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Sandra BrickerAward-winning author of laugh-out-loud comedy for the inspirational market, Sandra D. Bricker, for more than a decade, lived in Los Angeles and, while writing in every spare moment, worked as a personal assistant and publicist to some of daytime television's hottest stars. Since then she has written three novels for middle-grade readers and several romance novels, including unWANTED: Husband, Change of Heart, Sins of the Past, Wish I Weren't Here, Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas and The Big 5-0h!.

Favorite Verse: Jeremiah 29:11.For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

 


 

 Our Interview with Sandra Bricker


 

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a Southern California native who grew up in Cincinnati, and I spent 15+ years as an entertainment publicist when I moved back to Los Angeles. I knew I wanted to write from a very young age. I started out as an aspiring screenwriter, and started writing novels when I moved to Florida to provide care for my mom when she became ill.

What is your favorite Bible verse and why?

Hands down, it’s Jeremiah 29:11.For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I always loved that promise, but it really gave me comfort when I was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer. If there’s any time in your life when you need to know that your God has a plan for your life, that’s the time.

What inspired the concept for writing Always the Baker, Never the Bride?

The simple answer is that I LOVE CAKE. My mom used to tell me that, when I was a kid and she would ask me what I wanted for my birthday dinner, I would always say the same thing: “As long as there’s cake, I don’t really care.” The longer version is that I’m a diabetic, so there’s not a whole lot of cake in my life these days.
I really admire the artistry that goes into a beautiful wedding cake, or a themed birthday cake, and when I started researching the craft, a book idea was instantly born.

How did you choose the setting for your story?

I knew I wanted to write about a large, southern family, and I’d lived in Roswell, GA for a very short time. It’s a small, historic city with some really compelling and attractive scenery, and I met quite a few interesting and quirky people while I was there.

Is any part of Always the Baker, Never the Bride factual?
 
Well, I tried to approach the main character’s diabetes as realistically as I could. I wanted to show that it’s possible for diabetes to become part of a person’s daily routine if they just monitor their blood sugar, eat a healthy diabetic diet, and take meds or insulin injections.

 

How closely is Always the Baker, Never the Bride based on your real life experiences?
 
There’s a little piece of me in all of my heroines, but I do have to say that Emma Rae is probably the closest one to me that I’ve ever written. We have very similar world views, and we’re attracted to the same type of men. I fell a little bit in love with Jackson by the time the book was complete!

How long did Always the Baker, Never the Bride take you to complete?
 
Perhaps because I loved the characters so much, this particular book rolled off my fingertips at a pretty rapid pace. I work a day job, so 40+ hours every week belong to someone else. Consequently, my writing time is largely confined to weekends. Still, I was able to complete the first draft in about 7 weeks.


What is the symbolism for the title Always the Baker, Never the Bride?

Emma Rae Travis is an artisan, and she spends a lot of time creating wedding cakes for radiant brides. But she’s begun to think that she’ll never have a wedding of her own. The title is based on the old adage, “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.” But in Emma’s case, she’s always The Baker!

Do you have a favorite character in Always the Baker, Never the Bride? Why?

This book is chock full of fun, quirky characters. But I think my favorite ones to write were Emma’s family. Her mom and dad, and her Aunt Sophie, are unique, quirky and unexpected. They were a ton of fun!

How much research did Always the Baker, Never the Bride take?

A lot! It had been a while since I’d been to the Atlanta area, and I also needed to know everything I could possibly learn about high-end bakers.

What was the most interesting fact that you learned while writing Always the Baker, Never the Bride?

Crumb coating! I honestly never knew that bakers perform a process to a cake called crumb coating so that their cakes don’t turn out the way mine always do … with crumbs in the icing.

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
 
The main challenge I faced in the beginning was finding a publisher who understood my sense of humor and really saw my vision about the solid role humor can play in fiction. These days, however, my greatest challenge is balancing performing well on a day job with serving my readers as an author.

 

What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

I love to tell stories that entertain and minister. I’ve never been the writer who wanted to only preach to the choir. By that, I mean that it’s very important to me to weave a story in a way that ministers to believers and non-believers alike.

What writing clubs or organizations do you belong to?

I belong to Romance Writers of America; their inspirational chapter Faith Hope & Love; their screenwriting chapter ScriptScene, and American Christian Fiction Writers.

What were your favorite books as a child?

I was a big fan of Dr. Seuss. I loved The Grinch and his teeny heart, and I would not eat Green Eggs & Ham! As I grew older, because of Dr. Seuss, I started reading anything I could get my hands on.

What is your writing style?   (Do you outline? Write “by-the-seat-of-your-pants?   Or somewhere in-between?)

I used to be very organized when I was a screenwriter. A step outline was a prelude to every script; I knew scene by scene what was going to happen, long before I actually wrote it. Novels are very different though. I sort of take the journey as I write it.

Do your characters begin to take on a life of their own as you write?

They certainly do! It’s often hard for me to say good-bye to them when the book is over.

What other new projects do you have on the horizon?
  
Quite a lot, actually. I have several books coming out in the next few months. In October, Love Finds You in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California; in the spring, a new devotional called Delight Yourself in the Lord…Even on Bad Hair Days that I’ve co-written with reader favorite authors Debby Mayne, Kristin Billerbeck, Trish Perry and Diann Hunt. In late 2011, Abingdon will release the second in my OH! series, The Big 4-OH!, and the following spring they’ll publish The Big 3-OH!

Who was the person who influenced you the most with your writing?

My dad was a wannabe writer who never actually pursued it, opting instead to put food on the table for his family. That inspired me to make different choices and plan it out a little more. But the writers who move me, who make me want to be better, are Frank Peretti, Robin Jones Gunn and Kristin Billerbeck.

What message would you like your readers to take from Always the Baker, Never the Bride?

That our God-orchestrated destiny is what happens while we’re busy making other plans.

What is your greatest achievement?

I’m not sure I’ve achieved it yet. So far, however … surviving ovarian cancer is right up there on the list.

What is your goal or mission as a writer?

To honor and glorify God by uplifting His children through my stories.

What do you do to get away from it all?

Well, it’s been a while … let me think …  I’m a big fan of dogs. I like to raise funds, volunteer and support animal rescue groups. And I really am blessed by the ocean, so when I need to escape and find my funny again, that’s where you’ll find me.


 

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The Big Five-Oh!
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Love Finds You in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
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Be Still & Let Your Nail Polish Dry
Be Still & Let Your Nail Polish Dry
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The Big 5-Oh!, Large print
The Big 5-Oh!, Large print
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