Friday, August 5, 2011

WHEN ONE DREAMS BIG—Debut Author Sandra Orchard

My guest this week is debut author Sandra Orchard. Sandra has dreamt big through the years, blessed from inspiration by friends and family. A debut author this coming September, Sandra has sold not just one novel to the Love Inspired Suspense line but three! Congratulations, Sandra. A special bonus . . .

From Friday, August 5th-Sunday, August 7th, if viewers would like to leave a comment on this blog and then go to Sandra's GoodReads Giveaway page you can be entered to win her debut novel DEEP COVER:

Maintaining his cover cost undercover cop Rick Gray the woman he loved. Sweet Ginny Bryson never really knew Rick. He never gave her the chance. Not then, and not now, when he's back with a new alias to gather evidence against Ginny's uncle. The man's crimes led to Rick's partner's death, and Rick wants justice to be served. But his investigation is stirring up trouble, and Ginny is smack-dab in the middle. Someone wants Ginny to pay the price for what her uncle has done. But how can Rick protect her without blowing his cover, jeopardizing his assignment...and risking both their lives?

Deep Cover is the first book in the series, Undercover Cops: Fighting for justice puts their lives—and hearts—on the line.

First, a few questions for Sandra:

What surprises came along on the family, social, and career level upon publication of your first novel?

Aside from a website and participating in online forums from ACFW and RWA, I had no presence on the web. Getting set up on Facebook, building a blog, planning a blog tour was all a huge learning curve for me, and very time consuming. I always prioritize family time, but if they were just hanging out watching a movie, I'd slip away to work on the marketing stuff. 

You've recently volunteered at Write!Canada. Can you tell us a bit about this opportunity and the organization?

I was "special assistant to the director" and I still get a kick out of the title. It sounds so prestigious. Basically, I answered questions, offered advice and encouragement, and helped people find where they needed to be. It was a wonderful experience. Write!Canada is a smaller conference that takes place at a retreat centre—beautiful setting. It feels like a reunion every time I attend. The fellowship is awesome. It is hosted by The Word Guild, an organization for Canadian writers (both fiction and non-fiction) who are Christian. 

I love your Journey Tales on your website when you share other authors' stories of the journey to publication. Now that you've published, can you look back at any specific childhood experience or perhaps a life-lesson from any particular person that helped to tighten your perseverance on the road to seeing your writing become available for purchase? 

My parents instilled in me a belief that I could do anything I set out to do. They were always very supportive of all my endeavors from orienteering in junior high (I placed second in the North American championship, and the Ontario Summer Games) to my senior high pursuit of darkroom photography (yeah, okay, a cute guy was head of the photography club at the time…grin). Consequently, I had an innate confidence that my perseverance would eventually pay off. Although, I admit to sometimes breaking into song ala The Sound of Music … "I have confidence in confidence alone…" But more often, I spent a lot of time on my knees, praying for assurance that I wasn't squandering my time. 

Dare to Dream and Enjoy the Journey by Sandra Orchard

"I wasn't going to be one of those people who died wondering what if? I would keep putting my dreams to the test - even though it meant living with uncertainty and fear of failure. This is the shadowland of hope, and anyone with a dream must learn to live there."

 - Alex Haley 

Courtesy of stock.xchng

By the time I typed the end on my first manuscript, I’d read enough writing craft books to know that writers rarely publish the first novel they write, and that more often than not it takes years of hard work to break into publishing. I’m glad I did, because that knowledge empowered me to embrace the emotional highs of contest wins and editor requests, and not get too hung up on the equally frequent rejections.

The Lord blessed me with parents who raised me to believe I could do whatever I set my mind to, so quitting never crossed my mind. But I am immensely grateful for the Lord’s nudges of encouragement whenever discouragement set in.

Rejection prompted me to comb the local Christian bookstore for other potential publishers, which led me to discover Castle Quay publishing, which led to finding out about Write!Canada, the first writing conference I attended, where I met my first agent and a published author who mentored me.

Two days before I was scheduled to fly out to an ACFW conference a couple of years later, I blew a disc in my back and wound up spending three days in the hospital. That too was a blessing in disguise. Since it was too late to request a refund of the registration fee, I asked if I might receive the CDs for the workshops, since a medical emergency had prevented me from attending. The director graciously agreed and with months of waiting for back surgery and then recovery from the surgery ahead of me, I had plenty of time to listen to the classes, that brought my writing to a whole new level.

