Monday, March 26, 2012

"Shades of Truth"--and a Giveaway!

Hey, all! 
I'm so super excited to have Love Inspired author Sandra Orchard with me today!
She's here to talk about her start in writing for that particular Harlequin line and her new book out: Shades of Truth.
So...please meet Sandra:

Sandra Orchard lives in rural Ontario, Canada where inspiration abounds for her romantic suspense novels set in the fictional Niagara town she's created as their backdrop. Married with three grown children, when not writing, she enjoys hanging out with family, brainstorming new stories with fellow writers, and walking her dog in God's beautiful creation. She loves to connect with readers, and has created “novel extras” to enhance readers’ experience of her books.

My love affair with Harlequin’s Love Inspired romance began while on vacation. A used bookstore clerk introduced me to the then Steeplehill line. It had never occurred to me that Christian romance would be up front in those Harlequin racks. Gasp!

I read that first book in one night. I loved that I could read it in one—albeit long—sitting. Before long I’d bought out the LI books from every used bookstore I came upon, so I became a subscriber. What fun! Four new novels delivered right to my mailbox every month.

Observing how characters grappled with many of the same emotions and issues I was experiencing inspired me in countless ways. Then Harlequin launched the Love Inspired Suspense line. Still my pounding heart!

The extra plot elements and faster pace won me over immediately.

I started thinking that I’d enjoy writing books like these. After all, they say to write what you know, and I always have bad guys trying to do me in, and heart throbs tripping over themselves to go out with me.

Okay, I’m just kidding.

Actually, my husband, tired of the piles of books lining every available shelf, suggested I start writing instead. Little did he know what he’d gotten himself into!

My enthusiasm for the Love Inspired line must have beamed through my first query, because the editor requested the full. I was over the moon with excitement. Every book on writing that I’d read had warned me to be prepared for rejection, and this was my very first query!

The request came on my birthday no less. That had to be a good sign, right?

Well, no. The rejection—as encouraging as it was—came six weeks later.

Not to be deterred, I pressed on. I signed with an agent who urged me to add the romance the editor had said was lacking. And I learned a new lesson—having an agent simply means you get your rejections faster. Ugh!

But I was determined to persevere. Of course, aside from my immediate family, no one knew about my secret occupation. I’m okay with rejection, but it’s easier to take when you don’t have to explain it to well-meaning friends who don’t understand the publishing business.

My big break came in 2009 I won the Daphne DuMaurier contest.

The manuscript that won had already been rejected by a previous editor, but I met with Love Inspired’s new editor, explained that I’d improved the story significantly and asked for permission to resubmit.

She didn’t buy the book.

But…she read the entire manuscript and explained exactly why it didn’t suit their line. And she said she liked my writing. Yee!

I immediately applied everything she told me to another manuscript and sent off the new and improved version.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Your Turn: What kind of novels do you like to read?

Thank you, Sandra! I LOVE hearing how authors begin their writing path!
Book Blurb for Shades of Truth, a March 2012 Love Inspired Suspense

Big city detective Ethan Reed is working deep undercover at a Christian youth detention center. The kind of place he spent some harrowing time in as a kid. Ethan’s mission: ferret out who’s recruiting resident teens for a drug ring. He expects help from the lovely, devoted director of Hope Manor. But Kim Corbett won’t tell Ethan anything— even when she’s threatened and attacked. When Ethan discovers what Kim is protecting, his guarded heart opens just a bit wider. Enough to make this the most dangerous assignment of his career.
This is the second book in Sandra’s series, Undercover Cops:
 Fighting for justice puts their lives—and hearts—on the line. 
Check out these and other resources for both readers and writers at her website:
For updates on new releases, special subscriber-only reads and giveaway opportunities, sign up for her newsletter

She’d also love for you to connect on her Facebook Page and join in the conversations about characters on her blog

Shades of Truth is in bookstores this month, or click here to order directly from Harlequin, and use coupon code FREESHIPAFFO to receive free shipping until Mar 31st.

GIVEAWAY: Sandra is generously offering a free EBOOK of her new Love Inspired Suspense book Shades of Truth to some lucky commenter. Anyone who comments here from now until Thursday, March 29 11:59pm EST will be entered to win. Winner will be announced here on Friday's blog.

Good luck!


Chelle Sandell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chelle Sandell said...

Thank you for sharing the story of your publishing journey. It definitely gives me and other unpubs inspiration to persevere.

