Today I have author, S.M Spencer as a guest blogger to answer my ten burning questions and tell us a little about her new release, Taking A Chance.

LL: Hi Sandy. Thanks for being a guest on my blog. It’s really exciting to have you here for the first time to celebrate your new release: Taking a Chance. Can you tell us a little bit about your new book?

SS: Taking a Chance is a short story (prequel to Copperhead Creek Australian Romance Series) that introduces Lora, a young woman who is dissatisfied with where she is in life and is on the cusp of some life-changing decisions. This contemporary romance story takes the reader to the small town of Willows, a fictitious town set in the goldmining district of Victoria, and introduces some of the characters that will play a part in Lora’s life. Because this is a prequel, it doesn’t have a happily ever after ending, but rather a promise of better times to come as Lora begins her journey.

LL: I love a series. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

SS: Taking a Chance can be read as a standalone, but the characters in this story reappear in subsequent books throughout the 6 book series. Like the prequel, each book in the series can be read as a stand-alone featuring a new couple who find their own happy ending, but if you read the books in order, you’ll find characters from earlier books making reappearances as the lives of the small town residents overlap and tangle. And **spoiler alert **  if you want to jump forward to find out what happens to Lora, that’s in book 5, A Chance for Snow.

LL: Sounds like a great series. Do you write only Contemporary Rural Romance, or do you also write in other genres too?

SS: I’ve written a young-adult paranormal romance trilogy called Absent Shadows, set in Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market and Flagstaff Gardens area. It was great fun to write, filled with vampires and ghosts! (Did you know there are approximately 9,000 bodies still under the carpark at the Queen Victoria Market?)

LL: Yes, I did know that. I did a ghost tour of Melbourne a few years ago and that was one of the places we visited and heard about the bodies and some ghosts that have been seen around the sight. But sorry, I digress – what else have you written?

SS: The last book of my six-book series, Murder at the Creek, is a murder mystery with romantic elements. I really enjoyed writing the YA and murder books, and plan to do more of both in due course. What ties all my books together is that they are what I call “clean” – and by that I mean sex is behind closed doors, there is no gory violence, and very little if any foul language.

LL: What are you working on currently?

SS: I’ve just finished the first draft of a contemporary romance set in one of California’s goldmining areas off Highway 49. It’s with beta readers at the moment but I hope to have it published in a few months.

LL: When did you realise you wanted to be a writer?

SS: What made me realise I wanted to be a writer, was Daphne du Maurier’s book, Frenchman’s Creek. When I finished reading that book, I knew that’s what I wanted to do – write stories that could stay with readers the way that one did with me.

LL: How did you go about it then, after you had that epiphany and what led you to being published?

SS: I did a creative writing course in the late 1990s, but working full-time at a demanding job saw me struggle to get started in a serious fashion. It wasn’t until I changed jobs and ended up working close to the Queen Victoria Market and Flagstaff Gardens that I knew I had to write a story based in that area.

As for getting published, I missed the popularity wave when it came to vampires, so I ended up self-publishing that trilogy. The control over every aspect of the writing journey with self-publishing was addictive, and so I self-published my Copperhead Creek series as well and I’ve never regretted it for a moment.

LL: What do you think is the best advice you could give to a new writer with an aspiration to being published?

SS: Don’t listen to the negativity, because there’s a lot of it out there. A top author once told me that genre fiction authors are story tellers, and that if you have a story to tell, don’t be afraid to tell it because there will be people out there who want to hear it. Of course doing it the best you can is vital. Read. Read a lot. And study the craft. Never stop learning.

LL: What inspires you to keep writing and where do your writing ideas come from?

SS: I don’t have a lot of reviews, but I read every single one of them. And when I get a review from someone who “got” my book, or who enjoyed the escape to a new world, well, that’s the ultimate prize. As for ideas … I believe they are out there floating around like butterflies, and sometimes as they float past you can grab one and develop it, and turn it into a whole story.

LL: What are your pet peeves?

SS: Drivers who dawdle when the arrow turns green. Those lights never stay green for very long, and invariably only a few cars get through. Argh!

LL: What are your favourite things?

SS: Animals. I have three cats, a dog, and three horses, but one of my most memorable trips was to the National Zoo in Canberra where I got to pet lions and cheetahs, have a bear lick peanut butter off my hand, hold a boa, have a monkey on my shoulder, hand feed giraffes and make toys for meerkats. It was a wonderful experience.

It sounds amazing.

Thank you so much for being a guest on my blog today, Sandy. It was fun finding out a little bit more about you and your writing.

You can get Sandy’s FREE prequel, Taking a Chance, from:

https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/taking-a-chance-33

https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/taking-a-chance/id1454148148?mt=11

Author bio:

At the age of five S M Spencer’s life changed when she was plonked onto a black & white pony for a photograph. From that day on all she wanted was a horse. She spent the next eleven years writing stories about the horses she pretended to ride through the rolling hills of coastal California until she got a job and bought her first horse at the age of sixteen.

In the 1980s her life changed again when her employer offered her a role in Australia. This was the beginning of an adventure of which she has never tired.

Still living in Australia she now writes from the semi-rural home she shares with her husband, horses, cats and dogs–not to mention the kangaroos that share the paddocks with the horses from time to time.

You can find out more about Sandy at:

https://www.facebook.com/SMSpencer.writer/

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