Guest Blog: MY AFTERNOON WITH SANDI AULT by Patricia Wood
While author Sandi Ault is working on the next WILD Mystery, guest blogger Patricia Smith Wood provided this WILD Blog:
My Afternoon With Sandi Ault
By Patricia Smith Wood
Those of you who met Sandi Ault at a conference, a book signing, or taking classes from her already know what a gracious person she is. In addition to that, I can tell you from my own experience that she is also very generous with her help and friendship.
My husband and I recently attended an Amateur Radio conference in Estes Park, Colorado, and I had the pleasure of spending a couple of enchanting hours with our favorite writer. When she picked me up at our hotel, I was so excited to see her I completely missed the fact that she had a wolf in the back of her SUV!
Tiwa is not a small animal. Since writers are supposed to be observant, I should have seen him. Okay, so apparently I'm not observant. Sandi let me get settled and buckle my seatbelt before she casually mentioned she had brought her furry friend. I looked over my shoulder and there was the most magnificent creature standing quietly in the cargo area. Naturally I wanted to hug him, but as we know from Sandi's descriptions of Mountain in her Wild Series, wolves are shy and don't make friends with humans all that easily. I was content just to see him and watch the interaction between Sandi and her friend.
Sandi took me on a beautiful back road winding through the mountain, and we circumvented the traffic in downtown Estes Park. Our destination was the Celtic Cottage, an interesting building located at the river's edge which houses the charming collectables shop of Sandra Patterson-Slaydon. It's filled with every imaginable trinket from Ireland and Scotland. Our purpose there was not to shop, but to spend an hour with Sandra, the owner.
Sandi explained that Sandra designed the building and had it built to house both her shop and her living quarters. Her husband was on duty in the shop and he alerted Sandra that she had company. We were invited to ascend the tiny spiral staircase leading to the family's home. It was like being in a lighthouse. The absolute best use of space was incorporated into this structure. We emerged into a tiny, cozy living room and met one of Sandra's Scottie dogs
Sandi told me that Sandra was also a writer, and I looked forward to getting to know her. We chatted about her recently completed book, and I found out it was a mystery with elements of the Arthurian legend. We prevailed upon Sandra to read her first chapter and I was enthralled. It has all the elements I love in a mystery --- humor, imagination, a great setting, and a wonderfully eccentric protagonist.
Next, they asked me to read some of my book, and although I was nervous, I did it. I welcomed their comments and suggestions, and felt the same type of warm encouragement that my writers group back home gives. I came away with renewed determination to make the book the best it can be.
The afternoon passed by so quickly and it was time to leave. Tiwa was waiting for us in Sandi's SUV, and we knew he was anxious for our return. We drove around Estes Park and Sandi pointed out the book store where she debuts her books. Three generations of women have run the store which was originally built as the family home in 1898. If you ever have an opportunity to visit Estes Park, grab it. I want to go back to spend time just walking around town and exploring the many shops and restaurants. And I want to visit the Celtic Cottage again with time to explore all the treasures to be found there.
Sandi returned me to my hotel and we promised to meet again at the writing seminar she's presenting in Santa Fe this August. I'm looking forward to that class because I know how much she shares with her writers. If you ever have the chance to take a class from Sandi Ault, do it. I plan to bring several friends with me to the Santa Fe event, and I know we will all take valuable information back with us.