The Write Way Café welcomes Sandi Brackeen, avid reader, fascinating author, and student of the paranormal.
When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
I have always written. I wrote bad poetry and rather strange philosophical musings about the nature of words, and I’ve always been an avid reader, and truthfully, I don’t know how not to write, although I get slow at turning things out sometimes because new things keep coming up within the work.
What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
I’ve done a good deal of research about Atlantis, and the theories surrounding it, and I’ve spent some time with some archaeologists working on a dig site. I also researched Peruvian legends to find the legend of Apocatequil.
Where did the idea for your story come from?
Riley’s world came into being about 10 years ago when I heard about a contest where writers were asked to write stories based on what would happen if magic returned to the earth.
Why did you pick the setting you did?
I’ve always been fascinated with stories of Atlantis and magic, and I’m a big fan of Urban Fantasy like Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake, and Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan, so it was natural for me to write Urban Fantasy related to Atlantis.
Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
I’m sure they can’t help but reflect a bit of myself; however, they are all distinctly their own person. The initial sketch for some of the characters is loosely based on people I know, but the development is purely their own.
Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
Sometimes life gets in the way, but it’s usually more a matter of finding a way to sit down and face the page without distractions.
What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
One of the things I most noticed in this book was how characters can surprise you, even when, or perhaps especially when, you think you are creating them, and should therefore be in charge. They will disabuse you of that notion in a hurry.
What did you learn while writing Digging Up The Past? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about archeologists and the supernatural?
I learned that I’m a pantser and a plotter, but at different times. I start out flying by the seat of my pants, but then I need to go back and sit down and make an outline to help me focus and get everything where it needs to be. I have been interested in archaeology for some time, and although I’ve never worked on a dig, I’ve been to a dig site and seen how it works. I’ve been a student of all things paranormal for most of my life, so any time I can find an excuse to take some time to study an aspect of it, I’m all in favor, and my books give me an opportunity to do that.
Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
Right now, it’s a work in progress. My number of roommates has changed, so the overall ambient noise in the house has changed, so I’m looking for a new place to work.
What are some of your favorite books and why?
The books are too numerous to list, but some of my favorite authors are Neil Gaiman, Laurell K. Hamilton, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Kim Harrison, and Anne Bishop. When I like an author, I usually do my best to read everything they’ve written.
What are you working on now?
The next book in the series is tentatively called Reaching for Beyond. Riley and Jason, and the rest are investigating a series of gruesome murders in and around the Grapevine/Colleyville area in Texas and trying to figure out why people from two groups who never collaborate are working together, and what they hope to accomplish.
Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre? Which one and why?
I might try some straight mystery at some point, and I do a lot of esoteric writing for one of my websites.
If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
Artist/photographer at this point, although when I was younger, I wanted to be a mechanic.
What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
Letting go of the formality I have to teach in the Composition classes that I teach at the local community college.
Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
Again, they are too numerous to name, but Anita Blake, Harry Dresden, Stephanie Plum, Samantha Martin from the Imp Series, the Endless from the Sandman graphic novels, and Janelle from the Black Jewels series come to mind.
The Spade of Apocatequil can raise the dead and grant immortality—and it’s been stolen!
When supernatural agents Riley Perez and Jason, her partner at the clandestine government agency DUE, are given the task of tracking down the magical artifact, they discover that the culprit may be one of the workers at an archaeological dig at Shady Shores. Is it John Braden, the head archaeologist on-site, who was involved in the original discovery of the spade? Or is it Danny Roget, the anthropologist, who claims that there have been strange sightings? Riley and Jason’s hunt for the spade is endangered by a rash of sudden, unexplainable deaths of people involved in the dig. Together with Cameron Delaney, the intriguing alpha werewolf who runs Cerberus Security, the company in charge of protecting the archaeologists at the dig, Riley and Jason must find the spade before it can be used to destroy the world!
Sandi lives in Texas with three roommates, two Yellow Labs, a Shepherd/Border Collie mix, a Great Pyrenees, a Standard Poodle, and assorted other critters. Most of the animals were rescues. Sandi’s full time job is as the Public Information Officer for the local Sheriff’s Office, and she teaches English part time at the local Community College.
She says she has a couple of degrees from the University of North Texas lying around somewhere, and she’s been writing ever since she can remember. Sandi took time off for work and school, and previously her writing has been more geared toward short stories and academic papers.
Sandi publishes a newsletter and several articles a month in her current position, and much of her writing is geared toward work, but she has now added writing fiction and currently has several more books in the works.
Natural Images by Sandi
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