Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Interview and Give Away with Sandra Sookoo!


One of my favorite sub-genres in romance is "light" paranormal. I love the idea of taking a typically dark subject matter (like vampires, werewolves, demons, etc) and making it...funny! And sexy, and sweet. Sandra Sookoo manages all that and more with her new release Demons and Stilettos Are A Girl's Best Friend. The hero of this story is a demon/IRS agent, and he is absolutely fantastic! (Please check out Penelope's review here).

I'm tickled to have Sandra with us today for an interview and give away--one lucky commenter will get some goodies from Sandra, including a stiletto shaped luggage tag, bookmarks and postcards, so please leave her a message.


1) Hi Sandra! One of my favorite combinations is romance and humor! I love witty, cute romances...they always make me happy. I laughed out loud a ton while reading Not Just Make Believe. Your sense of humor is fabulous, and the physical comedy in that book is really funny. Do you have to work at it, or is it natural? Are you a jokester in real life? Do you love watching movies that are romantic comedies, have slapstick humor, etc? What's your favorite? (Also, do you write some "serious" stories, too...without the humor?)

First off, thanks for having me on your blog. Second, I love making people laugh. The world is depressing enough. Laughter can fix it. So that’s how I write. Do I work on it? Not really. It’s a natural thing. I call life as I see it, with a sarcastic slant, and I’ve been known to crack people up around me at functions and different things. It’s just me. So, yeah, I guess you could say I’m a jokester. Any romantic comedy with tons of humor is great for me. I also love watching stand up comics. Favorite movie? Enchanted is good, The Wedding Planner, I could go on and on LOL

And yes, I do write serious stuff. Some of my historical pieces and a few paranormal stories have a darker side, too.

2) I've read 2 of your books, Not Just Make Believe and Demons and Stilettos. Both have a heroine with a "snarky" attitude going on--maybe a little bit sarcastic, self-effacing, likes to cuss like a sailor! Do you like writing first person POV? Is that your favorite approach? What's up with the snarky heroines? Do you ever write a sweet, shy heroine? other types? Or do you find the snarky ones offer more conflict, more sexual tension, more comedic elements, etc.

Demons and Stilettos is written in the third person. Not Just Make Believe is one of two books written in the first person. The other will be out in August called Wedgie Tales and Panty Lines and it’s loaded with humor. Demons just needed to be written in the third so I could get the hero’s POV. Do I like writing in first person? Yes, but editors don’t really like reading it LOL In fact, my funny paranormal The Art of Fang Shui was originally written in the first person but then I converted it to third before shopping it around to publishers.

Snarky heroines have spunk and a staying power no matter what’s thrown at them and I think they use humor as a weapon or to hide behind sometimes. All my heroines have faults and flaws that make them more approachable I think.

3) Okay, the thought of rewriting a book from first person to third makes me want to cry. I can't believe you did that! Yikes!

You are seriously the most prolific writer I know! I can't believe how many books you've released this past year. (What's the grand total?)...Do you just work on one book at a time, or many simultaneously? If you do a lot simultaneously, is it hard to jump back and forth?

LOL I have had 5 books released this year so far. Prolific? Maybe. Some of them are shorter pieces so that makes a difference. If I’m stuck on a long piece, sometimes I’ll work on a shorter piece to clear my mind. The last book I wrote was 92K and I only concentrated on it because it was intense. And I loved it LOL It’s not really hard to jump back and forth. I’ll do a chapter in each, but it just depends on the piece.

4) Do your story ideas pop fully formed in your head, or just nuggets that need to be expanded at a later date? (By the way, I think making your demon hero an IRS agent is absolutely brilliant! What a great idea...I totally loved it!) Do you plot or pants your books? What's the hardest part of writing for you...dialogue, description, love scenes, or do you love them all?

I’m actually a big believer in outlining and plotting ahead of time. Does it change along the way? Yes, of course. But, it’s like a map for me and that way, I don’t get lost in the story and off the rails. Sometimes a whole scene will come to mind. Other times, it’s like fitting puzzle pieces together. You can’t rush a book. The hardest part? It really depends on the book. Love scenes are a pain sometimes to put into a book because I just don’t want to deal with them sometimes LOL If I had to say, it would be fight scenes, but again, it all depends.

5) Do you feel like you're in writer mode all the time....can't shut it off? My husband thinks I'm nuts because we'll be in the middle of a conversation and all of a sudden I run off to the office to jot something down! hee hee.....

I am in writer’s mode all the time. That’s the nature of being a writer. Life inspires. A snippet of conversation, a picture, whatever it is can jog your brain and off you go LOL I’ve gotten into the habit of talking about my plots and books with my husband. He’s been a huge help on some of the places where I’m stuck or doubting.

6) How did you first get interested in writing? What was your first creation? (that sounds sort of like Frankenstein doesn't it?)

LOL Books were what got me interested in writing. That and wanting to escape a less than stellar childhood. I wrote my first “book” at the age of ten. It was an epic fantasy about knights who were the boys in the neighborhood LOL Needless to say, I burned it when I was a teenager and don’t even get me started on the soppy, gag-me stories I penned during that time!

