Author Interview: The Angel & The Brown-Eyed Boy by Sandy Norton + Kindle Fire Giveaway

Welcome to Author Sandy Norton

Sandy Nathanwrites to amaze and delight, uplift and inspire, as well as thrill and occasionally terrify. She is known for creating unforgettable characters and putting them in do or die situations. She writes in genres ranging from science fiction, fantasy, and visionary fiction to juvenile nonfiction to spirituality and memoir.



“I write for people who like challenging, original work. My reader isn’t satisfied by a worn-out story or predictable plot. I do my best to give my readers what they want.”



Mrs. Nathan’s books have won twenty-two national awards, including multiple awards from oldest, largest, and most prestigious contests for independent publishers. Her books have earned rave critical reviews and customer reviews of close to five-star averages on Amazon. Most are Amazon bestsellers.



Sandy was born in San Francisco, California. She grew up in the hard-driving, achievement orientated corporate culture of Silicon Valley. Sandy holds Master’s Degrees in Economics and Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling. She was a doctoral student at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and has been an economic analyst, businesswoman, and negotiation coach, as well as author.



Mrs. Nathan lives with her husband on their California ranch. They bred Peruvian Paso horses for almost twenty years. She has three grown children and two grandchildren.



Her latest books are The Angel & the Brown-Eyed Boy, Lady Grace: A Thrilling Adventure Wrapped in the Embrace of Epic Loveand Sam & Emily: A Love Story from the Underground,which are all part of the Tales from Earth’s End series.




You can visit her website at www.sandynathan.com


Visit her blogs: http://sandranathan.netand http://yourshelflife.com(blog for writers)  http://talesfromearthsend.com (series blog)


Follow her on Twitter:  www.twitter.com/sandyonathan


Friend her on Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/sandy.nathan.author

Interview: 
If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
I’d go into the future. I’m assuming that the planet will be doing better then.


What is one book everyone should read?
Independent People by Halldor Laxness. Laxness was the 1955 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was Icelandic and a great writer. I’m half-Icelandic and haven’t won a Nobel Prize. Independent People is set in Iceland. It is so brutal that it makes Angela’s Ashesseem like a romp in the park. But it’s exquisite.

 
If you were a superhero what would your name be?
Sandy Nathan. Or maybe I’d use Sandra Valdine. That’s my given name and middle name. Total authenticity. No hype. I would wear jeans and a shirt, no tight costume or cape. No, I’d wear the cape. And have a magic wand.


If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
The power to induce love wherever I went. Or project it to wherever it’s needed.


What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Chocolate fudge brownie from Rite Aide. Not the fanciest ice cream in the world, but the most delicious.


If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?
My dad.


What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
My husband makes sort of a homemade Egg McMuffin, consisting of crisply toasted bread, lots of butter, slices of hardboiled egg, sliced ham, and topped with Swiss cheese. This is truly delicious, especially with our strong coffee.

One food you would never eat?
Sautéed bugs like they eat in some places.


Pet Peeves?
People who leave bad reviews on Amazon who obviously don’t get the book at all. For instance, my Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could is a kids’ book about a premature baby horse. It’s a sweet book about hope and overcoming disabilities that speaks to kids with handicaps. Adults also like it, though it’s a kids’ book. The sale page clearly states that.  The data Amazon provides clearly says that its 44 pages. Many of its existing reviewers have CHILDREN’S BOOK their reviews’ titles. It won a number of prestigious book awards, in juvenile nonfiction. This is all over the page.

It’s gotten wonderful reviews, except for one person who gave it a bad review and said, “It’s a cute story, but it’s short, like a children’s book.”

It is a children’s book. They’re short. Grrr.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

My book will touch your soul, show you love, and impart the need to be vigilant before we end up blowing up the world.


Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
I’m booked up for the rest of my life. I have another series, the Bloodsong Seriesthat I began writing way back in 1995. The first book of that series, Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism and Money, came out in 2008. Numenon is the story of a great Native American shaman meeting the richest man in the world. “Bill Gates meets Don Juan.”

It was wildly popular when it came out, hitting #1 in three categories of Mysticism and floating around the 1,000thlevel in Kindle sales. I did nothing to support its success, assuming it would go on forever. Alas, it didn’t. And I didn’t take screen shots of those wonderful ratings . . .

