Sunday, June 10, 2012

Getting to know Sandra Gardner

My guest this week is author, Sandra Gardner. Let’s get to know her!

Sandra, where did you grow up? Did your childhood contribute to your desire to be awriter?
I grew up in small-town Massachusetts, about an hour north of Boston – Maldenin early childhood till high school, then Medford, the next small town. I read constantly, since the age of six, stories, fairy tales, later, novels. So I imagine that contributed to my desire to write – started writing poetry in highschool. In my senior year, I was lucky enough to have a wonderful teacher in English class. She had us write what she called a “theme” every week, at home.
I’d lock myself in the family bathroom and write whatever came into my head tillI was done. My teacher really encouraged me, for which I will be forevergrateful. My dream was to become a reporter, preferably a foreign correspondent,traveling to exotic, dangerous places and reporting on the news.
Where do you live now? Do you use that locale for settings in your novels?
I live in a rural section of Woodstock, NY (THE Woodstock). It’s a wonderful community of tolerant, laid-back people, lots of writers and artists.  So far, I haven’t used it for a setting.  My first mystery novel of my series, Mother,
Murder and Me, is set in NYC.
What inspired you to write your most recent novel?
Ah, this is strange.  I had a bout of bronchitis and was lying on the sofa inthe living room, when I had a sense, a feeling, of my mother standing over me. Ihad the sense to drag myself to my computer in my study and start typing. Twentyor so pages later, I had a daughter in her late 30s and her mother, recently deceased, who’d been the bane of the daughter’s existence in life.  A few days later, I realized that I couldn’t base a whole novel on a ghost-mother and
daughter’s relationship. Since I’m a mystery novel fanatic, I decided to try and make it into a mystery. Besides the murders, suspense, red herrings,relationships, etc., it had to have lots of humor, since that’s the way I think.
Did you plan your series before or after you wrote the first book in the
Yes and no. I didn’t plan on it, but while I was revising the first book, I kepthaving ideas for future books with the two main characters, and I’d jot them down on little pieces of paper and shove them into a folder. So it had to happen.
Name three of your favorite authors in the mystery genre.
Kate Flora, Karin Slaughter, Kate Atkinson. (there’s lots more but you said three.)
What are your favorite things to do when you’re not reading or writing? 
Playing the piano – I took four years of classical piano when I was a preteen into my teens, played in competitions and recitals, which I hated.  But I loved my piano teacher. I finally (!) have acquired a rebuilt Steinway baby grand, which is my most valuable possession. I also like to meditate, do dance exercise, yoga, hang out with girlfriends, go to concerts and other things with my husband, occasionally visit my grown kids,  take care of my many houseplants, knit stuff, watch True Crime and old movies on TV and keep up with national politics, mainly on TV.
That’s quite a long list! Do you like to travel? If so, what are some of your favorite places to go?
London. We finally got to spend two weeks there last fall and both of us didn’t ever want to leave.  I really fell in love with all that wonderful history, tradition, everything.
How would you describe yourself personality wise?
Mostly extrovert, but I do like spending time with myself, too.
What’s your favorite color? Why?
Purple, and shades of blue-purple, like periwinkle. Maybe it’s a little magic and a little “Woodstock.”  My favorite Woodstock spiritual person, who introduced me to the teachings of the Divine Mother, Sri Kuranamayi, often wore purple—we sometimes dress very similarly – I even own some of her clothes I got at her yard sales --- recently died, and I really miss her.
What’s your answer to this question – If I won a million dollars, I would ------
buy a second home in London.

For a sneak preview of Mother, Murder, and Me or to order a copy in paper or Kindle format, go to: