorbell rang. I took the pot off the burner and went to answer it. I wasn’t too surprised to see my ex-boyfriend standing there. I should have known Ethan wouldn’t give up so easily. “Lily,” he said. Rain dripped down his face, looking oddly like tears. Ethan is a nice man. A widower, with no children, he teaches high school history. He has a quirky sense of humor, likes old movies and takes a vacation every year to some out-of-the-way spot, which shows a sense of adventure. Only last week this had appealed to me. “I won’t stay,” he said quickly. “I wanted to give you this.” He held out a small white box. I made no move to take it. “I thought I made it clear—” I started, but he interrupted with an anger that was new to me. “And I wanted to say one thing without your hanging up on me or—” his hand shot out, grabbing the side of the door—“without shutting the door on me. Literally, I mean, since you’ve already done that emotionally.” He drew a breath. “You may think you can live your life without getting close to anyone or anything, but one day you’ll wake up. I just hope it isn’t too late.” “Thank you for your kind wishes,” I said. “Now if that’s all, I’m busy.” Ethan’s lips tightened. I knew I had hurt him, but wasn’t a clean break the best? I’d been wrong to let him think there was more to our friendship than there was, but he’d been wrong, too, in assuming something that wasn’t there. He held out the box again. The pretty ribbon tied around it was soaked and the color was smearing onto the white cardboard. “I told you I don’t want your ring,” I said as kindly as I could. “It isn’t my ring,” he said. “I took that one back to the jewelers. This is your ring, the one I borrowed. I had it cleaned for you.” “Oh.” Feeling foolish, I accepted the box. I had been so upset earlier that I had forgotten to ask about it. “It’s my mother’s engagement ring,” I said. “I know you were trying to surprise me, but I worried and fretted for three days looking for it.” “I’m sorry,” he said, not sounding sorry at all. “But you have it back now. It’s probably the only engagement ring you’re likely to get.” Ethan turned then and marched back to his car, having delivered the perfect exit line. I shut the door in perfect timing with the slam of his car door. I took the ring out of the box and put it on my finger. For a fleeting moment, I wondered what the ring Ethan had chosen for me had looked like. Maybe everyone else was right and I was wrong. I wished I had handled things better, I thought, still feeling the weight of Grady’s disapproval, Dee’s warning and even my fictional conversation with my grocer. Then, just as I was wistfully imagining a do-over, the doorbell rang again. Of course, Ethan couldn’t let things alone. He’d probably thought of one more cutting remark he just had to make. I decided to let him make it and then sweetly apologize and invite him in for spaghetti. He wouldn’t be able to resist; he loved my mother’s recipe for pasta sauce. After dinner I would explain that he had taken me by surprise (a necessary lie) and that I had reacted badly, but was willing to make amends. If we couldn’t still be friends, at least my conscience would be clear and Ethan could have the satisfaction of thinking that it was he who had ended the relationship. I flung the door open with a welcoming smile that faded instantly. Because it wasn’t Ethan who stood there. It was a woman, a woman with the same dark blue eyes as mine, and the same brownish-blonde hair, as limp as mine had been a few hours earlier. The woman who had ruined my wedding, and my life. My sister, Jill.
Where can we find you and your books?
Where will you be next?
Teatime Romance, Dec. 27- Teatimeromance.wordpress.com
I will draw a name from the list of those who leave a comment and send them a copy of the print book. If anyone wants a .pdf of the book, I’ll be happy to send it, just mention that you’d like a copy in your comment. I have a question for you all. How much do names matter when you are reading a book? Have you ever taken a liking or disliking to a character because the name reminds you of someone you love – or hate?
Oh, great question! Thank you so much for playing along Sandy! Wishing you much luck with your book and writing. I hope you’ll come visit again one day.
Okay- don’t forget to reply to Sandy’s question for a chance to own your copy of The Almost Bride!