7) Ha! I have some seriously melodramatic poetry I wrote during the teenage years. My ex-boyfriends were a great source of inspiration!

What's next on the horizon for you? Any new projects that you are really digging right now?

What’s next? Wherever my imagination takes me I suppose. LOL Actually, I’m in the middle of outlining a brand new full length project. This time it’ll be a fantasy with romantic elements and humor. I hope it goes over well. After that, or during that depending, I need to write a short piece that sort of bridges two other books.

8) Since I have a quirky ladies blog, I have to ask....What are some of your quirky characteristics?

Quirks? I love to brew coffee for the scent but hate drinking it. Love to make steak for my hubby but don’t like eating it. I don’t like flip flops because I don’t like things between my toes LOL and the smell of cat food turns my stomach LOL Is that quirky enough? Oh, one last thing. I base a lot of my humor on…well…real experiences in my life. I can’t make some of this stuff up!

9) I can't drink coffee anymore, but every morning my husband brews up Starbucks French Roast and the whole house smells delicious. Although it seriously tortures me since I can't drink it!

Last question! I know you are really into cooking. Could you part with a favorite recipe? Something you love to cook? I love cooking with fresh herbs and Indian spices. Always gets me in a good mood.

LOL I do love to cook. If I’m stuck on a plot point in a book, I head to the kitchen because it helps my brain to work out the problem.

I asked Sandra if she would part with a favorite recipe and she graciously agreed! Yippee!

Sandi’s Turkey Meatballs


Heat oven to 375 degrees

Ingredients:


One pound of ground turkey. Dark or light meat, it doesn’t matter

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

¼ cup dried bread crumbs

1 large egg

½ red bell pepper

½ small yellow onion or one whole shallot

1 teaspoon parsley

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon of you favorite grill seasoning

Salt and pepper-dash of each


Dump meat into mixing bowl to come up to room temperature.

In medium frying pan, sauté bell pepper and onion/shallot in 1 teaspoon olive oil until soft and tender.

Set aside to cool.

Once cool, add to meat. Add rest of ingredients then mix until just combined with hands. Do not over mix. If too wet to roll, add a bit more bread crumbs.

Roll into walnut sized balls.

Brown in skillet on all sides, then transfer to the oven. (move meatballs into an oven safe baking dish if your skillet can’t go into the oven.)

Bake for 20 minutes or until meat is no longer pink, depending on the size of the meatballs.


Serve with any sort of pasta, or eat alone.


***

Yum, that sounds delicious, Sandra! Thanks so much for the recipe and the fun interview.

Faithful Readers: Don't forget to leave a comment if you'd like a chance to win some fun goodies!



Here's a blurb and excerpt from Demons and Stilettos...enjoy!...


Anne Jenkins never believed there was a heaven or hell but when she’s rescued from a runaway horse by a guy who claims he’s a demon, her freak detector goes off. She demands proof and the leather-clad biker sets some local wildlife on fire. She starts to trust in a hurry.

Gregg Carter, bound to the Devil for all eternity because of an audit gone wrong, seizes the opportunity to take possession of Anne’s soul as a way to please his boss. What he didn’t count on was the fact that his libido would take the one-way bus to crazy town as he gets to know her better.

Trouble is, Anne and Gregg spend so much time trying to hide their true selves from each other, they can’t escape the attraction that builds between them. But everyone knows demons and humans don’t mix, and neither can two people who have no futures.

***

Anne glanced around, looking for hidden cameras just in case her friends were attempting to punk her. Seeing nothing but red and gold leaves that shook in the slight breeze, she turned back to the biker. “You’re serious, aren’t you?”

“You bet. Now, I need you to sign here testifying that I did indeed save your life and prevented the early termination of such. Because I did, the payment for my deed is one human soul, to be rendered due and payable within thirty days of the receipt of said services.” He held the pen out to her. “I do have other clients today.”

“I can’t just give you my soul. I don’t even know exactly where in my body it’s located or how a person goes about parting with it.” She took another drink. “Besides, don’t I need my soul in order to function? I’m pretty sure it’s not like an appendix or something.” Flutters filled her stomach when the smile he’d flashed earlier morphed into something smoldering and sexy.

“A human soul is only valuable if you know how to use it. To sweeten the pot, I’m prepared to give you three wishes.”

Anne snorted while she took another drink. Water shot through her nose, and tears stung her eyes. Not exactly the sort of thing that would impress a bike-riding minion from hell—not that she wanted to impress him. Damn, I must be desperate if I’m trying to catch the interest of an alleged demon.

Wiping the drops from her face with the back of her hand, she stifled another round of laughter. “Three wishes, huh? Like a magic genie?”

“No, it’s an added bonus, an incentive. Think of it as a supplement to the contract in order to cushion the blow of my taking your soul. You have thirty days to accept the offer, but be aware there are some conditions.”

“Is saving me from impending death one of the wishes?” The whole conversation felt so weird and beyond normal that Anne suddenly knew how Alice felt in the Lewis Carroll story.

“No, but at least you’re paying attention.” A smile curved his lips. “You can use the wishes on yourself or others, but they must be used in the time allowed. You can’t save them. Also, until you exhaust the wishes or they expire at the end of the specified term, I will be your constant companion—”

“I thought you had other clients?”

