Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Refilling the Creative Well

Hi Everyone, Sandra Orchard here, and I’m so excited to be back. I've missed all of you.

I took a cyberspace break for the past two months to give my full concentration to my writing, and have time to spare to refill my creative well.

And wow, what an experience that has been!

Of course... that had a lot to do with the fabulous Alaskan cruise hubby and I took in celebration of our 25th anniversary. Nothing like a great vacation to re-energize that creativity.

Not always in the ways you might think, either...

Would you believe I became suddenly ill just before bed the night before our flight? And our cab was due at 4 am!

Let me tell you, watching people from a lying positioning in the airport offers a whole new perspective.

Thankfully by the time our flight arrived for its connection in Vancouver, I felt much better. In fact, by the time we boarded the plane to Alaska, I was well enough to pick the brain of the passenger beside me who happened to be a pilot.

As I started to ask him how someone might sabotage his plane, my husband elbowed me and hissed, “Do you want to get us kicked off?!”

The pilot laughed. I had, after all, told him I was a romantic suspense writer!

He graciously pulled out his cell phone and showed me pics of his DC10 and what I’d have to do to down it. Hee! Hee!

Then we arrived in Alaska. Wow! God blessed us with spectacular views like this to fill our hearts and minds!

This was our first time on a cruise, and that in itself was an amazing experience. Since I was working on a story proposal set on a cruise ship, I spent a great deal of time chatting with staff, from waiters to cabin stewards. We even had a behind-the-scenes tour of the ship.

Admittedly, the captain looked a tad nervous when I asked what he’d do if someone went overboard. Hubby assured him I didn't plan to jump. Although there was that occasional gleam in hubby's eye that he might be tempted to push me if I didn't stop asking so many questions.

I arrived home brimming with renewed writing energy and... to a new contract!!! Such a lovely anniversary gift from my editor, don’t you think? <grin>

So… now I’m working on two books.

The first is a trade-length romantic suspense/mystery for Revell Publishing that features a herbal researcher as the heroine and a cop as the hero. The novel is the second book in a three-book series called Port Aster Secrets, and I’ve learned that writing a book where the romance arcs three books is VERY different than writing a single book romance.

The other book I'm working on is my new Love Inspired Suspense, in which an antique Cadillac figures prominently. So of course, it was essential that I experience what riding in one would be like. <grin>

Hmmm, I wonder where I should set my next novel… My daughter is planning a trip to Australia next fall… <wink>

Your Turn: Where would you like to see a novel set?

P.S. Please join me tomorrow at my blog, Conversations about Characters, where Love Inspired author Lisa Jordan will share the inspiring story behind her characters in her new release, Lakeside Family

Garden Path image courtesy of Simon Howden/FreeDigitalPhotos.net


  1. Hi Sandra, I can see the pilot laughing at your husbands comment.
    reminds me of the elderly couple I sat next to once on a plane. He was bad! If I was scared of flying he would have had me of the plane in a shot. He kept making comments before we left of the workmen looking at the engine and made comments Like I hope the engine doesn't fall off. I joined in by saying if it falls let me know. His wife was ready to disown him but it was so funny. He was so bad but it was really funny at the same time.
    Did you ask the captain of the cruise ship how to sabotage it also?
    I am sure you could set a book in Australia. Maybe someone is running here to hide. Or your plane drama could be a flight to Australia!

  2. That does sound funny. Hope there wasn't anyone sitting near the guy who was deathly afraid of flying! I didn't ask the cruise ship captain how to sabotage the ship :) I like your Australia idea!!

  3. Hi Sandra, Lucky for me I'm married to a former pilot, lol! But, when I was working on a suspense story, my husband and I had our fair share of strange looks and people waiting for another elevator when I was talking plots. :)

    How lovely that you got to take the cruise and got the contract :) Energized and motivated now, I bet.

    Yeah, I like the Australia setting. Or at least reference it in some way integral to the plot. I am all about exotic and different settings outside the US. :)
    Happy writing!

