Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Interview and Giveaway with Sandra Dallas

Hi Sandra! Thank you so much for visiting with us today and taking time out of your schedule to answer my questions!  Sandra is the author of many books, including Tallgrass, Prayers for Sale, and Whiter than Snow.

1. Your novels are set in many midwestern states from Montana to Iowa - with the last one, Whiter than Snow, being set in Colorado. Due to the storyline in Whiter than Snow, I understand the importance of a mountainous location. How important is setting to you when writing your novels and do you ever feel it takes on the importance of a character all on its own?

A: Setting is indeed a character in my novels. In fact, setting is usually the first thing that comes to me when I get an idea for a book. My favorite thing when writing a novel is to go to the location and soak up atmosphere—the look and feel of a place, the way people talk, their mannerisms. That said, I ought to set my stories in Hawaii or Southern France.

2. You have written both fiction and non-fiction - do you prefer one over the other? Or find one easer/more enjoyable to write?

A: Nonfiction is easier to write, because you know what has to go into the story. You have a notebook full of information that has to get into your computer in some fashion. With fiction, you don’t know what’s going to happen, and you rely on the creative process, which doesn’t always work. With nonfiction, subject generally sells the book, and writing is secondary. But with fiction, everything depends on the writing. Fiction is more emotional with both me and my readers. I’ve never had someone come up to me with one of my nonfiction books and say, “You’ve changed my life.” I much prefer writing fiction.

3. I would be so afraid of getting something wrong with non-fiction that my first thought was that fiction would be easier. I really like the titles of your novels, which include some of the following: Whiter than Snow, Prayers for Sale, The Persian Pickle Club, and The Quilt that Walked to Golden. Do you have much input in the titles and covers of your books?

A: I usually come up with the titles, although my agent named Whiter Than Snow when I couldn’t think of any title except The Snowslide. Sometimes, as in The Persian Pickle Club, the title comes halfway through the book; it was originally called The Interesting Hour Club until I came across a fabric called “Persian pickle.” With Prayers for Sale, I had the title before I ever came up with the content.

4. I would love to see what Persian pickle fabric looks like! What is a day in the life of Sandra Dallas like?

A: It’s pretty boring. I get up at 5:15 a.m. three days a week to work out. I stop at Starbuck’s on the way home and usually am in my office at home by 8 and start writing. I write about a page a day, which can take an hour or three or four hours. Then I answer emails, work on promotion (answering questions such as these,) and work on a column I write for the Denver Post on regional nonfiction books. I work in household tasks—laundry, cooking, yard work and so on during the day. I read a great deal. And I eat a lot.

5. Are there any books on your nightstand currently?

A: Loving Frank, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and So Rugged and Mountainous. The latter is a history of the development of western trails by Will Bagley, a Utah historian.

6. Did you find yourself influenced by any particular author or book growing up?

A: Nancy Drew. She was the only female role model in girls’ fiction. The rest were wimps, always dependent on boys to rescue them from their own stupidity.

7. I like strong female leads, too! Is there a particular book that you think everyone should read at least once?

A: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I also like her Traveling Mercies. And of course, my books.

8. What is the most interesting thing that a reader has said to you, or that you have had happen on a book tour?

A: “Your character gave me the courage to leave my husband.” That was also the scariest comment I’ve ever received.

9. Wow - that is quite an experience - I don't even know how to respond - so we will just move on! Do you have anything currently in the works?

A: Yes, and it’s driving me crazy, so I’m not going to talk about it.

10. So now you are going to make it drive the rest of us crazy wanting to know what is coming up! Is there anything else that you would like the readers to know?

A: Writing is the best career in the world. I am blessed to be able to do it.

We are happy that you are able to do it also!  Thanks again!

I have one copy of Whiter than Snow to giveaway to a lucky reader!  This contest is open to U.S./Canada. To enter, just leave me a comment with your email address (we are going to continue those simple summer rules!)  This contest will end on June 20.


debbie said...

I like that the author uses strong female leads. It sounds like a good book, I would like to read.

Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in.

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

scottsgal said...

I like reading books in western settings - I've read several good reviews of her latest.
msboatgal at aol.com

Christa said...

Yay! Please count me in. : )
ambience.of.rain {at} gmail.com

Christa said...

Yay! Please count me in. : )
ambience.of.rain {at} gmail.com

Christa said...

Yay! Please count me in. : )
ambience.of.rain {at} gmail.com

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I hate not entering when it's an author I like, but until I get this evil TBR mountain range under control, no need to enter me. (Grr)

I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

Unknown said...

Love the summer rules!!! thanks so much for the great giveaways!!


Shirley said...

My daughter's and I love the summer rules, Your rules were easy though comopared to some we totally quit entering because it got to crazy. Thanks!!

Unknown said...

I'd love to win this book. Thanks for the easy entry!!


Steve Capell said...

I found it interesting that she writes a page a day ... this reminds me of something that a co-worker once told me. He said do you know how to eat a jello elephant ... just one bite at a time. The same is true with writing ... one page at a time. GREAT interview and I like the title of this book!


teabird said...

I'd love to read this - thank you!

teabird17 atyahoodotcom

Nancye said...

This sounds like a great book! I would love to win it!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Martha Lawson said...

This one sounds good! Please enter me.

I follow on gfc

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

Please include me.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Tea said...

I loved The Persian Pickle Club. I would love to read any book written by Sandra Dallas. You really get to know her characters.


Debbie F said...

Please include me! thanks

dcf_beth at verizon dot net

ChristyJan said...

Sounds like a great read ~ please enter me


rubynreba said...

I'd love to win this book. Thanks!

holdenj said...

Thanks for the chance to win!

Love the easy summer rules!

karenk said...

please count me in...thanks :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Unknown said...

Great interview, I really enjoyed hearing from Sandra Dallas and your interview questions were wonderful.

Please enter me - I must confess I have never read her books before but have been wanting to.


ossmcalc said...

I have heard so many great things about this book, and it has come highly recommended by several friends. My birthday is on June 16th and I would be glad to get it for a late birthday present. Please enter me into your giveaway.

Thank you,


Margie said...

Thanks for the giveaway. Count me in.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Anonymous said...

I'd love to win this for my wife. Thanks you! jeff72768@yahoo.com

Aik said...

I'd love to enter this contest!

aikychien at yahoo dot com

Anita Yancey said...

Sounds like a great book. I would really enjoy reading this one. Please enter me. Thanks!



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