He huffed his disapproval. “I have a very loose schedule. Anyway, if you do not use the wishes by the end of the thirty day period, you forfeit them, and I still take your soul.”

“That doesn’t sound very fair.” Anne frowned. Fear made her insides clench. “What if I don’t agree to any of it? I mean,” she snorted from the absurdity of the notion, “it really is pretty unbelievable.”

A shadow of annoyance crossed Gregg’s face, and his expression grew dark with anger. “It doesn’t matter. I saved your life. Therefore, you owe me. I can reset recent events and leave you to die, or I can take your soul, and you’ll still die, but at least you will have lived it up for thirty days. What’s not to get?”

Publisher’s website: http://www.thewildrosepress.com/demons-and-stilettos-are-a-girls-best-friend-p-4009.html

Book video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y03FhClKV_Q


Happy Romance Reading to Everyone!

Penelope



26 comments:

Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks for having me today!

Penelope said...

Hi Sandi! Thanks for the fun interview. Happy Release Day!

Sherri Browning Erwin said...

What a find! I love light paranormals and turkey meatballs :) Looking forward to Demons and Stilettos.

Penelope said...

Hi Sherri! Thanks for stopping by. I'm gonna try the meatballs for dinner tonight! You will love Demons and Stilettos. It's a really cute, sexy story.

Carrie said...

Morning Sandi!

Love Demons and Stilettos....great title and great book! And you know I love your writing!

Great interview!

carrie
(who doesn't know how to operate a stove otherwise I'd be trying turkey meatballs too!)

Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks for stopping by Sherri :-) I hope you enjoy the book.

Thanks Penny! I'd be making the meatballs for supper tonight but being laid low yesterday with a migraine, I forgot to take the turkey out of the freezer. LOL

Thanks Carrie! I hope you'll pick up the book (and enjoy it over some great carry-out!) LOL

tetewa said...

Congrats on the release, sounds good! tWarner419@aol.com

Rebecca Royce said...

One of my favorite things about coming to Sandi's release parties are the recipes. It makes me wish I could cook.

Penelope said...

Hi Carrie...thanks for stopping by today. Sounds like you're good with take-out! me, too!

Penelope said...

Hi tetewa! I definitely recommend this book...it's funny and sexy!

Hi Rebecca! Maybe Sandra will publish a cookbook someday? Meals for Starving Writers? I'd buy it!

vvb32 reads said...

great interview. thanks for the yummy recipe. and i love the snark and fashion combo from the title. the book sounds like fun. i'd love to read it ;-D
vvb32 at yahoo.com

Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks for stopping by tetewa!
Thanks Rebecca :-) Besides writing, cooking's my life LOL
Thanks wb32reads! I hope you'll pick up the book :-)

Cate Masters said...

Congrats on your release, Sandra! Or I should say, newest release. :) Sounds like another fantastic and fun read.

Anonymous said...

Sandi i stopped by to support you (cuz I luv ya sista)....and find Turkey Meatballs... between you and the cupcake talk earlier I'm salivatig worse than Pavlov's dogs here...man I shouldn't have skipped breakfast & lunch. OOHH and I can't wait till friday when I can buy your book! ♥ Paula

Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks Cate! It'll be a busy summer LOL

Thanks Paula! I sure do appreciate you coming by. You made my day :-) Hope you like the book!

Debra St. John said...

Hi Sandra,

Your book sounds fabulous. Totally my kind of read!

katsrus said...

Mmmm sounds good. going to have to make it. Love the cover of your book. Sounds really good. Happy release day Sandra.
Sue B

Taste of Homecooking said...

Totally off to purchase another book by my now favorite author! Keep up the awesome work! I know I'll soon be bringing brownies to your book signings :)

Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks Sue! I hope you enjoy the book :-)

Thanks Stacey! I still have to find out how to set up book signings. It's a mystery to me. But brownies would be great!

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Great interview and even better excerpt. :)

I am so with you on the coffee thing--LOVE the smell, hate the taste, and don't like flip-flops either. :)

And Penelope (Penny?)--totally enjoyed Sweet Inspiration!

stacey said...

Happy Release Day.I love a book that can be funny. and paranormals are my fave

sasluvbooks(at)yahoo.com

Penelope said...

Thanks to everyone who stopped by. I heartily encourage you to check out this wonderful story by Sandra.

Hi Stacey! Yes, it's Penny aka Penelope! So glad you liked Sweet Inspiration...thanks a ton for reading it!

EmilyBryan said...

Delightful. Makes me want to release my "inner snark."

Sandra Sookoo said...

And the winner is...tetwa!

contact me at sandra.sookoo@comcast.net with your mailing address :-)

Thanks everyone for coming out and celebrating the release with me. I hope you all enjoy my book!

etirv said...

Scared of stilettos but love meatballs, demons and paranormal romances! Congrats Sandi!!!
delilah0180(at)yahoo(dot)com

Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks Delilah! I think I'm gonna make them this weekend :-) Note to self--pull the turkey out of the dang freezer LOL