Sunday, 6 December 2009

Featured Author Interview - Sandra Sookoo from "Not Just Make Believe"

Thanks, Steph, for wanting to know more about NOT JUST MAKE BELIEVE. It was a joy to write.

A little about me. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a child and all through school I had two things that seemed to be a part of me. A book since I read at every opportunity and a notebook because I was constantly scribbling down my own stories. English grammar and literature were my favorite classes back in the day, but I lived—shined—in creative writing and would often entertain my classmates with my stories.

I’m so glad that today I’m one step closer to playing with the big dogs.

Anyway, now to your questions:

#1 – Tell me about your muse. How long have you guys been hanging out?

Hmm, that’s a hard one. I don’t think my muse has a name but she often makes an appearance with a groan—mine. This is what happens. I’ll be happily typing away on a story when midway through, the muse decides she’s got another, cooler idea and I need to work on it pronto. I give her “the look” and tell her no, I’m busy. She drops an anvil on my head like Bugs Bunny and screams “do it!” Really, she’s a horrible little thing, but she does give my awesome ideas.

In that case, I’ll jot down the ideas, maybe fiddle with an opening scene, and go back to the original book I’m writing. I fear the day there will be no more ideas.

STEPH: She sounds like a spunky little thing!

#2 – Where did you get the idea or inspiration for the plot of “Not Just Make Believe?”

Partially, when I set out to write the book three years ago, I had no plans to take my writing seriously and write for publication. I had asked my then nine-year old niece for an idea. She said write a story about a girl who lives in a hotel. Because I’m a huge fan of romance, happy endings and making characters squirm for that ending, I took her advice to heart and wrapped it all in a romance with a sarcastic twist.

The result? A funny, “keeping it real” Christmas romance. And yes, some of the thing that Andie has done have happened to me. I draw on life experience to base my contemporary novels on.

If we can’t laugh at ourselves, we have no chance. Luckily, I do embarrassing stuff all the time.

STEPH: I agree - laughter at ourselves is very important. Your book is on my reading list. It sounds great!

#3 – Cast the characters – Who plays Andrea? Maxwell?

Another tough one. I’m really liking the gal who plays the lead on the Lifetime series Drop Dead Diva for Andie. Max? I don’t know. I haven’t really thought much about it.

#4 – I see you like to travel. What destination has been your favorite? Why?

Disney World, hands down, is my favorite place to go. Yes, I’ve been there like 9 times but each trip is different because the hotel sets you up for a new vacation. Because of the economy and other stressful events that have happened in life, my hubby and I had to cancel our anniversary trip to the World this year (we would have been down there this week). However, we’re planning to return next December.

The place was based on dreams and happy endings. What’s not to like?

STEPH: Our boys like going to Disneyland but we had to curb back a little this year. Hopefully, next year we can squeeze in a trip.

#5 – How did you get into collecting 1950’s retro aprons?

Funny story. I saw on of the frilly, girly confections at a store once and loved the glamour of it. Too expensive, I went to eBay. There is a huge call for these types of aprons. So, I bought a few and now the collection is growing. My sister gave me one for my b-day last August. I just think they’re impractical and sexy but they sure look good hanging in my kitchen. LOL

STEPH: It sounds like a really cool hobby, Sandra.

#6 – Did you have a real life inspiration for the character of Piper in “Not Just Make Believe?”

Yes indeed. My niece Jessica. She’s a powerhouse of energy and always has been. I wanted to capture that in a book, but I have to say, Piper is much more of a handful.

# 7 – How did you come up with title “Not Just Make Believe?”

When I wrote this book, the original title was Everyday Miracles. After a stint on the contest circuit, I thought it needed more of a punch so the title was changed to All I Want For Christmas is to keep my job. I loved that title. The book was requested partially and a full and after receiving rejections on it, Desert Breeze became interested in it. Gail had read the blurb on my website and inquired after it. I sent it over but the title was too long. After much debate, we finally settled on the current title.

STEPH: I think it's a great title.
#8 - What book are you reading right now?

Actually, when I’m in the middle of intense writing like I have been for the last month or so, I don’t read. It’s distracting, especially if it’s not in the same genre I’m working in. Every once in awhile I’ll pick up a book between projects or if I’m waiting on the hubs somewhere. I finished a novella from a big name print author a few weeks ago and came away very disappointed in the ending. That’s why I love trolling for e-books (I load them on my Microsoft reader on my laptop right now) Stuff coming out of New York is stale and over done. Same plot. Same story. E-pubs offer original material and I’m forever grateful for that.

I want an e-reader for Christmas. I think I’d be more apt to read more that way. I’m a computer/technology girl and have embraced the new trends. Can’t wait for the rest of the world to catch up.

Save a tree, save the planet, reduce your carbon footprint and buy e-books LOL

STEPH: Ditto. I want an ereader myself. I think the hubby ordered a Kindle... I can't wait to see if he wasn't teasing me or not.

Thanks for delving into my world for a bit. You can drop by my website http://www.sandrasookoo. The new version is almost ready to go live and I can’t wait! You can also find me on Facebook or at various blogspots around the web.


Sandi, it's been great having you here today! Thanks for popping in. Keep the chestnuts roasting..


  1. Ah, reading, the elusive past time that got me into the mess I'm in at the moment!


    Thanks for sharing!

  2. :-) Thanks for popping in. I have 5 books on the current reading plate. I'm about to finish them though. Throw on another five! haha