Saturday, May 30, 2009


Please Welcome The Wild Rose Press's Very Own, Sandy Wickersham-McWhorter to Author Spotlights by Jenny!

1.) Hi, Sandy. Why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a little about you.

Well, I’m from Muncie, Indiana, and have lived in Ohio since 1973. I’ve been an LPN since 1980. I have my husband of 36 years, two sons, a daughter-in-law, two granddaughters, two dogs, and an odd number of goldfish in my outdoor pond living with me in an 1890s home that was once a general store\post office. I dig antique glassware and bottles out of the back property; amateur archeology-love it! I began writing in third grade when I started turning my dreams and nightmares into short stories (I still have that notebook and The Winds of Fall is a combination of two of those dreams). Science fiction classics and comic books were my reading mainstay from 3rd grade on; then as an adult, I added historical fiction and romances in the ‘80s. I finally realized I was a writer in 1990 after a comment by my oldest son. When I found out I needed cheap nursing CEUs and the degree most writers seem to have, Ohio State University beckoned. I do freelance proofreading\editing when I can get it. I’m a proud Veteran of the US Air Force, as is my husband, and a proud member of the RomVets, an on-line group of Veterans who write romance (who just released the Time Raiders series by the way) and the RWA.

2.) Where do you live? Do you like it?

I live halfway between Columbus and Cleveland in the country and it's okay, but there are other places I'd rather be: by Lake Erie in the summer and in the winter in the Southwest in any one of the several art-centered cities in Arizona, New Mexico, or Nevada, in the winter. I hate winter due to the asthma I developed later in life.

3.) What's currently on your iPod/mp3 player/cd player?

I don’t have the first two and have a tape player in my car. I have Adam Lambert’s Mad World bookmarked in My Favorites in my computer. There’s just something about him and that song that I can’t resist, and I’m 50-something! I listen to talk radio in my car and have the TV on with the sci-fi channel playing on low in the living room when I write. I’m old enough that I can’t listen to music and need silence to concentrate now; if an earworm song gets in my head I’m a goner! I like oldies from the 60s and 70s when I do listen to music-but I like so many songs from those eras that they keep me up all night long if I hear one I really love.

4.) Describe a typical writing day?

Good question! In the winter, I substitute teach many days, then come home, have supper, write or do household stuff, then go to bed for the next day. I also take my MIL to her hairdresser appointments and food shopping every Thursday, run my oldest son around when he doesn’t feel well after kidney dialysis three days a week (he needs an O- or O+ kidney ASAP), I occasionally teach English 101 in local male prisons which means lots of papers to grade and classes to plan each week, I watch certain TV shows with my hubby after he gets off work, and a ton of other things I won’t bore you with. Every time I sub, I get no less than 1 and a half hours free to write or edit already-written pages, no job I know allows that kind of freedom! Then I put the edits in the computer in the evening and write more if there’s time. In the summer, I do everything I do in winter except subbing which gives me more time to write, but add in some yard work for myself and MIL, artwork, and catching up on projects I don’t get done in the winter. I try to do one major art project every summer, usually in professional color pencil. The last thing I did was a picture of Marblehead Lighthouse in Marblehead, Ohio, on Lake Erie.

5.) Do you go by goals? Weekly? Daily? Monthly?

I wrote an article on setting writing goals that allows a writer to do two books in a year and I don’t follow it! Central Ohio Fiction Writers, my RWA chapter, has a monthly week-long Powerdraft challenge, and I do that fairly regularly. We sign up on an e-mail loop and support each other as we try to meet whatever writing goals we set for that week, I try to write half or all of a 5,000-word chapter during that time. The rest of the time it’s draft what I can during work or in the evening, type it into the computer that night or the next day, take pages with me to edit, and do what I can at work. I try to write as much as possible each day when I have spaces of time because there are many days I can’t write at all. My writing speed really depends on the amount of research I need to do, and like many authors, I over-research, it’s one of my favorite parts of writing.

6.) What's your favorite setting from one of your novels? Why?

My favorite setting so far has been Bolder City\Las Vegas, Nevada and the Hoover dam where I set Cottonwood Place. I had to go to Arizona twice when my father was dying and I fell in love with the landscape, the architecture, and the desert. For an artistic easterner like me to see a southwestern sunset the first time, well, it’s hard to describe! It’s like suddenly going to Mars or another planet! Both the hilly and mountainous land and sky are the same deep shades of pink, red, purple, orange, it just takes your breath away. Here in the east, we have reference points like green trees that break up the landscape. The stars are brighter at night in the desert. Ian reacts in Cottonwood Place to the southwestern landscape just like I did. And I have Skye in The Winds of Fall react to the night sky in the Texas desert just I did when I went to San Antonio, Texas, for basic training in the Air Force; I was mesmerized.

7.) What do you think makes the idea heroine/hero?

This is a hard one that I’ve never given much thought to before. I think that all the heroes I write are my Scottish-descent husband in some form. He’s Joe in The Winds of Fall, the heroines’ fathers in The Winter Road and Orion comes in Winter. Tall, dark, thick brown hair, broad-shouldered, nice tush, long hair (my DH’s is short now, though) and bearded. They have to be strong mentally and physically. Notice I haven’t said much about the mental characteristics yet? I think I don’t like heroes who make the woman do all the changing and think they know everything, men who mistreat women on purpose, sadistic tyrants like spouse abusers, guys like that, whether they change during the story or not. Heroes should be willing to see the heroine’s point, protect her, and do just about anything for her love.

8.) What are you working on at the moment?

