MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR KIRISTA SANDOR!
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
I’m Krista Sandor. I write contemporary romance with a hint of suspense. I write under my maiden name to honor my Harlequin Romance loving grandmother. She had a giant bookshelf crammed with romance novels. When I was a little girl, I used to peek at the covers. If she were still alive, her shelfie pics would be epic!
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
I altered your question a bit and shared how I came to love and write romance.
I came to romance in a very unconventional way. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in August of 2015. It was a scary time for me and my family. We weren’t sure what to expect. I was an anxious mess. When you’re living through hell, one of the hardest things to do is escape–even for a moment. A good friend sent me Katy Evans audiobook, “Manwhore.” It was exactly what I needed. The happily ever after was my safety net. I always know, whatever the characters endured, they would make it (and make out) in the end!
After a year of reading hundreds of romance novels, I decided to take the plunge and write one of my own. On the MS front, I’m happy to report that I’m doing well. I still run five miles a day and have plenty of energy to keep up with my growing sons.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
I love romance novels, but I really love romances where there’s not only a great story, but you learn something new along the way. I always try to include interesting, engaging information.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
For me, research and rich characters go hand in hand. I love doing research. I love meeting new people and interviewing them about their chosen profession or area of expertise. I also love YouTube. It’s amazing all the things you can learn there!
For my first book, The Road Home, I chose main characters with occupations I knew well. Before being an author, I was an elementary reading specialist. My husband is an architect. I was able to pull from our joint knowledge base.
For my second book, The Sound of Home, I ventured into uncharted waters with an attorney and a classically trained musician. I had a ball researching classical composers and different pieces of music.
For my third book, The Beginning of Home, I took another step out of my comfort zone. This book features a photographer and a pilot. I spent a day at a small regional airport near my home in Denver. I met two private pilots who were kind enough to answer all my questions–they even brought me on the plane!
The fourth book has added a few pounds to the scale. I’m researching German baking. There’s an authentic German bakery in my town. I’ve spent a lot of time watching them create delicious strudels and kuchen (cake). My favorite is the bienenstich or bee sting coffee cake with vanilla cream filling and a drizzling of honey–that’s where you get the bee sting name!
Can you tell me about your Series?
Here’s the rundown so far. The fourth book is currently in the works.
The Langley Park Series:
The Road Home–relaunching in September 2018
The Sound of Home–releasing in October 2018
The Beginning of Home–releasing November 2018
Book 4–name to be determined
Here’s the tagline:
Scarred Hearts. Second Chances. Undeniable Passion.
Welcome to Langley Park.
The Langley Park Series is emotional. This series is smart. This series is sexy and steamy. Each book has an element of suspense that keeps you engaged as you journey through the story with the characters.
In addition, the main characters have a connection or something that brought them together when they were teenagers. Something they’ve never been able to forget or replicate. To me, there’s something about young love–the immediacy of the attraction, the intensity of the bonding. But, alas, in my stories, circumstances pull them apart. Years later, the characters are back in Langley Park and must confront their feelings while also battling new demons.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
I love them all!
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
I wanted to create a town that was just as important as the characters. I created Langley Park from three areas I absolutely adore. I live in Denver but grew up in the Kansas City area. As a teenager, the first place I fell in love with was the Brookside neighborhood in Kansas City. Gorgeous Tudor, bungalow, and American Foursquare style homes line the streets and have always enchanted me.
Langley Park’s town center was inspired by Olde Town Arvada in Colorado and the downtown area of Golden, Colorado. I used elements from each place to create an actual map of the town! My architect husband cringes at my handiwork, but I love it. I named all the streets after Kansas plantlife. I named the lake after a high school English teacher who was kind to me. I even added a botanic garden.
Was it always meant to become a series?
Yes, this series is ultimately about finding your true home with your true love.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I’m fairly regimented. I write 1500 words a days to stay on schedule. I use the Work Keeper app to record my progress. I write everywhere: home, coffee shops, my car, the Denver Botanic Gardens, and sitting on the rocks near Clear Creek in Golden, Colorado.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
I do! I’m writing the fourth book in the series. Luckily, the series is made up of sexy stand-alones. There aren’t any cliffhangers or questions left unanswered. However, in the epilogue, you do get a little hint about the main characters in the next book.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
Names are important. I like to feel a flow. In my second book which centers around music, I used alliteration to allow their names to flow together.
Where do your ideas come from?
