Sandee Watkins is visiting the site today from Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. As I live and breathe non-sequiturs, I have to say that Alabama has much cooler sounding counties than here in California. We have counties called Modoc and Imperial and Butte. The sheer poetry of the name Tuscaloosa has them all beat. Okay, enough of that.
Hi, Sandee. Thank you for stopping by. I normally try to avoid interviewing romance writers, due to not wanting to post covers of, er, grappling covers on my site, which will then cause my wife to throw pottery at me. However, I’m happy to have you on.
First of all I want to thank you for bending the rule of NO ROMANCE! What is life without a little romance? Dull and boring! I have a quote “A day without romance, is a day without love, and we all need a little of both, every day.”
You’re definitely right. Life needs romance. For all you married folks out there, I highly recommend taking your spouse on a date, one night a week. Woops. Sorry. I’m non-sequituring again. Why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama until the age of seven, at which time my father accepted a banking position with a small town bank in Warrior, Alabama, where I lived until after I got married. I now live with my family in the Tuscaloosa County area of Lakeview, Alabama.
The South certainly has quite a literary tradition, with writers such as William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Eudora Welty, and Harper Lee. One of my all-time favorites is Walker Percy. Why did you decide to get into writing?
My passion for writing goes back to high school - at one time I wanted to be a journalist, but after a few months of college life, I opted to get married and quit school. It wasn’t until a few years ago, while at work – during my lunch breaks, that I really took hold of the idea and sat down to write my own manuscripts – Romance. I started writing because I was so fed up with the soaps I watched during lunch — disgusted being a better term, what with their never-ending cycle of infidelity and repeated resurrections of the dead — that I gave them up, sat down behind my computer and started my first manuscript.
Repeated resurrections of the dead. That’s fabulous. Hmm. I’ve never watched a soap, but I didn’t realize they involved reincarnation. You never know what those Hollywood folks are going to be into next. Speaking of next, can you tell us a little about what you have written?
I currently have three books available in the romance genre, The Bandit being the most current release. It’s a cute little romantic comedy, but due to some of the adult themed content it is primarily aimed for ages 17 and above.
Sound asleep newlyweds, Bruce and Brenea’ Lancaster, are suddenly awakened from a perfect slumber when they hear a series of bangs and crashes coming from the downstairs of their home. Brave and daring, Bruce goes to investigate. When the bandit escapes, unharmed, through the opened back door, the couple thinks their troubles are over, but they’re not – they’re only just beginning. After Bruce safely tucks his hysterical wife into a motel across town, he enlists the aide of his nearly identical twin cousin – a cop, Jack Lancaster, along with their old as dirt, Uncle Randy and his trusted hunting dog, Bessie, to help him rid the cunning prowler from his honeymoon cottage.
I hope Uncle Randy has a shotgun or, at least, Bessie gets to engage in some criminal-centric biting! So, do you have anything you’re currently working on?
My current work in progess is entitled Alabama Sunset. Again, a romance, about admitting to yourself that you’re in love with your best-friend (m/f) even though the entire town, including your parents, already knows this, and has for a while.
As a writer myself, I’m always curious about what other writers are reading. Books obviously shape us, and they influence how we communicate. Are there any writers and/or books that have influenced you?
That’s a hard question! I love Janet Evanovitch, Stuart Woods & David Baldacci (plus a multitude of others). Janet Evanovitch because she makes my laugh until I cry! Stuart Woods because of his Stone Barrington character and David Baldacci, for suspense.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
My advice to other writers is: Write for you, you know what you like. Write what you’re feeling, put your heart and soul into it. Write with passion and yes, let your characters change your story. They’re pesky that way sometimes!
Passion certainly does shine through in writing, regardless of the genre. I regard it as the inspirational fuel for writing. Speaking of that sort of thing, where do you find your creative inspiration?
It could be driving by a billboard, or watching a television commercial, The Bandit developed in the middle of night when I couldn’t sleep. Most of my characters, much like other authors, are based on someone near and dear to hearts. Like that family member you love and they would give you the shirt off their back, but they’re one French fry short of a Happy Meal… you know the one, we all have at least one, usually more.
Speaking of food…I can’t help asking: favorite meal?
I love Prime Rib with a baked potato swimming in butter, along with a salad with Ranch dressing, just no tomatoes!
Now, I’m saving my royalty pennies to buy my wife a mini-van. You’re doing something a bit more honorable with yours. Can you tell us about that?
Since I have made myself a promise to donate a percentage of my royalties on the books I sell to a different charity each month (The Bandit being the exception – Raccoon Cabin Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilation being the soul recepient of it’s proceeds) I would like to be remembered as someone who thinks of others and tries to help them, best I can.
In addition to the charities you’re supporting, what do you hope to achieve with your writing?
I hope that I can make someone laugh, cry, fall in love or admit to themselves and to someone else, their true feelings. Since I’ll never be able to quit my day job, I just want to help someone escape their mundane routine for an hour so and be a character in a book.
Thanks for taking the time to chat, Sandee. Best of luck to you and your writing career!
Thanks again, Chris! I really appreciate the opportunity to participate!