Sandra started reading at the age of three and only stops when absolutely required to. Although she hasn’t been writing quite that long, she did compose a very simple play in German during middle school. Her science fiction novella Move Over Ms. L. (an early version of Lyon’s Legacy) earned an Honorable Mention in the 2001 UPC Science Fiction Awards, and her short story “A Reptile at the Reunion” was published in the anthology Firestorm of Dragons. Other published works by Sandra include Twinned Universes and several science fiction and fantasy short stories. She is a founding member of Broad Universe, which promotes science fiction, fantasy, and horror written by women. Her undergraduate degree is in molecular biology/English, and she has a Master of Technical and Scientific Communication degree. Her day job is in the laboratory of an enzyme company; she’s also been a technical writer and a part-time copyeditor for a local newspaper. Some of her other accomplishments are losing on Jeopardy! and taking a stuffed orca to three continents. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, Eugene; and son, Alex. In her rare moments of free time, she enjoys crocheting, listening to classic rock (particularly the Beatles), and watching improv comedy.
PART 4: ABOUT YOUR CURRENT WORK
Tell us about your new book and when it is out? Where can people purchase it?—My latest book is Seasons’ Beginnings, Book One of the fantasy Season Avatar series. The eBook version will go live on Amazon 10/21/14 but is already available for pre-order. A paper version will be available very soon from Amazon and Createspace.
Is there anything new, unusual, or interesting about your book? This book started off as a short story I wrote to explore the world of the Season Avatar series. It describes the origin of the Season Avatars, magicians who are gifted by the Four Gods and Goddesses of Challen with specific types of magic. The Avatars must deal with Salth, a demigoddess of Time and the enemy of the Four. The story is told from the viewpoint of Kron Evenhanded, a magician who is a stranger to Challen but knows Salth and marries one of the Avatars.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?—Some of the hardest parts of this book were showing a sympathetic side to Salth and making sure the magic fits with what I have planned for the rest of the series.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?—I enjoyed writing about the Avatars. The next four books of the series will focus on four of the Avatars, who are in a much different situation. It was fun planting the seeds of what they will turn into.
Tell us about your book’s cover – where did the design come from and what was the design process like?—For this series, I approached Maria Zannini of Book Cover Diva. She has a cover art questionnaire that authors fill out as part of the book design process. We came up with an element that is constant throughout the series, and she found stock photos to match what my hero looks like. I plan to work with her for the rest of the series.
PART 5: WORDS OF WISDOM
Tell us about your route to success – how/when did you decide to self-publish? Did you query an agent first? How did you handle the editing, proofreading, cover design, etc.—Ever since I self-published Lyon’s Legacy in 2011, I’ve been a big proponent of self-publishing. I enjoy the control I have over the entire process and the freedom to write about what appeals to me instead of what publishers think will sell. My beta readers helped me with editing and proofreading, and I hired a cover artist. I did the formatting/layout with the help of a Word template I purchased at BookDesignTemplates.com.
What are the most important elements of good writing?—The writing shouldn’t get in the way of the story; it shouldn’t be distracting or confusing. Emotions are key to writing a story that will resonate with readers.
Do you have any advice for other writers?—Read a lot and keep writing.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?—Thanks for your support!
What are your current / future project(s)?—I’m currently working on Scattered Seasons, Book Two of the Season Avatars series. After I finish the second draft, I plan to return to my SF Catalyst Chronicles series and write a story about a minor character in Twinned Universes.
Is your book in print, ebook or both?—Both
Please let us know where can your readers stalk you:
Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/SandraUlbrichAlmazanSffAuthor
SEASONS’ BEGINNINGS: Kron Evenhanded is an artificer, able to enchant any man-made object, but he finds people more difficult to work with. When he visits the city of Vistichia, he encounters Sal-thaath, an extremely magical but dangerous child created by Salth, another magician Kron knew at the Magic Institute. Kron attempts to civilize Sal-thaath, but when his efforts lead to tragedy, Kron is forced to ally himself with a quartet of new deities and their human Avatars. Together they must defend Vistichia as Salth attempts to drain its life and magic. But Salth has Ascended halfway to godhood over Time. Will Kron’s artifacts be enough to protect the Avatars, especially the woman he loves, or will Time separate them?
You can buy SEASONS’ BEGINNINGS at:
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MQI9COY
Createspace (paper): https://www.createspace.com/4923126