© 2012 SandraWarren.com
Like most authors, I get questions; questions from students, teachers and adults. Questions about my journey
into authorship, my personal life and about my books. Here are some of the most common questions and my
What was your favorite book as a child?
It was most assuradly, Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell. I read it many times and dreamed that one day I would
have a horse of my own. Unfortunately, that dream never came true.
Did you know when you were a child that you wanted to be a writer?
Absolutely not. In fact, if you had told me when I was in school or even college that one day I would write a
book, I would have called you crazy. I loved to read and was seldom without a book in my hand. But, it wasn’t
until I had children of my own that I was inspired to write.
What was your first book?
My first book was, If I Were A Road. After it came out, everyone teased me about having a book with that
strange title. They kept giving me ideas for what I should be next. So, I became a table. Fortunately the
publisher agreed so my second book became, If I Were A Table.
Where did you get the idea to write a book called, If I Were A Road?
My neighbor in Ohio was a teacher. She had just given her students an assignment to write a story answering
the question, ”If you were a road what kind would you be?” She showed me the wonderful stories they had
written. It was at the same time that I wanted to write a book that would help teachers help students be more
creative. I was so impressed with the stories her students had written that I decided her classroom assignment
would make a wonderful book. She agreed that I should do it so I did.
How did you feel the first time you saw the book, If I Were A Road?
Terrified! Thrilled! Excited! All rolled into one. I think the first words out of my mouth, when I opened the box
and held the book for the first time, were, maybe I should have used a pen name.
Where do you get your ideas?
Here, there and everywhere. I know that’s not a fair answer but it’s the truth. Sometimes ideas come from a
sound or something I’ve watched on television; sometimes from something I read or a conversation I’ve had
with someone else. Sometimes the idea comes from a problem I’m having that I need to solve. I bought a piece
of jewerly that is an alligator whose mouth opens and inside sits a little bird. I wear that pin to all my school
visits and tell students that my next Arlie book will be about that bird. I haven’t written it yet, but one day I’ll
wake up with the inspiration to finish that story, inspired by a piece of Jewerly. So now you understand why I
said that my ideas come from here, there and everywhere.
How long does it take to write a book?
Now that is a difficult question. The answer is different for everything I’ve written. Some books only took a few
months. But others took years. That doesn’t mean I worked on the book everyday. It means that from the first
idea to actually finishing the manuscript, getting it to the publisher and waiting for it to be turned into a book,
took years. Writing the book is the easy part. After it’s finished, then you have to find a publisher who could
take up to a year or two to print it and bind it into a book. So it takes a very long time.
What is the hardest thing about being a writer?
The hardest thing is dealing with the rejection letters received while trying to find a publisher for a certain
manuscript. All writers get them. And you never get used to it. The best thing to do when one comes in is to
immediately send the manuscript out again. One time, I waited 4 days to open what I thought was a rejection. I
have to be in the mood to get rejected. When I finally opened it, it wasn’t a rejection!
Where do you write?
For years I wrote in my basement office, in Ohio, surrounded by bookcases and all manner of basement junk,
with nary a window in sight. Now, I’m fortunate to be able to write in a new basement office, in the mountains
of North Carolina, gazing out of huge windows to vistas across the valley, in the South Mountains.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by nature, the mountains especially, and water. Staring out at the mountains across the valley
makes me feel as if I can reach out and touch my dreams.The quiet of the wind in the pines and the wildlife that
scampers through my yard helps me think. I love to sit and stare at the ocean or a lake and walk on the beach.
It calms me and opens my mind to my imagination.
Music also inspires me. Listening to symphony music seems to open up my creativity in a strange way. It’s hard
I’m also inspired by other authors, especially my three critique buddies; three women who are writer’s just like
me. They help me to believe in my story ideas and encourage me as I write them.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
1. Study the craft of writing. Being a good writer is just a start.
2. Find a critique group that will tell you the truth about your work and support and help you grow in your craft.
3. Study the art of genre format. Every genre has a format that may involve word count, chapter count and
even page count. There are formats for all genres.
4. Study the art of submission. Every publishing house has a submission form. Get it and follow it to the letter.
You want your submission package to look professional as if you’ve done it a dozen times before. That means
including a proper cover or query letter, synopsis and/or book proposal.
5. Become social network savy. You need to be hooked up to a website, blog and twitter. Having a good
manuscript is no longer enough. Author’s have always been expected to market their books, but now more
than ever via social networks.
6. Become a member of your genre related professional writer’s organization/s.
What is the biggest misconception writers have about becoming a published author?
That once you’re published you’ll make a lot of money, the publisher will send you on a publicity tour and do the
marketing and it will be easier to get additional books published.
Why do you write in more than one genre? Wouldn’t you be more successful if you stuck to just one?
I’ll answer the second part first. I suppose I might be more successful if I stuck to one genre. But that’s not the
way my mind works. When I get an idea I go with it. That’s who I am and how I function. I wouldn’t be happy
writing only one kind of story.
Why do you write? What do you hope readers will take from your work?
I write because I have to write. That’s who I am. I hope readers will see the purpose in the work I produce.
Some things I write to enjoy, some share ideas and activities for learning and some are meant to inspire.