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Interview with Sandy Nadeau

Tell me about your latest book.

Rescue Me is near and dear to my heart. It’s about a firefighter, Steve McNeal, who wants to win back the love of his life, Ronnie Spencer. They used to date and he was close to popping the question. But she’s sworn off dating firefighters since her father, who was a firefighter, died while trying to save another during a fire.

Ronnie works on the rescue squad so it’s a challenge to avoid firefighters. Her heart’s desire is to help save people. Her underlying fears prevent her from dealing with her fear of loss. Steve has to deal with some guilt that niggles at him involving her dad.

I love this story. My husband was a volunteer firefighter back in our years living in Minnesota. He also served as the Director of the Emergency Medical Services and was an E.M.T (Emergency Medical Technician) so we had a lot of fodder for the book. It is set in Colorado where we lived for the last 30 years prior to our move to Texas in January. I included a lot of adventures that happen all the time around the state of Colorado.

Give us some insight into your main characters? Why are these characters central to this particular story?

Steve is a rugged guy who loves the outdoors. It’s important to him to help people. He loves the Lord and does his best to live for Him. He’s a good firefighter and ambitious to continue improving the work he does. He never stopped loving Ronnie and wants her to come back to him, working hard at trying to win her back.

Ronnie is determined to help prevent loss of life at emergency scenes. To be like her dad. The pain of losing her father was so difficult, she can’t imagine ever having to go through that again. She hopes that by becoming an E.M.T. she will be able to save people from imminent dangers that put their lives at risk. She’s hardened her heart toward Steve, her former love, and all firefighters so she doesn’t have to feel that pain ever again.

They are central to the story in overcoming so many things to find the love that never left them. It just got pushed way down deep in an attempt to hide it.

What message do you hope readers take away from this tale?

Don’t let fear rule your life. It only robs you of joy and prevents you from living. Live the verse from 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your cares (anxieties) on Him, for He cares for you.” Cast away fear. Be happy!

While keeping your faith and spiritual life as a guide within storytelling, do you find it easy or difficult to create flawed characters?

Oh goodness, it’s easy. I just have to look within. We’re all flawed. I have more than my fair share of them. But I know how much God loves me—warts and all—so I have a deep need to share that news with others. No matter our flaw, no matter what we’ve done, God loves beyond any effect those flaws can cause.

Looking back, what led you to the genre you write?

My first book was a mystery with a lot of adventure—but there’s also a nice romance between the main characters, a married couple. It’s called Red Gold. I actually started writing Rescue Me while trying to get a contract on the first. It was taking time. A lot of time.

So here I was an unpublished writer wanting desperately to break in. A dear friend suggested we get four of us writers together and do a theme of four stories in one, which is sometimes a good way for a new writer to get out there. We decided on stories involving emergency workers, but in the romance genre. It was a great combination, but we never found a home for it. So, we went our separate ways with our stories.

Meanwhile, I got a contract on my first manuscript thanks to the immense patience of Nicola Martinez with Pelican Book Group. She took a chance on me and helped guide me through three rejections and then a contract after all her incredible help. I found I really like to write Christian romance, but I also have to have a lot of adventure mixed in.

Do you read other books in this same genre, or do you stay away?

I read a lot of different genres. All Christian fiction. I read historicals, mysteries, suspense, contemporary romance—I just love the story world. I love the escape of those story worlds. I think it’s important to read the genre you like to write. It helps find comps too when you’re doing that proposal. But mostly, it teaches. We may be reading, but we’re learning.

Is there a different genre that you would consider writing?

As I mentioned earlier, my first was a mystery. I would do that again. I had a lot of people tell me that my book was not a mystery because there was no dead body. I beg to differ. I think we can do mysteries without killing someone off. I did. It’s still exciting as things have to be figured out and the mystery has to be solved. It doesn't have to be a murder mystery. It was action packed and exciting while giving a good taste of the Colorado mountains.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you on your publishing journey?

The look on my face when Tracie Peterson—the Tracie Peterson!—agreed to endorse Rescue Me. I love her and her writing. I must have had quite the expression.

In trying to find a balance with writing time and other responsibilities, what is your greatest accomplishment?

Sitting in the chair at the keyboard at any time! That is always a great accomplishment.

Do you have any favorite foods, sweets, or drinks to help you through writing deadlines?

I have a private stash of Peach Tea mints that are discontinued. I sneak one or two of those. But don’t tell anyone. And I just drink bottled water all the time. Sometimes, if it’s morning, coffee.

Finish this sentence: I’m most comfortable writing a story when:

When it’s early morning and I have the house to myself—and a big cup of coffee.

Complete this statement: “If I had never visited Grand Cayman, I would have never known paradise exists.

What activities do you enjoy when you are not writing?

That has changed since our move. I love spending time with my grandkids. We get to babysit a lot and I love it. They are so fun at age 3 and 2. It does remind me how old I am. Otherwise, I love photographing things in nature, traveling anywhere—snorkeling goes with that—woodworking, bird watching, camping, and hiking. But that last one will be waiting for the Texas summer to cool down.


Paula Rose is an Inspy author who enjoys bringing an “average” family into extraordinary situations, brushing with life-size strokes of reality, adding just a touch of humor, and coating with suspense inside Christian fiction. She reviews what she loves to read at Publisher’s Marketplace.

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