Saturday, October 12, 2013

An Interview with Sandra Robbins...

by Patricia Bradley

Today I am excited to welcome my friend Sandra Robbins to Stitches Thru Time. 

Her first book, Pedigreed Bloodlines, was published by Barbour in 2008. Since that time she has written for Love Inspired Suspense and Harvest House. Her books have been finalists in the Daphne du Maurier Contest for excellence in mystery writing, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence for romance, the Holt Medallion, and the ACFW Carol Award. In Barbour’s 18th Annual Heartsong Awards for 2010, she was one of five authors voted by readers as favorite new authors, and The Columns of Cottonwood which went on to be a finalist in the ACFW Carol Award was voted by readers as one of ten favorite historical romances of the year.   

Patricia:    Beyond These Hills is the last of the Smoky Mountain Dreams series that is set in Cades Cove, Tennessee. What sparked the idea for setting a series in this area?

Sandra: As a lifelong resident of Tennessee, I have always loved the Smokies and enjoy visiting there. I especially enjoy the Cades Cove area where the cabins and churches are preserved. You can see how the people lived there for hundreds of years. The story, though, of how the residents had to sell their homes and move out so the Great Smoky Mountain National Park could be established is very sad. I wanted to let readers who hike or camp or are just interested in the history of the area know that there were those who had to sacrifice so that generations to come could enjoy the beauty of Cades Cove.

Patricia:  Were there any particular challenges in writing the series?

Sandra: I wanted everything to be historically correct, so I did a lot of research. It’s amazing what I was able to find. I knew, for instance, that their was a Civilian Conservation Corps Camp in Cades Cove, but I was able to find a picture of it. Writers today are so fortunate to have the internet. When I was writing the scene where Laurel and Andrew hike with her father up Gregory’s Bald, I found a YouTube video that a group had filmed when they did that same hike. The video showed all the azaleas on the mountain top. That was the easiest hike I ever took.

Patricia: I love what we can do with the Internet, just wish it didn't eat up so much time. :-) Beyond These Hills has a very strong faith-based theme. What role has your faith played in your writing?

Sandra: I knew when I started writing that my faith would guide what I write. I grew up in a strong Christian family, and my faith guides me in my life each day. I’m glad I can share it with people I will never meet through the books I write. 

Patricia:   What do you like most and least about writing?

Sandra: I love thinking up the stories I’m going to write. When I first started, I thought that’s what writing is all about. After I became published, I found out you have to do a lot of marketing, and that’s difficult for me. I’ve never been one to push myself on other people, and sometimes I fear doing that when I’m trying to promote a book. But I try to remember what a boss I had one time used to say--”He who tooteth not his own horn gets it not tooted.”

Patricia: I know. Marketing is the hardest thing for me, too. What advice do you have for beginning writers?

 Sandra: I’m sure beginners have been told to attend conferences, get a critique partner, and write the story on their hearts. I think two of the most important things that any writer can do is write a lot and read a lot. Reading what other people are writing can help to challenge you in your own pursuits.

Patricia: Great advice. Tell me, are you a plotter or pantser?

Sandra: I’m both. I plot my story before I begin it. Once I start writing, however, my characters can just take charge and go off in an entirely different direction. So I go with them to see where it’s taking us.

Patricia: What encouragement can you give writers who face rejection?

 Sandra: It may sound callous, but I would say “get used to it.” Rejection is a part of being a writer. Not everybody is going to like what you write, and you have to adjust to the fact that it’s not personal. This is a business, and publishers are in to make money. If your story isn’t one they think will sell, they won’t buy it. I know it hurts, but it’s something we all have to deal with.

Patricia: One last question: What is the most difficult thing about being a writer?
Sandra: For me, it’s the marketing. It’s one of those necessary things that we have to do, so I try to approach it with a smile.

Patricia: I feel your pain. Thank you so much for joining us on Stitches Thru Time. 

Check out Sandra's other 2013 releases:

MountainHomecoming -- March, 2013 from Harvest House
A Lady’s Choice -- April, 2013 from Guideposts

DangerousWaters -- September, 2013 from Love Inspired Suspense

YuletideJeopardy -- December, 2013 from Love Inspired Suspense 

Readers: What's your favorite genre?


  1. Great interview, Patricia. You ask great questions.
    Sandra, thanks for stopping by! It was nice getting to know you a little bit. :)

    1. Sandra is such an interesting person and her books are great, Amber. I love her Cade's Cove series and A Lady's Choice actually opened my eyes to what women went through to get us the vote.

  2. What a wonderful interview. Beyond These Hills sounds like a book I would so enjoy.

  3. I love author interviews and thank you so much for sharing! I so enjoyed learning about Sandra and her books. I look forward to reading the Cades Cove series!

  4. Hi Britney! Thanks for stopping by. It's a great series.