The Sting of a Storme comes out tomorrow! It’s book four in USA Today bestselling author Sandra Sookoo’s Storme Brothers series. Sandra was kind enough to answer some questions for us.
You can get your copy of this exciting regency romance HERE!
Did you always know you wanted to be an author? What is the first story you remember writing? How did you get from there to where you are today?
I knew I wanted to be a writer since I was ten years old, and I’ve never wavered from that intent. The first “story” I wrote was a 600-page handwritten “epic” that used all the kids in the neighborhood and was a fantasy story full of castles, dragons, and knights. LOL So from that moment, I began to pen all sorts of stories, because my childhood was horrible, and I needed an escape. I wanted to give everyone a happy ending because there was so little of them in my life at the time. I’d spend all available free time at the library reading and writing. Then as I got older, I took a few classes and continued to write. It wasn’t until I got laid off from my day job in 2007 that I turned serious about publication. In fact, it was my husband and who urged me into it. Contests, countless rejections, getting an agent and then firing set agent a year later, and through stubborn determination, here I am all these years later the author of over 123 books and a few series that readers absolutely love. Never give up, and always follow that dream and never stop learning.
What is the most inspiring place you’ve visited and has it shown up in one of your books?
Hmm, that’s a tough one. Maybe the Scottish Highlands? I enjoyed the research on that project so much I’m writing two more books this year set there during the Regency. But frankly, I’m inspired by whatever story I’m writing at the time. When I wrote contemporary, many of those books were set in my home state of Indiana.
How much research do you do into the time period and places you write about? Do you have any experience dressing in character or participating in living history situations or are you more a fan of libraries and online resources?
There is ALWAYS research to do with each book. An author can’t NOT research. And depending on what the characters are into, there is even more research. Sometimes it takes weeks before I ever start on the outline. I’ve visited a few living history museums but never participated in them myself.
What drew you to the era you write in? Is there something about the time period you think most people don’t know about? What do you think would be the most difficult part about living in that period?
I adore the Regency and I write the stories that I do in that era to highlight the circumstances people were forced to live through that no one likes to highlight. Everyone has a story to tell and everyone deserves a happy ending. I make that possible and tell those stories of the forgotten. I also like the Victorian period (better clothes and more inventions) but finding stock images for covers for the portions of the Victorian period I write in (latter 1880s-1890s) is difficult so I don’t write them as much. Most difficult part? The clothes and lack of indoor plumbing, air conditioning, and personal hygiene products.
What are your favorite kind of characters to write? Do you have a specific trope that you’re drawn to?
I’m a big fan of writing older characters. I long ago grew bored with the very young characters. I like people who have life experience, who have seen things, who’ve lived through stuff, who know what they want and why. As for tropes, I write all kinds. It just depends on what I’m in the mood for with each new book.
Which comes first for you: the plot or the characters?
That largely depends on the story. Sometimes, my books are plot-driven; sometimes they are character driven. But once the character comes to me, it’s off to the races.
Do you know where the story is going before you begin, or does it come to you as you write? Do scenes come to you fully formed or are you as surprised as the reader?
I definitely know where a story is going. I’m a huge proponent of outlining books. It cuts down on edits, writer’s block, etc. And yes, there are still many surprises in the stories for me. Make no mistake, just because a writer outlines and plots beforehand, it doesn’t mean the spontaneity is absent. There have been times when I’ve had to engineer a whole new ending due to what happened in the book that might have differed from the outline. Usually, when that happens, I can correct the outline and go from there. It’s all about knowing your characters well enough to anticipate them.
Does your writing process include any kind of ritual? Story specific playlists, tea, or candles, for example?
No playlists or anything like that. Sometimes a song will inspire a character. I just get the book outlined (I do a quick outline and a detailed outline on everyone, usually after the research is over) and then show up to write it. Every day, get the words down until it’s done. The only thing I need is a keyboard and a pillow for my back in my chair.
Do you write better in the morning or evening? How do you handle the distractions of working from home, especially if you’re sharing the space with others?
I always do my writing first before anything else, and it’s usually in the morning (unless I have unavoidable errands out). I strive for 3500 words a day, which is usually a chapter. Anything beyond that is gravy. And writing is a job, so I don’t let distractions deter me. That means staying off the internet while writing. Until the words are done, everything else can wait. You have to make sure that time is sacred, or you’ll never finish a book.
From all your books, who is your favorite hero and why?
That’s a difficult question, because each one I pen is my favorite when writing. But, if I had to choose, there are a couple. Thaddeus Carrington from Adorned in Violet. He’s with Bow Street and has had a secret crush on his heroine for years. Slow to anger but once someone he loves is threatened, it’s game over. And then there is always Oliver from His Pretend Duchess. He’s a duke who thinks he can never love or trust a woman again… until Marjorie comes around. That book was completely inspired by a premade cover I saw on an artist’s site as well as by my aunt’s cats. Literally, I could go on all day LOL And, of course, how could I not mention Finn Storme from The Heart of a Storme? That guy wrapped himself around my heart while writing his story and hasn’t let go since. Not to mention, he’s even sexier because he likes cats.
What do you like to read when you’re not reading in your genre? Did you have a favorite book or series when you were growing up?
I love reading historical mysteries. Ever since way back. One of my favorite series is the Amelia Peabody series from Elizabeth Peters. Victorian era and set in Egypt. What’s not to love?
My favorite series growing up was the Anne of Green Gables books. In fact, I give them all a re-read every spring. As well as all of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s work. I’ve gifted so many of her books to young people over the years who love to read and aspire to write. One of my favorites is The Blue Castle.