Let me introduce you to author Sandra Danby, who will soon release her debut novel Ignoring Gravity.
Sandra’s Ignoring Gravity is a tale of examining the nature of identity and belonging, when the permanence of both is thrown into the air by adoption. Prior to her book’s release I thought it would be cool to catch up with the author and interview her, below, to find out more about her book and reasons for writing.
Unputdownable! Seriously, it’s about sisters, secrets, lies… and love. Parental love, sibling love, and love love. -Sandra Danby
In getting to know Sandra, you should know that she was always happiest curled up in an armchair with a book, and grew up loving stories. So it’s not surprising that she now writes them. She grew up on a small dairy farm in North Yorkshire and spent a pretty idyllic childhood climbing trees, making dens with straw bales, mucking out ponies, and reading books. She can swear in Spanish, drinks about 12 cups of Yorkshire Tea a day [even in summer] and has a pretty mean forehand. She blogs about reading and writing at: www.sandradanby.com
Let’s hear from Sandra:
Why did you decide to become a writer?
I don’t think I ever made a conscious decision to be a writer, I just seemed to be one. As a child growing up on a farm, I was either playing outside imagining I was climbing Mount Everest or sailing to Australia, or I was inside with my nose was stuck in a book. I had so many books by the time I was eight I was given a wooden bookcase for my bedroom in which I organised my books alphabetically…perhaps I should have become a librarian. Today I still have some of those much-loved books and the initial letter of the author’s surname is still faintly visible on the spine: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Born Free by Joy Adamson, Watership Down by Richard Adams, The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome, My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell.
Tell us all about your new book Ignoring Gravity? What is the story and how did you get inspiration for this book?
Ignoring Gravity is the tale of a woman in her thirties who finds out one day she is not who she thinks she is. Rose Haldane’s parents adopted her as a tiny baby, but never told her. Nothing makes sense: her name is no longer hers, Lily is not really her sister. She doesn’t know where she came from or where she belongs. Ignoring Gravity explores identity and what makes ‘us’ really ‘us’. Is it genes, upbringing, education, life experience? I’m asking these questions but don’t know the answers, I think it is probably a combination of all those factors. The fascination with identity goes back to my childhood. My games were fuelled by curiosity: what would it be like if the Germans had invaded England in 1941, if I’d been born in Iceland or Africa or America, if I’d been born as a boy, if I’d been born the daughter of a violinist and not a farmer?
If you could describe your book in one word, what would you choose?
Unputdownable! Seriously, it’s about sisters, secrets, lies… and love. Parental love, sibling love, and love love.
Do you have any plans in terms of publishing Ignoring Gravity? Have you set a date or know which firm you’re going to use?
Ignoring Gravity is published by my own company Beulah Press, using Kindle Direct Publishing and Createspace. The Kindle e-book is available now to buy from Amazon, the paperback will follow in December 2014. I am now writing Connectedness, the second novel in the series about Rose Haldane: Identity Detective, to be published as e-book and paperback in late 2015.
All writers have certain writing habits, what habits would you say you’ve picked up?
My three writing group friends have each added something to my writing habits:-
First, to check the detail, the boring timeline stuff which if it is wrong makes the novel seem clunky and unfinished to the reader. For example, ‘what do you mean he stands up, he’s already standing up!’ and ‘you said a page earlier that’s he drinking red wine, not white’.
Second, I learned to take time for description, of the setting, of an emotion, to enrich my writing with beautiful language. As a former journalist, my writing style was always minimalist and factual so this is a skill I am continually trying to improve.
Third, character motivation & emotional reaction. Think. Say. Feel. Do. Why does the character react like that; she may say one thing but feel another.
In your opinion, what makes a good author and book?
A good author writes the story she wants to read. If the author isn’t excited by her story, how will the reader ever be thrilled? I admire authors who know their own style, who write their own thing and don’t try to write in a way to fit current fashions.
There must be hundreds of people out there wishing that they’d become writers… Could you help them out by choosing your TOP 3 TIPS?
TIP 1: Write every day, even when you don’t feel like it. It is a job, not a hobby. Practice makes perfect.
TIP 2: Read, read and read some more. Read the authors you know and love, study how they tell their story, how they make you want to keep reading, how their characters behave. Read genres you don’t know, read poetry, read the autobiographies of writers, watch films and go to the theatre. Concentrate on how the story is told, how tension is built, how the pace of the story changes.
TIP 3: Keep a notebook with you at all times [particularly beside the bed] for jotting down ideas, quotes, plot twists, things that pop into your head and can disappear in an instant like a bubble popped with a pin. Don’t think ‘Oh I’ll remember it in the morning.’ You won’t.
Thanks Sandra! I’m looking forward to reading Ignoring Gravity! By the way, you can read Sandra’s honest and insightful review of my book In Ark: A Promise of Survival here.
Here’s where you can find Sandra and her book:
Buy Ignoring Gravity at Amazon.
Watch the book trailer at You Tube.
Watch an interview on YouTube of Sandra Danby talking about how she wrote Ignoring Gravity.
Follow her on Twitter @sandradanby.
Sign-up for Sandra Danby’s e-newsletter [published 1-2 times a year with news about forthcoming books in the Rose Haldane: Identity Detective series].