Interview with an Author: Tricia L. Sanders


Tricia L. Sanders
Tricia L. Sanders writes about women with class, sass, and a touch of kickass. A former instructional designer and corporate trainer, she traded in curriculum writing for novel writing, because she hates bullet points and loves to make stuff up. And fiction is more fun than training guides and lesson plans.

When she isn’t writing, Tricia is busy crossing dreams off her bucket list. With all 50 states checked, she’s concentrating on foreign lands. Safari anyone? She’s an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan, so don’t get between her and the television when a game is on. Currently she is working on a mystery series set in the fictional town of Wickford, Missouri. Another project in the works is a women’s fiction road trip adventure.

Her essays have appeared in Sasee, ByLine, The Cuivre River Anthology and Great American Outhouse Stories; The Whole Truth and Nothing Butt. She is a proud member of The Lit Ladies, six women writing their truths into fiction. Visit her website:

How did you get started doing writing in general?

Believe it or not, my first published story was in 4th grade. My teacher (wish I could remember her name) submitted it to a local newspaper. Then I had a long, dry spell. The next piece I published was almost forty years later in the form of an essay I submitted to a woman’s lifestyle magazine. In between those years, I experimented with poetry, short stories, and even wrote a terrible, whiny song, but never sent anything off for publication. I sang the song in public one time and knew songwriting and singing were not my niche.

At what point did you change the focus of your writing into fiction writing?

I had been writing curriculum for my company, and while it was challenging, it didn’t challenge my creative side. I saw an advertisement for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I had been dabbling with an idea for a novel, but hadn’t really pursued it. When I saw NaNoWriMo, I knew it was what I needed to get me across the finish line. I finished the 30 day challenge with a day to spare. The result was ugly, but I polished and polished and polished some more.

How long did the road to get your first book published take?

I’m pretty much a procrastinator. Once I finished the book to where I felt it was finished, it took me about a year to feel comfortable pitching to agents. I pitched at a few conferences in 2012 and 2013 and received a few nibbles, but I didn’t get serious until 2014 when I started sending out formal queries. The magic query went out in November of 2016 and I had a contract in February 2017. Happy Day!

Tell us about your writing process. How do you prepare a book? Do you stick to those plans closely, or are they just a loose guide?

Well, the first was totally seat of the pants. I had a basic idea, but my characters pretty much ran amok. It wasn’t until after I finished the first draft that I knew I had to come up with a better plan. Now I do an Excel spreadsheet with scenes/sequels, characters, settings, etc. I am not rigid in it though. I like for my characters to tell their own stories and once in a while they surprise me with a new twist. In my current WIP, my antagonist refused to act the part, and a lesser character jumped out and took over. I have to say, I like the result. I suppose you could say I’m a plotter/pantser. Or a plotster???

Tell us about your newly- published book, Murder Is a Dirty Business.

Oh, poor Cece Cavanaugh. she’s married to such a scoundrel.

When Cece Cavanaugh’s husband empties their joint bank account, steals her designer luggage, and runs off with a younger woman, Cece must decide whether to ask her manipulative mother-in-law for a handout or get a job. Choosing the easier path, Cece lands a job cleaning a crime scene where a high school coach was murdered. When his wife is implicated — a young woman Cece practically raised — Cece finds herself mopping floors, balancing an empty checkbook, and ferreting out a killer.

Amid all this messy business, Cece bumps heads with a handsome detective. She tries to ignore her growing attraction to the detective, but he gives new meaning to the term “hot flash.”

After she stumbles onto a clue that could vindicate her friend, Cece’s elation turns to panic when she haphazardly confronts the killer. Through the danger and romance, Cece discovers self-reliance and inner strength.

And that crime – at least, someone else’s – does pay the bills.

You have amazing reviews on Amazon, with seven reviews, all of them five stars, just a few days after the book was released. Does that validate your struggle to get published?

Oh my gosh, yes! I truly never thought the day would come, but I am so happy that I kept at it. I love reading the reviews, it makes my day and gives me confidence to continue writing.

So where do you go from here?

I have a pile of WIP’s [Works in progress] including book 2 and 3 of the Grime Pays Mystery series and a women’s fiction travel adventure. There’s another mystery series I started a few years ago that I want to pull out and update, but my main attention is on book 2 of the Grime Pays Mystery series.

What books have been influential to your writing and to your life?

Now you’re going to age me. My very first book hero was Donna Parker in Donna Parker at Cherrydale. The series was written by Marcia Martin AKA Marcia Levin. From the very first book, I was hooked. Unfortunately, there were only seven books in the series, and I wore them out reading them so often. Believe it or not, I found all seven books on eBay a few years back and bought them to add to my library. As a child, I dreamed of taking over the Donna Parker series, so Donna could have more adventures. I always thought Donna and Ricky (her best friend) could have some great times going off to college.

To Kill a Mockingbird is the first adult book I read. At least it’s the one I remember, and one I’ve read numerous times. Modern day, I’d have to say anything by Harlan Coben. That man can weave a tale that keeps you guessing. Another book that made a big impact was The Shining by Stephen King. It scared the bejesus out of me. For months, I couldn’t go into the bathroom if the shower curtain was closed. Just thinking about it today gives me the willies. Hold on while I make sure the shower curtain is open.

Follow the River by James Alexander Thorn and Anna Lee Waldo’s Sacajawea were books I could not put down. Each chapter pushed me to the next.

I could list a dozen more or two dozen, but the ones above have a special place on my bookshelf and in my heart. Well, maybe not The Shining. It left a special voice in my head. The voice that screams, “Don’t look in the shower.”

Thanks for giving me an opportunity to introduce myself. I’ve included my links below.
Twitter: @tricialsanders

And the book can be found on Amazon:


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