Monday, September 03, 2012

Blog Ring of Power Interview--Sandra Saidak

I hope you enjoyed the long weekend, everyone! I'll have a full report about ChiCon on Wednesday. In the meantime, we're smack dab in the middle of a Blog Ring of Power interview with Sandra Saidak. Please go to Theresa's and Emily's blogs for Parts One and Two. Tomorrow, Dean will host Part Four. Finally, on Wednesday, Terri will conclude the interview.

The Creative Process

Where do you get your story ideas?   

Everywhere.  I get story ideas from things I overhear in the grocery store, from Facebook posts, things my kids say, and news stories.  My greatest inspiration probably comes from fellow authors.  Whenever I read a book that starts with a great premise, but goes in a direction I don’t like, or makes me say “Ok, but this could have been so much better”, I’m off on a the quest for a new idea.

Are you a “plotter” or a “pantser” (do you plan/outline the story ahead of time or write “by the seat of your pants”)?

Definitely a panster .  If I knew how the story ended before I started, why bother writing it?   I’ve always relied on my characters to act out the story in my mind.  If all goes well (and it rarely does) I just have to write down what they do and say.
Do you use critique partners or beta readers? Why or why not?

I am fortunate in that I belong to a truly outstanding writers group.  I’ve been a member for about six years, and I know it’s helped my writing—and even more so, my sanity.  I would never send anything I wrote anywhere without feedback from these people.  It would feel like doing a trapeze stunt without a net.

How much time do you spend on research? What type of research do you do?

For many years, research was simply a hobby: I love history and prehistory, and read everything I could find.  Since beginning to write, research has been more a matter of remembering where a particular fact can be found.  I have a great library at home, although I notice now I spend more time on the internet than with my books.  IMHO, however, nothing can replace the Time/Life series “The Emergence of Man” which I’ve had since middle school.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging to write?

I have trouble writing scenes that contain violence.  Large scales battles, especially, but also hand to hand fighting—more because of lack of knowledge than personal distress.  I never studied the military side of history, and never thought I’d need it for my writing.  Looking back, I see how na├»ve that was: it’s hard to write authentic human history without people sometimes hitting each other.

SANDRA SAIDAK graduated San Francisco State University in 1985 with a B.A. in English.  She is a high school English teacher by day, author by night.  Her hobbies include reading, dancing, attending science fiction conventions, researching prehistory, and maintaining an active fantasy life (but she warns that this last one could lead to dangerous habits such as writing).  Sandra lives in San Jose with her husband Tom, daughters Heather and Melissa, and two cats.   Her first novel, “Daughter of the Goddess Lands”, an epic set in the late Neolithic Age, was published in November, 2011 by Uffington Horse Press.  Learn more at

Facebook page:!/sandy.saidak
Goodreads author page: (but having difficulties; I keep adding the new book; it keeps not showing up!)

Daughter of the Goddess Lands–Abducted by a tribe of violent horsemen, Kalie, daughter of a peaceful, goddess-worshiping society, escapes from slavery and returns home, only to find her trials are just beginning.  When her warnings of an upcoming invasion go unheeded, Kalie seeks sanctuary in a temple of healing.  Here, she learns to help others, yet is unable to heal her own pain or stop the nightmares.  When the horsemen return, it is up to Kalie to find a way to save her people from slavery and death, while at the same time, finding the courage to confront the ghosts of her own past.
Shadow of the Horsemen continues the saga of Kalie, the intrepid heroine of “Daughter of the Goddess Lands.”  Kalie is rising in status and influence among her captors, the horsemen that control the rugged steppes of prehistoric Europe.  Now she seeks the weapon that will save her people, but time is running out as Haraak the Kingmaker, forges a mighty federation of tribes, intent on invading Kalie’s rich and peaceful homeland. Kalie finds, an unlikely ally in Riyik, a powerful warrior whose crippled son Kalie has been treating with her healing skills.  Forced to work together, the two find themselves growing closer than either had intended.  But in the violent, chaotic world of the steppes, love can be a dangerous thing. As alliances shift and warriors battle for dominance, Kalie must use all her abilities see her enemies defeated and create a new life for all of those she has come to love.

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