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Monday, June 25, 2012

Author Interview - Sandra Saidak

Sandra Saidak graduated San Francisco State University in 1985 with a B.A. in English.  She is a high school English teacher by day, author by night.  Her hobbies include reading, dancing, attending science fiction conventions, researching prehistory, and maintaining an active fantasy life (but she warns that this last one could lead to dangerous habits such as writing).  Sandra lives in San Jose with her husband Tom, daughters Heather and Melissa, and two cats.   Her first novel, “Daughter of the Goddess Lands”, an epic set in the late Neolithic Age, was published in November, 2011 by Uffington Horse Press.  Learn more at http://sandrasaidak.com/ 


Please welcome her to The Far Edge of Normal. Where can we find you?

Find me on Facebook (Sandra Saidak)  My website is http://sandrasaidak.com/  My books can be purchased on Amazon.
 
Tell us about your writing - What genre do you prefer to write? What books, stories, other publications that you've written are your personal favorites? Anything new coming up?

I started out writing science fiction (mostly alternative history) and historical fantasy based on mythology.  I still enjoy those genres, but I’m currently in love with prehistoric fiction along the lines of Jean Auel and Mary Mackey.  “Shadow of the Horsemen,” Book 2 in my series “Kalie’s Journey” comes out next week.  When I recover from that, I plan to work on a shapeshifter novel set in Bronze Age Ireland.  My shapeshifters are seals, so I hope fans of the selkie legends, as well as anyone who wants a change from the more standard shapeshifters, will be interested.

What gets your creative juices going? Do you write to a music, and do you want to share your playlist? 

Actually, I can’t have music playing when I write.  I get distracted and end up thinking about the lyrics instead of what I’m supposed to be writing.  For inspiration, or to develop whatever happens to be my current project, I like to go hiking.  There’s nothing like birdsong or the sound of flowing water to get me into “the zone.” And walking works like meditation for me.  Good thing I live where it doesn’t rain much.  (But, oh those rainy days can be hard!)

"All writers must have cats, especially if they write fantasy or speculative fiction." Do you have a stand on this one? Any cute pictures of your kitty or other pet?


I never thought it was a requirement, but I do have two cats.  A Japanese Bobtail named Cocu, and a tuxedo rescue cat named Oreo.  Unfortunately, I was not able to locate any pictures of them.

We had a tuxedo cat named Cookie and her kitten we named Oreo. Must be something about that black and white coloring. What writers inspired you to become an author?


I think every book I’ve ever read has inspired me to become an author. Some because they made me happy, and I wanted to do the same for others. Some because they made me angry, and the only way for me to get over it was to retell those stories the way I thought they should have been told—and some because they were so terrible I thought “I could do better than this!”  My very first favorite writer was British children’s author Rosemary Sutcliffe, who introduced me to historical fiction.  Later favorites include Spider Robinson, Robert Heinlein, Zenna Henderson, and Ursula Le Guin.  Then, Jean Auel wrote The Clan of the Cave Bear, and I’ve been hooked on prehistoric fiction every since.

I love Zenna Henderson's stories, too. Any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention?

I will be participating in a new convention called Convolution, which will debut in Burlingame, CA the first weekend in November of this year. I will have my books with me, and I will be handing out bookmarks to anyone who comes near me.  For more information, check out http://www.con-volution.com/ 

Shadow of the Horsemen, book 2 in my series, will be coming out on July 1.

If you could travel to any time in history, when would you visit?

Well, I suppose since I write prehistoric fiction, it would be nice to actually visit one or more of the many prehistoric eras. My novels take place in the Neolithic (new stone-age) which began about 10,000 years ago.  It was an exciting time, with the end of the last ice age, the birth of agriculture, trade occurring over huge parts of the globe, and the beginnings of permanent villages, towns, and eventually, cities.  And, as much as I’d love to see it rather than imagine it, I would probably want to keep the visit short—and be happy to return to indoor plumbing, modern medicine and books.

If you could have dinner with any of your characters, which ones would you choose? What food would you serve?

This is something I’ve never thought about before.  For practical reasons, I’d have to avoid the bad guys—too much chance of them carving me up along with the dinner.  Which is a shame, since I’d like to hear what they have to say.  One of my greatest challenges has been creating believable villains, who say believable things.  I’d like to share a nice roasted goose with Kalie, my protagonist.  Of course, as sharp-tongued as she is, I’d certainly get an earful if she didn’t like the way I wrote her.  I’d better make sure Alessa, the pacifist priestess, was there as well, for gentle, encouraging conversation, and the soothing teas she would brew. 

Describe your dream writing spot.

A tropical island with a view of the ocean.  I’d want to get as close to the beach as I could without getting sand in my computer.  I think the sound of the waves would be a wonderful conduit for creativity.  And if all I had to do was write all day—no worries about getting to work, picking up the kids, cleaning the house or cooking dinner—that would be the real dream.

I think most moms would love to have that, at least for a while. I know I'd enjoy just getting to write with no worries or other obligations would be wonderful.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Sandra. Good luck with your book release!