Friday, March 9, 2012

Saidak: Kalie's quest for vengeance becomes journey of healing & redemption

Sandra Saidak graduated San Francisco State University in 1985 with a B.A. in English. She is a high school English teacher by day, author by night. Her hobbies include reading, folk music, attending science fiction conventions, researching prehistory, and maintaining an active fantasy life (but she warns that this last one could lead to dangerous habits such as writing). Sandra lives in San Jose, CA with her husband Tom, daughters Heather and Melissa, and cats, Cocu and Oreo. Her first novel, DAUGHTER OF THE GODDESS LANDS, an epic set in the late Neolithic Age, was published in November 2011 by Uffington Horse Press. Her novel recently made it to Round Two of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition and she's waiting to hear about Round Three!
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The Writers’ Lens is about "Bringing fiction into focus"–what brings your writing into focus, the characters, the stories, the love of words? I would have to say that passion is what brings my writing into focus. If I don’t feel passionate about something, there’s no point in writing about it. Some of my best writing has come from anger—at injustice, at the current political climate, even anger at an author who had a great idea and then botched it (IMHO). There is also, for me, a need to always have a window open to another world.  If was stuck in this world, 24/7, I’d go crazy.

What do you think readers will like about your book? I hope that readers will enjoy seeing a strong woman, who has been through a terrible trauma, reclaim her life and grow in ways she could never have imagined.  I hope the journey of healing and discovery that Kalie takes will resonate with the reader.  And since I researched hundreds of folktales, myths and legends from Russia to Greece to the Middle East, just to find the eight or nine that were right for this novel, I really hope the readers like the storytelling parts!

Would you share a bit about your next project? My next book, after I wrap the Kalie’s Journey series, will be set in Bronze Age Ireland. Some years ago, I spent a lovely weekend at the beach, mostly just staring at the waves (I guess I really needed to unwind). I came up with a story about a woman living alone on a beach, her only friends a group of seals. I assumed they would be selkies, but when I started my research, I discovered their Irish cousins the roane, who I came to like much better. The roane are kind and gentle shapeshifters, and I found them to be the perfect foil for the violence and savagery that existed in the human world at the time. The working title is SALTWATER KIN, but for me, titles usually turn out to be the last part of the process.

What's your favorite way to interact with fans/readers? I love science fiction conventions. They’re wonderful places to meet lots of people, in every way from one-on-one to small groups to large ballrooms full of people, all there to listen to one person (my dream is to one day be the person everyone comes to see!) But the internet is great too, because it allows me to interact with people from all over the world, and everyone can participate at their own pace.

What makes your book/characters unique? I don’t think very many books start out with a heroine on a suicide mission that turns out to have a happy ending (if there are, I want to know about them!). Many books in this genre show violence against women, or the destruction of one culture by another. Mine is different in that the both the women facing slavery and the culture facing extinction fight back in a variety of ways. And most importantly to me, my protagonist never waits for a man to come rescue her.

Not every idea is a winner. Written or not, what’s the most ill-conceived story idea you’ve ever had? My first attempt at writing began at age 13, after I become fascinated with Anne Frank and the Holocaust. There was very little information on the Holocaust at my local library, and nothing on what happened to Anne at Bergen-Belsen, other than that she died there. So, I decided I would write my own story, from a few facts and a lot of imagination. Unfortunately, I was also watching a lot of old musicals on tv at that time, and I came to the conclusion that every story (read “movie” to my adolescent mind) needed scenes when the characters spontaneously break into song. It wasn’t “Bergen-Belsen: The Musical.”  But it was close. You can probably imagine my reaction several years later when I saw “The Producers.”
DAUGHTER OF THE GODDESS LANDS is the unforgettable saga of Kalie, a courageous young heroine born into the untamed beauty of prehistoric Europe.
Kalie's peaceful life is shattered when a brutal attack by horsemen from the east leave her scarred in body and soul. As the sole survivor of the assault, Kalie makes her way home, and warns her people to prepare for the invasion that she knows is coming. But the goddess-worshiping farmers of her home have no concept of battle, and dismiss Kalie's warning.
When the marauders strike again, they cut a swath of destruction and death that prove too late the truth of Kalie’s words. Haraak, the leader of the invaders, demands a tribute of gold, grain and women in exchange for sparing her village.Yet it is in this cruel show of power that Kalie sees a chance to save her people, and gain revenge for herself.
Kalie leads a group of volunteers to infiltrate the horseman's society, and then destroy them from within. Once she is among them, Kalie uses her skill as a storyteller, and her knowledge of healing to penetrate the horsemen’s inner circle and to discover the secrets that could lead to their destruction.
But Kalie discovers that price of revenge is high, and that a quest for vengeance can become a journey of healing and redemption.

Available in ebook & print at AMAZON

1 comment:

  1. Sandra -- Thanks so much for being my guest this week. I'm looking forward to reading DAUGHTER OF THE GODDESS LANDS. Sounds like my kind of book!