I am over the moon that I have the privilege to feature Sandra Byrd on my blog today. Let me tell ya, if you have not read Sandra's French Twist series, you are missing out on a real treat! We're going to be talking to Sandra today about her latest book, as well as a few other interesting things. Welcome, Sandra!
1. How did your journey as a writer begin?
When I was a kid I wanted three careers: to be a hair stylist, to be a waitress, and to be an author. After I mohawked my Barbie I knew I wasn’t cut out for the hairstylist career. I actually was a waitress in a Jewish deli when I was a teenager, and I worked for a caterer. Writing, however, was the real passion. And it stuck!
2. If you weren’t an author, what would your dream job be and why?
Caterer. I love to cook for people and entertain. Busy for dinner?
3. How much of your own personal experiences do you write into your books?
Each character is influenced by my own experience, and many if not most of the settings, likes, and dislikes. In this series, I’m a little bit in each of them, I think. In Lexi’s exuberance but also her self doubt, in Margot’s hurt heart, in Dan’s joy of life but also insecurities, in her Mom’s final resolution of faith. In Nonna’s pestiness!
4. Tell us about the featured book.
Having earned her chef’s hat, Lexi Stuart bids au revoir to her glamorous and deliciously satisfying pastry mentorship outside of Paris and returns to her hometown of Seattle, Washington. There, she finds life unexpectedly complicated.
She’s put in charge of a high-end catering bakery called Bijoux, which should be her dream job, but there’s a catch: She has to make this lavish bakery into a successful business in just a few, short months, which will require more than her ability to make an amazing wedding cake. Stir in a complicated relationship with her French beau Philippe and his daughter, Celine, then add a dash of romance with down-to-earth lawyer Dan, and life suddenly contains more ooh la la than Lexi can handle.
5. How did you get the idea for Lexi’s story?
I started out writing for teens and tweens, and as they grew up, they stayed in touch. Their new life concerns were something they wanted to see reflected in novels with characters they identified with and enjoyed. Et voila! French Twist.
6. I believe I saw some pictures recently on Facebook about your trip to France. What was the experience like for you, and how much of your time there made it into your books?
That was actually my second visit to France, the first being when I was a teenager. A great deal of my visits, and my study of French and France, shaped the books. The people, the set, the orientation toward life. France is a beautiful place with charming people, blessed beyond all measure actually. They are just empty, for the most part, when it comes to God.
7. It’s hard not to think about gaining weight after reading about all the yummy things that are cooked up in all 3 books! Is there a recipe in one of the French Twist books that’s your favorite?
For fall/winter: Boyfriend Bait Beef Stroganoff
For spring/summer: Seattle Nicoise
And, of course, all the pastries!
8. Since writing the French Twist series, do you have any future plans for any more adult novels?
Yes. I’m currently completing a teen/tween series, London Confidential. After that I am going to be writing a series of historical fiction set during the Tudor times, for adults. I can’t wait! Off to London…
9. What do you hope readers take with them after reading one of your books?
I wanted to be a writer because I loved to read so much, and I still do. I wanted to provide the same kind of enjoyment and pleasure for others that I got from reading. That still inspires me. I think about the people I write for, the troubles they face, the issues they care about. I also want to give them a good, fun, respite from the day and a faith booster shot. I hope my books incorporate layers that provide all of those things.
10. Where can readers find you on the web?
Sandra, thank you so much for spending time with us today. It’s been a real treat!
Sandra has been so gracious to giveaway a copy of her newest book. If you would like to be eligible to win a copy, please leave a comment with your email address like--user at yahoo dot com--so I can contact you if you win. If you don't leave your email address, you will not be entered in the giveaway. Contest will be open until 11:59 CST, Saturday, October 17th, and the winner announced on Sunday, October 18th.
You also have the opportunity to win additional entries by doing one or all of the following:
+1: Subscribe by email to my blog
+2: Grab my button code to put on your blog
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Please leave ALL of your extra entries in one comment--so much easier for me to keep up with! :o)
Odds of winning are based upon the number of entrants. Contest open to U.S. residents only. Void where prohibited.