Monday, January 13, 2014

Interview with Sandra K. Marshall

Joining me today is romance author Sandra K. Marshall, so sit back and check out her interview.   Then check out her newest release.
Q.  When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?   
A. I wrote as soon as I started reading.  I wrote a skit in school, letters to friends, family and kids in the military, but I never thought of being a writer.  Not until my husband started bugging me to do something useful besides reading.  lol  Men!  He claimed that as much as I read I could write a book.  Humph!  He knew nothing, and I still tell him that.  lol
Q.  How long does it take you to write a book?  
A.  Usually, around a year.  I'm a slow writer.  
Q.  What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?  
A.  I can't stop editing, and I try to.  One day, I'll make myself write the first draft without editing.
Q.  What do you think is the best way of publishing a book these days? 
A.  I think the digital format is the fastest way to get your book out to the public.  I'm not sure it's the best way though. 
Q.  Where do you get your information or ideas for your books? 
A.  Usually, I get my ideas from the news either on television, or other media, and every day life.  
Q.  When did you write your first book? 
A.  I started my first book in 1988 and finished it in 1989.  It didn't get published.   
Q.  What do you like to do when you’re not writing? 
A.  I enjoy doing things with my hubby like riding his Suzuki Burgman 400 series motor scooter.  With the wind blowing in my face and around me it removes all of the cobwebs, and I can get back to writing. 
Q.  What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
A.  I learned one book could turn into two or three books.  lol
Q.  How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?  
A.  I have written three books and a novella, but I didn't get published until 2008 the first time.  I have a short story coming out in 2014.  The Riverboat Mysteries trilogies are my favorite.
Q.  Can you tell me and your readers something about your main characters?
A.  In the last book of my trilogy, The Deceived, the heroine, Melanie Dubois, has been lied to by many people and she has fallen in with a crowd that wants to destroy her family business.  She has hated her mother since a teenager and doesn't realize her mother loves her the most.  Mike Mercer is an F.B.I. agent who has watched this group for some time.  He has been in this series since it started, and he's very protective of Melanie.  
Q.  Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say? 
A.  Yes, I have heard from readers, and most of the time they want to know when the next book will be released.  Smile!  I have gotten very good reviews on my books so far.  
Q.  What do you think makes a good story? What are your favorite book genres in writing and reading? Why?
A.  The characters and their lives make a good story.  My favorite genre to write is romantic suspense, and I read everything.  I always like a lot of suspense in my stories.  
Q.  Who are you favorite authors to read? 
A.  This is a difficult question.  It would probably be easier to tell you the authors I don't like, and I would never do that because I know they worked hard on their stories, too.  

Want to learn more about Sandra or contact her? She can be found here:

Now that we know a little about Sandra let look at her newest book.

The games they play can lead them to love or ruin. 
 Melanie Dubois detests her family’s casino business. The way this addiction destroys people has her on a tear of magnificent proportions. Then again, this young lady has been put through a train wreck of her own design. She distrusts everybody except for the people who are determined to use Melanie as a poster-child for zealots. 
 Mike Mercer has spent nearly a year in a deep cover mission for the FBI. The one fly in the ointment of completing his objective to take down a group of dangerous anti-gambling zealots is a fiery-tempered, blonde-haired woman named Melanie DuBois. Worse than that, she’s got a passion brewing just beneath the surface that’s an even deadlier attraction. 
Fighting for your life is never easy when the odds are stacked against you.


