Welcome to BookView Interview, a conversation series where BookView talks to authors.
Recently, we interviewed Sandy Semerad, who has recently released her thriller, Carrie Sue’s Diary. She is also the author of Sex, Love & Murder, Hurricane House and A Message in the roses and a member of International Thriller Writers.
Similar to her protagonist in her latest thriller, Carrie Sue’s Diary, Sandy Semerad earned a bachelor’s degree—major in Journalism–from Georgia State University in Atlanta. She has worked as a model, political activist, newspaper reporter, broadcaster, columnist and editor. She is also the author of Sex, Love & Murder, Hurricane House and A Message in the roses and a member of International Thriller Writers.
She grew up in Geneva, Alabama as Sandy Hodges. Her mom was a talented artist and pianist, her dad, a businessman and entrepreneur. Sandy’s dad died when she was seven. After he passed, her mom traveled all over, often taking Sandy and her sister Alice Kay out of school to travel along. During this time, Sandy began making up stories in her head to cope with the unknown.
Sandy now lives in Florida with husband Larry and fur baby Elvis. She has two grown daughters, Rene and Andrea and a granddaughter, Cody.
BookView Review: What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
Sandy Semerad: My taste is eclectic, but here are some of my favorites: James Anderson’s novels are wonderful, and I’m proud to say, he was kind enough give Carrie Sue’s Diary a lovely blurb. Another favorite is Janet Fitch (White Oleander), Sandra Brown, Danielle Steele, Lee Childs, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Stephen King, John Grisham, Harlen Coben, Mark Twain, Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird), John Steinbeck, J.K. Rowling, Mary Higgins Clark, Dean Kootz, Nora Roberts, William Shakespeare, Lisa Jackson, Heather Graham, Jeremiah Healy. Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita), Henry Miller, John Updike, Norman Mailer, William Styron (Sophie’s Choice), Homer, and many others too numerous to name here. All of them have influenced me in one way or another. To write well, you have to read well, I believe. Reading is my one of my favorite pastimes.
BookView Review: How hard is it to establish and maintain a career in fiction writing?
Sandy Semerad: It has been a challenge to get the word out about my books while holding down a day job. I have a passion to write and that passion sustains me, but the business part of writing can be tough and requires a thick skin. Nowadays a writer has to wear many hats. But it’s most important to write a great book that hooks the readers on page one. That book should be as perfect and error free as possible. A great cover is important, too, as is marketing. Many millions of books are competing, and an author can’t compete without proper marketing, which requires time and money. I’d rather be writing full time, but if I wish to make a living through my stories, I have to think of writing as a business, which often requires a hard hat.
BookView Review: Tell us more about your book Carrie Sue’s Diary.
Sandy Semerad: Atlanta crime reporter Carrie Sue Justice is engaged to powerful publisher Marcus Handley until she learns his late wife is not dead. It’s a love story and a thriller with many twists and subplots and surprises. I’m pleased to say Carrie Sue’s Diary was listed as a best seller recently on Amazon.
BookView Review: Tell us a little about how this story first came to be. Did it start with an image, a voice, a concept, a dilemma or something else?
Sandy Semerad: Carrie Sue’s Diary, while it can stand alone, follows the main characters in A Message in the Roses, which is loosely based on a murder trial I covered as a news reporter in Atlanta.
BookView Review: What do you hope readers will take away from this story?
Sandy Semerad: I hope Carrie Sue’s Diary hooks them on page one and they get lost in the story, forget about their problems and come away with a new, grateful prospective.
BookView Review: How does your faith life/ethical outlook inform your writing?
Sandy Semerad: I’m a strong believer in social justice and Carrie Sue’s Diary reflects my beliefs as do my other novels, Sex, Love & Murder, Hurricane House and A Message in the Roses. My protagonist and their allies often seek justice and search for the truth.
BookView Review: What life experiences have shaped your writing most?
Sandy Semerad: I started making up stories in my head shortly after Daddy died. I was only seven when he passed, and I worried Mama might pass away, too. The stories I made up helped me escape my fears. But it was decades later before I started writing down the stories in my head. Also, my experience as a newspaper reporter, editor and broadcaster taught me the craft of writing and provided plenty of inspiration. I once heard an author say, “Fiction is the lie that tells the truth,” and I believe that.
Categories: Non Fiction