Sandra writes as S. Dionne Moore to appease the editor who had just contracted another Sandra and didn’t want to get the two mixed up! She resides in the rolling hills of Cumberland Valley, PA–a transplanted city girl and glad of it! She enjoys ferreting out little-known historical details and crafting a story around them. She is Senior Editor for The Borrowed Book (http://www.theborrowedbook.blogspot.com). To learn more about Sandra and her work, visit her at http://www.sdionnemoore.com/. You can also follow her on Twitter: @sdionnemoore.
Describe a beloved personal Christmas and Thanksgiving tradition.
A favorite tradition is the cooking of the main dish–anything other than turkey or ham! Herb-crusted roast is a favorite. Cookie baking has got to be a close second. A group of my friends and myself get together and bake different varieties of cookies, box them up, and give them to our closest friends and co-workers as a Christmas treat. We have a great time making a mess!
Thanksgiving is special because it lands this year on my daughter’s 16th birthday. She was a preemie, weighing 1 pound 15 ounces at birth. For seventy-five days she struggled for life. Watching her grow outside the womb those last three months was both terrifying and amazing. I never knew how valuable a simple weight gain of one pound was until I cheered her gain, one ounce at a time.
It was her premature birth and the tangle of emotions I experienced that tugged me to start writing my feelings down and yielded my first published piece. But more than publication, I’m so thankful God saw fit to let her stay here with me.
Name one gift you would most like to possess?
My most coveted skill would be the gift of playing piano. What a thrill it would be to hear a song, sit down at a piano, and recreate the entire piece. And you thought I’d say the gift to write a bestseller. 🙂
Are there any of your characters that are extra-special to you?
LaTisha Barnhart of Murder on the Ol’ Bunions, Polly Dent Loses Grip and Your Goose Is Cooked (which releases for the first time April 26, 2012 as an ebook from Smashwords). She is the sassiest, funniest, most kind-hearted and tough-loving woman I’ve ever known-err, created. I’d love to have her as my neighbor and would go to her for advice on raising children or just to share a prayer with her, knowing I was wrapped in the arms of someone who truly loved my heart.
What novels do you admire?
Any of Mary Higgins Clark’s earliest mysteries. Mary’s books because they contain such unique twists at the end, while maintaining clean-reads. These were the books that developed my interest in writing stories that were succinct (no paragraphs of description or pages of backstory) but well thought out and suspenseful.
What does your writing day look like?
I write behind the desk that holds my 27” iMac. The display is great for editing docs side by side and I can use Scrivener–a program made especially for writers that use Macs.
As for the how-to of my writing. I usually land upon an obscure piece of history that captures my interest. From there I decide whether the information should be backstory for a character or if it is better suited for setting or adding to the present conflict. Then it’s a matter of fleshing out my characters and pitting their goals, motivations and conflicts against one another.
Once all that is in place, I set a word count goal for myself–usually 2500 words a day–and set about beginning after my daughter is off to school, quitting when she returns home. I do my very best to meet word count on a daily basis so that I have plenty of time to edit before deadline.
What, in your opinion, is the secret to getting published?
Ah. A soapbox moment. From what I’ve seen, the biggest difference between writers who want to get published and those who do get published, is the ability of the latter to do two things, 1) sit down and write. Daily. And 2) to take the critiques of others and instead of getting offended they *learn*. A writer’s greatest strength is knowing their weaknesses.
Tell us about your latest/most recent release.
Promise Brides is a compilation of three historical romances that are all set in Pennsylvania, my home state. Starting with Promise of Tomorrow, a 2011 Carol Award finalist, set in Johnstown, PA, before, during, and after the disastrous flood of 1889–Will the floodwaters destroy the fragile threads of a love crippled by neglect?
Promise of Yesterday takes place in Greencastle, PA–He cannot say a word, yet his silence speaks volumes to her wounded heart.
Promise of Time explores a Civil War confederate’s struggle with PTSD as he falls in love with his cousin’s widow, and harbors a secret that could get them both killed.