Running. I’m an avid runner. When I’m on the trail, my mind wanders and ideas are born. Music is a close second to running. Brian Crane, Helen Jane Long, and Ludovico Einaudi are three of my favorites to listen to when crafting a story.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
Not yet! I’m quite happy with contemporary!
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
The fear the ideas will stop.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I think they’re fantastic! Once I have my series complete, I’d like to do one!
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Hands down, perseverance. Right around the time of my MS diagnosis, we were hit with another family tragedy. It was a hard time, but we got through it. I learned that there are times in life where you just need to keep trudging forward–even if it’s barely an inch. Dory in Finding Nemo said it best, “Just keep swimming!”
What’s the best thing about being an author?
The community. The camaraderie. Romance is a special genre. It is a powerful genre. It is a woman-centered genre. It’s a place to provide and draw strength.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Writing, writing, writing! It’s a gift to get to spend time with the voices in my head all day! It’s a gift to provide readers with an emotive, exciting experience.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Write. Improve your craft. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King is an excellent resource. I reread it between every book I write. I also love Naughty Words for Nice Writers by Cara Bristol.
Don’t get bogged down in the little things. Your words are your currency. Yes, you’ll need a website! Yes, you’ll need to tweet! Don’t forget, you’re here to write!
Find your tribe. Join online groups. I met my Kiss & Tell Romance girls through Alessandra Torre’s Inkers Facebook Group.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
In my life, I’ve been a model, a fitness instructor, a teacher, and a reading specialist. In all these walks of life, I was judged and critiqued. I learned early on that trying to please everyone is a fool’s errand. I do my best. I put my heart and soul into my work, and I strive to continually improve my craft.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
I’m getting ready for a release blitz. If all goes as planned I’ll have books releasing in September, October, November, December, and January. It’s exciting and really, really, really scary! I want people to love my characters as much as I do.
What are you working on now?
Book 4 in the Langley Park series.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
**I changed your question and gave an excerpt from book 2***
Here’s a nice little excerpt from Em and Michael’s story, Langley Park Series Book 2: The Sound of Home
Em shrieked and hurled the Kit Kat at the dark form looming on her porch.
“Christ, Em! It’s just me.”
“What the hell are you doing out here?”
Michael stepped out of the shadows, and the moonlight lit his face. His features were pinched like an exasperated parent waiting up for an unruly teenager breaking curfew. He rubbed the back of his neck then crossed his arms. “What took you so long to get home? And why the hell were you walking? Did Kyle Benson try to make a move on you?”
Em pushed passed him and unlocked the front door. “I’m sorry. I didn’t get the memo that you had any say about what I do or who I do it with. And for your information, I eat guys like Kyle Benson for breakfast.”
Michael put a hand on the door frame. “We need to talk.”
She ducked under his arm and went inside. “I have nothing to say to you, and there’s nothing you can say to me that would change anything. So, I don’t see the point.”
She went to the sidebar and poured a whiskey. “I’d offer you one.” She held up the glass and tossed back its contents. “But you’re leaving.” She picked up the bottle of Teeling and poured another three fingers.
Michael switched on a lamp. The soft pool of light might as well have been a spotlight magnifying the significance of every stick of furniture and every framed photograph. Em’s gaze rested on the baby grand.
“I bet you could still play that, too,” he said, walking over to the piano, his voice softening. He lifted the cover and ran his fingers soundlessly across the keys.
She joined him and dropped her gaze to where his index finger rested on middle C.
“Em, you know Zoe and I tried to contact you. We wrote letters. We called. We knew there was no way to make it right, but you cut us off. It really wrecked Zoe. She had to come back home after her first year of college.”
Em skimmed her index finger over the keys, leaving it to rest only millimeters from Michael’s.
“Em,” Michael continued, “I’m sorry. Zoe is sorry. If you’d only read our letters, you’d have seen. You would have understood. We never wanted anything to happen to you.”
She set her empty glass on the piano and licked her lips. Her eyes adjusted to the dim light, and she met his gaze. His green eyes were clouded with guilt and pain. Had she not come armed with anger, she may not have been able to resist him.
She took his hand and pulled him to sit on the piano bench. He complied. She released his hand and stood between his thighs and rested her palms on his shoulders. Now they were eye-to-eye.
“You’re sorry?” She said the words like a black widow weaving her web.
She ran her fingertips down his jawline. The scruff tickled the pads of her fingers, and a warmth grew inside her core. But this wasn’t about sex. This was about power. This was about showing Michael MacCarron he didn’t get to dictate her forgiveness. The anger that had sustained her all these years snarled and writhed with delight. She lifted a leg and hooked it around Michael’s. His expression turned to confusion as she hooked her other leg around his. She straddled his lap, her tiny skirt riding dangerously high up her thighs. His hands fell to her waist, and she circled her hips.