Orion Comes In Winter, a futuristic sci-fi romance and The Winter Road, a romantic suspense based on the Ice Road Truckers TV series. The new series starts Sunday the 31st!! Yea!! I get my Ice Road Truckers fix again!!! (Yeah, I know, I’m weird.)

9.) Are you a panster? A planner? A planster? Which method works best for you? Why?

A planster I think. I mull the idea over in my mind awhile, sit down with pencil and paper, write a “rough” rough draft then sit at the computer and flesh it out. I can’t seem to get into all those character charts, wallboards and such things that other authors do. I used to beat myself up over that, but I stopped when I realized my style. I did recently do a ”16 personality characteristics” chart for the Ice Road book characters, and I think that will be handy. I’ve also started making a list of physical traits and family members of each character because I forget them from the book’s start to the end and have to keep checking early chapters all the time-ack!
10.) Any new releases coming up?

Unfortunately, Cottonwood Place and The Winds of Fall are it right now. I got so wrapped up in other things including trying to write the Ice Road Truckers book and all that family life stuff that gets in the way, so I have zip. I will finish the Ice Road and Orion books this summer and submit one or both to Wild Rose Press.

Jenny: Thanks so much, Sandy, for sharing your time with AS! For those of you joining us, read on for an excerpt of Sandy's novel, Cottonwood Place!

“Where do you go when there’s no place left to go? If you’ve been everywhere and done everything and aren’t satisfied, come discover the mysteries of Cottonwood Place Bed and Breakfast Inn and the captivating Southwest.” (Cottonwood Place Brochure)

Megan MacCloud knows before meeting him that Ian Hunter is the neediest of the many troubled guests her inn has helped. Estranged from God, neither she nor Ian believe that He can bring them the harmony and love they crave. Ian says he couldn’t resist driving across the country to her after her face on a brochure “hypnotized” him. Because of past abuse, her attraction to him is dashed when she learns he drinks. She resists loving Ian, but her family and almost human pets frustratingly bond with him immediately, proving he’s good. Megan, her Grandma, and pets resolve to help Ian stop drinking and be a doctor again. He helps solve major problems with guests and saves several lives as Megan and her mysterious Navajo-and-White family show him religious and lifestyle philosophies are foreign to him yet truly American. When Megan’s kidnapped by a guest for unknown reasons, Grandma says that to find Megan, he must first “find himself.” What does she mean? Can God use Megan’s family, their Navajo ceremonies, and the police to find Megan and help her and Ian “walk in beauty” before it’s too late?

Visit Sandy at


  1. Jenny, thank you so much for having me here today! I'm glad you're giving authors another opportunity to publicize their books and writing in general by offering insite into how they write and their lives!

  2. Very interesting interview. I use to live in Columbus a long time ago, wonderful city.

  3. Hi Jocelyn, thanks for stopping by. Columbus and its outskirts has grown by leaps and bounds in the last 10 or so years. I belong to the RWA chapter there, the Central Ohio Fiction Writers. Where do yu live now, if I may be so bold???

  4. Nice interview Sandy. I loved Cottonwood Place and look forward to whatever else you come up with! For anyone who hasn't read it, it's a great book!

  5. Great posting Sandy. I loved Cottonwood Place and can't wait to get a copy of Winds of the Fall.

    The Ice Road story sounds promising.

    Keep it up.


  6. Hi Sandy and Jenny! Sandy, I grew up in Columbus, but I've been in Colorado for the last twenty years. I plan to go to RT next spring in Columbus. Your cover for Cottonwood Place is beautiful!

  7. Hi Helen, thanks for coming. Glad you like the cover, it's attracted a lot of attention. You wouldn't recognize Columbus now! It's huge and growing like crazy. Where in Colorado do you live?

  8. Hi Wendi, nice to see you here! I will finish that Ice Road book this summer or ELSE! Maybe my granddaughters will pick your name for The WInds of Fall, Sandy

  9. Hi, Donna, glad to see you here, too. Thank you so much for the Cottonwood kudos! Sandy

  10. Lake Erie is a beautiful place to spend the summer. I enjoyed your interview and look forward to another good read in Cottonwood Place.
    Planster I like that!

  11. Hi Mary, So you've been to Marblehead and Put-in Bay? I'm hopelessly addicted to being on water and Lake Erie is the biggest body of water I've ever seen. I get a feeling I can't even describe while taking a ferry over to Kelly's Island. I joke to my family that I must have been a mermaid in another life, Sandy

  12. Wel,, Jenny and all, I'm hitting the hay. I had a good time hearing from those who posted, so many of you familiar with Ohio! Will pick the winner for the PDF tomorrow and contact Jenny for your email address. Good night all, Sandy

  13. Hi everyonwe, my granddaughter, Elizabeth, just drew #3, which was Donna B's name. I've already contacted her about her prize! Thanks to all posters for supporting Jenny's blogspot! Sandy Wickershm-McWhorter

  14. What a great interview! Sandy, I LOVE Mad World by Adam Lambert. I listened to it about 5 times in a row just today on my way to/from work. It's so haunting and beautiful and sad.

    Holy cow, you're a busy woman. You find time to Wow. I'll quit whining about my schedule.

    I can't wait to read your new book based on the Ice Truckers. It's a guilty pleasure, isn't it? Keep us posted.

    Have a great day!

  15. Hi Rebecca, glad to hear from you! I do find time to write, but frustratingly, never enough, as with most women these days. Chap. 1 of the Ice Road book is up on my website if you want to read it! And yes, the truckers are a guilty pleasure, but less so now because this season is set in Alaska on the Dalton Highway, where I'm setting the 2nd book in my Ice trilogy!!!! I was like a little kid when the season premiered on Sunday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let me know what you think, Sandy