The Tales of a Contemporary Romance Writer

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Talkin' Tuesday with Sandra Sookoo!

Quick note to Sandra Sookoo and all my readers. Sorry for the delay in getting this up, Betsy (my laptop) isn't feeling well and is going to need to go into the computer hospital.

The weather has really cleared up for my Talkin' Tuesday, this week. The gardener was here...looking very delicious! Can't wait for his deep summer tan. Mmmm.....Sorry, I sidetracked myself for a minute. 
Today I have the ever funny, Sandra Sookoo. She's an energizer bunny when it comes to writing and her talent is boundless. WELCOME, SANDRA!

RR-What's you favorite read or series?
SS-I know it's kinda funny, but my favorite series doesn't come from the romance genre at all.  They're mystery books.  First series is by Kate Collins (Flowershop mysteries) and the other I really like is from Donna Andrews (Meg Langslow series)  As a general rule, I don't like series with recurring characters. LOL  A series of related-themed books, yes.  I usually get sick of the same character after awhile.  Mysteries are a little different I guess.

RR-What/who got you reading?
SS-I've always been a reader since a little tot.  There have always been books in my life.  I remember spending tons of time at the library as a kid to escape real life.  I suppose it was only a natural progression that I started writing from the love of reading.

RR-What part of writing makes you want to pull your hair out and scream like a banshee?
SS-When a book I'm writing just isn't working and I can't see the reason why.  Sometimes I can find the reason.  It's generally because I haven't set up the character correctly or they've waffled in their logic.  Those times require ripping out thousands of words.  At other times, I just can't find the issue.  When that happens I'll hand it over to a trusted friend to get their opinion then I always feel dorky when they point out the obvious. LOL
Aahhh, the trusted friend! Everyone needs one who can tell you the truth. 

RR--Too organized Plotter or Maniac Panster?
SS-Definitely a plotter!  I must outline and do character profiles before beginning any project.  The last time I tried writing without a plan, it netted me a whole rewrite.  I'm just not a seat-of-her-pants kinda girl.  There must be structure. LOL  Do my outlines change when the characters do something unexpected?  Sure they do, but the outlines are like a map I can keep referring to.
I have a whole novel I'm rewriting because I didn't have a plan. What a mess that turns into!
RR-When writing, must you hide from the husband? (I know I have to!)
SS-LOL Not really.  A lot of the time I write in the same room while he's either working or playing Xbox.  At times writing sex scenes with him nearby is impossible LOL  He'll either laugh at them or say "men wouldn't say that".  Which is good for keeping it real but detrimental to the production. LOL
LOL Awesome!

RR-Your stories are always so much fun and on many occasions have made me belly laugh, how the heck do you write so many genres and keep your material fresh? I mean, you're a crazy lady!
SS-LOL  Here's the secret.  I like doing multiple genres because that alone keeps my brain fresh which makes the material fresh J  Challenging the brain is a good thing for the writing.  I like to try and keep an original spin on things.
Personally, and I mean this with love and respect, I think you have ADHD! My brain could never do that. I'd get confused. 

RR-Is there anything we all would be shocked to know about you?
SS-Hmm, let's see--I color my hair, I don't like coffee and steak, or what about I'm afraid of camels?
Okay, I see the camel thing--they're huge spitting animals. But, Steak and Coffee! I love meat and the day will not start without my cuppa Joe. I'm evil!

For Fun

Red and sexy or Black and mysterious?
Black, mysterious AND sexy!

Wine with cheese or Beer with TV?
Wine with cheese

Paperback or ebooks?
Ebooks, hands down--except this last week when I took shameless advantage of a Borders closing sale and bought handfuls of paperbacks at 70% off.

Did you get the cat yet? I love mine!
LOL Not yet.  The cat project is slated for later this year J

A little birdie told me you like to cook, especially when writer's block sets in. What's your favorite comfort dish and will you share it?
Oh, wow, darn those talking birds! LOL  Macaroni and cheese is a good comfort dish. (Recipe attached)

Back to Work

RR-Are you insanely organized or are there notes written on everything?
SS-LOL That is a trick question.  I am very organized but there are also notes written on everything.  I carry a notebook in my purse. Otherwise, I've written stuff on the backs of receipts.  Sometimes at home I'll write on envelopes, papers, whatever is handy and incorporate it into computer notes later.
LOL I pulled out my receipt from the mechanic, it had a name and number to a fair I'm doing later this year! 

RR-What's the biggest misconception people have about you and your writing?
SS-That I'm a "good" girl all the time.  My work can clearly be split down the middle between sweet and heat.  I like it that way.  Also, that I'm "funny" all the time.  Half of my work is comedic.  The rest isn't.  I like to mix it up so I don't get pigeon-holed into one set thing and give my readers a wide variety.
I love how you cross genres!

RR-Does your husband like to brag about your career as a romance writer?
SS-LOL No way!  Truth be known, I think he's embarrassed by it.  He never talks about it unless people approach him first.  He never promotes for me.  Which is fine.
Sometimes I feel really bad for our husbands. I know mine doesn't always know what to say when people approach him about me. 

