Saturday, October 9, 2010

Interview with author Sandy Hyatte-James / Parallel Triangle

British author Sandy Hyatt-James has two books published. Parallel Triangle, a science-fiction romance featuring parallel worlds, is available through Penumbra Publishing. Leslie Dyer, sales and promotion representative for Penumbra Publishing, recently asked Sandy about her life and her writing.

PP: Sandy, how long have you been writing, and was there an inspirational source or defining event that got you started?

SHJ: I started writing after entering a short story competition at school and winning. From then onwards, I wanted to write all the time. I did, as well, much to the annoyance of my mathematics teacher! My most memorable inspirational source was Gone With the Wind, which I read as a teenager. The fact that hat the love interest was set in a rich backdrop of the American Civil War impressed me so much. From then on, I wanted to create romance without neglecting the wider picture, because the two complimented each other.

PP: Parallel Triangle deals with a love triangle – two women who both love the same man. How did you choose this storyline, and how popular do you think it is with the typical romance reader?

SHJ: At this moment, the trend seems to lean towards vampires or stories that contain graphic sex. The love triangle, however, has been around since writing first began. It’s a theme that never really went out of fashion, because it facilitates a unique tension that makes the reader what to keep turning the pages.

PP: Parallel Triangle features two strong heroines. Did you have trouble balancing the story – especially given that each of them is a love interest of the hero?

SHJ: No, I found it an interesting change from the ‘one man one woman’ model. Parallel Triangle has a different take on the triangle theme anyway, which usually features the man being in a relationship with someone else, until the heroine comes along and steals him, or vice-versa. In this case, Orion meets both Elizabeth and Jacosta at the same time and, due to circumstances, develops a relationship with each of them nearly simultaneously.

PP: One of your heroines, Elizabeth, is described as plain-looking, and the other heroine, Jacosta, is described as ravishingly beautiful. Is there any particular reason you wrote these characters that way?

SHJ: Yes. I wanted to illustrate that a man like Orion, who has the pick of women, wasn’t looking for beauty in them; otherwise, he wouldn’t have fallen for Elizabeth. The fact that he also falls in love with Jacosta, who is beautiful, is very much beside the point. What he sees in both women is their inner attraction.

PP: Your hero, Orion, comes across as an anti-hero in the beginning. Why is that?

SHJ: This posed problems for me at first, because he really is dislikeable, isn’t he? However, quite early on in the story, the reader begins to see that this is only on the surface. I wanted to get away from ‘perfect’ hero anyway, because life just isn’t like that. Everybody has flaws. Once that’s accepted, it becomes more interesting to see how Orion redeems himself.

PP: Your story puts some focus on a child abduction, with the child being placed in a dangerous situation. Was there a particular source or impetus for including this issue in your story? And, were you concerned that this subject might bother some readers?

SHJ: This posed another dilemma for me. Again, though, I wanted to show reality, especially in a story with a paranormal thread. It would have been easy to keep the horror of child abduction out of the story and focus solely on the love interest between the three characters. However, Elizabeth is from Earth, a place where child abductions happen frequently. This part of the storyline, therefore, apart from being the vehicle that puts Elizabeth in proximity with Orion, also gives a real perspective to the story.

PP: One of your support characters has learning difficulties. Why did you choose to include him in the story?

SHJ: When I was in the social work profession, I occasionally came across people like Ricky – adults who were essentially children in their minds and needed guidance. As with a child, I wanted to show his innocence and, importantly, illustrate how his lack of guile brought about his being involved with Kim Barton’s kidnapping scheme. Like most children, Ricky has an innate sense of right and wrong. This surfaces in him from time to time, which I believe makes him an important background character.

PP: Parallel Triangle has a science-fiction/paranormal theme. Do you read these genres?

SHJ: To the amusement of my family and friends, I’ve never shown much interest in those genres. It bothered me at first that people might look at these categories and think the book contained weird creatures or futuristic cyber people – which it doesn’t. Essentially, Parallel Triangle is a love story, which just happens to have a smattering of science fiction and paranormal in it.

PP: Can you tell us a bit about your background and living environment, and whether that has had some impact on your writing?

SHJ: Four years ago, I managed a team of child protection social workers. This meant I was dashing about, usually meeting my own shadow coming the other way! There wasn’t much time for anything else. However, when I did get some time, I usually spent it writing. My husband and I came to live in the Bulgarian mountains because we love its peace and rugged beauty. It also meant that I could write full-time. I think my experience as a social worker has impacted my writing. Through it, I met so many people from all areas of life – some nice, some not so nice. I believe this has helped me give authenticity to my characters.

PP: What other books do you have available, and what are you working on now?

SHJ: My third novel is a futuristic romance. I’ve just finished the first draft and I expect it to be out some time next year. After that, I may change genre, because I don’t want to become my writing to become formulaic.

PP: How may readers find out more about you and your books? How may they contact you?

SHJ: They can visit my web site at and contact me on: I would be happy to hear from them and answer and questions.

PP: Do you have any other information or comments you’d like to share?

SHJ: Just that I hope Parallel Triangle gives as much pleasure to the reader as I’ve had in writing it.

PP: Thank you, Sandy, for taking the time to provide us with this detailed look at your work.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Book 4 of America's Galactic Foreign Legion available

DEMILITARIZED ZONE, Book 4 of Walter Knight's sci-fi military humorous series AMERICA'S GALACTIC FOREIGN LEGION is now available on Kindle at Amazon...


and in multiple ebook formats at