Name Sandra (Sandy) Sass
Where are you from:
lol I was born in Detroit, MI, lived there till I was 6, then grew up in Cashton, WI. I travelled around the US trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I have lived in. Sierra Vista, AZ, Minneapolis, MN, Cohasset, MA, Blue Ridge, GA and finally Covington, TN
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc:
I graduated HS from Cashton, WI, I have an Associates Degree in Commercial Arts from Western WI Technical College, and a Bachelors Degree in Education K-6 from the University of TN Martin.
I have 3 fabulous sisters, Karen, Pam and Cathy and a brother. Jeff. They are very supportive and helpful in my writing endeavour. I am the mother of an incredible son. Benjamin. I have three nieces and three nephews who became characters in the book.
I was diagnosed with dyslexia in elementary school and took years to retrain my brain to learn to read. My mother was instrumental in helping me love the written word. We lost her back in 2003. And sadly we lost my Dad this last June, 2 ½ months before my first book was printed.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I have published my first book, ‘Into the West’ the Seven of Power in August 2015. It is the first book in a four book series.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I was very much like my father, a storyteller. I spent many nights telling stories to my sisters and brother to help them fall asleep. When I was in Middle School I started writing some of the stories down, but never finished any of the stories. Into the West is the first completed story I ever finished.
My sisters, brother and I spent many hours running around a 336 acre farm and using our creative imagination to come up with games to play, which in turn started my story telling skills.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I considered myself a writer on September 5, 2015 when I held my first printed book in my hand. Lol It never seemed real before then.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Well many things inspired me. The ending of the Lord of the Rings always hit a nerve with me. I didn’t like the fact that the story seemed to make it sound as thought these magical creatures were going off to a mass suicide. I just had many ideas of what could have taken place. These creatures had Earth magic, so I took my ideas of what I thought could have happened and ran with it. I am also very environmental and wanted to bring awareness to play in how we are hurting our own environment.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Um I have no idea. Lol. I just write what flows out of my head. My family says that I have too much detail in my initial write and have to tone it down. I guess I just want people to see what is in my minds eye. I want people to come along on the journey with me.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
From a song I heard when I first started writing. Each book will have a direction to it. thus four books, four directions.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. I want people to become aware of the echo system and how important it is to our survival. I also want people to understand cooperation and how much easier to work together than fighting amongst themselves.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Well the places in the book are realistic. The book takes place between Washington State, Oregon and Upper California. I researched places my characters could do to that people could relate to.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Each of my characters holds a piece of myself and the different aspects of my personality. I grew up dyslexic. I was teased and bullied growing up. I was told years later it was because I looked at the world differently than other did and it scares people. I think most people who are artistic and creative look at the world outside the proverbial box. I have come to terms with the way I am and am happy.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I am not one to sit and read an autobiography or informational book. To help teach me to read and comprehend what I read, my mother (who had over a thousand Harlequin Romance books) started me reading romance. I discovered fantasy and ran with it. I love vampire romance, paranormal romance, historical romance and fantasy books. I read for enjoyment. I have many art informational books because I love to learn different art techniques. I think my Mom would be my mentor, or my fourth grade teacher Mrs. Funk. They both open up worlds that I would never have found without them. As a teacher I encouraged my students to read. I told them ‘words were power’ and between the cover of a book is an adventure waiting to happen, it was up to them to take the first step.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
LOL for the third time…Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, J. K. Rowlings, opened the pages to millions of children, men and women to the written word. I admire her for that and hope my book will touch people as well.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I have found a few new authors I have enjoyed their work. Quinn Loftis writes the Grey Wolf series which I thoroughly enjoy. I like Christine Feehan, Lindsey Sands and Gena Showalter books. I have met so many new authors, with the help of Deborah Brook Langford, whom I look forward to learning about and reading their books.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I have just finished the initial write of the ‘Southern Skies’ the Seven of Power. Book two in the Seven of Power series. I am working on different aspects of the book and hope to have it edited and ready for release for Valentines. I have also started the initial beginning of “Northern Lights” The Seven of Power book three of the series.
I have also started writing down ideas for another book series once the Seven of Power series is completed.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I would have to say my friend Jennifer Richardson and her daughter Katie have been my biggest fans. They have always been there to encourage me and lend an ear as a sounding board.
Deborah Brooks Langford has been a huge help and source of knowledge of how books are published and promoted. The day I invited her into my classroom as a guest speaker for my students has changed my life forever. I will always be greatful.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely, I am not much of a time clock puncher. I have spent my life trying to figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up. Writing fits me. Illustrating books fits me. I thoroughly enjoy working my own hours and getting lost in the words and worlds I am creating in my mind.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
LOL I was changing things in the book up till the day of publication. I think every author thinks there is always something they would have loved to add or take out. I love the journey my seven characters have taken, and think it gave a great platform for book two.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My interest started with my Father’s storytelling as a child. I seemed to have the natural ability to find the words. My father told stories of his life, something I will always regret not writing down, but I lived in a world of elves, unicorns, gnomes, dwarves and other magical creatures. I began writing down stories I told my siblings, always thinking “I’ll go back and finish it later,” yet life happened and I never took the time. Now my son is grown and I have the time to focus on my stories, and behold I finished my first book!
