Interview with Novelist Sandi Rog
Many may not be aware of Christian fiction. The genre is growing rapidly with men and women. I don’t know of any man in Churches of Christ who has a novel published. I hope to be there one day.
I admire these ladies and their fortitude to finish their work and endure the arduous process of getting their novel to market.
They work tirelessly to write and market their work. I hope you will read their thoughts, and buy their books and check out the field of Christian fiction. Just about every genre is represented in the field. So, start exploring. I have some links on this site to Christian fiction resources.
1. Tell us about your books.
I have a few, but I’d much rather talk about THE MASTER’S WALL since it releases through DeWard Publishing this November.
THE MASTER’S WALL is a historical novel that takes place in a villa outside of ancient Rome. Here’s a blurb:
He fights for his freedom. She fights for her life. Together, they fight for each other.
After watching Roman soldiers drag his parents away to their death, David, a young Hebrew, is sold and enslaved to serve at a villa outside of Rome. As David trains to become a skilled fighter, he works hard to please his master and hopes to earn his freedom. However, an opportunity to escape tempts him with its whispering call. Freedom beckons, but invisible chains hold him captive to the master’s granddaughter, an innocent girl with a fiery spirit. David vows to protect Alethea from his master, the murderous patriarch, and contrives a daring plan-sacrifice his own life to save hers.
Here’s what people are saying about it:
Can I just say “Wow!”? Or maybe “Stunning!”? I love stories set in the first century, and The Master’s Wall ranks as one of the best I’ve read to date. The characters are exactly what a reader wants-full of spirit, full of fire, full of temper that leads them into trouble . . . and faith that helps them through it. The setting is so richly portrayed that you’ll feel like you’ve donned a toga and are wandering through the villa.
Sandi Rog uses these gripping characters and stunning setting to execute a plot that will keep you guessing and dreaming and yearning along with Alethea and David. The Master’s Wall is so enthralling that it even haunted my dreams when I put it down halfway through-and you can bet I finished it the next day!
There’s so much I loved about it-the brutal reality of slavery depicted. The sweet hope of a girl whose innocence has been marred by tragedy. The enduring faith of a boy who determines to spread the Gospel, even in captivity. And when the depravity of man butts against the perfect will of God, you can bet there’s going to be a lot of conflict to keep those pages turning!
For lovers of Biblical and first century fiction, you will not want to miss this one! And for those unfamiliar with the genre but interested in history, pick up The Master’s Wall for a trip to Ancient Rome that will make it feel like home. This is one I’m going to be recommending to everyone I know.
—Roseanna M. White, author of A Stray Drop of Blood
2. How long have you been writing? What led you to fiction?
I’ve been seriously writing and editing for about ten years. I’ve always loved fiction, and I enjoy telling stories. Honestly, I feel like it’s in my blood. I’m more of a storyteller than a writer. As a kid, I used get excited when Mom told me it was time for bed. I’d dive under the covers and dream up stories. I’d imagine rescuing someone from a terrible fire. Or I’d imagine I was a princess running from a castle, but during my escape, thieves would attack. I’d take flight into the woods, but a handsome rogue would take me captive. Of course, he was really a prince disguised as a thief meant to rescue me. That one was always my favorite. Maybe I’ll turn it into an actual story someday.
3. What do you feel are your strengths and weaknesses as a writer?
Boy, that’s a tough one. I can come up with a million weaknesses, but the strengths are eluding me. Let’s see. Hmm. Weaknesses: self-doubt. Definitely that. I’m also a slow writer. I wish I could pick up the pace! And I’m blind to my own writing. I’m an editor, and it’s very easy to find mistakes in the work of others, but I somehow skip over my own. Strengths: I believe I’m able to make readers “feel” with my characters, relate to them, etc. My plots are unpredictable. And I don’t use miracles to solve difficult situations.
Honestly, I rely wholly on God for my writing. I pray over everything. I ask if what I do is pleasing to Him, and if it’s not, I ask Him to show me how to fix it. He’s put people in my life who help me along in the writing process, and when I get stuck on a chapter or a scene, I call on Him to help me, and for some reason, He does. Without Him, I’d be a lousy writer, indeed.
4. Where do you get your ideas and characters?
From everywhere, literally. Could be from a song, or something that’s happened in my own life, or something I’ve completely invented. With THE MASTER’S WALL I wondered what it might be like to grow up in the times Christians were being persecuted. What would it be like to lose your parents because of their faith? And the story unfolded from there. I also wondered what a Christian (who could fight) would do if he were forced to become a gladiator. He’d have two options: kill or be killed. But how could he face God with a clear conscience if he were to kill someone? That’s in my second book.
5. What does the act of writing mean to you? Do you read books on writing?
For me, writing is a way to teach others about God. To help others get to know Him better. To answer their questions, and I pray, to offer them hope. It’s all about planting seeds. I want to plant millions of them!
My favorite book on writing is Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Dave King and Rennie Browne. I also enjoy teaching others the craft. You can find me at The Book Doctor .
If you want to get to know me on a personal level, you can find me at my personal blog.
6. Did you have storytellers when you were growing up that influenced you? Were you an avid reader as a child?
I honestly didn’t read very much as a child and no one influenced me as a writer. Well, perhaps my father influenced me because he also writes, but I didn’t always want to be a writer. I had other plans. Like becoming an actress or a singer. Once I hit college, I decided acting and singing weren’t for me. But there was always one constant: writing. When I was in fifth grade, I wrote a poem that an adult didn’t believe I wrote. I was shocked by his accusation because I had indeed written the poem all by myself. At the time, I didn’t realize his accusation was a compliment. I also wrote some short stories for a project in Junior High. The teacher thought one of my stories was true and shared with the class how important it is that we “write what we know.” I destroyed her point when I announced that the story was actually fiction. I don’t think she was too happy with me after that. However, by this time I was old enough to see the compliment. In high school, after convincing my mom that the 17 absences I had in English were a computer glitch (I still had an “A”), you’d think I would have realized I had a knack for words and for “telling stories.”
I didn’t grow up in the church. If you’d like, you can read how I became a Christian.
I have a lot of myself in my stories. I had so many questions about God while growing up. I try to answer those questions for others in my work. And I even tackle questions I don’t know the answers to. I pray while I write that God will reveal His answers to me.
7. Describe your editing process.
I get everything down on the page, and then I read through it and edit. It’s really not a good idea to edit per chapter (might be one of the reasons I’m so slow), but I tend to do that. I just can’t turn off the editor in me. After I edit the entire manuscript one time, I send it off to my critique partners. After that, I send it to my editor and clean it up from there.
8. Do you outline your books or let the story go where it wishes?
I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer. I can’t outline without the characters coming across unnatural and the plot feeling forced. I have to follow where my characters lead. Many times they take me by surprise.
9. Do you write biographies of your characters?
Sometimes, but I mostly keep their information in my head.
10. Where do you see publishing going in the digital age?
I see a lot of e-readers becoming popular, and I believe it’s important to have your book available as an e-book, but I hope the paper book stays for a long time.
11. What lessons have you learned as a published writer?
Not much. LOL Well, I’ve learned that marketing your book is very important if you want to make sales. I’ve also learned what a pain marketing is. I’d so much rather be writing.