Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Interview Tuesday: Sandra Ulbrich Almazan

Hi all! It's time for another writer interview. This time it's with another lady I've been stalking/following for a long time. In fact, I think I started following her blog back when I first started blogging and it has never stopped being one of my favorite places to visit. Without further ado, here's my chat with Sandra Ulbrich Almazan...

Thanks for visiting my blog today. What can you tell us about yourself?

Thanks for having me! My name is Sandra Ulbrich Almazan. I work in an enzyme lab (I used to be in R&D, but I was transferred to QC a couple of years ago.) I'm married with one son, Alex. In my rare moments of free time, I write science fiction and fantasy.

When I hear that someone writes more that one genre, I always wonder: Do you write your stories one at a time or simultaneously?

Usually I have only one story active (as in writing or revising) at a time. However, I may research one story while working on another. I may also switch to a different project if I'm having trouble with my current one or if a new story idea bursts into my mind and demands to be written this instant.

You said in your rare moments of spare time, you write. How do you make time for it?

I make writing a priority. There are two main times during the week when I can write: on my lunch break at work (I bring my laptop with me) and after my son goes to bed. Weekends can be trickier because I have to catch up on the household chores while keeping my son entertained. Sometimes if he has an activity (like a class at the park district), I'll bring my laptop and work, or sometimes my husband will watch him for a while so I can write. If I'm going some place where I know I'll have some idle time but can't bring my computer, I'll print out a page from my work in progress and write manually. Every little bit helps!

Are you someone who keeps a writing routine with every extra bit of time that you can, or do you write when you feel like it?

I try to keep to a writing routine. The discipline helps me work toward my long-term goals, and I personally feel that if you write at the same time and in the same circumstances on a regular basis, then it's easier to shift into the writing frame of mind.

What hits you first when you get the story idea, character or plot?

It varies from story to story. With my SF novella, Lyon's Legacy, I came up with the plot first and then created a character for the plot. With some of my fantasy stories, I came up with the characters first, and they suggested part of the plot.

Mind telling us a bit about your favorite character?

Gladly! My favorite character is Paul Harrison, star of my upcoming SF novel, Twinned Universes. (Twinned Universes is the sequel to Lyon's Legacy). Paul is the clone of a famous TwenCen musician, but he's more interested in acting than in music. We first meet him as a teenager when he's impulsive, charismatic, determined to do what he thinks is the right thing, no matter what. His heritage gives him a surprising ability, but you'll have to read the book when it comes out to learn what that is.

So are you published/planning to publish anything in the near future?

I have one short story, "A Reptile at the Reunion," that was traditionally published in the anthology Firestorm of Dragons. Last year, I decided to switch to self-publishing. I currently have one novella, Lyon's Legacy, out in e-book (Kindle, B&N, Smashwords) and in paper; another short story, The Book of Beasts, is out strictly as an e-book (Kindle, B&N, Smashwords).

Any self-publishing horror/success stories?

I don't really have anything dramatic to report--either good or bad--yet. I'm still at the stage where I'm trying to get my name out there and build a fan base. It takes time, and it can be hard to be patient. But more established authors, such as Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith, always say that the best promotion for your work is the next book, so I just have to focus on revising what I've written so I can put it out there.

Any books coming out later this year?

I'm planning to publish Twinned Universes, the sequel to Lyon's Legacy, later this year. Currently I'm revising it based on feedback from my editor. (I do hire a freelance editor to make sure my work is as good as I can possibly make it.) I may publish some shorter works as well, but Twinned Universes is my priority at the moment.

So are you an edit-lover or hater?

Editing can be a pain, but it makes the story stronger, so it's worth it in the end. 

And last but not least, where can people reach you on the social networks?


Thanks so much for doing the interview with me, Sandra. I really enjoyed finding out more about your writing life.

If anyone else wants to do an interview, please feel free to contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com.

And while your here, why don't you answer some of the questions above in the comments?  


  1. I wish I could get my head around writing in different places like Sandra does. I always take a pad of paper, but never take it out of my bag!

  2. I've heard the same thing about getting more books out there to build a fan base. (Which makes me wish I wrote faster, but oh well.) And let me say Sandra that you chose an awesome name for your son.

  3. Congratulations on your short story! It's great to meet you, Sandra.

  4. This is a great interview!
    Sandra, you sound like a very busy woman and I guess you can get it all done because like you said, you make writing a priority:)

  5. Great interview Misha! Nice to meet you Sandra! :)

  6. This is a lovely interview. I admire your discipline, Sandra.

  7. Great interview, ladies. I've heard the same thing about building a fan base. It is tough to develop one. Best of luck@

  8. Sandra, I admire your ability to write in places that could be noisy or distracting. You're a better writer than me! Good luck with Twinned Universes. :)

  9. Great interview!

    I like the sound of your character.

  10. such a creative way! thanks for sharing:)

  11. Great interview! Good advice about using the writing itself as promotion, rather than pushing your product in people's faces. Nice to meet Sandra.

  12. Thanks for stopping by, everyone, and a special thank-you again to Misha for hosting this interview!

  13. Oh I know Sandra. It's good to know that the next book is always your best marketing ploy.

  14. I like Sandra's dedication where she even uses her lunch time to write. Good luck, Sandra!

  15. Very interesting! I love learning how other writing moms make it work. Thanks!

  16. Great interview. I agree about editing, it does make the story stronger.

  17. Lovely interview you two. I'm editing now. *sigh* It's a looong row to hoe.

    It's tough to develop that fan base. But once it's there, as long as we keep writing the quality stories, we'll always have them. :-)

  18. I've seen Sandra name before. I should be as disciplined and write everyday. Editing also takes up a huge chunk of time. Attention to balance is needed in this business.

  19. I love the concept of having a writing routine! Thanks for sharing--wonderful interview!

  20. Lovely interview! The busiest people always seem to be the most organised, necessarily so:-)

  21. Misha, thanks for introducing me to Sandra. It looks like you have a few strategies to keep writing an active part of your life.

  22. I'm always so impressed by authors who can work on more than one piece at a time. I seem to plod along! I'm also impressed how Sandra finds time to write - you deserve every success. Great interview.

  23. Great interview, Misha. I've not met Sandra before so I shall pop over to visit her blog.

    Good luck with the platform building, Sandra. It's hard work and I guess there's no one way of doing it. Working in an enzyme lab must surely be a plot for your next book though.

  24. Great interview, ladies! I am a firm believer in the value of having a writing routine, too. It's the only way I manage to get my bum in the seat every day.

  25. wonderful interview! Great to know Sandra and her work.

  26. Great interview! Some very good pointers!

  27. A lovely interview ladies. I'm amazed at how you prioritise your writing Sandra.


  28. Hi Misha, Hi Sandra
    Promotion and readers is much harder than writing I think. Writing is difficult too, of course. Gret interview.

    Nice to see you, thanks for stopping by.


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