It's been a while since we've had a guest for the "Monday for the Military" feature, so it's my great pleasure to say that we do indeed have a guest this week - and none other than Sandra Robbins, one of the BB authors! (As a side note, I'm over at The Borrowed Book - A.K.A. the BB - today reviewing Windfall, a fantastic YA novel, and I'd love to have you stop in and say "hi!")
Now, let's give Sandra a warm welcome!
Amber: Thank you for joining us today! To start, could you share a little bit about yourself?
Sandra: Thank you for having me, Amber. I live in Tennessee with my husband in the small college town where I grew up, and we have four children and five grandchildren. I was a teacher and an elementary school principal in the Tennessee public schools for years and enjoyed working with children. In the back of my mind, though, I had always wanted to write a book.
In 2004 I started writing my first book which didn’t sell. However, I didn’t become discouraged. I kept trying to improve my writing by going to conferences and learning everything I could about the craft. I sold my first book, a cozy mystery, in 2006. Now I have ten published books with two more coming out this year and two next year. God has really blessed me, and I give Him the praise for guiding me on the path to publication.
Amber: Your latest Love Inspired Suspense release, Shattered Identity, is dedicated to men and women serving in the U.S. military. What inspired you to write this book, and how is it related to the military?
Sandra: Shattered Identity is the second book in a romantic suspense series set on Ocracoke Island, the barrier island 25 miles off the coast of North Carolina. A few years ago my son, granddaughter, and I vacationed there, and I fell in love with the island. I knew I wanted to set a book there, so the idea for three books featuring a fictional island family was born.
Scott Michaels is the hero in Shattered Identity. He’s served in the military, and he’s suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder associated with his guilt that he returned from combat when many of his friends didn’t. We’ve heard and read a lot in the last few years about this problem that affects many in the military, and I wanted to bring that to the attention of readers.
Another thing that inspired me to write this book was the experience a friend of mine had while serving in the military. When I heard him tell of his encounter with God on a dusty road in a faraway land, I knew that message had to reach more than just a small circle of friends. It is a story that reminds us that God sacrificed His son so that we may live in Him. That true story is one that Scott Michaels shares with his sister in Shattered Identity.
Amber: What do you admire most about the U.S. military?
Sandra: I thought a long time before I answered this question because I admire so much about the U.S. military. But I have always been humbled by the fact that the men and women who serve our country are willing to leave their families behind when they are deployed. I think about the missed holidays, the birthdays, family experiences like sharing the birth of a child or seeing that child takes its first step, or deaths. I have to admit every time I see a television report of a returning veteran reunited with his or her family I tear up. It touches my heart to think how much they have missed while they’ve been gone, but they did it out of loyalty to our country and its citizens.
Amber: That's certainly a humbling point, and a great reminder that military families sacrifice so much for our country, as well.
So, do you have any other military-themed books in the works?
Sandra: At this time I don’t. However, I did write a book a few years ago that is set during World War II. Although the hero and heroine both have been affected by the war, they fight against the injustice done to the Japanese Americans who have been placed in internment camps. The book focuses on the two camps in Arkansas that housed hundreds of American citizens behind barbed wire fences. This book has never sold, but maybe one day it will.
Amber: Sounds intriguing and moving!
How can we pray for you and other authors?
Sandra: I would have readers pray for my writing and that of other writers in the way that I pray for it. I ask God to give me His words and that they will be like the seeds of a dandelion that blow away in the wind. I don’t know where the words I write will land, but He does. My prayer is that they will find root in the fertile soil of a heart that needs to know God loves them.
Amber: That's a beautiful metaphor! It's a pleasure to host you here, Sandra, and to work with you on the BB team!
Readers, you can learn more about Sandra at Books by Sandra Robbins and The Borrowed Book (Thursdays). I'm sure Sandra would love it if you could leave an encouraging comment for her today!