Sandra Masters Interview Published on: 24, Mar 2020

Tell us a bit about your background and family.

I was born an only child to my parents of Italian descent. My mother could not have more children because of my breech birth. Most of my friends and relations thought it was a wonderful thing because I would be spoiled. However, I always yearned for siblings that I could love and cherish. An only child gets very lonely. My father was a truck driver and my mother, of necessity, worked for Mrs. Wagner’s Pies which required that she work on Saturdays and Sundays. My father took care of me. We used to wait to pick her up at 3:30 in the afternoons, but she always had to work overtime. So my father learned how to cook Italian red gravy that we could eat when we got home. My mother and father both came from large families.

What made you decide to make the switch from a fantastic career for a play broadcasting company in Carlsbad, California to start writing your own books?

I was operated on for a brain tumor and decided that I should resign while I was ahead of the game. My career was the fulfilment of my dreams as Director of Risk Management and Personnel. The recovery was longer than I expected and allowed me time to write. I can’t remember a time when I truly stopped writing. I’d write by hand in the beginning and then packed the manuscripts in plastic totes.

What inspired you to write your first book at the age of fifteen?

The story spoke to me and I just wrote the story of marital infidelity, the hurt, the consequences, etc. That book was called Simpatico. Married to my second husband and living in the resort town of Longport, New Jersey (next to Atlantic City), I wrote a trilogy about a young woman working in the Trump casinos. From the Lord’s Prayer, the titles were: Lead Me Not Into Temptation; Deliver me from Evil; and For Thine is the Kingdom.

What challenges did you face while publishing your debut novel, Once Upon a Duke?

I realized the necessity to hone my craft prior to the publishing. I spent five years attending seminars, webinars, conferences, joined a local romance writer’s group, and learned so much. I determined if I wanted to be an Engineer, I’d attend an Engineering School. Therefore, it was natural that I learn what I need by all of the above.

What sparked the idea for your multi-cultural romance story of a young couple, "My Bastard?"

Being of Italian descent, I was expected to marry an Italian. I did not care for any of them, but I did find myself attracted to an American born Hispanic from Spain. He courted me and I married him. There was only one major problem. He was a womanizer. There is just so much a woman can overlook and after thirteen years and two sons, we divorced.

How did you begin writing The Duke Series? Which book was the most challenging to write in this series?

The Fifth book, One Night with a Duke. I read Mary Balogh voraciously and I was impressed with her Slightly series, Slightly Dangerous, of the Sixth Duke of Bedwyn. I patterned it after the plot, but obviously no plagiarism and the story was very, very different and there were no taboos. I also admired Judith McNaught of “Whitney, My Love.” She broke every rule in the author’s rule book of not to’s and became an instant success.

How would you describe the relationship between Noelle and Trevor in "The Duke's Christmas Promise"?

A Duke who has never married, a Lady with a life rebuilt, a past betrayal of love, secrets kept for twenty years, a deathbed revelation, a love rekindled.

Which of the 'The Duke Series' heroes is your favorite and why? What inspired you to write this character?

Once Upon a Duke. His Grace, Geoffrey Austen, Duke of Sutton because he typified the handsome aristocratic rakes of the Regency Era. Used to getting his own way all the time, he would love women and leave them without a ‘by your leave.” Until he met our Lady Serena, a victim of spousal abuse, and witnessed her scarred back, he determined he would protect and love….yes, love her. Being such a victim, she feared intimacy with any man. But he managed to melt her heart when he gifted her with a puppy, whom she named, Adonis, after him. She grew to trust him and he grew to love her. Fate intervenes and her malicious brother signs a contract of her betrothal to a beast of a man who not only is older, but malevolent. He captures her and takes Serena to the fortress and makes her life miserable. She contemplates throwing herself off a parapet into the sea. The Duke is told she used him to make her lover jealous, etc. And thereby hangs a tale.

Of all the love stories that you have written, which one is closest to your heart and why?

I was fortunate to have an editor from The Wild Rose Press, small publisher, agree to take me on. Without Miss Cindy Davis, her encouragement, guiding influence, and patience, I might not have been so fortunate.

How challenging it was to accomplish your life-long dream of publishing ONCE UPON A DUKE (NOT One Night with a Duke) into a reality?

Actually, One Night with a Duke, should have been the first book, but it was 170,000 words and much too large for any novel. Cutting out almost 100,000 words was no easy feat, but I was stubbornly committed to the project and it became the reality. So One Night with A Duke became Book Five. I did say that fate intervenes when we least expect it.

How different would your life be had you not discovered writing?

Writing discovered me. As that lonely child, I only had two selections of books to read. One was Heidi. The other was the somewhat illustrated Encyclopedia Britannica. Then I discovered the local library and my life significantly changed.

How have negative and positive reviews helped you to write better?

I was told never to read negative reviews, but again, I did read them. Sometimes I contacted the reviewer and we discussed what disturbed her. But I also read the good reviews and made some lifelong friends. Fortunately, there were more positive than negative, but I took all of them to heart.

What is the advice you would like to give to the young writers?

There are two rules:

1. Never give up.
2. Never forget Rule Number 1.

Which is the next book you are working on? Give us an insight into it.I’m hoping to finish The Masked Marchioness in a few weeks.

Garrett Lord Belmont, Marquess of Montgate, a notorious rake, a secret world-class spy, finds he is detoured to the Italian States. Honor and his mission for his monarch challenges his vow to protect his upcoming decisions. Is it love, lust or his English bravado that questions his resolve?

Viviana Berlini, daughter of an obscure Italian baron, strong-willed, high-spirited, has held to her fantasies about Belmont for the past seven years when as a lad he tolerated her as a pesky child. Now reunited in Italy, they marry under adverse circumstances. Treachery abounds and everyone is suspect.

And then there is the evil-minded Grand Duke of Tuscany who determines that he will take Viviana at any cost to become his wife. She may even succumb to a curious illness.

But Viviana, has her infamous cousin who is one of the most important men in Sicily, feared by all who know him. And she has married without his permission. Sparks fly, singe and burn in every direction.

When did you join All Author? How has your experience with All Author been?

June 2019. So far my experience has been good. I’m looking forward to this interview meeting your standards.

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