Interview with Sandra Byrd for her Bon Appetit Blog Tour

Originally Posted at Bibliophile’s Retreat by Melissa Meeks

This book has been calling to me from the TBR. I’m nearly done with Let Them Eat Cake and can’t wait to crack this one open too. Besides studying French for 8 years including a semester in Paris, I also love several French dishes (and no I’m not referring to French Fries- LOL) and cheeses.

And now for the interview questions Sandra was so kind to take the time to answer for me and all you readers.

1. Who do you want to meet and why?
I’d like to meet Anne Boleyn, because she’s always fascinated me and because I think she was an intelligent, Christian woman. I’d like to meet some of the kids and families we have sponsored with World Vision because they are close to my heart. Someday, maybe I will!

2. What’s your favorite comfort food?
Changes with the season. Right now it’s homemade tomato soup with cheddar cheese chunks in the bottom of the bowl and garlic croutons. Mmm.

Sounds a bit familiar LOL. Grilled Cheese sandwiches and tomato soup (though not homemade) are a cold weather favorite of mine.

3. What would be your dream vacation?
A month long tour of Europe with my husband and kids. Maybe with a day trip to Morocco. I’ll settle for dinner out on Friday, though. 🙂

4. Is there anyone who has influenced/encouraged you to write other than God who ultimately gives us any talents including creativity? Who and how/why?
I have been given so many wonderful mentors who helped along the way. A woman named Sue Overby was a mentor to me when I was a new writer. She manages a Christian bookstore now. Robin Gunn has been my friend for nearly 15 years and she was a wonderful mentor and encouragement in my early writing years and is still an excellent, iron-sharpening-iron friend. Peggy King Anderson is/has been a writing mentor to me. A woman named Linda Rice is my mentor now, and she encourages and exhorts in just the right measure. I think that’s the key. And they pray for me, which takes time, so I know they love me!

Love Robin’s Sisterchicks books, so like some of my friendships minus the exotic trips none of us can afford.

5. Can you give a brief synopsis of your journey to publication with your first book?
Well, my first book was rejected 13 times. Twice by one publisher, rubbing salt in the proverbial wound, I suppose! But when all looked dark, God steered me to WaterBrook Press, the new imprint of Random House, and the wonderful Lisa Bergren who picked up my Secret Sisters Series and believed in me. I’m still tickled to publish with WaterBrook press.

Fell in love with Lisa’s books too when I got my hands on a copy of The Begotten and just finished up reading the series recently.

6. What else have you written/are you currently writing (including unpublished works)?
I’ve just finished the third book in the French Twist series, and then I took a month off to mourn the loss of those characters I love so much. Next up is a tweener series called, London Confidential, which is going to be terrific fun. And after that, more books for adult women – the next one series will be a surprise, and something I’ve been dying to write for a decade.

Loving Let Them Eat Cake, dying to read Bon Appetit next and looking forward to hearing about the progress and reading this upcoming “surprise” series you mention.

7. What first gave you the idea for the French Twist series?
I love France, I love French people, I love cooking and baking, and I love to read. How cool that God allowed me to spend three years doing all three of those things at once, and inviting my fantastic readers along for the ride! Although the book is appropriate for women and young women of all ages, I have a soft spot in my heart for women in the “quarter life crisis” age group. The books are really notes of encouragement to them. I’ve heard from many readers, too, who have taken professional and personal leaps of faith after reading the series.

8. What else would you like to share with readers about yourself or Bon Appétit?
Please be prepared to cook, bake, shop and eat when you read this series. Find the best French bakery in town and stock up. I am a new gym member, working off three years of brioche (which is so, so good…).

Ahhh! Brioche deadly as chocolate and twice as yummy LOL.

9. Share with us one of the craziest things you’ve done or that’s happened to you?
Having two teenagers and a seven pound dog that run the house makes my life crazy – and fun – every day.

10. What five books would you take with you to a desert island?
The Bible, of course. The others change depending on my mood. At the moment? Shogun. Catherine, Called Birdy. A Sweetness to the Soul. These Happy Golden Years.

Have Jane’s latest book in my TBR and looking forward to more from her. Loved the Litle House books and TV show in my younger years and still have a soft spot for historical fiction.

11. What concept or scripture is God revealing more deeply to you in this season of your life? And how is that revelation influencing your life?
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see, Hebrews 11:1

We live in a world that desires concretes, action, a plan, and certainty. We are citizens of a world that desires faith, reliance, dependence, and a willingness to hold onto the unseen hand.

12. Why did you start writing and when?
I knew at the age of six that I wanted to write. When I was a kid I wanted three careers: to be a hair stylist, to be a waitress, and to be an author. After I mohawked my Barbie I knew I wasn’t cut out for the hairstylist career. I actually was a waitress in a Jewish deli when I was a teenager, and I worked for a caterer. Writing, however, was the real passion. And it stuck!

13. How do you choose names and get to know your characters?
I choose the names fairly capriciously, how they appeal to my ear, especially in relationship to their personalities. I get to know them by writing. I’m always surprised when I write. Oh! She’s sick. Oh – he’s holding onto hurt from his parents’ divorce! That kind of thing.

I’ve yet to meet an author who hasn’t had at least one surprise from a character and rarely is it only one. They have a propensity to take on a life of their own as I understand from those that live with them on a regular basis.

14. What’s your favorite character/scene from the French Twist series (so far)?
Of course Lexi is my very favorite person, the reason the series exists at all. I admit it – I’m a softy – my favorite scenes are the romantic ones. What was fun for me was, after reading the book, my husband duplicated a few of the scenes for me. He was paying attention! I also love the scenes where Lexi grows in her understanding of God, who is patient and kind, and where she begins to see herself, her “real” self, emerge from the fog.

I love reading stories where the characters grow and develop in their faith and lives through the struggles they are facing just like we do in our own “real” lives. I say “real” as opposed to real because for me as a reader the characters and their lives become just as real as my own life and experiences when the book is well written.

15. Do you have any teasers you can share for Book 3 in the French Twist series?
Only that I promise I leave everyone in a place that we’ll all be happy to let them be for the rest of their lives. And that there’s a surprise, so don’t think you’ve got it all figured out!

16. Are there any closing remarks you’d like to share?
Please visit my website. I’ve got a contest running right now and would love to have you and your readers enter! Thank you so much for reading Bon Appetit.

Codicil:
Visit Sandra’s site by clicking her photo. Read more about the book or purchase a copy by clicking the bookcover. Also be sure to check out what other bloggers are saying this week and check back for my review coming soon. WaterBrook Press (September 16, 2008) (ISBN#9781400073283, 304pp, $13.99)

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