Sunday, June 28, 2009

Another Winning Historical from Sandra Sookoo

Today I am deviating from my normal posts about British customs and holidays to welcome romantic fiction writer, Sandra Sookoo. Sandi stopped by for a visit and I am thrilled, not only because she is a fellow historical author and Classic Romance Revival member, but also a Hoosier!

Sandra’s portfolio includes historical, contemporary, and paranormal romances. She has recently embarked on writing mysteries. Just like the heroines in her books, she uses sarcastic wit and humor to make people laugh.

When not immersed in creating new worlds and interesting characters, Sandra likes to read and travel. Her favorite place to spend vacation hours is Walt Disney World. It’s where dreams come true and that suits her just fine. Writing is her ultimate dream job.

Welcome, Sandi!

Thank you so much for taking the time out of your own busy schedule to interview me. I appreciate it.

Your book, Winner Takes All (Desert Breeze Publishing) is set in Indianapolis during the early 1900s:

Lily Henderson’s greatest passion is knowledge. Christopher Farnsworth thrives on order and decorum. But Lily’s penchant for Suffragette rallies and logical reasoning soon clash with Christopher’s quiet, controlled ex-military lifestyle over a bowl of potato soup.
The two agree to a wager and love is the intended outcome. The premise? A suitable match by Easter. If he loses, he’ll attend Easter church services dressed in one of his aunt’s outrageously colored and beaded gowns. If she loses, she’ll ride, Lady Godiva-style, around the heart of Indianapolis.
The problem is neither Christopher nor Lily can find matches as good as themselves. Romantic sabotage is the order of the day. The original wager is forgotten when the only thing the pair gamble with is their hearts.

What was your inspiration for Winner Takes All? How did you come up with the idea?

My inspiration for the book was the product of watching too many romantic comedies. I love the idea of a couple being thrown together under trying circumstances and having to relate to each other even though the initial meeting is less than ideal. The idea came to me during the Halloween season last year as I wracked my brain for something to write about for the NaNo project in November. The opening scene with the missing engagement ring originally belonged to Lily but at the last moment as the book took shape, I changed it to her best friend.

What kind of research did you have to do?

I'm always careful about doing research before a project, even if that project is not a historical novel. I do alot of pre-lim research online and in books. If I'm still uncertain about an event or place, I lean on the great people at the Indiana Historical Society. I can email them with my question, and they get back with me in a few days with all sorts of information. I'm really grateful for their help.

What did you learn during that research?

One of the most fascinating things I dug up was that the city of Indianapolis had segregated hotels, even though African-Americans were allowed to fight for their country in the military. I wanted to be sure and make one of my supporting characters, Hodgins, a strong, self-confident person in his own right even though he faced huge odds during that time in history. The rest of my characters may be taking great literary liberties with how accepting of him they are, but I firmly believe that throughout history, there were people who flaunted the rules and used their brains to form opinions for themselves.

Did you research change your initial ideas about the book?

No, but it did solidify my love of the Indianapolis area. Rich in history, the residents of the early 20th century were really movers and shakers that formed a strong groundwork for the city I now call home. Touring the city's historical landmarks makes me appreciate those who came before to inspire me and give me a great backdrop for my stories.

Did you base Christopher and Lily on real people?

Christopher and Lily are not based on real people. I try not to do that if I can get around it. Why? Because it complicates my already complicated life and I don't like to have a fixed image of what a character might look like since the image is not who the character is. I've only done it one time in the history of my writing, and really, I doubt if I'll do it again. I may base a certain gesture or speech pattern, but that's about it.

What are you working on now?

I'm currently working on another historical novel, and yes it's set in Indianapolis in 1900. However, this one will have a bit of a paranormal twist, and no, you can't have a hint. Don't want to give too much away up front.

Thanks again for stopping by, Sandi!

Be sure to check out her website.

And now for an excerpt from Winner Takes All:

“I’d be willing to wager I can find you a suitable husband by Easter.”
She spun around so quickly her skirt twisted about her legs. “I beg your pardon?”
The man stood and made certain all eyes were on him before he continued. “I’d be willing to take any wager that says I can match you with the perfect man by the Easter holiday, six weeks from now.” He downed the last of his wine then rested the empty glass on the table. “I just assumed your problem regarding men is the simple fact you can’t find one good enough, but now I realize the problem also rests in your attitude.” He shrugged, a wicked gleam in his eyes. “Why not let me take that anxiety from you and do the dirty work.”
She frowned. “What does that mean?” She didn’t like the intense way his eyes held hers. It made her insides warm and faint tremors dance through her stomach, and reminded her of when she was a child and would swing on a rope from a tree limb in their yard. She glanced at Samantha, but from the amused half-smile on her friend’s lips, Lily knew she wouldn’t get much help in that quarter.
Christopher flicked an invisible piece of lint from his immaculate black suit coat. “Let me interview a few men, find their strengths and weaknesses, their likes and dislikes. I’ll put them through a screening process and once they pass the test, you can have a few outings with them.” He flashed a confident smile to her parents. “By Easter, I’m certain one of them will be to your liking.”
She lifted a brow. “You must have a high opinion of yourself to think I’d accept any man you endorsed. And I might remind you I’m not looking for a mate.”

Winner Takes All purchase links:

Desert Breeze Publishing

All Romance eBooks


Hywela Lyn said...

Great interview Joanna and Sandra - always interesting to get to learn more about other authors.
'Winner Takes All' certainly sounds an interesting and entertaining read!

lainey bancroft said...

What a great book blurb, Sandra. Awesome cover too.

Nice interview, Ladies.

(ps, I love Disney World!)

Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks! If Disney wasn't so frenetic and I could write there, I would LOL :-)

Nicole Zoltack said...

Great interview, ladies! Wonderful excerpt too.

Leah said...

Great interview--I didn't know you could e-mail questions to the historical society--that's a great service. You could set a romance in Disneyworld...they could meet waiting in line for a ride...three hours later--engaged ;)