Sandra Moran leapt onto the lesbian writing scene last year with her excellent first novel Letters Never Sent, Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction (Finalist), winner of the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best Lesbian Historical Fiction and the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best Lesbian Debut Novel, now nominated for a Goldie in the Ann Bannon Popular Choice and Dramatic/General categories. This year she has published a remarkable and unusual book, Nudge, in which the protagonist, Sarah Shepard, is head hunted to work as a marketing executive for what most of us call God. Can’t wait to see where she goes with the next one.
In the meantime, between neon driven runs and trying to control her increasingly sarcastic cat, Spenser, we asked Sandra your 6 bloodspot questions.
Who/What is your favorite book/author and why?
This is a tough one for me because I have several favorite books and several favorite authors. I’m going to cheat and point to a couple. Is that okay? I love The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. It’s about time travel and how, because it couldn’t be used by the government to change the past, it was given to the historians so they could study it.
I also love dystopias – particularly the work of Margaret Atwood. (If you haven’t read her Orxy and Crake series, you absolutely should. It’s about the End of Days, societal chaos and genetic engineering of the perfect human species.) Along those same lines, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is brilliant.
Finally, I have to say that no one crafts a good historical fiction novel like Sarah Waters or Margaret George. The level of historical detail they deftly incorporate into their books is amazing – so meaty and rich.
What has been your most surprising or interesting inspiration for a book?
Hmmmm …. I guess I would have to say that the most interesting inspiration for a book came to me when I was on a long run. There was this bug on the trail that I swerved to avoid stepping on and that made me think of reincarnation – because that bug could have been anybody. That bug could become anybody – maybe the next prophet. And THAT made me think about the question of, “What if Jesus was reincarnated – who would he be now?” Would he be a normal person or someone famous? A woman? Bill Gates? What if he was the Dalai Lama? The longer I ran, the more interesting the options became. I won’t bore anyone with the fragmented thought process, but long story short, my swerving to avoid stepping on a bug led to the formulation of the plotline for NUDGE.
Writing is emotional and isolating. From where do you get your support?
I am really fortunate in that I have a wonderful support system. My partner, family and friends are always there to cheer me on (or cheer me up), to read early drafts, and to listen/help work out difficult plot points. They are patient and supportive beyond belief.
What does it mean to you to see your work in print and then up for an award?
Seeing my work in print is enormously satisfying – and also really scary because suddenly all this stuff that started out in my head is out there for everyone to see. As for being up for awards … it’s humbling and also somewhat startling. To see my work listed alongside that of so many people that I respect and admire … it’s a little unreal.
What is next on your personal bucket list to accomplish?
I really want to start taking formal instruction in the culinary arts. I love to cook and I love food. I’m dying to learn more than just what I’ve picked up working at restaurants and from watching cooking shows.
What are you working on now and what’s up next for publication?
I just finished The Addendum. It is a short companion piece to NUDGE and is the document that the characters in the novel were working to create. We will be releasing it in July 2014 at the Golden Crown Literary Society conference in Portland. It will be available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes & Noble at about the same time.
Currently, I’m working on a new lesbian fiction novel titled All That We Lack. It opens with the crash of an express bus from New York to Boston and then works backward a day, six months, a year and two years, to show the interconnections of four of the passengers: a funeral director from Seymour, Indiana, an insurance risk analyst from Chicago, a 10-year-old boy from Philadelphia, and a pain killer-addicted paramedic from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
All That We Lack is scheduled for release Winter 2014.
Huge thanks to Sandra for taking part. You can find out more about her and her books on the Sandra Moran Author Page.