Michael shifted. “What are you doing, Em?”
“What does it look like I’m doing?” She lifted her hips a fraction. He was responding to her advances. The evidence of his arousal pressed hard against her center. If they had been naked, his erection would be nudging past her delicate folds.
She smirked. This power trip made her core buzz with excitement.
“You don’t like this?” she asked, whispering into his ear.
His fingers flexed and tightened around her hips. She was winning. She was in control—or at least she thought she was.
She inhaled, and Michael’s scent filled her nostrils, evoking the memory of their kiss at Sadie’s Hollow. It took every ounce of anger she had to bury those thoughts deep in her mind. She closed her eyes and focused. She would treat him like she treated all the men she fucked—like a toy, like something she used to scratch an itch.
Em slid her hand down and palmed his cock through his pants. It twitched and begged for her touch.
She lowered her head and met his gaze. His shallow breaths came in soft puffs against her lips. She unbuttoned his fly, and his hand moved from her hip and into her hair. He laced his fingers into her braid and cradled the back of her head with his large palm.
She had Michael MacCarron right where she wanted him.
“Em,” he said. The word came out in one tight syllable.
“Hmm,” she replied, swiveling her hips and grinding as she worked to release the next button on his fly.
He wrapped his fingers around the tail of her braid and pulled like he’d done with her grandmother’s pearls. Her resolve slipped a fraction. The anger driving this escapade was dangerously close to collapsing into full-blown desire, and she couldn’t surrender to that emotion.
“Em,” he whispered. He pulled harder, forcing a moan to escape her lips.
“Yes,” she answered, her shallow breaths meeting his.
He maintained his grip and met her gaze. “You’re not in charge here.”
“I think I am,” she answered, grinding into his cock until another swift, deliciously painful yank of her braid forced her to stop.
“I’m not some boy you can manipulate, Mary Michelle.”
She shivered at the sound of her real name and bit her bottom lip. She narrowed her gaze in an attempt to regain the upper hand. She had to turn the tables. The only way she could overcome her feelings for Michael MacCarron was to make him a conquest and use him like she used all the other men she had dominated.
Michael MacCarron as her equal was too frightening a prospect.
“I watched you all night, Em. I know your game. I know you think you’re in control right now, but I have some fucking bad news for you.” He released her braid and moved his hands to grip her ass.
She inhaled sharply.
He pressed his lips against the shell of her ear. “You’re not in control. Not even close.”
In one clean movement, Michael stood and lifted her into the air. She tightened her legs around his waist as he turned and pressed her back against the wall. The sharp contact sent electric pulses racing to her core. Her center grew hot and wet. Anger was losing, and desire was taking over. She softened her gaze, but Michael’s eyes hardened. He took a step back, and his hands moved from her ass to her waist. Her boots made a sharp click against the wood floor as he pried her body away from his and set her down.
“We’re going to talk, Em, but not like this.”
She parted her lips to respond. But she couldn’t speak. A pang of anxiety burst through her chest. None of her tricks were going to work with him. All she could do was stare into his eyes for one brief moment before he turned and walked out the front door.
Where did your love of books come from?
My Grandma Sandor. She was always reading a juicy romance.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Many of the books I love were books I read during difficult times. I remember reading Katy Evan’s books waiting for neurology appointments. Pamela Claire’s books were a great escape during the first months after my diagnosis. Emma Chase and Christina Lauren were two others that transported me to a different place.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
A little of both. When I’m locked in a scene, music pumping, words flowing, there’s no stopping me. But when I finally putter out, it’s naptime!
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Original. While my books bring on the heat, they also tackle mental health, abuse, drug use, and self-harm. The character’s journey is not always an easy one. I love cheering for the underdog. I adore when love finds a way.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
S.E. Rose, Emma Renshaw, Lynne Leslie, and Ashley Hastings were my first author friends. We created the Kiss and Tell Romance Group. Our group texts could be the next rom-com. I laugh with these women. I cry with these women.
I don’t know where I’d be without my talented mentor, Michelle Dare. Her books are well-written and completely engaging. She also happens to be one of the kindest people on the planet.
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
Your questions are fantastic!
Where can your fans find you and follow?
I love meeting new readers on social media!
Here’s my author FB page:
My reader group with amazing friends:
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️