Sally Fernandez, a novelist of provocative political thrillers, wasn’t always twisting facts with fiction. Heavily endowed with skills acquired in banking, she embarked upon her writing career. Fernandez’ focus on computer technology, business consulting, and project management, enhanced by business and technical writing, proved to be a boon. Her books of fiction also reflect the knowledge garnered from her business experiences, while living in New York City, San Francisco, and Hong Kong.
Fernandez’ foray into writing fiction officially began in 2007 when the presidential election cycle was in full swing. The overwhelming political spin by the media compelled her to question the frightening possibilities the political scene could generate. As a confirmed political junkie, she took to the keyboard armed with unwinding events and discovered a new and exciting career.
Climatized, is Fernandez’ fifth novel and the first in the “Max Ford Thriller” series, featuring Maxine Ford as the female protagonist. Her prior series, “The Simon Tetralogy,” was comprised of Brotherhood Beyond the Yard, Noble’s Quest, The Ultimate Revenge and Redemption. Each book provided an exhilarating platform for the next, with a gripping narrative that challenges the reader to put the book down. The ever-elusive Simon’s daring escapes add unheard of dimensions to the classic cat and mouse game. Her development of the other characters has created a lasting bond between them and the reader, especially now that Max has taken center stage.
A world traveler, Ms. Fernandez and her husband, also the editor-in-residence, split time between their homes in the United States and Florence, Italy.
Find out more on Amazon.
Thanks for letting us interrogate you! Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?
I’m not an English Lit major and never considered a writing career, although I did write technical manuals and user guides in my prior business career. But writing a novel was a bit of a fluke and started with a challenge during the lead up to the 2007 presidential election. As the endless pap rained down from the media, I began to question some of the frightening possibilities. According to my husband, who is now my editor, my questioning was more reminiscent of a rant. That is when he suggested I write about it instead of incessantly talking about it. So in a stream of consciousness, I sat down at the computer, grabbed one news event that was repeated ad nauseam and attempted to create a “what if?” mentality and ended up with a fifty-page scenario. It required a shift from business writing to turning out fiction and in the process I discovered I loved it. I equally enjoyed the research and employing factual details, weaving them into the plot…all very much to my surprise.
Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be? I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?
To be a successful writer you must be disciplined, which for me is working on some aspect of the book daily. Admittedly, I have an interesting working environment. I have an office in my home in the United States and another in my home in Florence, Italy. While my locations may somewhat inspire aspects of my plot, they primarily provide a quite haven for creating. Then, there comes the hotel room somewhere in the world, when my husband and I need a change of venue. But wherever I write, my routine is the same; a morning workout to clear my head, which prepares me for six to seven hours of steady writing and/or research. At the end of each day, I’m greeted with a glass of wine from my husband. That’s when we discuss the current status of the book, what I am working on, what he was editing, or what is in the offing. And even with the long hours, the tight deadlines, and the missed social events, there is nothing I love more than writing, except for my husband.
Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?
After a year and a half from inception to completion of my first novel, Brotherhood Beyond the Yard, I was finally ready to publish. But how? It was a minefield and almost impossible to navigate unless you have massive amounts of time, money, and patience. So I weighed my options between self-publishing or waiting it out with the big houses and accumulating a pile of rejection slips. Finally, I opted to go with CreateSpace, a self-publishing company under Amazon, an experience that was nothing but positive. While self-publishing has been tarnished with the vanity press label, it afforded me a great opportunity to learn the publishing process step-by-step; from copyediting to formatting to cover design to book trailers. Then the unbelievable occurred. Four months after self-publishing my first novel, I was approached by David Dunham of Dunham Books who offered me a contract to republish my novel under their brand. Dunham Books continues to publish my novels.
Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?
My immediate family consists of me and my husband, so you’ll hear very little complaining coming from him…when I’m not writing and he’s not editing we both go into what he calls Post-Partum Publishing Syndrome. Actually, it’s an amazing collaboration with all of our days being filled with all aspects of writing and publishing books. Call me incredibly fortunate!
In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?
Both my husband and I are retired from our corporate careers, so we ignore the phones and he cooks the dinners.
What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?
In Climatized, my first novel in the “Max Ford Thriller” series, I altered my style slightly by incorporating a few real-life experts in my fictional plot unbeknownst to them. One happened to be a bestselling New York Times author and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. The others are NASA Apollo Space Team scientists and members of The Right Climate Stuff research team. After the manuscript was completed, I decided, out of courtesy, to contact these experts and offer them a copy of the manuscript for the purpose of fact-checking to substantiate my research. I’m proud to say that the scientific data I weaved into my plot was spot on and I received their acclimation and full endorsement. This experience has impressed upon me the significance of consulting with experts, although my research has been judged impeccable thus far. But trying to write about science and keep it entertaining was challenging to say the least. And even though, Climatized has garnered the attention of scientific experts, which is pretty wild, it will also satisfy those who just want a good beach read.
How about the social networks? Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?
I’d prefer to avoid all of them, but it is a necessary evil to make oneself known and to sell books. But I have to admit social networking has some redeeming values. I’ve received two radio interviews from Twitter, a TV interview from LinkedIn, and I have been able to develop a fan base on Facebook. So who am I to complain?
Book sales. Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)? How are you making the sales happen for you?
Beyond the family and friend market the sales have been lagging, but there is a lot of buzz swirling around Climatized. All indications are that I’m about to turn the corner, or rather turn up the heat in the sales market.
What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?
Okay, too much sugar for you today! Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in. Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?
As I mentioned before, even with the long hours, the tight deadlines, and the missed social events, there is nothing I love more than writing, except you know who. And the fact that we work together is an added plus. But aside from the creativity, I am able to expand my mind as I research new topics, and in using my overly imaginative mind, I hope to expand the minds of others. The world of a published author has also provided unique experiences with TV and radio Interviews. And I’ve been able to meet some fascinating people along the way.