1. Have you ever gotten “reader’s block” and how did you get through that?

I don’t think I’ve ever had “reader’s block.” There are a few books I haven’t finished, but most books have something to interest me. Sometimes I dislike the story, but find the writing and use of language compel me further in the book. If the writing is bad and I’m not reading for information, I stop reading. Life is too short for bad writing.

  1. How did you balance writing your story your way and giving readers what they want?

Writers write for different reasons. I write for the joy of writing and my engagement in the story I’m telling. Naturally, I hope the story will resonate with my readers, and I don’t want to disappoint anyone who has invested time and money in my story, but I have to be true to the story and the characters who inhabit it.

  1. What was an experience you had when you discovered the power of words/language?

As a child I developed what might be considered a bad habit. If I came across a word I didn’t know, I read through it and assumed I’d pick up the meaning from context. Generally, things worked out. The first time I encountered the word “calm,” I transposed the letters to “clam,” and understood the meaning from context. When I tried to use my new word “clam,” the adults around me had a good laugh. I learned a valuable lesson – context isn’t everything.

  1. What’s your favorite under the radar novel?

Grave of Hummingbirds” by Jennifer Skutelsky (published in 2016) isn’t well-known. Skutelsky’s writing is beautiful and compelling. The promised hummingbirds weren’t present, unless you count the spirits of the dead. Condors, on the other hand, were omnipresent. They soared, watching the land beneath. The boy shot one. Two American innocents stumble into this mystic soup; Sophie, a forensic anthropologist, and her son Finn whose sensory ability takes him into the heads of pumas and condors. A good read.

  1. How much did real world people influence your characters and do you feel a debt to them?

My books are based on actual events. I learned about Mary Pigot’s lawsuit against William Hastie while researching my previous book, “Rama’s Labyrinth.” I’m thankful Mary and/or her supporters who published “Report of the Case of Pigot v. Hastie” composed of trial document and a synopsis of testimony, and to the “Indian Daily News” for publishing the trial testimony as it unfolded. I felt Mary’s courage was outstanding and that her story needed to be told.

  1. How many unpublished or unfinished books do you have? After successfully finishing this book, do you feel any of those could be revisited?

My only unpublished/unfinished book is the one I’m currently researching.

  1. What did you edit out of this book?

I didn’t edit out or delete any scenes, but I did make decisions as I did my research on how I wanted to approach the story.

  1. Do you read, or plan on reading, reviews of this book? If so, how do you deal with the good and the bad ones?

I do read my reviews. So far the reviews for “Two Coins” have all been positive, including a starred review from Kirkus Reviews which delighted me. Naturally, every writer, myself included, prefers positive reviews. But every reader approaches a book from her or his own perspective. In general, so long as I’m confident that I’ve done everything possible to present the best story for my readers, I tend to focus on positive reviews more than negative ones.

  1. Does your family support your writing career? Were any of them instrumental in the creation process?

My family is enthusiastic about my writing.

  1. Do you like audiobooks, e-books, or physical books better? Why?

I like having a choice of formats. E-books are certainly more practical if I’m traveling, and also if the book is quite long. I’m reading a hardback book at the moment that is over 400 pages. It would be logistically easier to read it in digital form.

  1. What is the most unusual or surprising element of your writing routine?

I don’t think there’s anything unusual about my writing routine. I think the most important aspect is to commit to writing every day in a place without distractions.

  1. What is your favorite time of day, season, and place to write? Why?

I don’t like writing on dark days, because I’m lethargic and less focused. I like to write on sunny days without too much humidity so I can open the windows and feel the breeze on my face. Those are my best writing days.

  1. What is your favorite word and why?

I suppose my favorite word is intrepid since it combines being both fearless and adventuresome, the willingness to try new things and see things through.

  1. Is there anything you’re currently working on that would intrigue or interest readers?

My first two historical novels are set in British India. My current novel, which is at the research stage, is about early Anglo-Saxon England. I think readers have an affinity for English historical fiction.

  1. Do you share books before they’re done or wait until you have a completed draft?

I don’t share my books until after the second draft.

  1. Writing is usually seen as a solitary affair, is this true in your case?

Research, writing, and editing are all solitary activities for me, and also, for the most part, silent so that I can hear my characters.

  1. Do you start out with a concrete plot or let an idea or ideas lead you?

My historical fiction focuses on actual individual women. In that sense, there is a plot. My interpretation of the characters flows from the narrative arc.

  1. What book or author inspired you to start writing?

There’s no single book or author that inspired me to start writing. I’ve always enjoyed reading historical fiction. My writing developed during my training as an historian.

  1. Do you read any of your own work after publication?

I don’t generally read my work after it’s published.

  1. Do you have a day job other than writing? Does that job ever get in the way of writing?

I’m a retired history professor.

  1. Do any of your friends or family seem to have the writing bug?

So far, no one else in my family has expressed an interest in writing.

  1. How critical are you of your own work compared to reading other authors?

I’m very critical of my own work after the first draft is done and I begin rewriting. I want the story to be seamless with no distractions for the reader. I hold other authors to the same standard. I expect a good story with engaging characters and excellent writing skills.

  1. How important is reading other authors to your own writing?

Reading other authors, both inside and outside my genre, teaches me about what good and bad practices are. When I read bestsellers, I understand more about what readers are looking for.

  1. How important is privacy to you as an author? Do you mind fans or plan on adopting a pseudonym?

I don’t use a pen name, and am delighted when readers enjoy my work. Readers can contact me through my website sandrawagnerwright.com