Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!

Interview with a new favorite: Sandra Ardoin!


pay-706798_1280I’m doubly excited to interview one of my fellow Suspense Sister reviewers, Sandra Ardoin today. First because she’s downright delightful, but second because she’s offering a free e-copy of her new release (my new all-time favorite – see my review here!) A Reluctant Melody.

I so appreciate you taking time to share your new story with me and the folks who visit Faith Driven Fiction. Before we dig into your story, what does this New Year hold for you? Do you do resolutions, goals, or themes for your new year?

I don’t generally make resolutions. For me, they’re a waste of time. I do make a business plan (which I’m already behind in completing). Those are my writing goals for the year—projects I’d like to complete, etc.

I’ve never officially done the “Word of the Year” resolution, but last year I kept hearing the word “Trust” whispered to my spirit. There were a number of times during the year when I reminded myself of that word.

I love the premise for A Reluctant Melody. Writing about a recovering alcoholic is difficult set in any era, but what extra challenges did you find in dealing with this time period?

A Reluctant MelodyKit’s ministry helps those with the addiction to break it through physical and, mostly, spiritual help. In the book, I don’t concentrate much on the specifics of his ministry, but I still needed to know how alcoholism was looked upon and treated in the early 1890s.

I did a little research into the Salvation Army, and though Alcoholics Anonymous didn’t come around until the 1930s, some of their precepts are just what I wanted for Kit’s purpose. I guess you might consider the approach holistic in that deals with the physical, practical, emotional, and (especially) the spiritual needs. Kit’s set-up involves a stay in a house where the men are away from the influences of alcohol and those who still use it. They are fed nutritious meals, participate in prayer meetings, do physical labor, and are helped in the reconciliation of relationships if needed.

It was interesting to learn that many doctors from the time and previous decades tried to wean people off alcohol by using other addictive substances. And many women hid their alcoholism behind the closed doors of their homes. One day, Kit plans to establish a similar house for women.

Was this book easier or harder to write than The Yuletide Angel? (I LOVED that story, too!) What made it so?

Definitely harder. The Yuletide Angel pretty much wrote itself. I’ve always said God spit that one out. (And thank you for saying you loved it!)

A Reluctant Melody? Not so much. It seemed about two-thirds or three-quarters of the way through I hit a wall. As a writer yourself, don’t you hate that? Or, hopefully, it’s never happened to you.

Oh boy have I experienced that! Just recently with the last chapter of my latest!

I was approaching my deadline and fighting for almost every word I typed. Friends would ask me where I was in the book and I’d moan, groan, and whine. I’m sure they were delighted when I said I’d finished it!

I know I sure am glad you finished it, though for entirely selfish reasons! It was outstanding! If you were to choose another character from your book to be the star of another story, which character would you choose and why?

What a great question! I am such a sap when it comes to the lives of my characters. I want them ALL to have a happy-ever-after. As I’m writing their parts, I tend to hear certain ones pleading with me to give them that ending in their own stories. Often, I give in (or plan to). Yeah, I know … a sap! Frankly, it’s how Kit got his story.

In A Reluctant Melody, three characters were begging for a story and my mind kept working on the possibilities as I wrote. In fact, I was trying to figure out how to bring two of the three together in one story. If I could only choose one person, though, I think I’d choose Benton Greer. Ben is Kit’s friend and a former pastor who suffered a personal crisis that affected his faith to the point he began drinking. He’s since (miraculously) recovered both his faith and sobriety. He’s such a nice guy—a giant, physically and, now, spiritually. Alas, I’m working on another project. Ben will have to wait.

Maybe one day.

LOL! I confess, I didn’t think of Ben, but you’re right – great character. I could also see a couple of your females as follow-up main characters. What enhances your writing? Food, music, TV or movies, or something else?

A shower. Truly. Sometimes, when I’m stuck, I’ll take a shower. It’s like the steam opens my mind and in flow ideas that help me get through whatever scene I’m writing or problem that needs fixing. Snacks are great while I’m writing, but a beverage is a must. Coffee in the morning and water or a soft drink in the afternoon give me something to do while I’m staring at the computer. I don’t listen to music when I’m writing. It’s too distracting. However, I will hear a song on occasion (I’m a country girl) that sparks an idea, but that isn’t often. It happens more frequently with movies or the news. I’ll turn on the TV and something gets me asking myself questions that really have little to do with what I’m watching.

