Thank you so much for having me! I write romantic comedy for the Christian market, and I have about 15 books in print…although no one really noticed me much until the Another Emma Rae Creation series that started with Always the Baker Never the Bride. Emma and her friends at the Tanglewood Inn literally changed my life.
You write romantic comedies, what has drawn you to this genre?
It was actually a happy accident! When I first started writing, my plan was to write suspense. But more and more, people commented on how funny they thought I was. In fact, when I was trying to break into the inspirational market, I kept pitching suspense novels. Then one day, the editor at Summerside Press called to ask me to write a comedy for them to launch the Love Finds You line. I scratched my head over that, but it turned out that they had decided from a few simple emails that I was a funny person, and they wanted to see what I could do if I applied my humor to my writing. That first book, Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas, set me on a path I hadn’t anticipated!
I fell in love with “Always the Baker, Never the Bride”. I thought it was one of the loveliest, sweetest, funniest books I have ever read. I also enjoyed the followup book, “Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride” – even Russell the Aussie! Can you tell us about “Always the Designer, Never the Bride”? Is this the last book in the series?
It’s NOT the last book in the series! It’s Book #3 of 4. The final installment, Always the Baker FINALLY the Bride revolves around Emma Rae and Jackson getting their happy ending at last. I can’t tell you how hard it was to write THE END on that one! These people have been part of my life for three years now!
Always the Designer Never the Bride is the story of Audrey, a struggling wedding dress designer, who happens into The Tanglewood Inn for the wedding of her best friend Carly. And when she arrives, J.R., the brother of the groom (you met him in Always the Wedding Planner as Russell’s best buddy!), sweeps her right off her fashionable feet!
How much time do you usually spend on the research element for your books? Do you visit locations and conduct interviews?
It really depends on the book. For the Emma series, I was inspired by my sudden affinity for those reality shows like Amazing Wedding Cakes. Being a diabetic, one day as I watched, I found myself thinking, “Wow. What if God had called me to bake cakes instead of write?” A series was born that day!
What books did you read as a teenager?
I’m sorry to admit that I wasn’t much of a reader growing up. I was a tv-sitcom and movie baby. My studies to become a writer revolved around screenwriting. It wasn’t until I had to leave Los Angeles and move to Florida to take care of my mom that I realized scripts weren’t going to be feasible for me any more, so I tried writing my first novel after that. I’d started reading romances in my 20s, and I became a big fan of romantic suspense authors like Rebecca York. I didn’t discover my love for books until then, and didn’t find Jane Austen until my 30s! I read Emma about once a year now, and I’m sure anyone who knew me when I grew up would be shocked to see me with my nose in a book or my Kindle almost every spare moment of the day!
Whose writing do you admire?
So many! I love Kristin Billerbeck, Jenny B. Jones and Camy Tang for the lighter side of things. And James Rubart, Frank Peretti and Brandilyn Collins really fill my suspense void. For inspiration, Cynthia Ruchti is awesome. … See? There are SO MANY!
Jess: I love Kristin Billerbeck and Jenny B. Jones also – they crack me up!
When you get writers block, what do you do to try and get out of it?
First, I whine about it to my writer friends. When I finally tire of hearing my own voice, I start taking steps. I go for a drive and look at the Gulf…I invite a friend out for lunch or a coffee to just soak up a new perspective…It almost always involves eating something sweet…And I write some shorter things to cleanse the palette a little, like a blog or a Bible study. The final step is usually to watch a movie or tv show that I can really get lost in. Then I’m usually ready to break through the wall and start writing again.
Jess: Sounds like you’ve got some good strategies there
If you could be any fictional book character for a day, who would you be, and why?
I think I’d like to be Emma Rae Travis from my Baker books. Although, in truth, I’m much more like Sherilyn from Always the Wedding Planner, Emma is a fascination to me. The idea of never spending another minute with her as a writer is…just…well…Sorry…can you pass me a Kleenex??
What do you know about Australia, and is there anything in particular you would like to see if you came for a visit?
My first real love was a musician, and he was in a band with an Aussie drummer. I got to know so much about Australia from this adorable, sweet-hearted, silly man! From that time on, I really wanted to visit and see it all for myself. But many years later, I got to know another couple of Aussie men during my publicist days in Los Angeles, and one of them was very much the inspiration for Russell in the Emma Rae series. He taught me all of the bad words and strange, interesting foods, told me about the draw of the outback, and he had that mysterious man-child thing going. He used to say he could show me “the blue underbelly of Australian life” if I would let him. That both frightened and intrigued me. LOL If I went to visit Australia now, I’d love to take a month or two of exploring the sights, tasting the food and meeting the locals!
Jess: We hope you get to come here one day Sandra!
You can follow Sandra on her blog over at http://sandradbricker.blogspot.com/
Sandra’s Emma Rae Creation Series (So far!)
She is currently writing her first novel, a contemporary women’s fiction/romance set in a small country town.
Jess is a mum of two children and married to the calmest man alive. She loves to bake and go for walks. A writer of contemporary romance, Jess write stories about the heart and where love is worth the journey.