Friday, August 11, 2006

Q&A: SANDRA BROWN

In the latest issue of Thriller Readers Newsletter (International Thriller Writers, Inc.), I profile best-selling romantic suspense novelist Sandra Brown, who has been on the New York Times best-seller chart a whopping 50 times.

Her latest hit is the brand-new Ricochet (2006), a steamy thriller about murder, betrayal, and a homicide detective’s struggle with his own rules of conduct. (In stores Tuesday, August 15).

Before launching her writing career, the lifelong Texan worked as a model, as a weathercaster, and as a feature reporter on the nationally syndicated “PM Magazine.” Once she published her first novel, though, Brown never turned back: She has written 65 novels (so far). There are now 70 million copies of her books in print worldwide, translated into 30 languages.

Here is the behind-the-scenes correspondence that went into the profile:

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You are known for both your "romance" and your "thriller" novels. Do your readers follow you in both fields, or do you have two separate readerships?
Readers know how to distinguish a bona fide romance, written prior to 1988, from a novel of suspense that has an element of romance. I have diehard fans of each, but I'm pleased by the number who have read and liked both. I get mail from readers who began reading me early in my career, and have made the transition into thrillers with me. Others, just discovering my newer books, have gone back to read the romances, when ordinarily they wouldn't have picked a book from that genre.

Several of your older novels are being reprinted -- and in hardcover, no less! Does this create a situation where your new titles compete with new editions of old titles ... or does it create a synergy?
Collectors are delighted that those early books are now available in hardcover. But my agent and I have worked diligently to avoid confusion by insisting that if a book was previously published under a pseudonym, it says so on the cover. Fortunately we've had the cooperation of my backlist publishers not to publish a reprint too close to a new hardcover. Consumers are, I believe, smarter than publishers give them credit for. Readers know the difference.

What is it about International Thriller Writers that attracted you?
I wanted my name on the roster of writers who had already signed on. What writer wouldn't want to be a member of that distinguished group?! These are writers I read and admire. The organization's goal was to create a voice that publishers and media couldn't ignore. We've made tremendous progress, as evidenced by ThrillerFest and the success of "Thriller: Stories to Keep You Up All Night." I believe that our voice will grow stronger.

As a reader, what does a book need for you to pick it up?
For me the story is everything. I don't care if it's set on a wagon train or a space station, tell me a story. Every time I begin reading a new book, I do so with the expectation -- and hope -- of being drawn into another place, another time, another person's dilemma. I love make-believe.
Reading it, and writing it.

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Many thanks to novelist Sandra Brown. Find her online at SandraBrown.net.

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Related links:
Q&A: CORNELIA READ (A Field of Darkness)
Q&A: COLLEEN COBLE (Fire Dancer)
Q&A: ALTON GANSKY (Director's Cut)
Q&A: TASHA ALEXANDER (And Only to Deceive)
Q&A: LONNIE CRUSE (Murder In Metropolis)

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