Saturday, 23 September 2017

Q & A with Sandra Howard

1.    Did you always dream of being a writer?

Oh, yes, but never thought I would realise the dream. I did a bit of freelance journalism alongside modelling and then ages on, responding to a piece I’d written in The Spectator, a literary agent got in touch and asked if I’d ever thought of writing a novel. I

2.    How did your writing career develop?

Slowly! I’d never been to a creative writing class and can’t spell – wouldn’t be in print without spellcheck. It was a steep learning curve, but I kept rewriting my first book, Glass Houses, sticking to the same story, and the rejection slips actually helped. I would reread what I’d sent out and know it wasn’t right, trite, amateurish, you name it. I learned to hear the dialogue and put in the layering. I got there –with time!

3.    Your newest novel is called The Consequence of Love, what is it about?

     The dilemmas of the heart. How you can feel great fondness, affection and loyalty, long not to hurt someone, but still cannot help feeling powerful love for another. Nattie, my character, has to face that dilemma when a lost lover returns.

4.    What was your inspiration for the book?

A longing to know what had happened to her lover since the time when they had first met and fallen in love - in one of my previous books, A Matter of Loyalty .He had been lost to her, had to leave the country for his own safety, and many readers had longed (like me) to know what had happened to him.

5.    Can you tell us more about the main character(s)?

Narrie is in her late 20s, married to Hugo, who has been through rehab, licked a drug addiction, and they have two beautiful small children. Her lover (who returns in the story) was a hero, but he is now at risk from people who want him dead.

6.    Where and when do you write your stories?

Anywhere and at any time possible, I can shut out the world. There’s always a lot going on and I make time as I love writing fiction so much

7.    What do you do and enjoy when you’re not writing?

Travelling (I write travel pieces) walking, swimming (on holiday), gardening, cooking, ping pong, but writing fiction is what I love most.

9.    What books have influenced your life most?

Often the last book I’ve read has a great influence on how I think and feel, but classics, have done, Thomas Hardy, George Elliot, Graham Greene, Earnest Hemmingway, and just the quantity I read as a teenager, War and Peace, Russian writers, Agatha Christie, endless crime stories, they all did.
10.    What are you working on at the moment?

A novel based on the true story of a wartime love affair, where the girl chased after the man she loved across continents. It’s set in Hamburg, Scotland, Cairo and East Africa, from 1938 - 46. 

11.    What do you enjoy most about writing?

The characters, they become so real, they have minds of their own

12.   Pick three authors you want to have dinner with and tell us why.

William Boyd, Chekov, Jane Austen. They seem to know so much about the human heart.

14.   You have also published other books, can you tell us more about them?

My first novel, Glass Houses, was about a female government minister who falls in love with the editor of a national newspaper. She has a difficult, sometimes violent husband and a vulnerable teenage child. That child, Nattie, is the main character in the prequel to The Consequence of Love (called A Matter of Loyalty) so she features in three of my books. The other three are, Ursula’s  Story, Ex-Wives, and Tell the Girl, which is largely set in the 60s and semi-auto-biographical.

15.   How do your own experiences influence your writing?

They do Inevitably, little bits of people and places are always in a writer’s subconscious  and it’s so good to have as your backdrop something you know quite a bit about.

16.   Coffee or tea?

Tea first thing and at teatime , coffee for that much needed adrenaline kick

17.    Paperback or e-reader?

Both. E-reader is so good for traveling

18.    Mountains or the sea?


19.    Summer or winter?


20.    Sweet or salty? 

      Now there’s a question! Can I have both?

Perfect reading for fans of Joanna Trollope and Elizabeth Buchan, this is a novel of lost loves, deceits and second chances.

Nattie is now happily married to Hugo and they have two beautiful children, but no one knows that her heart has never truly been hers to give.
The love of her life was lost to her years ago, or so she thought. Now Ahmed is back, and although he knows Nattie is married, he just can't stop himself from making contact. 

Torn between Ahmed and her family, Nattie ends up meeting him in secret. But will her lies cause more trouble than the truth?

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