Author Spotlight Interview: Krista Sandor
We’re continuing our thread of author interviews with a truly remarkable writer – Krista Sandor. Krista is the author of the popular Langley Park series, which has been described as “heart-tugging” and full of “palpable love and pain.” This is something true to Krista herself – who took up writing when she was diagnosed with MS in 2015. We’re thrilled to be able to chat to her, and hope you enjoy what you learn!
HG: Before we begin, it’s perhaps best to introduce Krista with her own words – which she shared in an email when we first reached out to her for an interview:
KS: Romance novels saved my life. Let me explain.
In 2015, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and my world turned upside down. During those difficult first days, a friend gave me the book Manwhore by Katy Evans. She told me, “This is what you need right now.” She was absolutely right.
From that moment, I was hooked. Authors Christina Lauren, Pamela Clare, Alice Clayton, and Emma Chase, just to name a few, introduced me to strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes. They made me laugh. They made me cry, and they made me blush more than a few times.
But my favorite thing about romance is the happily ever after. I love knowing that, whatever challenges the characters face, they’ll always come out on top in the end.
A year after my diagnosis, I put pen to paper and started writing my own romance series. The fifth book in my steamy, small-town, second chance Langley Park Series releases on March 25.
The romance community has become my home, my support network, my career. Needless to say, I count my blessings every single day. I’m happy to report that I’m doing great. I’m an MS warrior and living life to the fullest. When I’m not writing happily ever afters, I’m training for my next 10K race or chasing after my growing boys—also great for race training!
HG: It was incredible and humbling to read that romance novels ‘saved your life’ following your diagnosis.
KS: It most certainly did. It was my escape during that first year, and it was my happy place.
HG: OMG, that’s amazing! I just saw the interview with Selma Blair yesterday, who also got diagnosed recently.
KS: Yes, I saw that, too. My heart breaks for her. I was very lucky to get my diagnosis early and start treatment. It sounds like Selma lived untreated for over a decade.
HG: So, TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF! Who is Krista Sandor?
KS: I was an elementary school teacher before writing full-time. My maiden name is Sandor. I chose it to honor my Harlequin loving Grandma Sandor. She had a HUGE bookshelf crammed with them! Grandma loved her naughty books and I loved peeking at the covers!
I live outside Denver, Colorado with my husband and two sons.
HG: Hehe, I write romance and I blame my mother’s collection of Jackie Collins novels. I used to sneak them under the covers as a teenager.
KS: RIGHT!!!! So fun sneaking one off the shelf! And VC Andrews! OMG! I was 12 and totally engrossed with her books!
HG: Tell me about the Langley Park series. How did you envision that, and what’s the thread between the books?
KS: Langley Park is an interconnected series that can be read as stand-alones. I wanted to create a place where characters confronted their greater demon and came out the other side stronger. Each story is a second chance romance. I like second chance romances because I feel like everyone wants a do-over somewhere in their life. I love reading about characters getting a chance to make it right–and have a little hot sex along the way never hurts.
This series is personal on another level as well. Langley Park is set near Kansas City. I also grew up near KC. My mother had severe metal health and addiction issues. Kansas City used to be a place that held a lot of painful memories. But writing this series, addressing the characters’ issues (abuse, addiction) helped me come to terms with many things from my past. Whenever people tell me they’re going through a tough time, I always suggest they write, journal, podcast. Take those emotions and funnel them into something meaningful. I also loved creating the fictional town. I made the world’s worst map so I could keep track of everything. My architect husband cringes when he looks at it!
HG: I love book series set in fictional locales.
KS: YES! So fascinating! Yes–the homes are all from the 1930s JC Nichols area in KC. Bungalows, Tudors, American four squares.
HG: So, how did writing your first book go. How did you plunge into it?
KS: It was a clusterfuck! LOL! Luckily, I found a good editor, Marianne with Goddess Fish Editing. I rewrote that book. I learned so much from her and the resources she suggested.
HG: What was the most important thing you learned?
KS: I think Stephen King said this, “keep the ball rolling” – and Deb Dixon’s Goal, Motivation and Conflict charts are key to staying focused. And resist the urge to explain–let the action and dialogue do that – and keep learning!
HG: So, what’s your writing schedule like? Do you have an organized schedule or routine?
KS: I do have a schedule. I use the Word Keeper app! I love it. I have to write 1500 words a day minimum. I have whiteboard flow charts and a loose outline of what I need to write that day. Now that I’ve got 4 books out, it’s a balance with all that goes into the business/ marketing side. I think treating it like a job is key. Teaching is a great career to learn how to make every minute count! OH! the things I could get done in the 2 minutes before the kids got back from lunch!
HG: Do you have a writing space set aside? How did you zen-ify it?
KS: I took over a corner in the basement. It looks like the unibomber lives there. With the right music, I can get into my head and into the characters. I do love the whiteboards. I have 8 of them – and post-its. The kids know it’s my space. It’s near our treadmill–so if I’m even stuck, I jump on and run. That always gets the ideas flowing. The physical fitness piece is huge with MS. I’m very lucky–I still (when not injured) run 3-5 miles a day.
HG: That’s AMAZING! That’s more than most healthy people can run. A LOT more! I interviewed Luke Smitherd and he says exercise helps creativity in general.
KS: I totally agree. I plotted an entire book in my head to an Aaptiv workout.
HG: So, you mentioned Manwhore… Who are your favorite writers? And books?
HG: How is your interaction with readers?
KS: I love it! It’s one of the best parts. The romance community is amazing. SO MANY kind people. I’ve made many close friends. I think with romance, we’re looking for connection. Friendship, love, getting through hard times. It’s so humbling to have a person read my books and tell me they love a character or wish they could visit Langley Park. It’s a special connection I treasure.
HG: What’s the best piece of advice on writing you ever received?
KS: My mentor Michelle Dare tells me to keep moving forward. I love that. Keeping plugging away. Keep improving craft. It may be a baby step sometimes, but it’s a step in the right direction.