She Wanted to Be a Writer Since She Was Eight

Author Interview With Sandra Stoner Mitchell

Cover Xmas BookI had the privilege of reviewing a delightful children’s book. It is called “The Day Before Christmas Eve.” It is a tale of how some unlikely young characters find themselves in the position to help Santa Claus finish the work needed to get the presents ready for Christmas Eve. They pitch-in and save the day. It is an enjoyable read and sure to get the kids in the holiday mood.

Then I had the honor of interviewing the author of the book, Sandra Stoner Mitchell. I learned so much about her and her journey as an author. Below are the Highlights.

Sandra-MitchellWhen did you decide to become an author and what impact has it had on your life?

I decided I was going to be the next Enid Blyton when I was eight years old.  It took me a few years to get started, marriage and babies seemed to take control of my life for a while.  My writing began many years ago, I love to write stories in poetry and wrote a lot of personal poems for friends and family.  Just small ones to start with.  It was after my husband died, I wrote a poem about my feelings at the time and attached it to his wreath.  Suddenly I was being asked for spiritual poems from friends of friends.  Just recently I had a little book published on Amazon called ‘Spiritual Moments.’ It was my editor, and close friend, Carol Aston, who encouraged me to do it and since then she has been with me, helping and encouraging, in all my writing.

Tell us something about one of your books and what motivated you to write it.

My first published book was called ‘Hedgerow Capers’ about these little hedgerow creatures and the fun they had together.  This started about twenty years before I even thought about publishing.   After my husband died, I needed to go back to work, that in itself was a challenge after fifteen years out of the work place, in fact to get a job I had to go back to college and re-learn short-hand typing as well as computing.  Once I had my degree, I found a job as company secretary for a small soft drinks company, based in the countryside near my home.  It was while I was sitting looking out of the window, I saw a mouse run across the yard outside.  My imagination took over, she became, Mummy Mouse in my future book.  She was nipping away to have some time on her own.  The first story was, Mummy Mouse has a Day Out.  Over the next few years I would bring her out and write more stories, her sons, Timmy a and Tommy, and Daddy Mouse and soon friends came into the stories.  My first book had eleven stories in poetry and was published with Melrose Books in October 2012.

Where do your ideas and inspiration come from?

My ideas come from everyday life.  What I did as a child and later what my sons did.  Now I take ideas from my grandchildren to keep up with the times.  I moved to Spain for a few years with my new husband, (not so new now!)  and more ideas flooded my brain.  I have written another small book for adults of short stories.  It was my first attempt and now I am trying to write more of them.  Children’s stories are my strongest area of writing, probably because I am a bit of a child myself.  As I said earlier, Enid Blyton was my inspiration.  I thought it sad that her books became a target for the politically correct brigade, they were just fun little stories, but now we have to be so careful what we do and write.

What would be your best advice to new or want-to-be authors?

If you want to be an author badly enough, do it.  It is harder to find a publisher these days, as they tend to go mainly for the well-known and recognized authors, but there are many self-published authors out there that have made it into the big time, so never, never give up.

Tell us about your latest work in progress.

At the moment I have another twenty stories in the Hedgerow series.  I am writing them as a collection and each book will have just the one story or in the case of a shorter story, I will put two in.  They will be illustrated and should be ready early next year.

How can people contact you?

My e-mail address is:

I am on Facebook and Twitter, but I am far more likely see any messages on my e-mail account.


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Interview with Author Dolores Ayotte

I just met with a delightful person and enjoyed immensely the opportunity to get to know her better.

She is the Author of “I’m Not Perfect, And It’s Okay.”

Im-not-perfectThis is an inspirational book that outlines Dolores’ steps to a happier life. It is full of her little life lessons that can be applied to any life to make it fuller and more vibrant.

I had the pleasure of an interview, and the following is what she had to share with me and those who follow my blog.




1. Tell us what you learned while writing I’m Not Perfect And It’s Okay

I learned that without my faith and my relationship with God, I don’t know that I could have ever survived and made my way in life to this extent.  It was in the depth of my depression and despair…at my weakest moment when I felt like the biggest failure…that I found the unconditional and merciful love of the God I always knew existed.  By embracing my weakness, I actually found God’s strength and worked my way out of the pit I found myself to be in.

My faith has not only grown in my relationship with God, but in myself as well.  God lives in each and every one of us. I knew I had to look within in order to accomplish the feat of fulfilling my desire to have a closer and more personal relationship with God.

2. How old were you when you wrote your first book? How many books have you written?

I was in my late fifties when I wrote my first book. Over twenty-five years ago I attempted to write I’m Not Perfect And It’s Okay ~ Steps to a Happier Self. At that time, I had neither the experience nor the expertise to realistically offer any steps to a happier self.  My book is written in retrospect based on a proven recipe. I have incorporated each and every step into my life on a daily basis over the last several years.  Over time, I eventually figured out the steps I suggest for better life coping skills and then decided to put pen to paper and write my book.

