Written by Diane Estrella

Shades of Truth by Sandra Orchard & a $25 GC CONTEST!!!

by Diane Estrella

Love Inspired Suspense

Big city detective Ethan Reed is working deep undercover at a Christian youth detention center. The kind of place he spent some harrowing time in as a kid. Ethan’s mission: ferret out who’s recruiting resident teens for a drug ring. He expects help from the lovely, devoted director of Hope Manor. But Kim Corbett won’t tell Ethan anything—even when she’s threatened and attacked. When Ethan discovers what Kim is protecting, his guarded heart opens just a bit wider. Enough to make this the most dangerous assignment of his career.

About the Author

Sandra Orchard lives in rural Ontario, Canada, with her wonderful husband, college-age children and a menagerie of pets. From the moment her first story was published in her school yearbook at the tender age of six, Sandra knew she wanted to be a writer. Although she majored in math at university, and went on to teach high school math before starting a family, she never gave up on her dream. When her children were young she took correspondence courses in writing, and wrote articles on homeschooling and reviews of curriculum. Then after her mother died, she discovered inspirational romance. Seeing characters overcome the same kind of emotions she was facing gave her inspiration and hope. So when her husband, frustrated by the growing book piles, suggested she write her own, little did he know what he’d started!

How did you become interested in writing romantic suspense?

I enjoyed reading authors like Dee Henderson and Terri Blackstock so when Steeplehill launched its Love Inspired Suspense line, I signed up for the bookclub. I enjoy the extra plot elements and faster pace of romantic suspense over a straight inspirational romance and soon gravitated to writing those types of stories. I enjoy the challenge of creating a mystery/suspense thread without sacrificing the romance.

What’s your favorite part of being published?

Hearing from readers. My dream has always been to touch readers’ hearts through my stories with the message of God’s love for them. I love to hear how readers have related to the story.

Outside of writing, what accomplishment are you most proud?

Raising and educating three wonderful, hard-working children who love the Lord (and their mom <grin>).

What are you working on now?

I’m working on final edits to Critical Condition, the third book in the Undercover Cops series, Critical Condition, scheduled for release in October 2012.

Tell us about your new release.

Shades of Truth is the second book in my Love Inspired Suspense series, Undercover Cops: Fighting for justice puts their lives—and hearts—on the line. However, you won’t be lost if you haven’t read the first novel. Each story stands alone. They are linked by setting, theme and characters. For example, the heroine in this book was the friend of Deep Cover’s heroine.

Do you ever use your own experiences to inspire events in your novels?

Oh, yes, because I always have bad guys trying to do me in, and heart throbs tripping over themselves to go out with me. Okay, I’m just kidding.

I drew on the experiences of a youth care worker for this story, as well as, some personal incidents. For example, it was my husband and son who drove back to the metal recycler to return the money they’d been overpaid. I also attended a Writer’s Police Academy where I did FATS (firearm simulation training). That helped me tremendously in understanding the range of emotions and thoughts that run through your mind when confronted with a criminal situation. I suppose I drew on the emotions I felt losing my parents, in writing my heroine facing her father’s imminent death.

Tell us about the process of developing the plot and keeping track of the clues, characters, twists and occasional red-herring?

Oh, this is my favorite part of writing. I brainstorm all kinds of possible twists and turns before I start writing, and will often add new twists as I go along to heighten the suspense of a chapter ending or to take the story in a different direction. As you can imagine keeping track of all of the clues and red herrings, especially when I add things on the fly is a challenge. I use post-it notes on a big storyboard on my wall so I can see at a glance where everything is fitting together and which loose ends I have yet to tie. The board is divided into chapters, which also helps me determine the pacing of both the suspense and romantic plot lines. With my next book, I’m experimenting with a software package that will do this on the computer screen. It’s convenient, but there’s something about writing out scene ideas by hand that help imprint them in my mind.

The cover is eye-catching. What’s the setting?

The series takes place in the fictional community of Miller’s Bay situated along the shores of Lake Erie in the heart of the Niagara Region of Ontario, Canada. I’ve lived in Southern Ontario all my life, half the time in cities, the other half in rural settings. In creating Miller’s Bay, I borrowed aspects of various real towns and blended them together into one that suited my needs. The focus in this particular story is on Hope Manor, which sits on the outskirts of town, surrounded by farmland. I think the artist did a fabulous job of portraying the tension between the serenity of the countryside (i.e. the bright colors and pastoral scene) and the danger that lurks nearby (through the dark clouds, the shadow over the right side of the barn, and the barbed wire).

Sandra loves to connect with readers, and has created “extras” to enhance readers’ experience of her books. You can check out these and other resources for both readers and writers at her website: http://www.SandraOrchard.com.

If you’d like to receive updates on new releases, special subscriber-only reads and giveaway opportunities, sign up for her newsletter at http://bit.ly/OrchardNews

She’d love for you to connect at: http://www.Facebook.com/SandraOrchard

or join in the conversations about characters on her blog at http://www.SandraOrchard.blogspot.com

My Review

It is evident that this author puts everything she has into her stories. She draws from the people she knows, the places she’s gone and the things that she loves. There are so many interesting and varied characters to sift through for motives, opportunity, and potential danger. The story kept me guessing until the end, and a curve ball or two were thrown in just to make it even more interesting. I felt that the characters had a genuine honesty to them that made me see them as entirely believable and real.

I usually enjoy longer novels, and even though the story was a quick read, it felt very complete. There was just enough back story that you understood how everyone got to where they were and where they ultimately ended up. Justice does win out in the end.

Congrats to the author on this interesting series and wishing you continued success!

Buy it Here

The Contest!

I belong to a writing group called WODE (Write Off theDeep End). They challenged me to include our name in my novel. So I did. If you find “WODE” in Shades of Truth, email me your name, the page number, and the version of book (regular print, True Large Print, Ebook version etc) by midnight June 1st.

I’ll be drawing a name from everyone who sends in a correct answer. The winner will receive a $25 gift certificate for their favorite book retailer. Click here to leave your answer for the contest.

The author sent me the above book for review purposes. She will allow me to keep the book. I have no other connection to and have received no other compensation from Sandra Orchard.

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