First, if we were meeting at a Coffee shop I’d be drinking a Latte.
What would you be drinking? Mint tea, please. My naturopath guru has taken me off dairy and everything else delicious. I call it the ‘Non-Dairy, Non-Fun Program’. Before the health nutter ruined my taste pallet, it would have been a hot and creamy latte along with you.
Thank you so much for taking time to sit down and answer a few questions. I LOVED The Warlord’s Wife. Your story was absolutely spellbinding! I found it so engaging and breathtaking, as if I were truly in 12th century Sweden and Finland. What inspired you to write this story? The basic outline of Lida, my heroine, came from my grandmother. She had this terrible tragic life, a widow at twenty (with my mother on the way), disowned by her in-laws, she then worked tirelessly for ten years to support herself as a single mom. At 30, she remarried and had four sons. She died of breast cancer at the young age of 48.
Lida’s early years are pretty much torn from my grandmother’s diary. The glaring difference in the story I give Lida, is that her second husband wasn’t a bleep-bleep-bleep or a son of a bleep. So, in my imaginary world of Tronscar, I gave Lida a real man, Magnus, a man that starts out rough around the edges, but treats her and her daughter with love and respect.
How did you research for it? The setting of Sweden came to me when I hijacked my son’s school project of his family tree. My husband is half Swedish, and since I’m basically a mutt, having no ethic group to latch onto, I picked Sweden as my people. I always did love meatballs and smoked salmon. The history nerd in me then took over and for years I read any and all ‘Viking’ fiction and non-fiction.
I’m so excited to see that this is a series, how many books do you anticipate? Sink or swim in sales will probably answer that question better than me. I have several more completed manuscripts, following the lives of Magnus and Lida’s ‘Sons of the North’.
The one I am most entrenched in right now is book 3, Hök, Magnus and Lida’s second son. At the tender age of eighteen, he gets his heart trampled on by a beautiful, highborn Norwegian girl who is used in a ‘honey pot’ scam to extort Magnus. Years later, Hök and Sovia meet up again, she’s seconds from having her head cut off for selling secrets to Sweden’s enemies. She’s been labeled a whore by the Swedish Queen and does not shrink from the title but bolding argues that if her actions render her guilty of low morals, then so be the definition of all men. Fearing igniting a new war with Norway, the last war has just ended, Hök petitions the King to let him wed Sovia for her inherited land. The king agrees, granting this favor to Hök as a returning war hero. Their marriage begins as a battle ground, him not trusting her, disgusted with her past, Sovia using a false front of arrogant pride to cover up her deep inner pain and feelings of worthlessness. Their marriage quickly simmers into something much more…oh and Hök of course has to avenge the warlord that tries to take her from him.
I’m obsessed with Sovia at the moment. She’s damaged, been treated harshly by the world since she was a little girl, but she has an unbreakable spirit that Hök, nor I, cannot help but admire. Fingers crossed they will one day see the light of day. I really hope that there will be at least two or three more books in the series.
When is the Iron Princess being released? I’m not sure I can wait that long 🙂 I was told this week the release date is 6/6/15. I just finished my last touch ups and I admit, I didn’t want to send it back and let Katia and Lothair go. The story is very different from The Warlord’s Wife, which I would hope classifies as a family drama, where The Iron Princess is an adventure, coming of age story for both main characters. I had so much fun writing it. It didn’t feel at all like work, more like my alone time with my best friends…did that sound as corny as I think it did?
Not at all 🙂 Thank you again- I had a great time!
8 Tantalizing Tidbits:
1. A Must read book and why? I have a hundred Must reads, but for the past few years, The Outlander Series has been on a constant rotation on my kindle; Gorgeous, crisp, poetic writing of adventure, guys in kilts, true love, marital bless one chapter and marital warfare the next. Oh, did I mention the kilts?
2. What is one place that I should see if I visit your hometown? Equestrian and nature trails are what set our small town apart. Most every day you’ll find me on a trail being dragged behind my unruly husky. A lot of my neighbors own farmettes and keep horses. At the local cafe, it’s not unusual to see women and young girls in their riding pants and boots coming from their Saturday morning riding lessons.
3. When you plot out your book do you know how it will end or do you figure it out as you go? For the majority of my stories, they are fully formed in my head before I type one word. At night, or when I’m vacuuming or doing something mindless, the entire story just pieces together and plays out, and after I have the opening scene tidied up in my head, I start to write it down. It usually comes out pretty fast after that, but then the real ‘work’ part of the process begins, edit and polish.
4. Do you watch a TV show weekly or binge watch? I find I binge read romance series more than watch TV. But it does depend on if Vikings (History Channel) or Outlander (Starz) are on, then yes, I watch weekly and take the batteries out of the remote so my husband doesn’t ‘accidentally-on-purpose’ switch it to hockey. Other than that, I don’t watch much TV. I do binge watch on Netflix from time to time, or as I call it, ‘Taking a mental health day’.
5.What is the craziest souvenir you picked up while traveling? Do you collect things when you travel? That would be the giant wood giraffe from the side of the road in Swaziland, Africa. Its head stuck out the window of the car for days, my husband and his buddy (who lives in South Africa and was touring us around the country) were not impressed, nor was the flight attendant that I begged and pleaded with to have it shoved in the first class closet. Being polite with a big smile has served me well. Overall, I try to bring back smaller tokens of local art and pottery.
6.When you are traveling do you road trip it or fly it? Both and several times a year. I caught the incurable traveling bug when I was young. Fortunately, I married someone who is equal parts gypsy and nomad. For the first fifteen years of our marriage, we worked together in his trucking company. I still have a valid trucker license to this day. We literally lived the Johnny Cash song, ‘I’ve Been Every Where Man.’
So for work, we have driven to every state and major city in Canada and the USA, several times. We travel with our kids and make summer family holiday adventures out of every town we work in. I could write a book on the best children’s museums in North America. When work slows down, in the winter, we hop on a plane and go, usually somewhere hot. We’ve seen a good chunk of the globe and forever keep finding new must see destinations.
7. If you could pick a book you’ve read and make it into a movie, which book would it be? Heather Graham’s MacAuliffe Viking Trilogy Series is probably to blame for my medieval/ Viking addiction. For me, she writes the perfect balance of an aggressive, alpha male, who are flawed but never failing. Her heroines are all stubborn beauties paired against hot, brave men sailing, righteous crusaders fighting for their families, material is gold for a movie or mini-series.
8. Do you like to cook or go out to eat? I am a chef by default. My husband is allergic to the grocery stores and all things ‘food prep’. It’s a rare medical condition that I’ve seen other husbands ailing from. My sons will not have this affliction. We regularly cook together now that they’re older…although, my Waterloo is baking. I’ve never mastered a piecrust. In ‘The Iron Princess’, Katia pitches a fit in the kitchen trying her hand at baking. It’s a tale taken from personal experience. For the most part, I’m not shy to say I’m a competent cook, ‘master of the ultimate brunch’ and host friends and family nearly every weekend.
Sandra Lake was raised in rural Canada. She married her childhood sweetheart (who during her childhood resembled more like her childhood nemesis) and is currently living happily-ever-after along with their kids and unruly husky in eastern Canada.