In the book itself, I actually explain and go into more depth as to why it took so long for me to complete. I also discuss how I came about revisiting this lifelong dream of mine.

3. What sparked your decision to journey down the path of writing?

I have found that one of the most difficult things in life, for me and probably for many other people as well, is to embrace our own weaknesses and shortcomings. Our basic human nature is created with faults, foibles, and frailties.  It is not to say that we don’t have many wonderful and desirable traits, but we seldom want to admit to some of the less complimentary ones…not even to ourselves.

I have found that when I honestly acknowledge and embrace my own weaknesses, they have less power over me and my actions.  It’s when I refuse to admit my personal weaknesses that I actually fail at being the true Christian I desire to be.  In essence, the more aware I am of my flaws, the more able I am to control what I say and do.

It took me years to be honest and open about suffering with depression.  Depression doesn’t always fall into the same category or receive the same compassion that physical illnesses do.  Based on my experience, I have found that many people are still very reluctant to openly discuss conditions like depression/OCD/Bi-Polar etc. because they are considered to be forms of mental illness.  I decided that it was time to “come clean” in order to help educate others in an effort to…not only help those with these silent and often debilitating illnesses… but to better educate and inform people that are exposed to those who do.

It has been this realization that sparked my decision to journey down the path of writing and I haven’t look back. I know in my heart it was the right way to go.

4. What movie has inspired you the most?

I have seen many wonderful movies in my life time. The old classics, The Ten Commandments, Doctor Zhivago, and the musical Jesus Christ Super Star, all come to mind. On a lighter note, I really enjoyed Pretty Woman and An Officer and A Gentleman.  My husband and I go to a movie at least once a week during the winter months so we have seen many newer movies that I have enjoyed as well.

5. What are your hobbies other than writing?

I have a variety of personal interests that have served me well since my retirement. First and foremost, I love spending time with my children and my grandchildren. They never cease to amaze me with their boundless energy!

I enjoy walking, Zumba, line dancing, and other forms of exercise such as bike riding with my husband. I love gardening especially in the spring when I get to prune the shrubs and watch new life break through the soil as my perennials reach out to the sunlight after a long dark winter.

I also enjoy Crossword Puzzles, Sudoku, and the solving of Crypto quotes. Reading, reviewing books, and playing bridge are also some favorites

6. If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?

I would have to say Hawaii because after almost 45 years of marriage, two winters ago, that’s exactly what my husband and I did. We went on a lovely vacation with another couple. We’ve been friends since grade school and used to double date before we married our high school sweethearts.  It took a long time to happen but…I would have to say it’s where I would go because Hawaii is exactly where we went when we had the opportunity and the timing was right.

7. What is your favorite Bible verse?

Matthew 22:36-40
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

8. What are you writing now?

I recently published my fourth book titled, “A Woman’s Voice ~ Volume I ~ Inspirational Short Stories”. I haven’t been writing as much as usual the last few months as I pursue other projects that have been taking up much of my time. However, I do have a few ideas for future books and hope to revisit these when the opportunity arises. One of my manuscripts is near completion but it requires much more editing.

9. Do you have a blog or website where readers can stay in touch with you?

Yes, I have both.  My website is ~

My blog site titled “A Woman’s Voice” is ~

I also have a Twitter Account:

And a Facebook Author’s Page:


On a personal note ~ I would like to thank Dean for taking the time to interview me.  I would also like to thank all of your followers for spending a little time with me. Bright blessings to you all!


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Book Smart Give Them What They Want

Give Them What They Want

These immortal words were penned by Churchill, sang by popular hit artists, and recently applied to marketing. In the world of authorship and writing books there could not be a better mantra.

It took John Locke some time to find his audience. His first book had a LOT of one-star reviews. But, once he found the people that loved his book, he sold a million eBooks in five months!

Mark Joyner, in the Great Formula, said, “Find a thirsty crowd, and sell them a glass of water.”


The trick to producing a book or product that sells, isn’t in necessarily finding the “silver bullet” of a topic, as it is finding an “audience” and delivering what they want. I love the imagery that Mark Joyner employs, as he talks about finding a thirsty crowd, then selling them a glass of water.

Where is Your Thirsty Crowd?

Where are the rabid fans that want what you have to deliver? That can be a tricky question. You may have to find them a few at a time and create an email list to cater to their needs. This seems to be a very successful model.

However, getting to a point where you have a following seems to be the real catch. Where do you find your potential customers, and how do you discover what it is that they need?

