Sunday, August 21, 2011

❤author: Sandra Byrd Interview and Giveaway!

 Thanks to Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, I've gotten the opportunity to feature author, Sandra Byrd, at the blog today. She's here to tell us about her promoted release, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn, and will be ending with a lovely giveaway, so stay tuned!

Welcome to ¡Miraculous!, Sandra! Will you please share a short bio with us?

Absolutely! I've published more than three dozen books in the fiction and non-fiction markets, including this one, To Die For. Which is a dream come true for me! I've also shared many of the writing secrets and skills I've learned with the new writers I edit, mentor, and coach. I live in the Seattle, Washington area with my husband and two children. For more Tudor tidbits, please visit my Tudor-themed website!

 A pleasure to have you! Tell us about your books.

This series, Ladies in Waiting, is a series of three books in Tudor England, each story being told from the point of view of one of the Queen's closest friends. From a young age, we women are wired for friendship. Little girls link arms in exclusivity with one another on the playground. The most devastating betrayals during our middle and high school years often come not from boys but from the friends we thought loved us and in whom we'd trusted. I have several friends with whom I've been close for more than twenty years and know they have my back, and I, theirs, no matter what. So when I began to write novels set in the Tudor period I wondered, who were these Queens' real friends, those who would remain true in a treacherous court? Ovid wrote, "While you are fortunate you will number many friends, when the skies grow dark you will be alone."

I began with Anne Boleyn and her close friend, Meg Wyatt.

To set the stage as it were, your readers might like to visit my blog to find some delicious Renaissance recipes or learn more about knights and ladies. Or take a walk through the Castles and Palaces page on my site, or visit the Tudor Hall.

 That's such a fascination premise to begin historical stories upon! When and why did you begin writing?

I knew that I wanted to be a writer at six years old, as soon as I'd learned to read the Bobbsey Twins books. Really! When I was a kid, I wanted three careers: to be a hair stylist, to be a waitress, and to be an author. After I mohawked my Barbie I knew I wasn’t cut out for the hairstylist career. I actually was a waitress in a Jewish deli when I was a teenager, and I worked for a caterer. Writing, however, was the real passion. And it stuck.

What inspired you to write your first book, and then how did you get published? Tell us your call story.

I think because I loved reading so much as a girl, and because I know that the 8-12 years are critical to cementing a love of books in a kid's heart, I started with tween books. I have written several tween series and still love writing for that age. The girls are so hopeful, so full of life, burdened, certainly, with the problems of adolescence but they mostly feel as though they can overcome. I wrote up the first book in the first series and had a published friend read it over for me. After corrections, I sent it out. And sent it out. And sent it out. I garnered thirteen rejections before I found a house that was interested. But then, once started, I was off and running.

 How much of your actual life gets written into your fictional stories?

I think there is a little part of me in nearly every character, perhaps every female character,
anyway. I think most writers draw upon their own emotional experiences and perhaps life
experiences though nothing is completely autobiographical. Probably the most influence from my own life comes from the characters and subjects I write about. You have to spend long hours researching and reading about and thinking about your characters, so you need to set the books in a time and place, and with people, that you really like. Otherwise, you just won't want to spend time with them. And if the writer doesn't want to spend time with them, the readers won't, either! So I often write about London, and Paris, both of which I love.

 That rings true to every writer, to some extent. What are your biggest motivations for writing?

Deadlines. :) No, really, I love to disappear into a good book and my way of, hopefully, giving back is to provide good books that other people can disappear into, too.

 Can you honestly say being an author is your ideal job? Do you ever sometimes wish you hadn't begun a writing career or had gone down a different path?

It is the best job in the world! It is also a very hard one, because you put yourself out there to be criticized. I never wish I hadn't begun a writing career. I love it too much for that, but getting reviews can be hard. The best part is getting feedback from the readers. That makes it all worth it.

 How would you describe your writing style/tone?

I love first person because it's intimate, and I read a book to disappear into someone's life, so I hope to write that way, too. I hope I'm honest with my characters and I like to add humor and wit when I can. I try to write people three dimensionally: physical, mental, and spiritual, because we are all made up of those elements in real life.

 That's so insightful! 
What's next for you?

Book Two, which releases next year and is called The Secret Keeper, is about Kateryn Parr and one of her maids of honor. The third book will be set in the Elizabethan Court...

 Where can you be found on the web?

Facebook | Twitter | Website | Purchase Book

I hope your readers will also sign up for my e-postcards (where I am also giving away two Kindles) so I can keep in touch!

 Before we conclude this interview, is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?

First, I'd like to thank them for their time in reading this interview and considering my book! Secondly, as an author, I always like to know: What keeps you deep in a book, and what about a particular author's work brings you back to his or her next book?

 Thank you for being here today, Sandra! It was a pleasure getting to know you and your books better :)

Thank you for inviting me to your blog "home"!

❤  Sandra has generously offered a print copy of To Die For for one lucky reader! Leave a comment answering Sandra's question, and you're entered!

Giveaway runs through September 6th, 2011 at 11.59 pm (your time) and is open to US, Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand readers only.
Please make sure you properly answer the giveaway question for your entry to count.
Include your email in your comment so I know who to contact as the winner.
As a reminder, you do
not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated :)
Good luck!