In celebration of Sandie's new release, she's making a guest appearance today. Love Finds You in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California released October 1st through Summerside Press.
Welcome, Sandra. Good to have you here again. Tell us about your novel, Love Finds You in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.
Drawing inspiration from Hollywood classics, Annie Gray decides to start living the life of her dreams. So she moves into a picturesque bungalow and becomes a private investigator's assistant. When her screen-worthy plan starts to crumble, she lands in the arms of a leading man who is NOT Humphrey Bogart!
We’d love to know more about how you came up with the idea for your book.
Well, I’d pitched something for the Love Finds You series set in Shepherd, Montana, which they bought. However, Carlton Garborg, the owner of Summerside, had taken a golfing vacation to Carmel and came home with visions of a book set there. For some reason, maybe because I’m from California, he asked if I would consider changing the setting from Shepherd. Frankly, I thought he was out of his mind, and wondered if he’d been hit in the head by a golf ball! My book was all wrong for Carmel, or so I thought. But once I visited the place myself, I realized immediately that this was a divine connection. My book was meant for a location like Carmel! It didn’t take long to rewrite it, filtering in those dreamy ocean spots and the amazing artists’ culture of Carmel village. By the time I did the final read-through, I couldn’t even remember anywhere else but Carmel-by-the-Sea!
Tell us more about Annie Gray, your main character.
I adore Annie. She has a lot of me in her. She has a passion for classic films, she’s a little odd, but her deepest desire is to have a life that means something. And she has a key influence in the guise of her faithful dog, which of course I do as well. She also has a circle of very close friends, each of them contributing something vital to her growth and, over the course of the book, she learns a lot about the realities of love in comparison to her girlhood fantasies of what it should be.
What is your favorite scene in your novel?
Hands down, it’s the scene where Annie has just started her new job as a private investigator’s assistant. On her first stakeout, she makes the key mistake of interacting with the person she’s following. While she’s doing so, her dog goes missing from her car and, when she finds him (based on the true-life antics of a friend’s beagle) … Well, let’s just say I loved writing that scene!
I’ve read that you have a new devotional for women coming out in the spring, also published by Summerside Press. Tell us about it.
Thank you so much for asking! Last year, I worked with Debby Mayne, Andrea Boeshaar and Loree Lough to put together Be Still…and Let Your Nail Polish Dry. It was a pretty big hit with people, and Summerside asked me if I’d be interested in putting another one together with a new group of authors. So together with Diann Hunt, Kristin Billerbeck and Trish Perry, Debby Mayne and I co-authored Delight Yourself in the Lord…Even on Bad Hair Days. Like the first one, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. I am a survivor of the disease, and it was particularly poignant this time around because Diann Hunt was going through chemo treatments for ovarian cancer during the writing process! I’m a 6-year survivor of stage 3 ovarian cancer, and I had no good reason for surviving except for the intervention of a healing and grace-giving God. To this day, there is still no reliable diagnostic tool for the disease, so it’s a cause very near and dear to my heart. The cherry on top of all of this is that Diann was declared cancer-free recently. It’s been such a rewarding experience, on so many levels.
What are you working on now?
I’m writing the sequel to January’s novel, The Big 5-OH!, which will be called The Big 4-OH!, followed up next year by The Big 3-OH! I’m really excited about the series, and it’s been so great getting reacquainted with the characters from the first book.
Thanks for visiting, Sandie! Always a pleasure to host you!
To learn more about Sandie, visit her website.