Sandra Brown, in "Close up interviews". She speaks about her book "Deadline", her family and writing habits. Meet the author.
«I enjoyed it!»
Paulo Pires (PP): You gave a lot of interviews through your life. I’ll start by asking: what question do you dislike the most? And why?
Sandra Brown (SB): I dislike “Where do you get your ideas?” That’s almost impossible to answer. Sometimes I can say for certain that the idea came from a news story, or that I wanted to write a story about someone in a particular career, or that I wanted to address a current social issue. But most often, I have NO clue where the idea came from. It’s just there. .
(PP): Which question was never asked to you and which you would like to be asked? And what is the answer to that question?
(SB): This is the only question I have NO answer for!
(PP):I follow you in the facebook, and one thing that is easy to accomplish about you in your publications is the strong and special relationship that you have with your family. You began writing when you were fired and your husband was the catalyst for you became a full time writer. How do you manage your time between your two loves, writing and your family? At same point you have to choose between both?
(SB): That’s very perceptive of you – my family is extremely important to me. I consider my children my greatest accomplishment. They’re adults with families of their own, and don’t remember a time when I didn’t write. They’ve been supportive throughout. I credit my husband with being the most patient and supportive spouse in the world! He unselfishly enabled me to pursue a career doing what I love to do. . .because he loves me. I’ve never been made to choose between family and career, but sometimes I have to juggle schedules to accommodate both! Now with four grandsons, my husband and I make an effort to plan family get-togethers.
(PP): In “Deadline” you write for first time in the first person in the characters diary entries. I think the POV in the first person is the perspective most intimate, the perspective that most exposes the character (and the author). How difficult is write in first person?
(SB): I actually enjoy writing and reading in third person much better than first person. But in order to divulge a lot of background information without writing paragraphs of narrative, which might have become tedious to the reader, I revealed the back story through Flora’s diary. Her voice was so poignant, the diary turned out to be a very effective way to describe other characters and reveal their history to the reader.
(PP): The title, “Deadline”, as you said in your promotional video, carries the sense of urgency. How you lead with your own deadlines? Are they for you a problem?
(SB): I set more stringent deadlines for myself than my publisher does. Going back to family life, I plan vacations around the writing deadlines I impose on myself. For instance, if we plan something for July, I want to be finished with a draft by June. And I work better under pressure. If I need to finish, I do.
(PP): You don’t only write, you motivate people to write! You and your husband created in 2008 de Scholarship Award that “provide a full tuition scholarship to a TCU student who demonstrates both academic excellence and significant potential as a fiction writer”, every year, since then. Tell us about it.
(SB): Breaking into the writing/publishing industry is difficult. Often good writers must work at other jobs for years before they can support themselves by writing. My husband and I wanted to give a lending hand to students who’ve proved their drive and passion for writing. We’ve had six recipients so far, all outstanding. We’re very proud of that legacy.
(PP): Describe us your writing routine.
(SB): I write in an office outside my house, so I “go to work” each weekday. On weekends, I write at home. Often I write seven days a week, taking 2-3 day breaks every few weeks to get with friends or family. I’m not an early riser, so my workday is from about 10:00 AM until about 6:00 PM. At night, I read. Those hours are just as important as the writing hours. In order to be a writer, one must first be an avid reader.
(PP) Do you like to map out your books ahead of time, or just let it flow?
(SB): “Map” is a good word to use. Before I begin, I know where I’m going. I don’t know precisely how I’m going to get there. The basic story is in my mind, but once the characters are in place, and in “terrible trouble,” I let the story unfold. Characters make decisions for me. I hear what they say, I see what they do, I write it down. Some of the best plot twists, I didn’t see coming!
(PP) What can we see in your workplace, all common things, or do you have something distinctive or unusual?
(SB): Candles and flowers. They are “essentials” to me. Beyond the computer, reference books, notepads, telephone, typical office paraphernalia, there are always fresh flowers and a scented candle either on or near my desk.
(PP) Tell us something about yourself that is largely unknown and surprising..
(SB): Fans who have read me for years are surprised when they meet me and hear my voice. I have a very distinctive Texas accent. I’ve also heard, “I didn’t expect you to be funny.” I suppose because the books are serious, people are often surprised by my sense of humor..
(PP): Do you have some funny story related to a book tour or book event that you can tell us?
(SV): Early in my career, I was doing a book signing in a store in a shopping mall. The store owner had gone to a lot of trouble, setting me up with flowers and feathered pens, bottles of water and a plate of cookies. For two hours NO ONE came. I didn’t sign a single book. It was humiliating. Just as I was about to leave, a woman approached the table and I thought, “Finally! One reader.” She asked, “How much are the cookies?” I gave them to her..
Thanks Sandra Brown for your great interview.