Sunday, June 28, 2015

Interview with Sandra Orchard

1.       Why do you write the kind of books you do?

I enjoy devising fast-paced plots with lots of twists and turns to keep readers guessing. I love reading books I can’t put down and one of my favorite kind of emails I receive from readers is that my book kept them up late reading, because they couldn’t wait to find out what happened next.

2.     How has being published changed your life?

It’s changed my life in so many ways, some good, some not so pleasant. On the negative side, the hair is getting a little thinner from all that hair-pulling when my characters refuse to cooperate and deadlines loom. And I have to say “no” to more things due to time constraints. On the plus side, I have made friends with many writers and readers around the world. It has been a huge blessing to pray together and for each other, to fellowship together at conferences and other events. To have the excuse to travel and do crazy-fun things like participate in a Writers’ Police Academy. I love to speak and teach and share my passion for writing and the Lord, and being published has opened many doors for me at both secular and Christian events.

3. How do you choose your settings for each book?

I chose to set the Port Aster Secrets series in Niagara for a few reasons. I live here so that made it easy to create a realistic setting with vibrant details. My heroine works at an agricultural research center, much like one that I’ve worked at here in Niagara. And its proximity to the US border plays a role in my detectives suspicions about what’s going on in town.

By contrast, I chose the setting—St. Louis—for my current work-in-progress, because I wanted an excuse to attend a writing conference there, fit in a visit to an FBI office, and spend some extra time in the area visiting a friend.

Then there’s my book Perilous Waters, which is set on an Alaskan cruise—a story I decided to write after enjoying a cruise there with my husband to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.

4. What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Don’t be in a hurry to get published. Take time to learn the craft and persevere. Enjoy the journey. It will have its ups and downs.

5. Tell us about Desperate Measures – a brief blurb:

Kate won’t be safe until all of Port Aster’s secrets are revealed

Researcher Kate Adams has finally pinpointed the supposed “miracle plant” that tore her family apart years ago. She’s certain that discovering its secrets is her only hope of solving the mystery surrounding her father’s disappearance. She’s willing to risk anything to find the truth, including her relationship with Detective Tom Parker. But with so many people in pursuit of the plant, going it alone might be a fatal mistake.

Award-winning author Sandra Orchard pulls out all the stops in this breakneck and breathtaking conclusion to the Port Aster Secrets series.

6. Tell us about your research process.

Over the years I have compiled a wonderfully helpful group of go-to experts that I can email with my police, firefighter, paramedic, FBI etc. questions as they arise. When I decide to set a book in a place I’m not familiar with, I try to visit it and take lots of notes and pictures and interview the locals. If I can’t visit, I research online and try to connect with at least one person living there. Sometimes this is a fellow writer or a reader. With my current wip, I emailed a real estate agent I found online, told her I was a writer and what I needed to know and she was more than happy to help.
I tend to review a lot of manuals for occupations, read biographies of people who’ve been in circumstances similar to my characters, and read Christian Living books that address emotional or spiritual struggles that my characters face. I interview as many experts as I can. For the Port Aster Secrets series, I even took on a part-time job at the local agricultural research station for a few months.

7. Will we know what happens to your character after the end of the book?

Yes! At the end of the book I fast-forward a couple of years to give you a glimpse into Kate and Tom’s future. I occasionally do something similar for my newsletter subscribers, by writing a short story for them to let them see what characters are up to after a book ends.

8. Both of your lead characters have “baggage” that keeps them from wanting to pursue a new relationship. Do you think sometimes we let our past get in the way of what God has planned for our futures?

Definitely, at a ladies’ retreat I recently attended, the speaker talked about the bad things that had happened to her as a child and young woman and the lies she believed about herself, God and the world because of them, and how those lies colored every future decision. This is exactly how I think through my characters. I think we all have wounds in our past, both big and small, that affect the way we see ourselves. And often times, it isn’t until we really confront the root cause of those perceptions that we can trust God’s leading.

9. What’s on the horizon for you?  What will you be writing next? 

I am super excited about a new mystery series I’m writing—Serena Jones Mysteries.

The heroine, Serena Jones, is an FBI art crime detective working out of the St. Louis headquarters, who frequently travels for undercover operations. Amidst her cases, she’s also on a personal secret mission to find the art thief who murdered her grandfather. She has a fun sense of humor, and a zany aunt who likes to stick her nose into her cases, and an overprotective mother desperate for grandchildren who’d prefer to see her quit and settle down, and a hunky apartment superintendent who shares her love of art and old movies and who willingly takes care of her cat while she’s out of town, and an equally hunky, overprotective FBI partner.

I’m having so much fun creating the characters in these stories, and all the twists and turns that my readers have come to expect. The first book, A Fool and His Monet, releases March 2016.

10. Where can readers find you online?

I interact with fans daily at:
I blog on Mondays at: Readers will also find fun bonus features for all my books, as well as helps for readers and writers, on the site.
Readers can subscribe to my newsletter for updates on new releases and subscriber-exclusive short stories at:
They can email me anytime at:


Sandra Orchard is a multi-award-winning author of mysteries and romantic suspense with Revell Publishing and Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense imprint. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America and The Word Guild (Canada). A mother of three grown children, she lives in Niagara, Canada with her real-life-hero husband and writes full time…when not doting on her young grandchildren.

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