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Saturday, 31 May 2014

Saturday Storyteller Interview: Sandra Nachlinger

What’s your name and where do you come from?
I’m Sandra Nachlinger, and although I’m a native Texan, I currently live near Seattle, Washington, USA. People tell me I have not lost my southern accent.

Tell us a little bit about your new release.
Bluebonnets for Elly is a sweet contemporary romance set in North Texas. By “sweet,” I mean there’s plenty of fooling around between Elly and Derek, but the main event takes place behind closed doors. Elly meets Derek when she leaves big-city Dallas for small-town Shannon Ridge, Texas, to help her grandmother recover from an ankle injury.  She’s also fleeing from a fiancé who betrayed her. Derek has challenges of his own. His wife disappeared many years before, and his life is still affected. After he meets Elly, he’s ready to get on with his life. But is he really free? When Derek’s past threatens and Elly’s ex-fiancé reappears, she must decide—give her former love a second chance or gamble on a man whose history may ruin everything.
I.O.U. SEX is spicier than Elly’s tale. It’s the story of three women, lifelong friends, who search for their high school boyfriends decades after graduation.

Do you have a favourite character from your books? Why are they your favorite?
Although I enjoyed writing about Derek and Elly in Bluebonnets for Elly, my favorite character in that book is Granny Macauley. She is such a hoot! With her homey advice, spicy sense of humor, modern outlook, and obvious love for her granddaughter Elly, I think she adds a lot of warmth and humor to the story.
In I.O.U. Sex, my favorite character is Kiki. Actually, now that I think about it, I like her for the same reasons I like Granny, except Kiki has a smart mouth and likes to cuss. She’s a good and loyal friend to the other two women in the story and has a history of getting them into messes.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
The initial idea for Bluebonnets for Elly came from observing people around my small town. So many of them seem to use those mobility scooters for transportation—tooling down sidewalks, running errands, etc.—and I wondered how that would be. Then I started thinking about what life would be like in a neighborhood for senior citizens. I have a couple of friends who live in mobile home parks for people who are over age 55, so I talked to them. All of that led me to the creation of Granny Macauley, a major character in Bluebonnets for Elly, as well as gave me the setting for much of the book.

Is the stuff you write about from experience or mostly imagination?
The characters I come up with and their situations are completely from my imagination.  After my first book was released, countless people asked my co-author and me if we had looked up our old boyfriends like the characters in the book had. No way! Our inspiration for the story actually came from reading my old high school diary. We laughed until we cried, and we speculated about what our old boyfriends might be doing. And then we wrote I.O.U. SEX.
I’ll admit that although I made up the town of Shannon Ridge, Texas, as my setting for Bluebonnets for Elly, I did base it largely on a small town near the Texas-Oklahoma border. I’ve also known several vivacious older women like Granny Macauley, so she is probably a composite of all of them.

Tell us something that might surprise our readers.
Several years ago I walked halfway across Spain – from León to Santiago – on the Camino de Santiago de Compostelo. I shared the experience with my daughter-in-law and her mother, and we had a great time. I was 59 years old when I made that trek, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat—but I’d have to get in shape again first!

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Sandra Nachlinger has been writing one thing or another since childhood. She wrote her first romantic story in elementary school, in pencil on lined paper. The heroine got a kiss as the happy ending. She still has diaries from her school days, one of which inspired I.O.U. SEX, her first book co-written with Sandra Allen.
When not writing, she enjoys quilting, sewing, gardening, photography, travel, and lunching with friends, and like Granny in BLUEBONNETS FOR ELLY she spends as much time as possible with her granddaughter.

Reeling from betrayal by her fiancé, Elly Macauley leaves the skyscrapers of Dallas for Shannon Ridge, Texas, volunteering to help her grandmother recover from a broken ankle. She hopes her time in the small town will be the perfect opportunity for both she and Granny to recover from their wounds.
     Landscaper Derek White maintains the grounds of Sunset Acres and looks after the senior citizens as if they were his own grandparents. But the disappearance of his wife eight years earlier has put his life and aspirations on hold. After one kiss from Elly Macauley, he wonders if it’s time to take another chance on love. But how can he explain an ex-wife who ran away? And is he sure he’s a free man?
     When Derek’s past threatens and Elly’s ex-fiancé reappears, she must decide—give her former love a second chance or gamble on a man whose history may ruin everything before it really gets started.


  1. Thank you for featuring Bluebonnets for Elly on your blog today.

  2. Sandra Nachlinger is right--Granny Macauley is a hoot. The relationship between Granny and Elly is as much fun to read as the main attraction. Thanks for posting!

  3. Loved this book! And I read about half of IOU Sex - someday I'm gonna go back and read the rest. Congrats on a great story!

  4. I am impressed by your info that you walked across Spain! I mean, I'm doing well to take a walk to the local library or the supermarket. You sound like an Amazon! I agree about the way an older character can take over in a book, even a romance. One feels granny has plenty of past experience to draw on when it comes to love and men.

  5. In addition to the varied characters and the twists in the plot, I really enjoyed reading about Elly starting her business. Have been reading lately about new enterprises, and Elly is an inspiration!

  6. Bluebonnets for Elly is a well written, cute story about life in a small North Texas town. Of course, I'm slightly prejudiced since Sandy and I wrote I.O.U. Sex together, and I happen to reside in the same area where her story takes place. I loved hearing about Elly from her inception as a character in Sandy's brain, until she finally appeared in print. Elly, Granny, and Derek make for a fun read!

  7. Sandra, having loved I.O.U. Sex and giving it a five star review, I'm looking forward to reading this new book and expecting the same excellence and great story matter. Your characters sound delightful!

  8. Great interview, Sandra....I loved Granny in Bluebonnets for Elly, too, and the setting was perfect for the story. You included very realistic elements, but with interesting quirks for your characters. I could completely visualize them from your descriptions.

    I also enjoyed IOU Sex....and creating the story after rereading your old diaries was a great idea. I often wish I had kept better diaries!

    What a trek you took! That sounds good, but I'd rather see the movie!

  9. What a terrific interview with Sandra Nachlinger. I have read Bluebonnets for Elly and love the story. It has a sweet warmth about it and it's easy to stay engrossed in the story. I'm at an age where if a book doesn't keep me interested, I just go on to the next one. Bluebonnets for Elly held me until the end.