Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.

The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with  is KarenK ! Please email my assistant Christen with your mailing address. (ckrumm@litfusegroup.com)
This week Sandy Ralya  is in the Spotlight! To win a copy of her book, The Beautiful Wife  leave a comment on this post!

Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?

On my way into the world of fashion merchandising/ retail management, I met my husband on a blind date in 1980 and we married 5 months later. Three children fully grown have been out of our nest for 8 years now. When the last birdie left, I cried for a day and then was completely over it!  Writing and directing my ministry, Beautiful Womanhood, keeps me busy full time.  I’m grateful for a husband who’s financial support has sustained us while I’ve grown the ministry.

And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…

I’m passionate about delivering information with persuasion. Because mentoring helped and healed me, I’m dedicated to writing mentoring programs for women in many different stages of life.

How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?

I started out as a struggling speaker who found help at a CLASS seminar.  While there, I learned that speaking and writing go together like a hand and glove and was encouraged to write about my passion. Until I saw the movie, Funny Farm with Chevy Chase, I hadn’t thought about a writing as a career. In the movie, the main character’s wife purchased a stuffed squirrel from an antique store, set it on her desk in an upstairs bedroom office overlooking the beautiful countryside, and began to write a series of children’s books about the squirrel’s adventures.  Instantly, I could picture myself doing the same thing!  Now I write in an upstairs bedroom office which overlooks the beautiful countryside surrounding our home—writing a series of books about my passion—mentoring for women!

After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?

My journey began in the self-publishing world. After 2 years and 2000 copies sold, I attracted the interest of Kregel Publications who agreed to publish The Beautiful Wife.

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing? 

Writing in my office is preferred, but any clean and quiet location with a beautiful view will do.  I’m only good for about 3 hours per day.

What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader? 

#1. A loyal friend (I love you Stacy!) who became passionate about my ministry gave invaluable feed-back as I began to write.
#2. Readers who loved my first self-published book.

Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be? (Explain your answer) 

It’s far exceeded any expectations I may have had.  I love the privilege, discipline and soul-searching introspection my writing requires.

What are your biggest distractions? 

Life!  I’d savor the opportunity to hole up in a cabin in the woods, away from my everyday life until the writing was complete.  Better yet, make that a villa in the Provencal or Tuscan countryside—complete with room-service!

What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?  

Best: Learning Kregel would publish all three of my books simultaneously!  Worst: Having to look for a job when my husband lost his (thankfully, he found one and I didn’t!).

What do you least like about being a writer? Most like? 

Writing, for me, requires solitude which takes me away from family and friends who don’t always understand the process, so consequently, feelings get hurt.  I love getting feed-back from reader’s whose lives have been impacted in big and small ways.

What is the role and importance of an agent?

I wouldn’t know.
I tried my best to get an agent, but no one would have me.

What advice would you give to new writers? 

Sit your buns in the chair and write, write, write about your passion.

Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.

Longevity and fulfillment in marriage are what every wife longs for but few experience, and with good reason: God’ s plan that wives be mentored is largely disregarded.  In The Beautiful Wife, Ralya mentors wives using biblical principles with their practical application along with personal stories from her life and others so your life and marriage will become all God desires it to be. This book offers a companion prayer journal and mentor’s guide for small group use.

What’s on the book horizon for you?

My next book will discuss twelve areas of focus that will prepare women for marriage—not a Hollywood marriage—but God’s kind of marriage built to last a lifetime.  Daring to go where few (if any) pre-marriage counselors have gone before, hearts will be transformed and women will be prepared to make one of life’s most important decisions.

Last question, how can readers find you and your books?

The Beautiful Wife, The Beautiful Wife Prayer Journal, and The Beautiful Wife Mentor Guide are available wherever books are sold.  Learn more about me and Beautiful Womanhood at www.beautifulwomanhood.com.  Facebook at BeautifulWomanhood. Twitter@MentoringWives.

Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)

It’s been my pleasure!

Be sure to click the link below to check out Sandy’s Kindle giveaway! Running through March 8th!

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