Saturday, November 9, 2019

Saturday Takeover! with Sandy Lo, Author of "Decaf For the Dead"

Good Morning, Bookworms!

Today, I'm sharing an interview with Sandy Lo, author of the novella Decaf For the Dead. It's a great title. However, I prefer caffeinated or decaf! (FYI: That's my attempt at a joke! Remember, I'm a coffee lover!)

Purchase on Kindle!

When did you become interested in storytelling?

I had a big imagination as a kid and would create elaborate plots during playtime with my Barbie dolls. I was thirteen when I first started putting stories down on paper. Writing became a fun hobby and turned into a serious ambition during my late teens.

What was the title of your first published book/story?

The first book I published was “Lost In You”, a boy band romance novel inspired by my love of the Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees. I often think about re-releasing it since my writing has changed and I still love the story, but want to fine tune it.

What inspired you to write Decaf For the Dead? 

Throughout my life I’ve worked as a barista to supplement my career in writing, marketing, and journalism. While working as a barista, I’ve met so many real life characters and experienced a lot of hauntings as well – in and outside of coffee shops. I would often Google the relationship between caffeine and the supernatural. Since I was always highly caffeinated working at these cafés, I felt I was drawing certain spiritual encounters into my life. The title actually came from the fact that random decaf coffee orders would pop up on the drive-thru screen at one café. No one would even be in the drive-thru line when it would happen sometimes. I joked that the ghosts are ordering decaf because they’re dead and don’t need caffeine.

What character in Decaf For the Dead is the least or most like you and in what ways? 

This is tough. As a writer, you tend to put pieces of yourself in each character. I’m probably most like Dilly, the main character. While we certainly have plenty of differences, Dilly is creative with his artwork and he enjoys sitting in cafés and connecting with people. He’s a romantic and devoted, and that’s certainly me. As for the character I’m least like … I’ll pick the obvious and say Gabe, who is basically the villain of the story. I didn’t explore his character too much in this first book in the Haunted Café Series. We’ll probably see more of him in book 2 of the series. Gabe’s very dark, motivated by a possessiveness over his estranged wife, Jocelyn.

What is your favorite part of Decaf For the Dead?

Ooh, this is tough. Without giving away too much, I think my favorite part is when Dilly realizes the truth about his situation. But I also love all of his memories of his wife, Margaux. Those memories were probably the easiest to write. They were real to me. I could picture them vividly like they were scenes of a past life of mine.

What was the hardest part to write?

The ending! I usually have a hard time writing endings, but this one was especially difficult. At first, I wasn’t sure I would continue on and make Decaf For The Dead part of a series, so I was riddled with indecision. When I finally made the decision to make it a trilogy, then figuring out exactly how and when to end this first book plagued me. I wanted to leave enough questions, but at the same time have the reader feel somewhat satisfied with the ending at the same time. I hope I accomplished that. What would your ideal career be if you couldn't be an author?

Well, I’m also a magazine editor and marketing manager, so I guess it would kind of be cheating if I chose one of those. If I had to pick a different career entirely, I would either be an actress or a chef. I’m an overly creative person and if I stifle that side of myself, I literally become depressed.

Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them or let them influence your writing?

I do enjoy reading reviews of my books actually, even if they’re negative. Thankfully, I haven’t had too many bad reviews though. I try to take constructive criticism that I feel is helpful into consideration. However, I’m not a traditional writer in the sense that I don’t strive to be critically-acclaimed. I want my stories to be enjoyed and visualized as a movie, not seen as the next great American novel that folks will study one day as great prose. Haha! So I write stories I would want to read. I’m never going to write like Hemingway because I hate Hemingway. The only time a review has ever upset me was when it got personal. A family member who I had a falling out with posted mean spirited reviews on Amazon. Some of them were removed by Amazon, but some still remain, and I keep reporting them to no avail. I tried not to let it bother me, knowing the goal of this person was to hurt me, but it’s not easy.

What well-known writers do you admire most?

Although he’s more of a playwright than a novelist, I’ve always loved Tennessee Williams. The complexity of his characters still amazes me. As for current authors, I love Luanne Rice! Her books weave sister relationships, romance, and past secrets perfectly.

Do you have any other books/stories in the works?

Always! Currently, I’m in the editing process of book 7 in the Dream Catchers Series. That will probably be out in the spring of 2020. I’m also in the very early stages of book 2 in the Haunted Café Series, which is the sequel to Decaf For The Dead. I have several other book projects in the works as well. Follow me on social media to stay updated: @AuthorSandyLo on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.


Sandy Lo is an author, blogger, journalist, and digital strategist. Her personal story is inspiring. Sandy started StarShine Magazine, an online publication in 2001, at the age of 18. She wrote her first novel in 2009, “Lost In You,” followed by the “Dream Catchers” Series. She was the first person ever to professionally interview Taylor Swift and has received personal endorsements for her books from members of boy bands Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees.

She has been included in the “50 Writers You Should Be Reading” list by The Authors Show, and “Dream Catchers,” “Breaking The Moon” and “Indigo Waters” reached the Top 100 Best Selling Coming of Age novels in Amazon’s Kindle Store. What makes Sandy even more unique, is that she relocated from NY to Nashville to write “The Watch Dog,” which is set in a fictional town outside of Music City. “The Watch Dog” reached the Top 10 Ghost Stories on Amazon.

In September 2019, Sandy will be publishing her 10th book, “Decaf For The Dead“, a story inspired by her time working as a barista. Early 2020 will bring the next installment in the “Dream Catchers" series and a sequel to “Decaf For The Dead” is in the works.

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