Finding Your Audience

The Internet has natural pockets of people that share common interests. Usually you can find some of the biggest websites catering to specific interests just by doing Google searches. The top pages returned will often be the ones with the most traffic. You can also search for forums on your chosen topic. There are lots of forums out there.

Now that you have found people interested in your topic, how do you find out what they really want or need? That can be a tricky question also. I find that searching for the threads that have the most views and/or responses tend to let you know what is on the minds of those on the forum. My suggestion is to find the biggest ones, become a member of the forum, and join in the discussion. At some point you can ask, “what are your biggest frustrations?” You want to narrow down their biggest pain points, then you can begin researching how best to help relieve that pain.

Now Give Them What They Want

At this point, you should be very empathetic. You should know a little bit about your audience. You should understand the questions that they are asking, and with a little research you should be able to give them the best answers available at this time. Do a good job with the research—make sure what you give them is actionable, and step-by-step if possible. Focus on solving a single problem, one that can make a good book title, or good sound-bite. That will help build your brand and your name recognition.

Your goal as a writer is to connect to your audience, pull them in, and help them out. If you can do that you will have people returning again, and again to get more of what they want from you. Be sure that your answers are as thorough as they need to be. I have heard Barbara Ling say, ”sell them what they want, but deliver what they need.” I think that is an important point. Often customers have an idea of what it is that they want, but they don’t know exactly what it is that they need. You have done the research, you should know what they need as well, and you have to deliver that.

Writing a book or an information product that sells depends on finding your audience, understanding them well enough, to give them what they want and what they need.

That is the formula in a nut shell. Now go out and put it into practice.

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Homework web

I had the honor of reading and reviewing this book. It is definitely a keeper. It wraps a fun story around the fears and frustrations of the dreaded homework that used to annoying me so much as a child. I totally empathized with Jason, and his quest to rescue his homework.

Below is the interview with Ashley!

1. When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?

I think it was born into me. I have always loved telling stories. As I got older I enjoyed writing and I still love it! I wouldn’t go a day without writing something. It might be a blog, worksheet, review or an actual story. Writing is just part of my life. There is more to being an author than writing. I also love to read and that is so important. I just wish I loved editing as much. Certainly writing has had a big impact on my life and the life of my family. A positive impact for sure. My girls are a big part of my writing too.

2. Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it:

I have had a pretty big year. My third children’s book – The Homework Goblin was released and I have stories in four different anthologies. I joined these projects to work with other authors. I am a team player and that is one thing I find different about writing. It can be an individual pursuit. All my life I have been involved in team sports. So to be a part of these anthologies makes me part of a bigger writing community. Which is lots of fun!

3. What are your future aspirations as an author?

World domination – best sellers everywhere??? Well okay that would be wonderful. I certainly wouldn’t be complaining. Seriously though I write for my girls and kids everywhere. If kids are enjoying my books then I am happy. I have lots of stories in various forms of completion, so in the near future I will be branching into self publishing. I am looking forward to 2014 because I am planning a big year for my writing!

4. Where do your ideas come from? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?

Some of my ideas just pop into my head, but most come from my life experiences. I have two very creative girls who inspire me every day. I also work with dogs and kids. Okay so this is not meant to be a good combination. One thing for sure there is always plenty of material! All these things influence my writing.

5. What do you do to improve yourself and a writer?

I read lots of different books. This is a big part of becoming a better writer. I also have assessments done on my books so I can develop myself. Finally I have joined writing groups on social media. This gives me the opportunity to discuss writing and editing with other authors. It is also a great source of information. I think these opportunities are wonderful for development. It’s great to connect with authors all over the world!

What are the names of your books?

My three published books are:


Obi the Super Puppy and the Mystery of the Red Mist

The Homework Goblin

They can all be found here:


Tell us a little bit about your next WIP

I have so many projects on the go at the moment. I am editing a novel for teenagers called It’s What You Do Next That Counts. This is a bit different to my other books. It’s much longer and for an older age group. Which certainly presents more of a challenge when it comes to editing. Still I am really proud of it and hope to self publish early next year.

One of my other projects is a sequel to Obi the Super Puppy. This one introduces my puppy (now three years old) Stitch. He is the cute boy in my author photos. Obi the Super Puppy and the Quest for the Last Laugh should also be out early next year.

Do you read the reviews of your work and how do they affect your writing?

I do read the reviews of my work. It’s important to gain feedback positive or negative. What doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger. Actually I have been lucky (touch wood) and most of the reviews have been really positive. Still there are little bits and pieces of advice that I take on board to improve myself as a writer.


Thanks for this opportunity it’s great to connect with other authors and help each other out.

I can be contacted via the following social media:




Amazon link:


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