Christmas craziness is behind us and the New Year is ahead of us. Today’s interview is a friend of mine from my local RWA Chapter, Carolina Romance Writers. Allow me to introduce you to Sandy Bruney. Sandy, welcome to Teatime Romance. Tell us about yourself.
Hi, everyone. I live in North Carolina, having moved here from Pennsylvania some 35 years ago. The only time I miss snow is at Christmas. My husband and I have three sons, two daughters-in-law, and three grandchildren. And a varying number of cats. When not writing, I am reading. I haunt the library as well as search online for “deals” for my Nook and iPad.
I love writing about the close friendships of women and how they help each other get through hard times—sickness, loss of a job, loss of a spouse, aging—things that come to all of us, although hopefully not all at once! Although the premise sounds sad, I try to make the stories positive and have a happy ending.
You’ve recently published a book that’s a bit different from your previous ones. Tell us about “The Almost Bride.”
“The Almost Bride” is a little different from my first two novels. Lily doesn’t realize she has a problem and doesn’t want to be helped by her well-meaning best friend. She has nursed her resentment toward her sister for so long it is difficult for her to admit she might possibly be wrong. When she does, she opens herself up to new relationships—and a new love. I guess you could call it a “coming of age” story except that the heroine is in her thirties. A late bloomer.
What inspires you to write your stories? Where do you get your ideas?
My stories all begin with a “what if?” In “Angels Unaware,” I wondered how I would have managed throughout my treatment for breast cancer if my husband hadn’t been so supportive. In the story, Kat’s husband can’t take the changes in her body and leaves her. “The Lunch Club” came from hearing my mother tell about her lunch group—wonderful ladies who met just to eat and catch up with each others lives. If anyone missed the lunch, they all checked up on her to make sure she was all right.
So I guess you can tell my sister and I have a very strong, loving relationship. But “what if” we didn’t? And what if I couldn’t forgive her for something she had done—only to discover she hadn’t done it?
Congrats on being a breast cancer survivor. Your last two books were traditionally published. What made you decide to self-publish this one?
My first two books are traditionally published through Draumr Publishing. After shopping “The Almost Bride” around and getting nice rejection letters that said, “We love your writing, but we don’t like Lily”—never mind Scarlet O’Hara and Becky Thatcher!—I decided I was banging my head against a stone wall and decided to self-publish. But first, I had to make Lily a little more sympathetic in chapter one so readers would want to continue (always take the advice in a rejection letter seriously).
I also picked up an issue of RWA and under first sales, saw that half of the books were self-pubbed. That gave me the courage to follow that route. I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t believe strongly that “The Almost Bride” is a good story.
Good advice for those of us still not published. Rejection letters have their uses. Is this book part of a series?
I do envision Lily and Grady having problems with his family, who being members of the Atlanta upper crust, want a big fancy wedding. Lily, whose first wedding was a disaster, pushes for a small, intimate gathering. Who will win?
I have just concluded a novel called “Wherever You May Be” that I am excited about. It involves a couple who find their growing affection threatened by duty to their parents and children. Sandwich lovers? Oh, and a lot of church politics. He’s a minister half the congregation wants to get rid of, and she’s the music director who takes his side, even though she can’t stand him personally (at first!).
We ask this question of all our guests, what five books would you take if your house was on fire?
Five books? The Holy Bible, The Methodist Hymnal, “My Grandfather’s Blessings,” by Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D., anything by Anne Lamott, and “The Prince of Tides,” by Pat Conroy. The first three for comfort and inspiration, the fourth because she makes me laugh and think at the same time, and the last for sheer pleasure in the written word.
And the last question, what kind of tea do you drink?
I have a cupboard stocked with various kinds of tea from English Breakfast to Chai Latte. What I drink depends on my mood at the moment. Sweet iced tea when eating out. And for convenience, those little packets than make one glass at a time.