Courtesy of stock.xchng

I’ve always been a highly task-oriented person. I’ve ripped out walls and floors and rebuilt a bathroom, sided my house, built a shelter for my daughter’s horse from foundation to shingled roof. The back injury put an end to those kind of projects, but the one thing I could do relatively pain free was sit at my desk and type. That meant I had a lot more time for writing and studying the craft.

But the encouragements I’ve most delighted in are the friendships God brought into my life on this writing journey. I have no doubt He orchestrated the delivery of my Romance Writer’s of America magazine to another writer in my small community. She was so excited to discover another romance writer in town that she hand-delivered the magazine to my doorstep and invited me to attend a local writing group she attended. 

The other cool thing I discovered was that God was giving me a ministry through my writing long before I ever became published. Two members of the group in particular have become dear friends. I pray for them daily. One is battling cancer and we’ve had many discussions about faith. They’ve both helped shape and polish my stories as I have theirs, and we’ve had tons of fun brainstorming book ideas and celebrating each other’s little victories.

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36

Courtesy of stock.xchng

My advice to all whether published or aspiring is enjoy the journey. See God’s hand in the little things. Embrace the friendships. And don’t give up. To encourage others to persevere with their writing, I’ve created a page on my website that shares the journeys of published, and yet-to-be published writers, alongside inspirational quotes. We all have a story to tell. God may call some to tell their stories to a wide audience while others may only be writing for that one person who needs to read exactly what God has laid on their heart to write.

"If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again."
- Flavia Weedn 

Sandra would enjoy hearing about any anecdotes of inspiration and encouragement that you've received, whether about writing or any other goal you'd strived for. Please leave a comment.

Author Bio:

Romantic Suspense author Sandra Orchard hails from the beautiful rolling hills of Niagara, Canada. Deep Cover, the first novel in her Undercover Cops series with Love Inspired Suspense (Steeplehill), releases in September and is available now at eHarlequin.

You can find Sandra online at

 Although DEEP COVER doesn't hit bookstore shelves until September, it is shipping now from eHarlequin. 
The link <> (If you paste it into the browser—minus the brackets--it really works!) will take you to Deep Cover’s page. And…
Free shipping for 1st time customers (in US, choose Economy, in CA, choose Standard. Free shipping will be applied automatically on checkout)
Good time to stock up on summer reading. 

Deep Cover ~  Sept 2011 Love Inspired Suspense
Shades of Truth ~ March 2012


  1. Very inspiring and your books sounds so exciting! Great to hear your dreams came true.
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

  2. Thanks Raquel--fellow 2011 debut novelist :)
    And thank you Elaine for having me!

  3. Raquel & Sandra, may you have many more books on the near horizon :)

  4. Sandra, congratulations on your sales. Best wishes for many more.

  5. Sandra,
    A sincere congratulations on your success. I love you have parents who encouraged you to believe in yourself as your dreams, you're truly blessed with such support. Love Inspired is a line I love reading. I love the 'feel' of the line as well as the message. Take care and I wish you every success! *Hugs*

    Diana Cosby, AGC(AW), USN Ret.

  6. Congratulations, Sandra, not only your debut novel, but the Undercover Cop series with Love Inspired Suspense. I'm looking forward to reading Deep Cover.

  7. What a wonderful interview, Sandra! Thanks for sharing so much about yourself. I really like the Haley quote. Kudos on the multi-sales! I can't wait to read your work. :-)

  8. Anne & Jessica, thank you so much. I still have to pinch myself when people say they want to read my book!

  9. Caroline & Diana, I'm trying again to send my thanks. I posted on the 5th and didn't realize my comment didn't go through, just thought it was waiting for moderation. Diana, sadly my parents have passed, but Deep Cover is dedicated to their memory

  10. Congratulations, Sandra!

  11. Thank you, Sandra, for appearing as my guest this past week--and such a wonderful guest as well, especially knowing how you had some unexpected technological glitches. Congratulations on launching your writing career, one that's already in high gear :) Blessings for continued success.

    Looking forward to seeing you soon.

    ♥ Elaine

  12. Thanks Elaine, It was wonderful being here.

  13. I'm a tad late, Sandra, but I wanted to say big congrats on your undercover cop sales to LI! Loved reading your Journey Tales. :) May you have many years of writing successes!


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