Thursday, October 20, 2011

Interview with Sandy Williams and Giveaway - October 20, 2011

Please welcome Sandy Williams to The Qwillery as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge interviews. The Shadow Reader, Sandy's debut novel, will be published on October 25, 2011 by Ace.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Sandy:  My most interesting writing quirk? I think it might be that I don’t have a writing quirk. Well, unless you count my Diet Coke addiction. I can function without coffee. I can function without chocolate. But I absolutely cannot function without a Diet Coke (or two!) a day.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Sandy:  I’m pretty sure I’ve been influenced by every author I’ve read, but the ones who have made the biggest impact on my writing are the ones that I worship. Ann Aguirre and Linnea Sinclair top my list of favorites. They both have books that are the perfect blend of science fiction and romance (I’m a huge fan of genre blending!). I’m also deeply in love with the works of Meredith Duran and Joanna Bourne. They both write historical romance, and they’re both absolutely brilliant. As for urban fantasy writers, I have Patricia Briggs, Kim Harrison, and Richelle Mead on auto-buy.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Sandy:  I’d like to call myself a pantser. That’s how I’ve written all my books so far. I didn’t outline The Shadow Reader or any of my previous projects. I started off with a few scenes in mind and had absolutely no idea how I was going to get my characters from here to there. That’s starting to change, though. Once you get a book contract, editors and agents kind of want to know what’s going to happen next, so I had to come up with a vague outline for book two. I have to say, I don’t hate knowing what’s going to happen as much as I thought I would. Really, the biggest difference is that I now write down all those random scenes I have in my head before I start a project.

TQ:  Describe The Shadow Reader in 140 characters or less.

Sandy:  A human with the ability to see and track the fae becomes a pawn in a fae civil war.

TQ:  What inspired you to write The Shadow Reader?

Sandy:  I had a scene in my head. Somebody attacked a space station, and a girl was hanging onto the edge of a metal platform. It was all fire and death and bad stuff beneath her, and the only way she could save her life was to accept help from her enemy. I had this one very vivid image of a man offering the girl his hand to pull her up, and the girl telling him to go to hell. Yep, that’s right. I thought that scene was going to be in a sci-fi book, but when I sat down to write it, it turned into an urban fantasy. I’m so glad it did! It’s one of my favorite scenes in the book, and you’ll recognize it toward the end of the first chapter, which you can read here.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Shadow Reader?

Sandy:  Do you count tying sheets together to see how far they stretch research? If so, that’s just about all I did. I had to know if it was feasible to climb down from a third story window with a few ripped sheets.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

Sandy:  McKenzie was an easy character to write. Her voice came naturally to me. She was also the hardest, though, especially toward the end. I was extremely paranoid she was going to come off as wishy-washy. I hope I wrote her well enough that she doesn’t!

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in The Shadow Reader?

Sandy:  The first chapter scene I mentioned above. I love the interaction there between McKenzie and Aren. Plus, it’s the scene that gave birth to the entire story. It’s definitely a favorite. Also a favorite? The wedding scene. Page 168 to be exact.

TQ:  How many books are planned for the McKenzie Lewis series?

Sandy:  Right now, I’ve only sold the second book. I’m hoping to make her current story arc a trilogy, though, and depending on how things go, I can see me writing other stories set in this world.

TQ:  What's next?

Sandy:  I’m really looking forward to next year! I’ll have the sequel finished and (hopefully) a third book completed soon as well. I’d like to write about more characters in McKenzie’s world, maybe tell the story of how she first became involved with the fae. I’d also love to tell Naito and Kelia’s story. I do want to work on other, unrelated projects, though. I have this sci-fi romance I’m just dying to finish!

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Sandy:  Thank you so much for having me!

About The Shadow Reader

The Shadow Reader
McKenzie Lewis 1
Ace, October 25, 2011

A Houston college student, McKenzie Lewis can track fae by reading the shadows they leave behind. For years she has been working for the fae King, tracking rebels who would claim the Realm. Her job isn't her only secret. She's in love with Kyol, the King's sword-master-but human and fae relationships are forbidden. When McKenzie is captured by Aren, the fierce rebel leader, she learns that not everything is as she thought. And McKenzie must decide who to trust and where she stands in the face of a cataclysmic civil war.

About Sandy

Sandy graduated from Texas A&M University with a double major in political science and history. She thought about attending law school. Fortunately, before handing over her life’s savings, she realized case studies weren’t nearly as interesting as novels and decided to get an MA in Library Science instead. She worked as a librarian until her husband whisked her off to London on an extended business trip. She’s now back home in Texas, writing full-time, raising newborn twin boys, and squeezing in time to play geeky board and card games like Settlers of Catan, Dominion, and Runebound.