Dressed for the day in pale blue sweats, Mel stood in the drab, dark kitchen of Janet Batten’s house and debated what to do. The growl of her stomach made the decision for her, she’d fix breakfast. She switched on the light over the sink, and reached into a lower cabinet for a couple of skillets. She poured olive oil in one pan and went to the freezer for sausage to put in the other one. Slowly, she drew ingredients from the refrigerator and placed them on the butcher block counter before she went to the pantry for potatoes and onions. 
     Early morning was her favorite part of the day, it was quiet and no one was around. 
     Why was she being left out of everything this group was doing? After being here for a month, she was still being treated like an outsider. It was almost like she was still at home. Why wouldn’t they let her help? She’d been picketing, but she knew there was more going on than just that. 
     Did they consider her a part of the establishment they were trying to destroy? True, she would inherit a portion of the Odyssey Casinos, but she didn’t want any part of the company. Why should she when her family treated her like a wicked stepchild? If that was the problem, she’d tell Janet that she would sell her part and use the money to help those who were addicted to gambling. 
     She didn’t want to belong to an industry that destroyed anyone, or their livelihoods. She’d led a privileged life on the backs of losers, living in a huge home, going to private schools and college because of them. 
     Thinking of the Odysseys’ always made her think of her family. Her relationship with them had been rocky for many years. Even so, she loved her sister, Jolene, and they’d been great friends when they were younger. After her sister was saved from the monster who’d kidnapped her, Mel had wanted to go see her, but didn’t want to risk being forced to leave this group by her mother and stepfather. 
     Absorbed in her thoughts, knife in hand chopping onions vigorously, she didn’t hear anyone come into the kitchen. A large shadow appeared on the wall in front of her, Mel swung around with the knife pointed at the person’s chest. 
     Recognizing Janet, her heart still pounding, she lowered the sharp edge. "You scared me to death."
   "I’m sorry I frightened you," Janet said, stepping back. "You must’ve been in deep thought because I said, ‘Good Morning’ when I first walked in." 
     "I was thinking about how I don’t feel included in your plans. It feels like home. I was always an outsider there, too."
     The older woman wrapped the younger one in her arms. 
"We didn’t mean to do that, Melanie. You should’ve told me sooner how you felt," Janet said, releasing her and gazing into the girl’s blue eyes. "We want you to feel wanted and comfortable in your new home."
      "Then why can’t I do something besides picket?" Janet probably thought she sounded like a big crybaby. She turned away to keep busy as she waited for the answer, she scrapped the ingredients from the cutting board into the skillet. 
     "It looks like you’re doing something besides picketing. Do you have enough for everyone?"
     Mel glanced at Janet and caught a smile on her face. "I’ve got enough for a small army, but you know I didn’t mean this." She poured in the scrambled eggs and put bread in the toaster. 
     Janet walked to the fridge drawing out butter and milk to place on the table. "After breakfast we’re having a meeting, and it would be helpful for you to tell your family’s story," and then casually asked, "Would you be willing to do that?"
     "Sure, I want to." That was an understatement; she couldn’t wait to tell everyone about the evils of gambling. Yeah, she’d gladly let them know what the casinos had done to her dad. Janet had promised her when she came here she would become involved with major activities and maybe this was the start. 
     Janet stopped beside her, caressing the top of Melanie’s head. "It’ll go a long way to help alleviate the others distrust of you."
     "Thanks for the opportunity to explain myself." So that’s the reason she hadn’t been able to get close to any of these people except Janet. Well hell, if that’s why they were ignoring her, she’d spell it out why she was here. 
     "I’ll let you know when I’m ready for you."
     "Thanks," Mel murmured, as she darted a glance at the salt and pepper-haired woman while Janet took silverware and plates to the long, scarred wooden table. "Why are you so nice to me?" 
     Janet walked to stand beside her. "I had a daughter about your age." She touched Melanie’s arm. "If she had lived, I would want her to be like you." 
     Mel leaned toward Janet. "I wish I’d had a mother who loved me." It would have been nice to have someone really care about her. She glanced past the woman as she heard people streaming into the kitchen. "We’d better hurry, here they come."
     The first person she saw was Al Slavery, who could miss that evil scarred face. It was all she could do to keep from flinching as he drew closer to her. Next came Dan dressed in his usual jeans and sweater with a swagger that would turn on most women. Several young stringy-haired women in sweats and a few older men followed behind him. 
     "Leave the juice on the counter along with the food. It won’t hurt them to help themselves today." Janet winked at her. 
     Mel smiled at Janet, saying, "Good idea." She swished the food from the skillets onto platters. 
     Janet winked at her and turned toward the people before they could sit at the table. "Come and get it before it gets cold." 
     The guys grabbed plates and rushed forward. Mel backed away from the counter so she wouldn’t be trampled in their attempt to get to the food. It would be a miracle if there was any left; she’d probably have to settle for a bowl of cereal. 
     "Hey, you guys leave some food for the rest of us," Janet barked, sounding like a drill sergeant. 
     Mel suppressed a grin, watching the men take smaller portions. She might get to eat some of her cooking after all. She flinched when Slavery purposely brushed against her scowling at him. 
      The man gave her the creeps. 
     A couple of hours later, Melanie watched people gather in the living room from where she sat on the brown-striped couch. None of them came near her, even though she scooted to one end. They obviously preferred to sit in the orange and beige matching chairs or on the floor rather than next to her. The red and black flannel-shirted man she knew as George glared at her as he took his seat. 
     When Janet, her forehead slightly beaded with perspiration, walked into the room and stood in front of them, everyone stopped talking and expectant faces turned toward her. She stood in the middle of the huge family room, light glowing down on her, making her look like a prophet with her arms spread. 
     A hush settled over everyone, faces rose expectantly as though waiting to hear from their savior. Well, she was in a way since the woman had taken them in after they’d lost everything to gaming. It was amazing how these vacant-faces lit up when Janet spoke. 
     "Let’s pray for the salvation of those we are trying to save from the wickedness of gambling." Janet bowed her head. "‚Dear God, bless our crusade to save poor souls from the hell holes of iniquity. Watch over us tonight and keep us safe as we picket before the Odyssey, and help us reach the spirit of those who have lost their way. Amen." She raised her head, asking, "Are you ready soldiers?" 
     People jumped to their feet, waving their hands and yelling, "Yes. Yes, we are." 
     "We’ll do anything you ask of us," George, a ruddy-faced man, said. 
     Smiling, she stuck her hands palm down in front of her and waved them up and down. "Calm down, children." When everyone sat, she nodded at Melanie. "Many of you have wondered why Melanie is here, since she’s part of the industry we’re against, so today we’re going to give her a chance to explain."
     Mel stood and walked to stand beside Janet. The woman put her arms around her shoulders, whispering, "Your story will rouse them even more." 
     Mel smiled up at the maternal gray-haired woman. "Thanks for allowing me to join this wonderful group. I do want to help, and I’m willing to do anything." She took a deep breath, gazing into their faces as she rubbed her moist palms down her sweat pants. How could she make these people believe she belonged here with them? 
     "Humph. Seeing is believin’," George said from his seat on the couch. 
     "It’s okay, go ahead. There won’t be any more interruptions," Janet said, frowning at the man. 
     "I don’t blame him for not believing me." She clenched her hands and lowered her chin to her chest. "I’m ashamed to admit my family owns the Odyssey Casinos.‛ 
     "I know you don’t like what your casino and others are doing to our families here in the Mid-West any more than the rest of us." Janet hugged Melanie, releasing her a moment later. "Why don’t you explain what gambling did to your family."
     Her chest swelled as she inhaled, then exhaled and moved her hands nervously as she gripped them in front of her. "My father was addicted to gambling, and it killed him." Not able to stand still, she paced in front of the people, no longer seeing them. She clenched and unclenched her fingers. "My father became indebted to loan sharks, and in order to pay them off, he became involved in a scheme to sell the Odysseys to the Moneymaker Casino, a company involved in money laundering."
     Damn. Double damn. Why did he do it? She bit her lower lip to keep them from trembling as she talked about the man she’d loved. "His partner didn’t trust him and, believing Daddy was double crossing him, killed him." Coming to a stop in front of them, with her head high, she added heatedly, "My father would be alive today if it weren’t for gambling. I intend to close every single one of them." She’d make the casinos pay for what they did to her father. 
     Loud clapping followed her last statement. 
"That is so sad, Melanie. You may not have lost your home like the others here, but your loss was something far more precious.‛ Janet touched the younger woman’s arm. ‚Do you have more to add?‛ 
     Get a grip, Mel. Don’t fall apart now. Gaining control of her emotions, she said, "Yes, I do." Forgive me, Sis, for what I’m about to say about you."One addiction leads to another, my dad and my sister were both addicted to gambling, smoking and alcohol. My sister was able to break the drinking habit recently by going through rehab."
     "Oh sure, she has. How long has she been off alcohol?" George asked, in a scoffing tone. 
     Mel gazed at the older, red-faced man. She knew he’d lost his home, his wife and his job because of gambling, but she didn’t think that was his only problem. There’d been a time or two she’d caught him taking a swig from a wine bottle he’d stashed in different spots around the house. Once, she’d even caught him digging one out of the snow. 
     He’s definitely an alcoholic. Only Jolene had conquered her demons and George was still battling his. Janet had to know he was drinking. Mel couldn’t understand why the woman allowed him to continue to stay in her home. 
     "Only about six months, but she goes to her AA meetings regularly." She hoped Jolene was still sticking to the program, but Mel didn’t really know. 
     "Oh, she’ll fall off the wagon," George sneered. "They all do."
     Had the man tried to quit drinking and failed? "My sister will be one of those who’ll have the strength to stay off alcohol," she said, glaring at the man. Jolene better not start again. She’d brain her if she didn’t stay with the program. She and her sister had their problems, but Mel still wanted Jolene to be happy. The damn men Joley got involved with used her because she was desperate for love. 
     The pinch on her arm halted her speech. Obviously, Janet wanted her to stick to the topic of gambling. 
     She glanced up at the woman, saying, "I’m sorry I strayed from the topic." 
     "Well, it’s true that people light up and drink when they gamble, but it’s a problem that can be addressed another day. Thank you for telling your reasons for being here, Melanie." Janet patted Melanie’s shoulder, giving her a little shove. "It’s time for everyone to get their clothes ready for tonight. It’s going to be extremely cold with the wind blowing and snow expected any time so put on your warmest clothes." 
     Oh shit, why couldn’t they wait for summer to picket? She hated winter. Walking away from Janet, she decided she’d better make sure her long underwear was clean, or she would freeze her ass off tonight. 
     When she reached the stairs, she glanced back and noticed Al, the man she’d nicknamed Scarface because of the long scar on one side of his face, in a huddle with Janet and Dan. What’s up? 


  1. Christina, thank you so much for having me here today.

  2. It's nice to learn more about you Sandy! I love driving and letting my plot flow through my mind. Now I need someone to take notes while I'm driving so I can put it all together when I'm done. Right now I get out of the car and hit the ground running!

    All the best with your books. I'm looking forward to reading them!

  3. Nice answers to all those questions, Sandy. I'm also a slow writer and I wish I could write faster...but then, my sentences are hurried and the plot seems rushed. Your dedication to get published is an inspiration. You helped me when I felt discouraged, and I appreciate that!

  4. Thank you, Marianne, you have been an inspiration to me as well.

    Thanks, Melissa for stopping by.