I have readers emailing me all the time saying, “Where’s the sequel?” I say in the Author’s Note in Numenon that the sequel was already written in draft form. Which means written on the back of an electronic napkin on my hard drive.

While attempting to shape up the sequel, I was beset by every demon a writer can face. Writer’s block, you name it. (Numenon’s sequel is Mogollon: A Tale of Mysticism and Mayhem. The Mogollon were an extinct Native people in New Mexico and Arizona.)

One of the things that derailed the sequel to Numenon is Tales from Earth’s End. The three books of the Tales burst out of me. I couldn’t work on anything else while I was writing them.

But they’re written and now I can work on Mogollon. I’m happy to report I’ve overcome writer’s block and writer’s insanity and am just writing. The book is going great. I’m totally into it again.

And I’m so glad that I didn’t jam what I had together earlier and put it out to satisfy my dear readers, who were begging for it. I’m a way better writer now. The book is quicker, meaner, leaner, and lovelier. Finishing it and getting it through editing and production will be a while. I anticipate a 2013 publication date.

Also, I have literary agent, a wonderful person who’s waiting for The Horse Book, a book I have been threatening to write as long as I’ve  promised people Mogollon. I need to pop that one out, too. The Horse Book are stories of my life as a horse woman. I’ve ridden since I was ten years old. I live on a horse ranch. My husband and I bred Peruvian Paso horses for almost twenty years. Lots of stories there.


What inspired you to want to become a writer?
I’ve always written academically and professionally. People who received my letters told me I should write a book. I never could get it together to finish anything. I tried. No oomph. No discipline.

What finally worked was a personal disaster. In 1993, something happened that shook the foundations of my world. It took me years to get sort of healed. In 1995, I went to a meditation retreat to try and heal myself the rest of the way. I worked as hard as I could in that retreat, and it worked a miracle on me.

The idea for my first series, the Bloodsong Series, came to me in a mystical experience shortly after the retreat. It was very dramatic and could have been produced by Hollywood special effects guys. When it was over, I discovered that an entire book had been injected into my brain. Not just the book, but several sequels AND the self discipline to finish them.

My first novel, Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money, came from that experience. The book is about a great Native American shaman meeting the richest man in the world. I’ve got drafts of a half-dozen sequels on my hard drive.

The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy came to me in a similar fashion, after a personal disaster. I was happily, but not very productively working on Mogollon, the first sequel to Numenon, when my brother died tragically. He was my adored little brother and only sibling. Outwardly, I looked calm and collected, but inside I was screaming with grief.

About three months after my brother died, I had a dream in which a shimmering golden light floated above me as I slept. That light was totally conscious, totally alive and good in every way. It radiated peace and good will. As I slept, I felt it lower itself upon me. And then it became me, merging with me fully. I got to feel the inner state on an angel. (Did I tell you I like meditation and spiritual practice and have big spiritual experiences? I do. Always have.)


Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
My books have won 22 national awards. That’s been gratifying. I love that Gold Medal in Visionary Fiction from the IPPYs (Independent Press) Awards. And the two Nautilus Awards, and the Finalist placing in the Benjamin Franklin Awards.

But what really tickles me is fan mail. Love to hear from people who’ve found my work valuable, funny, beautiful, scary, visionary, or useful as cat box liner.

The really best was when one of my characters(and not a nice one) got fan mail.

Write to me! I love it!


What is your dream cast for your book?
I don’t go to enough movies to cast all the character, but Lena could only be played by one person: the wonderful Felicia Rashad. Henry could be played by James Earl Jones, Morgan Freeman, or Danny Glover would be great. Louis Gossett, Jr. could do it.  

I don’t know enough younger actors and others to cast the piece. Each of the books has a page on my website. On them are videos. They show what I think the characters look like. People who know more about movies could use those vids as a start.

Oh––Veronica Edgarton doesn’t actually appear in the book, but she’s talked about a lot. Elizabeth Taylor in her prime would look similar to Veronica.

Similarly, Chaz Edgarton, Veronica’s husband and Jeremy’s dad, isn’t shown. I imagine he’d look like Marvin Gaye. Gaye had a beautiful voice, an incredible vocal range, and a sweet, kind personality. He was a very talented man with a tragic end.


What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
Tarzan. The whole series shaped my life.


If you could choose only one time period and place to live, when and where would you live and why?
Now. And where I live now, in the Santa Ynez Valley. I love it. Beautiful area. I would remove all the vineyards, however, and swap the people here for the people in Santa Fe NM.