RR-Do you ever get so overwhelmed you want to quit?
SS-I get overwhelmed but I don't want to quit.  Writing, while fun and like breathing, is also a business.  You have to work through the problems and issues and continue on.  It's how we grow and as people and writers.

RR-What's the pet-peeve that makes you want to beat something?
SS-Hmm, are we talking in the writing world or in general?  In writing I think it's folks not taking pride in their work and just slopping stuff out there because "it's good enough."  In the real world, a huge pet peeve is lying.
I totally agree with both!

RR-Any advice for aspiring writers?
SS-Always!  Don't give up.  Just don't.  No matter what happens.  If you don't keep chugging along, it's over.  Also, write what you like and don't chase trends. 

Thanks for having me over today!  It's been loads of fun! 

If readers would like to connect with me, I'm on Facebook and Twitter.  Or hop over to my website and see what my books are all about

Sandra Sookoo's new book, Dragons at Dawn is out! 

When fear and extinction threaten life, the only way to survive is to change…or fight back.

Mona Moussai is on the run—from her family, from a dragon and from herself.  She wants nothing more than to stay in the Mortal Realm and live a normal live, yet when she tangles with a shape-shifting attorney bent on her capture, instinct demands she hide.  However, the secrets buried deep inside could have deadly consequences.

Braeden Hollister has long ago made peace with his dragon heritage but he refuses to live it.  He’s a man with many vices, always living for himself, and when the opportunity to drag Mona to the Moussai Realm for a bounty presents itself, he can’t resist the glitter of gold.

What happens next is a foray into a backward realm circa the 1820s where dragons not only exist but they’re intent on ruling the realm and restoring power.  Personal agendas are forgotten, battle lines are drawn in a world where familial ties strangle and old foes resurface.  Political angst explodes all around them.  In the end, only the strong will survive to live, and love, another day.

Book video:

Thank you for being here, Sandra! Hope you'll hang out for a little and enjoy yourself. As for me, I'm going to get her new novel and enjoy one of my favorite authors. :)

Have a Sparkling Day!
Rebecca Rose

Next week the incredibly talented Diana Crosby who was featured in Woman's Day this month, will be here! Please stop in and meet the next Nora Roberts. (She did a book signing with Nora!) 
Kicked up Mac n Cheese


1 box of elbows or rotini pasta
1 bag (or two cups) of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 can of evaporated milk
½ cup sour cream
1 t paprika
1 t powdered mustard
½ t cayenne pepper
½ t garlic power
1 t seasoned salt
1T dried minced onions
2 T grated parmesan cheese
2 T bread crumbs
Olive oil


Cook pasta according to package directions

While this is happening, in a 4 quart saucepot, add evaporated milk and all spices and onions.  Heat over medium heat and whisk to incorporate.  Add cheese.  Let gently melt then turn off heat.

Once pasta is done, drain and return to pot.  Add sour cream and stir to coat.  Add cheese sauce and stir to coat.  At this point you can add a can of drained tuna or ham, chicken or any meat.  Dump pasta into a baking dish.

Sprinkle bread crumbs and parmesan cheese over the top.  Drizzle olive oil over that.  Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until topping is golden brown and delicious.


I don't know how much fat or calories are in each serving.  That's not the point of this recipe LOL


  1. Hi Rebecca - great interview! Not only was it fun but inspirational - knowing other authors are out there pulling there hair out too and re-writing entire sections of their book. My husband has read none of what I write (he doesnt like to read) so I dont have to hide what i am writing from him...especially those sex scenes. LOL. I am inspired by how Sandra can cross genres like that - it's a challenge and she should be commended for doing it! her book sounds exciting and I am into reading it!

  2. Lori McPhetridge rnlmac@msn.comApril 12, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    Great interview and he recipe sounds yummy

  3. Thank you Donna and Lori for stopping by!

    Donna, I don't know how Sandra does it. She really is an amazing woman who has the multi-tasking down.
    Lori, I saved the recipe so I can make it. Being a bad cook, I need all the help I can get!LOL


  4. I totally agree with you on your pet peeves. That's one of my biggies, too. Although you're definitely on your own with the steak and coffee. I get grumpy if I go too long without red meat and you don't want to be in my way before my first cup of coffee in the morning, lol. The book looks great! I'm going to add it to the ever growing TBR pile!

  5. LOL Thanks for stopping by ladies! Some days are way more busy than others, that's for sure! If you do pick up the book, let me know how you like it :-)

  6. Sounds tasty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Gotta try it!!!!

    I am not a coffee drinker we can be weirdos together!! I do love tea though (but no black...I'm snobby like that!) I can live without steak, but I do enjoy a great burger every now and again!!

    I guess I am lucky! My hubby promotes me to anyone who will listen...he thinks it's awesome! He's gotten several of his coworkers to buy my book (And he works in a max A state prison!)

  7. Great interview. I love your work and can't wait to start reading Dragons at Dawn.

  8. Thank you Sandra for stopping by! And, thanks to all of you in reader land for popping in!

    Have a Sparkling Day!
    Rebecca Rose