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Into the West ‘The Seven of Power’, is a book about seven teenagers who grew up in the United States just like any ordinary teen. Casey, the main character, is left alone when her ‘father’ is murdered. At the reading of his Will, she is given a book which turns her life upside down. She discovers her Dad was not really her biological father, but rather a guardian who was charged with protecting her from a great danger from another world. She learns that her life has been a lie and now is charged with finding six others like her. The book warns of a group called the Horde, whose only goal is to kill her and the others. Now these seven virtual strangers must learn to work together to make it safely to a gateway that will lead them to Teradine, the world of their birth.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Yes, having been dyslexic my spelling is not always the best, as well as learning the past tense, present tense aspect. I don’t think about it while I am writing, but it gives my editor something do.
I have also discovered that in some ways it is difficult to write certain scenes. The characters are all aspects of me and some of the things my characters go through affect me deeply, for I know what they are feeling and can understand the stress and hurt that they are going through. I have cried, laughed and rolled my eyes throughout the many scenes.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
That is a difficult question. I really like JK Rowlings. Her books flow when you read them. They have enough description to put you in the scene and carries you along with Harry and his friends.
Quinn Loftis is like that as well. When you read her books you are along for the journey with Jacque and her friends. You can relate to the characters.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No not really. I used Google Earth as well as Maps to discover the area where the book takes place.
Now with book two. I have to take my readers into another Earth type world. It has been fun creating this new world.
Fiona: Who designed the cover?
I found the picture that was used on the cover and Barry Mowles designed it for me.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Writing the book wasn’t hard. It the anxiety of waiting to get the comments of people who will read it that keeps me up at night. I have gotten good reviews thus far, but it is mostly from relatives who have read it. I am a perfectionist and want everyone to enjoy the book and look forward to the next one coming out.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that writing a book is not an easy task and I give credit to all my fellow Authors for their endeavors. You also have to have very understanding family, friends, and pets, for once you become immersed in the writing you leave the real world behind and in it those who may need you to be around. Writing is therapeutic as well. I have worked out many past grudges and hurtles I had yet to jump in the words I type on that blank sheet.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Stick it out and don’t take negative feedback to heart. Every one of us has a story to tell, each in our own way. Let it out, for you never know where it will take you.
For you young people out there; writing is not only for the adults. You are immensely creative at this stage in your life and with the world in the shape it is now-a-days your stories need to be told as well. Don’t let the length of a book scare you away from trying, just let your ideas flow. Remember; Words are Power.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope my readers can find themselves in one of my characters and learn the strength we all carry inside of ourselves.
I also want my readers to understand the impact they have on the world we live upon and take steps to ensure they do the right thing in saving our environment for future genterations.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The first book I remember reading front to back, by myself, was ‘Where the Red Fern Grows”
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
A person with a great sense of humor can make me laugh, someone who has no problem with a comeback or someone with a funny laugh.
Death makes me cry. Having to write about my character loosing her father was very hard on me since I have just lost my father as well. Seeing struggles that people have to overcome and the trials they have to go through to overcome them make me cry.
Actually, I am one of those people that can cry at a sad movie or commercial on TV, tear up when I see an animal hurt or killed on the road. See the abuse of children and pets or from a touching quote.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Albert Einstien. I think he was a purely genuine funny genius.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I don’t really want to be buried. Lol, but if I had to have something written it would be.
‘Find your illusion and live it.’
Living others illusions of what the world around you is supposed to be in their eyes is hard. It takes Courage to stand up and face change. Embrace it and know that there comes a time in ones life that you must find the strength to overcome the things you fear and step out of the box people try to put you in and create a world you wish to live in.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I am an artist and love to draw and paint. My summers are spent digging in the dirt in my garden and reading and traveling.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I am not much for watching TV, The shows they have now-a-days are not really worth watching. I watch things such as; Ghost Hunters, Tree House Masters, Tiny House Living. And I am a movie buff. I watch any movie on the TV I can find when I am not writing.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Favorite foods…A well cooked steak, raw veggies and fruit, Gumbo, lobster.
Favorite Colors…well as an artist I love all colors, I am partial to bright blues and yellow.
Favorite Music…I am very diverse in my taste of music. I love movie soundtracks, alternative music, classical music, 60’s-80’s music is rocking.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I think I would have worked as an Illustrator. I find punching a time clock tedious and stress about being late.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Not at this time. It is in the works. I do have a Facebook sight for my book and illustrations ‘Artist and Author Sandy Sass’
I also have my art on Fine Arts America.
This is where you can purchase my books
amazon paperback .. http://www.amazon.com/Into-West-Seven-Power-1/dp/151706984X