  4. Sandra, I'm so glad your trip refreshed you and that you learned a lot about planes and ships. We also went on an Alaskan cruise for our 25th anniversary. Looks like you had better weather than we did. Our weather was wet a drizzly most of the time except during the day and a half that we spent in the Yukon.

  5. LOL, Deb--we didn't have anyone step off an elevator on us!

    Merrillee, I think wet and drizzly pretty much describes our days in Alaska. The first cruising day was beautiful. The next one and the 3 port days following it were wet and drizzly. Our helicopter trip to a glacier to dogsled got canceled for the fog :( But...that's why we splurged on a behind-the-scenes tour, which was really interesting. We then, of course, had gorgeous weather the last day of cruising, and thankfully for our two days in Vancouver. But I figure foggy Alaska weather sets the mood for a good suspense, right?! :)

  6. I really am afraid of flying and take the train whenever I can.

    My husband is long-suffering to. We once met a rural fireman at a picnic and I was asking about desert farms and finding dead bodies. My husband didn't stick around.

    It's true. We're all suspense writers at heart.

  7. I look forward to your new books, Sandra!

    Love the pictures.

  8. Sandra! Congrats on the three-book deal with Revell!

    So do tell how you're dividing your writing time to work on two different books.

    Love the idea of a two-month cyberbreak when on deadline. Not sure I could be offline that long, though! :)

    Happy Anniversary!!! Hubby and I celebrate a big one this Sunday. We're trying to decide how we'll celebrate--trip wise. No hurry. I'm swamped with work right now so the trip will have to wait.

  9. Sounds like we are, Pamela!

    Thanks, Loree and Debby!
    As for dividing my time between two books, my plan had been to work on one in the mornings and the other in the afternoons. But...that didn't work out so well in the early stages. I'd spend all day on one, and half the evening, too! Now that I have the first drafts of both more than halfway done, I'm getting more optimistic that I can split my time. It's kind of nice to have another story to switch to when I get stuck. Gives my subconscious time to work on the other problem and still look productive. :)

    Happy anniversary, Debby!

  10. I'm not a fan of flying, but I really do have to just get over it, lol. I always have my Bible close by when we're set for take off.

    Stories set in different continents like Africa or Asia or while traveling the high seas are unique.

  11. I'm not a fan of flying, but I really do have to just get over it, lol. I always have my Bible close by when we're set for take off.

    Stories set in different continents like Africa or Asia or while traveling the high seas are unique.

  12. What a wonderful trip, Sandra!! I'm still amazed you had the nerve to ask that pilot about taking down his plane!! LOL Your poor hubby. :)

  13. Oh, and congrats on the new contract! :)

  14. Brandi, I always pray during takeoffs and landings. :)

    Sandra, thanks for sharing your writing schedule. Not sure I could split the day either, although I believe Lynette Eason does just that.

  15. Brandi, what kills me about flying is that for days afterwards my head does these Sunday dips, like that dizzy feeling you sometimes get when you step off an elevator or a roller coaster suddenly dips. Hate it!

    thanks, Missy!

    You're welcome, Debby, and yup, Lynette and I will now be publishing mates at two houses. :)

  16. Sandra I get that feeling when I travel. I actually had it bad when I got home from hospital and took a couple weeks to get over it. I did find that drinking more helped alot.
    I dont feel as bad getting of the plane but elevators and air condition play havoc with my balance.

    Alaska would be a cool place for suspense.

  17. Jenny, I'll have to try drinking more water at this year's ACFW, because I had it really bad at last year's conference. Are you feeling back up to snuff now since your ordeal?

  18. Im getting there I still tire easy. If I over do things I know about it but not as bad as it was I can read at night a bit now but lights out still around 9.30 which is better than it was.
    I know when I travel I dont drink nearly enough I think its partly cos of having to buy the liquid. which probably explains why I suffer more. I know when I went to hawaii the first night I cramped something shocking due to not drinking much the day I arrived.

  19. We all need to drink water when we travel. Good advice.