Guest Author Sandra Bard – On Writing and Home

PrintI don’t write sad fics. I don’t like giving my characters unhappy endings, but sometimes in the middle, they do go through a good deal of angst. They go through problems (I’ve created for them) to emerge stronger and hopefully a little happy.

I write all sorts of stories, from contemporary to fantasy and science fiction.  In case anyone is wondering, my fairy tales are published by Less Than Three Press as serials, and my science fiction is a work in progress.

I have a vampire short story coming out from Less Than Three Press called The List. It was particularly enjoyable for me to write since I wanted to create a world where the vampires live out in the open and people treat them with different levels of acceptance.  It’s going to be out on the 2nd of October.

My first contemporary novel, out since May 27th, Bound by Guilt from Dreamspinner, took ages to write since I was doing some very important real life things (which now I realise probably weren’t all that important but ate up my free time like mad). It was a sort of stress reliever. I never intended for it to be published. Having said that, I was happy it was accepted for publication, and it made me feel more confident about what I write, but it also made me realise it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

When I first started Bound by Guilt, I didn’t want to write about dashing heroes, all perfect and good looking, who are nice, charming, and suave. Half the time I wondered if there were people like me in the world, not too good looking, not very social, and prone to messing things up without even trying. In the book, I took it a little further, because I wanted to push my characters to the very edge.

That is how I ended up with Kit, one of the most selfish people I’ve ever put down on paper, and Sasha, who is as anti-social as a person can get. For me, it’s a story of forgiveness (because they do some shitty things to each other), and personal growth—since in the end, they do learn to like someone other than themselves. But it’s a tough ride, and there are places where they both get hurt.

Some have told me the book is rather vague in its setting. I chose San Diego because I’m familiar enough with the place, and it had Comic Con (who could resist that?), but really I do understand what they meant. This book sat in my hard drive for over three years. In that time, I travelled a lot, and all those places merged together.

I grew up all over the world. My father was, and still is, a school teacher. He has worked in schools all over, and for most part, we, as a family went wherever he went.

I was in Nigeria when I was four.  We lived near the Sahara border with the sand storms. I remember the dust, and the daily walk to the water tap with white plastic cans to collect water. One of the first things I learned to say was “ba ruwa” which means no water.

I studied in an all female Catholic convent in the middle of Africa, did my postgraduate studies in Singapore, and travelled even more. I travelled to conferences from the US to Bali, for fun with friends from Korea to Indonesia. There was a time in my life when I was never in one place for long.

But with all the moving, packing, unpacking, there was one place I call home.  No matter where I went, whenever I had a little time to myself, I would buy a ticket, and fly home. My friends would laugh at my obsession of spending so much money just to fly back the following week, but it grounded me, reminded my no matter how bad things got, I would always have a place where I was always welcome.  Home.

My home town:

When people ask where I live, I usually say at the top of a mountain.

This is my home town.

  mntsb

 

View of the mountain facing the one I live on. Excuse the electric wires in the shot. I never was a good photographer.

See the multi-storied, yellow building in the middle? That was my school whenever I was home.

The town is surrounded by a ring of mountains, so early in the morning or late afternoon, it’s possible to see the mist creep in.

I live a two kilometre walk downhill from town (walking up when going back isn’t fun). The best feature about the town is the lake in the middle.

It has its own unique eco system.

And in the end, this is where I do most of my writing. My home.

***

BoundByGuilt_postcard_front_DSPBlurb Bound by Guilt:

Kit Mason works at Eddy’s, a boutique where the clothes are chic, the paycheck’s weak, and Kit has no qualms about snagging rich older men looking to pay for play. When Cory St. James walks in, he checks all Kit’s boxes: he’s middle-aged, the entrepreneur of a pharmaceutical company, and already has a kept boy at home—what’s one more? Kit sets out to seduce Cory and bulldozes through his denials, but when Cory finally gives in, his lover, Sasha, catches them with their pants down.

Sasha isn’t the pampered toy Kit expected. In fact, Kit may have misjudged him. And the consequences that ensue when Sasha catches Kit and Cory together leave him alone. Unwilling to be weighed down by guilt, Kit decides to look after Sasha himself, even if Sasha can’t stand the sight of him and there are a few things about Kit’s past he doesn’t want Sasha to know. But Kit isn’t willing to do all the work when it comes to forcing Sasha to rebuild his life. It’s a slow process of growing trust and learning to stand on their own—and together.

Where to find Sandra:

Tumblrhttp://sandrabard.tumblr.com/
Sandra’s bio at Less Than Three Presshttp://www.lessthanthreepress.com/author-sandra-bard/
Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=858

*** Contest ***

For a chance to win an eBook copy of Bound by Guilt, all you have to do is leave a comment and contact email address below. Contest runs from Tues, July 30th until Tues, 6th of Aug. 

6 Comments:

  1. Thank you so much, Sandra for being a guest. The pictures are gorgeous! What an amazing place to live. It’s great when after so much travelling, you have a place you love to go back to. Thank you for sharing.

  2. What a great post! What a great life experience to have had the chance to live in so many culturally different places growing up. Your pictures are beautiful. I too can;t take a good picture without getting the power lines in the pictures. Even on top of a mountain north of Fairbanks Alaska where our home was for 9 years.
    I love your pictures.
    I have your book on my gotta have list, and look forward to reading it.
    Wishing you all the best, and continued success…*S*

    Darcy
    pomma @akwolf.com

    • Thank you Pomma. I’ve never been anywhere as exciting as Fairbanks, Alaska. I have northers lights on my wish list.
      Thank you for dropping by and good luck in the draw.

      ~Sandra

  3. Excellent post. I love to travel but sadly have lived within the same state my whole live although at least I am close to a big city which gives me the access to easy air transport 😉 I’d love to move from her, but alas, family responsibilities keep me tied to this place 🙁 Someday I hope to live where I want to but I fear that won’t be for decades and by then I’ll probably be too old to actually do it. Ah well. I suppose that is what vacations are for – to energize for the return and give us memories to appreciate.

    • Hi Sadonna, I’m no longer able to travel as I used to do, far too many responsibilites but I just say what the *bleep* once in a while and take a week off for myself sometimes. Sometimes, you just need a bit of time to yourself, 🙂 Vacations are the best.

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