Sandy's Links

Facebook Page:
Magic & Mayhem Writers Blog (group blog):

The Giveaway


What:  One commenter will win a copy of The Shadow Reader from Sandy. (US/Canada only.)

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

What is your favorite soda or other beverage? 

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)  Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)  Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)  Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans with a Canadian or United States mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Thursday, October 27 2011. Void where prohibited by law. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*


  1. My favorite soda is root beer

    sgiden at

  2. OK, Qwill. You win. I've added The Shadow Reader to my TBB List! ;)

    I have two favorite beverages: I simply cannot start the day without coffee -- any coffee will do, whether simply black (the good stuff at home), light & sweet (to make 7-Eleven coffee drinkable), or a fancy-schmancy (from Starbucks) -- I MUST have coffee!

    But once I've had my morning cuppa (or two or three), it's Diet Dr Pepper the rest of the day! I drink 2 or 3 Super Big Gulps of its awesomeness.

    All other liquids -- water, juice, milk, etc.... -- are afterthoughts. Yes, I have an addiction. :)

    (3: comment; follower; about to go retweet...)
    (P.S. It's not even 6:30am, and I'm on my 2nd huge mug o' joe! :p)

  3. Coke Zero! I can't live without it! The Shadow Reader is a great book! I'm already antsy to read the sequel. :)

  4. Favorite soda- Mt. Dew or Dr. Pepper.
    This book sounds great Sandy. I can't wait to read this book. I enjoy reading about Fae.

    your1chef at aol dot com

  5. My favorite beverage is orange juice especially if it's iced.

    I'm glad to see this book featured as it's on my wishlist. Thank you for the giveaway.

    I am a GFC follower.
    I tweeted:!/FieryNa/status/127052992183681024

    Cambonified [at] yahoo [dot] com

  6. this book looks awesome!!

    Diet Pepsi.. or Mountain Dew..
    i sometimes go for fruit juices, but those are my big 2.. instead of drinking coffee in the morning i have a diet pepsi

    alainala At hotmail DOT ca
    +1 for following
    +1 for commenting

  7. Diet Coke which I am currently weaning myself off. I'm down to one can a day from a 2 liter or twice as much on weekends. Next week it's down to caffeine free only, then none as of Nov. 1. :-(

  8. my favorite drink is sweet tea.

    +1 comment
    +1 follower

  9. Shadow Reader looks like a really great read! I'm so into UF lately, and I love the fae angle.

    I'd have to say that my favorite soda is Coke Zero, and my other favorite drink is coffee. I don't start my day without it. No sugar or flavored creamers, though! Just half and half... yum!

    +1 comment
    +1 follower

    debbie at burdeen dot com

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Shadow Reader looks like it is going to be an awesome read! Definately going on my TBR list!

    *my favorite soda is Coke...just like the refreshing taste and the fact that I can leave it out for a few hours and its not flat at all!

    +1 follower
    +1 comment
    +1 retweet
    thanks for the giveaway!
    x oxo


  12. I love Starbucks Mocha Frappuchinos. Please enter me in contest.

  13. Dr. Pepper! Love it!! This book looks really interesting. Thanks for the chance.

  14. Definately Dr. Pepper!

  15. My favorite beverage is coffee...columbian :)
    +1 comment
    +1 follower

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  16. Thanks for a great interview and giveaway! I love this cover and I've heard such great buzz about this book :)

    My fav soda would have to be Diet Mt. Dew. Can drink this all day, everyday ;)

    +1 comment
    +1 follower ~ erin


  17. Soda wise I like Pibb Zero. Yeah, nothing special there!

    But for a real treat I like making a chocolate-peanut butter milk shake! Sooooo good! It's a liquid peanut butter cup!


  18. I love tea :) brings back memories with my family. edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom

  19. My favorite soda is Dr. Pepper and Coke!

    Thanks for the giveaway


  20. My favorite soda is root beer and my favorite beverage is any kind of frappechino. :) Thank you for the lovely interview and giveaway!



  21. What a cool premise for a book! I soo want to win it!
    As for my fav bev? strong coffee, hands-down!
    +1 comment
    +1 GFC as MJB

    msmjb65 AT gmail DOT com

  22. Your book sounds great!! I love Diet Dr Pepper.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  23. Once upon a time I didn't really care what kind of soda I drank, but I lived with one of my friends for a year and she only drank Coke. Now I vastly prefer Coke to anything else.

