Good morning, Sandy and welcome to Coffee Time Romance. Please grab a seat in our cozy recliner, and be sure to get some delicious baked treats off the table. They are all calorie free. We have some hot coffee and tea, too. The readers are very eager to learn more about Sandy Lo.
Good morning, Cherokee! Thank you so much for having me.
Sandy, you are a very busy young lady. Why not tell us what a day is like in the life of Sandy once she wakes and starts her busy schedule?
Well, days vary, but generally, I usually check my e-mail for both personal and professionally, whether it be about my books or my magazine. Depending how much time I have in the morning will write. The mornings I have time to write are my absolute favorite. Writing starts my day off right and sets the mood for the rest of my day. After writing, I’m either on my way to my job at Starbucks, which is what pays the bills right now. Being a barista has opened my writing career up as well, though. I can transfer to pretty much anywhere in the world, take time off when I need to focus on my writing or promoting, and I’ve met some wonderful people at Starbucks who have become fans of my books! I’ve had a couple of book events at my store in Long Island and I hope to do so at my new store in Nashville. Anyway, after work, I am back on my laptop to follow-up on e-mails sent in the morning and to find new avenues of promotion. I’ll eat dinner and then end my day with writing. I also make sure to fill my day with checking in on Twitter and Facebook to update my friends and fans with what’s going on in my world.
The readers are anxious to hear about your latest book, Dream Catchers. Can you please enlighten us about this story? As well as the sequel to it, Breaking the Moon?
Dream Catchers is first and foremost a romance, but with inspiration and a lot of laughs behind it. The main character, Haley Foster is the narrator of the story and she takes the reader into her life, which she always lived awkwardly. At the beginning of the story, she is utterly hopeless in love and in her future until she meets the gorgeous Jordan Walsh, a carefree musician who challenges her both romantically and personally. Haley runs away to New York with Jordan and finds herself and more than a summer fling. As for Breaking The Moon, that book once again is from Haley’s perspective, but finds her a little more mature and faced with more complicated problems like getting pregnant! She struggles to hold onto the love she has with Jordan while they both come to terms with parenthood.
Where did you get the premise to write this story?
I first thought of the premise to Dream Catchers years ago when I was just eighteen. I was away at my first year of college and felt awkward and alone—much like Haley did in the beginning of the story. I wrote the first chapter right then and there before abandoning it for a few years, afraid I wasn’t ready to write it. I was right. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I felt ready as a writer and a person. Over the years, I became sure of myself and who I was and what I wanted in love and life. I needed that transformation in order to create Haley’s.
What would you say intrigues you about developing your characters?
Developing characters is the best part of writing. Their quirks and issues is what makes a person real. I love seeing what qualities I wind up giving to different characters and where I get them from. For instance, Jordan is always calm, cool and collected, but if he’s nervous or uneasy—you can only tell when his hands tremble slightly. Haley was the only one to notice that on him. My hands shake when I’m nervous and I never thought about that, but I gave Jordan my quality. Another character is just like my brother. Other characters are unlike anyone I know, but they have qualities I find humorous or gross or admirable. I love the process of creating and how I end up feeling about a character from start to finish. There are some I know I’ll hate right away and others that just irritate me on occasion. Others I grow to love and some I grow to hate. Like Christian…in Dream Catchers, he just irritated me and he’s supposed to, but I never thought I would take his character to such a low place in Breaking The Moon. I hate him now and I wrote him! Haha!
Does it take you long to compose a book?
I guess that depends on what people consider long. The actual writing of a novel usually takes me six months, give or take a month or two. However, the concept of each novel usually comes to me years before I get the chance to start it. Right now, I have about three or four concepts for future novels in my head, but I’ll only work on one at a time, so the others wait until I’m finished with my current project.
Would you like to share an insight to anything else that you might be working on at the time? Perhaps the third sequel in the series, Expressions?
Expressions is something I have been casually working on while I was working on moving to Nashville from New York. I just finished it the other day and will begin the editing process. It’s more of a novella than a novel. It’ll be about fifty pages of vignettes written from the point of view of various characters from the Dream Catchers Series. There will be blog posts from one character, song lyrics written by Jordan, a letter from Haley, a look into the future from some characters. As a writer, it was a great character development exercise to explore some of those minor characters we don’t get to hear from. I’m excited to share Expressions with the fans of Dream Catchers and Breaking The Moon.
What would you say is important to you, characters, plot, or intimacy?
All of the above! You can’t have intimacy or plot without characters, and those characters would be pointless without plot and pretty boring without intimacy.
What does your writing place look like?
Back in New York, I didn’t have a real writing space. I spent most of my time writing at Starbucks or cramped up on the couch with my laptop on my lap. In my new place in Nashville, I have a desk with motivational sayings all around it, my guitar right next to it and it’s really peaceful.
Do you write on a schedule or as inspiration hits?
I write as inspiration hits mostly, but I try to write something every day. Early mornings and late nights are my peak writing times.
Name three things you look for in a companion or friend.
Sense of humor. I think laughing and being lighthearted is therapeutic and it’s a quality that’s sexy. Everyone is more attractive when they know how to laugh. Another thing is compassion. I need to know you have a big heart. The third thing is trust. It’s cliché but trust is key to any friendship or relationship.
If you could travel anywhere in the world for a week and vacation, where would you go?
I would go to Italy. I’m half Italian and aside from it being my culture and still having relatives there, it looks so beautiful and romantic. Oddly enough, that’s one of the places in the world I couldn’t transfer to with Starbucks. There are no Starbucks in Italy…that’s how good their coffee is! Haha!
You have just won a day to spend with any writer of your dreams. Who would you choose and how would you spend your day?
This is difficult for me. I have trouble choosing a favorite writer. I’d probably choose George Elliot or Jane Austen or Tennessee Williams—I love his plays. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to pick their brain and what it was like living in their time. I would just want to spend the day having tea and asking what inspired their books.
It is growing toward the end of the year for holiday activities and planning. Why not share with us how you plan to spend your festivities? And what is your favorite food or dessert during this time of the year?
For Thanksgiving, I’m going to Memphis to spend the holiday with one of my best friends and her family. I’m looking forward to my first southern holiday. For Christmas, I’m looking forward to go back home to New York and see my family. As for food, I love holiday cookies, especially Almond Crescents. They remind me of my mom…We always snacked on those while making dinner for Christmas Eve. Though now I’m vegan, so I’m going to have figure out how to make an animal-free version!
You are trapped inside an elevator with a woman with a screaming baby, a toddler who wants to try to push every button and a teenager who is complaining because he can’t get a tattoo, not to mention he is bored out of his wits; do you scream, and lose your patience, or find a way to handle the situation?
I have a lot of tolerance, especially when it comes to children of any age. I’d probably start a conversation with the teenager about what kind of tattoo he’d want and try to play a game with the toddler. Hopefully the woman knows how to calm her own screaming baby!
Thank you Sandy for being with us today. I look forward to reading all your wonderful stories, and wish you many sales.
Thank you so much, Cherokee! I enjoyed answering your questions.