Reading enhances my writing. I like books with story and character depth, so I try to read those types of books when I’m writing. I think it helps me provide a little more depth to my stories. I hope so, anyway.

Well, you’re a great reviewer! So glad to have you as a part of the Suspense Sister review team! How do you balance your writing career with the rest of your life? What challenges get in the way of your writing? How do you avoid distractions?

Oh, boy! That’s a bugaboo with me at the moment. Our family has had a pretty hectic/stressful last quarter of 2015 and it’s bled into 2016. It’s taken a toll on my daily word count.

I don’t write on Sundays. Long ago, I felt God telling me I was becoming too obsessed, so I promised I wouldn’t write on Sundays. I will do a quick check of my emails, but don’t reply until Monday, and I don’t sit down at my computer to work. Unless it involves something personal, my computer rests, too.

The challenges are all the non-novel-writing things that go along with a writing career these days, things like keeping up with social media, promotions, emails—pretty much everything that falls under marketing. How do I avoid distractions? I don’t do well at it, but when possible, I try to stay off the internet in the afternoons (my major writing time).

What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t writing? (Alone? With friends? With family?)

Eat out. 🙂 Actually, yours isn’t a one thing answer for me. I’m pretty much a homebody, but I do like to “window shop”—alone or with my daughter. I’ll watch TV at night with my husband or curl up on the chair in my bedroom and read.

I’m a homebody, too! What is something you’ve never done but would love to try?

If I had the courage and better bones, I might want to learn to snow ski.

Sandra Ardoin_HeadshotAbout the Author:

Sandra Ardoin writes inspirational historical romance. She’s the author of The Yuletide Angel and A Reluctant Melody. A wife and mom, she’s also a reader, football fan, NASCAR watcher, garden planter, country music listener, antique store prowler. Visit her at and on the Seriously Write blog. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest. Join her email community to receive occasional updates and a free short story.

Short Version of A Reluctant Melody:

Kit Barnes’ alcoholism ruined more lives than his own. Now sober, he wants to make amends by opening a mission for drunkards. But the most suitable location belongs to Joanna Cranston Stewart, a love from his sordid past.

Friends of her late husband blame Joanna for his death. Although eager to flee from the rumors, she will let the walls of her rundown property crumble around her before she allows Kit back into her life.

When a blackmailer threatens to reveal Joanna’s long-held secret, will she risk losing everything she owns to Kit … including her heart?

Your Turn: Leave your email in the comments to enter the drawing to win an e-copy of this outstanding book! (See my review here.) And while your there, tell me what you love to see most in the Christian fiction that you read!

Author: Marji Laine

Marji is a recently "graduated" homeschooling mom whose twin girls have blessed her by sticking around the nest for a little longer. She spends her days directing the children’s music program at her church and working with the authors of Write Integrity Press to put out the best possible version of their books. Raised in suburban Dallas, she got her first taste of writing through the stories of brilliant authors of their day, Mignon Eberhart and Phyllis A. Whitney, and through stage experience. After directing and acting in productions for decades, Marji started writing her own scripts. From that early beginning, she delved into creating scintillating suspense with a side of Texas sassy. She invites readers to unravel their inspiration, seeking a deeper knowledge of the Lord’s Great Mystery that invites us all.

16 thoughts on “Interview with a new favorite: Sandra Ardoin!

  1. Thank you for the interview. What a unique subject for a book. Definitely one to read. Here’s my email for the drawing. lill dot kohler at gmail dot com

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love happily-ever-afters in the stories I read. I had Sandra on my blog yesterday and thought I’d love to read this book, so here’s my e-mail. ginger dot solomon at gmail dot com

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sounds like an important tooic to build a story around. That’s shady I like in a story, along with done levity to lighten it up, too.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This sounds like a fantastic book. Alcoholism runs in my family, so I’d love to read a positive story about it.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Marji! You had such great questions and, yes, there are those females in A Reluctant Melody whose stories I considered telling! 🙂 Hmm …