    I'm a GFC follower as sablelexi
    I tweeted the giveaway here:!/sablelexi/status/127200588957102080

    total entries = 3

    jlynettes @ hotmail . com

  24. My favorite soda is Mellow Yellow
    I follow via
    wanda l flanagan
    and email

    posted to my blog

  25. My fav beverage is green tea.
    Thanks for the contest!

    GFC Follower

  26. My favorite soda is Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper. I love my orange juice in the morning and drink water during the day, but in the evening when it's time for dinner, I have to have my one soda of the day.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com
    GFC follower

  27. I love root beer personally.
    I have heard such great things about this book. I cannot wait for it's release. That was a wonderful interview.
    Thank you for coming on.

    terilhack at gmail dot com

  28. This sounds like an awesome book!
    That is great that you shared it.
    I love coffee. I am a zombie in the morning without it, and I do not drink soda much.

    kasuranna at yahoo dot com

  29. I am completely addicted to Diet Coke.

    Sounds like a great book. Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to reading it.

    -tweet -!/DonnaS1/status/127236198690324480
    -blog -

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  30. I don't drink soda but I love smoothies or shakes! :D
    but I mostly drink water :)

    GFC: Arianne Cruz
    email: cruz042 @csusm .edu

  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

  32. I don't drink much soda but when I do have one I like either Mt Dew or Cherry Pepsi.

    +1 Comment.
    +1 Blog follower. (Scorpio1974 on GFC)
    +1 Shared blog post on FB.

    Valerie Long
    Jewelry Creations by V.S. Long -

  33. My favorite is green or cold. I drink a cup of green tea every morning!

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  34. Unlike our beautifully talented Sandy, I love, love coffee. Can't do without it. I write in the early morning hours, so coffee is definitely my go-to staple. Oh, and lavender hand lotion by Thymes. I know, it's weird. But the scent does something magical to the muse.

    Fabulous interview. I LOVE the cover, too! How lucky you are, Sandy! Can't wait to read it.

    +1 followed, +1 commented, +1 Tweeted

  35. I mainly drink water. I like to live on the wild side. lol

    Thanks for the giveaway! I can't wait to read The Shadow Reader.

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower
    +1 Twitter mention:!/lesleyboogie/status/127443249475489792
    +1 blog mention:

    drakeLa90 at aol dot com

  36. Well I'm not a big carbonated beverage drinker but if I had to choose I would have to say Dr. Pepper. Otherwise my favourite drink is orange juice!

    I follow the blog.


    Thanks for the giveaway!

    whitewolfreads AT gmail DOT com

  37. Favorite? Only one? I'm addicted to Pepsi Max and Cherry Coke Zero, and sometimes diet Mountain Dew.

    I follow the Qwillery as well :)

  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

  39. My favorite beverage is or cold, but it has to be sweet. Can't wait to read this book!

    +1 Follower

  40. @Anne I keep telling myself I'm going to wean myself off of Diet Coke, but I always come up with some excuse. Now, I'm waiting until I turn in The Shadow Reader's sequel. :-)

    @donnas Another Diet Coke addict! *high fives*

    For those of you saying Dr. Pepper - that was my addiction back in college. I don't know why I switched to Diet Coke. Maybe because it has more caffeine? lol

  41. I'm super classy, so I love diet orange soda and pinot grigio.
    I'm a gfc follower.


  42. I so want to read Shadow Reader. Thank you so much for sharing the awesome interview and giveaway opportunity today. My favorite soda is sold only at Taco Bell, I know odd huh. It is called Baja Blast - is is an uber carbonated drink that tastes like the old Cactus Cooler, we used to get when we were kids and my grandfather delivered it. Of course it does not come in diet, which I just do not understand, so consequently I can only very rarely drink it :(
    I am a GFC follower
    tweeted -


  43. Mt Dew, can't survive with out it. I have three kids under the age of two (yes there is a multiple there) so I need the caffeine to function most days!
    What a great scene, having to accept help from your enemy, can't wait to read the rest!!!!

    GFC follower Lexi
    eyesofblueice (at) gmail (dot) com

  44. Diet Sundrop- the nectar of Gods

    +1 posted about giveaway--
    +1 GFC- Lisa Richards


    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  45. Pepsi!! and Dr. Pepper. :)

    +1 Comment
    +1 Follower :)


  46. I can not live without Cherry Pepsi. Thanks for the giveaway.

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC Follower
    +1 Twitter!/ERachaelM/status/128260668053921793

  47. My favorite soda is Dr. Pepper. In college I had a six-pack a day habit to get through. Now I try to limit myself to one a day.

    mljfoland AT hotmail DOT com
    GFC: ML

  48. My favorite soda is 7-Up.
    +1 Comment
    +1 Follower

    rubylin53 at gmail dot com

  49. My favorite cold beverage is Pepsi and my favorite hot beverage is Hot chocolate with marshmallows! Thank you for the giveaway! I am a follower.

  50. Red Bull...hands down, just ask anyone lol.

    GFC +
    Twit +
    All that jazz


  51. I cannot live without Coca Cola or Ginger Ale...Sad but true....

    + comment
    + follower

    flaca798at Hotmail dot com