Old Kitty said...

OH wow. What a writerly journey - it was like your ms was so nearly there but not quite and this had to be done to it and tweaked here and there but LOVED how you perservered, Sandra!! Well done you!!!! May your gorgeous scrummy book find the success it deserves!!

Thanks Jennifer for hosting such a fab guest! Take care

Jessica R. Patch said...

Awesome story, Sandra!

Sandra Orchard said...

Chelle, you're welcome. And there's so much to enjoy in the journey as well!

Kitty, "scrummy" I love it! Thank you for your encouragement.

Jessica, Thank you!

And excited to be here. Thanks for having me!

Rula Sinara said...

I loved reading about your writing journey. Very inspiring!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Don't add me to the giveaway. I've got my copy.

Just wanted to stop in and say hi to both of you, Sandra and Jennifer.

Karen Lange said...

Thanks, Jennifer, for hosting Sandra! Her book looks interesting, and I appreciate hearing about her journey to publishing.

Thanks also, for doing the giveaway. :) Happy Monday!

Wendy Paine Miller said...

It's always motivating to read stories like this.

I like me some women's fiction.

Probably no surprise there.
~ Wendy

L. Diane Wolfe said...

So it's a Christian line of romance? I didn't know Harlequin had such a line either.

Sandra Orchard said...

Thank you, Rula!

Eileen, great to see you here. Thanks for stopping by!

Karen, thanks for liking my FB page! You made my Monday ☺

Wendy, in the writing world you never know when your prospects will turn around. Last week I received a 3-book contract on a proposal my agent submitted almost 2 years ago! I thought it had been forgotten a loooong time ago.

Yes, Diane, LI is actually one of Hqn's fastest growing and most profitable lines. It seems a lot of readers are looking for a “clean” read. So now they're launching a “heartwarming” series that will be similar, but minus any overt Christian elements.

Bossy Betty said...

So cool. I love hearing about an author's journey!

Anonymous said...

It's always fun to learn how a writer got their start. CONGRATS on the book.

Tamika Eason said...

Love the story premise! And the publication story gives my beating heart hope!

Nancy said...

This is a suspense, Christian, romance? Great three genres. Hope the book does well.

Terri Tiffany said...

How nice that you did this interview--I just read another one on another blog and it does work cause I recognized her name!

Sandra Orchard said...

What fun to meet so many new people! Thanks for the congrats, Suzanne. And Tamika, yes, persevere, your day will come! Thank you, Nancy.
Terri, so pleased to hear I’m gaining some name recognition. ☺

Carol Kilgore said...

Nice to meet you, Sandra. Thanks for hosting, Jennifer.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

The line about how having an agent just means "getting the rejections faster" cracked me up. I had no idea Harlequin had expanded to include so many different "kinds of romance now. Your books sound super, and thanks, Jennifer, for letting us know about it.

Jessica Nelson said...

Great story on how you got started!!
I love all genres but am a picky reader.

Sandra Orchard said...

Nice to "meet" you, too, Carol. :)

Oh, Susan, it is funny, but not at the time!

Thanks, Jessica!

Carolyn V said...

I love your story Sandra!!! Thanks so much for sharing (I'm learning to deal with the rejections too, but not loving it so much). ;p Congrats on your book!

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

I love a fast-paced book too! My favorite genre is psychological thrillers.

Melissa Bradley said...

What an inspiring story. Thanks for sharing. I loved Harlequin Historicals and their Blaze line. I do love my spice. They inspired me to write what I write now. My first experience with romance was a bag of Harlequins from a garage sale my grandmother bought for a 25 cents. I was ten when I started reading Bride of Fortunato by Violet Winspear.

Sandra Orchard said...

Thanks Carol! Keep on writing!!!

Liz, thanks for sharing. I read before bed...probably not the best time to read psychological thrillers. :)

Melissa, love hearing your experience with Harlequin!

Robyn Campbell said...

Excellent story, Sandra! Very uplifting. I love romance but, shhh. Don't tell anyone! :-) I mostly read kids books since that is what I write.

Thanks Jen! I really enjoyed myself.

Mara McMullan said...

What a wonderfully motivating story! I love how you didn't give up.

Thank you so much for sharing your publication story :-)

Cheryl Klarich said...

Thanks Jennifer and Sandra!
Great story- the books sounds awesome too!!