When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?
No clue. I think it was expected that I would work for my father in the family business, though nobody actually said that. I would have been terrible at it. My dad died and my mother sold the business, so that option was out.

That unspoken expectation influenced what I did for many years. When my dad died, I figured that someone in the family should know about money. I was still in college and decided to major in economics, never having taken a course. Holy macaroni! I did not know that I’d picked one of the hardest majors ever.

I ended up getting a BA and an MA in it. Only when I found myself in Stanford’s Graduate School of Business getting a PhD did I admit that I hated economics. I quit, but went back to work––as an economist.


What was your favorite children’s book?
Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak


If you could have a signed copy of any novel what would it be and why?
It’s not a novel, but I’d sure love to have an autographed copy of the Bible.


You have won one million dollars what is the first thing that you would buy?
 A really fancy bridle for my horse.


What do you do in your free time?
I’m a lifelong horsewoman­––I ride my horse in my free time. We live on a horse ranch and bred Peruvian Paso horses for almost 20 years. At our peak, we had 22 horses. We’re in retirement mode and only have six horses now, a couple of which are in retirement. Like my husband and I.

A very exciting thing happened two weeks ago. I got a new horse! I have a bad back and have had major surgery on my knee and ankle. All that cutting takes something out of you. I stopped riding entirely for several years. It wasn’t until I discovered the gentle and easy gaited Rocky Mountain Saddle Horse that I felt safe enough to ride again. YAY! You may see Star and I ambling along the trail.


What’s your favorite season/weather?
I like it between 80 degrees and 40 degrees year round, sunny days only. Rain only at night to water plants. No snow, hurricanes, or anything dangerous. That’s pretty fussy. I’d have to say autumn. Great riding weather. The horses are very energized by the change in the weather and it’s not too hot or cold.


What is your guilty pleasure?
Downloading free books from Amazon. I’ve got about 500 on my Kindle now.

Favorite music?
I like anything by Bill Miller. Bill is an extremely talented Native American musician/artist/speaker. He has more spiritual wallop than anyone I know. Bill has won three Grammy Awards and I don’t know what all else. He leads a spiritual retreat in the Tennessee mountains which was so powerful that I ended up writing a book because of it.  Stepping Off the Edge contains a very moving  interview from Bill and every single thing that I’ve learned in my life that worked. Made things better. Lots about Bill in it, too.


In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with?
Diana Gabaldon

I’ve had a blast being with you. Here’s a bit more for the readers:

If you like Tales from Earth’s End and want to read more of my stuff, it’s available.  Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could is a kids’ book about a premature baby horse. It’s very sweet. Short. It’s for kids. The print version is better for kids to read. Stepping Off the Edge is my first book. It’s sort of a very intense ramble through my life and spirituality a few years back. It contains everything that anyone, academically or otherwise, has told me that worked. Meaning: made my life better. Solved problems. This is me telling you what kept me going. It’s not a how-to meditate, pray, or do any other spiritual practice. You won’t find step-by-step instruction in it. It’s a memoir with teeth.

There’s the Tales from Earth’s End Series of three books to read.

And, there’s my first novel, Numenon. I love Numenon. It’s about spirituality, shamanism, why we’re here on earth, how we grow, and can Will Duane, the anti-hero, be anything but a jerk? It’s also dark, bloody, violent, gross, and sexy, by turns. Not your grandmother’s spiritual guide. Be aware of that. I’m not one who thinks spirituality is about floating around on a cloud where the only problem is how to get higher. 

The Angel & The Brown-Eyed Boy

Tomorrow morning, a nuclear holocaust will destroy the planet. Two people carry the keys to survival: A teenage boy and an intergalactic traveler.

By the late 22nd century, the Great Recession of the early 2000s has lead to a worldwide police state. A ruined United States barely functions. Government control masks chaos, dissenters are sent to camps, and technology is outlawed. War rages while the authorities proclaim the Great Peace.

Finally it all breaks down. We’re in New York City on the eve of nuclear Armageddon. In the morning, ultimate destructive forces will wipe out all life on earth. Only Jeremy Edgarton, a 16-year-old, tech genius and revolutionary; and Eliana, the angelic, off-world traveler sent to Earth on a mission to prevent her planet’s death, can save the world.  Join Eliana and Jeremy as they begin a quest to save two doomed planets … and find each other.



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