Sandra D. Bricker has found the perfect recipe for an entertaining and humorous modern romance novel: mix one pint-size (and diabetic) baker with one occupant of a corner office … fold in a wedding in a destination hotel and one crazy family member after another; baste with laughter, confections and romance. In Always the Baker, Never the Bride, Emma is an award-winning baker and Jackson is the owner of a new wedding destination hotel. Can these two ill-suited players master the high-wire act and make a go of their new business venture? Might they possibly fall in love along the way?
WHAT LED YOU TO WRITE ALWAYS THE BAKER, NEVER THE BRIDE?
Well, a love of cake certainly didn’t hurt! I am sort of addicted to those baking reality shows like Amazing Wedding Cakes and Cake Boss. I was watching a marathon one Sunday afternoon while avoiding my computer, lamenting the joke God had played on me by making me adore sweets and yet being a diabetic … and my main character, Emma Rae was born! It kind of unfolded from there, and I mentioned it to my Abingdon editor in passing during a conversation about the book I was working on at the time, and she gasped and said, “You have to write that for me!”
STARTING OUT, WHO WERE THE AUTHORS WHO INSPIRED YOU? WHO INSPIRES YOU NOW?
My first writing inspiration was Danielle Steel. (Nope. Not kidding.) I was in my late teens when a friend gave me one of her books because a character in it reminded her of me. I was about three chapters in when I said, “I want to write fiction!” What I became instead was a reader. I hadn’t really been interested in books up until then; I was really into film, and loved television. But that novel had inspired me, and I started to read everything I could get my hands on. But once I read Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness, that love of words began to translate to a hunger to tell good stories. I started out as a screenwriter, hoping to find a spot that was soon filled by the likes of Nora Ephron. Eventually, God’s hand sort of walked me right out of Hollywood and into Christian publishing. I’m inspired by writers in the industry like Kristin Billerbeck, Jenny B. Jones, Robin Jones Gunn and Susie May Warren.
HOW DOES YOUR FAITH INFLUENCE YOUR WRITING?
My faith is such an enormous part of who I am as a person, and it influences every aspect of my life, so I think it’s only natural that a Jesus thread winds its way into everything I write, even when I haven’t meant to do it. I’ve never been the type of writer—or person, for that matter—to evangelize in an aggressive way because I just don’t think it’s effective in most instances. Rather than thumping Bibles, I see salvation and faith as a natural part of a fulfilling life, a significant thread pattern in one beautiful tapestry. I like to write it that way too, so that my stories are about the lives of Christians rather than Christian lives, if that makes sense.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU KNOWN YOU WANTED TO BE AN AUTHOR?
I knew from a very young age that I wanted to write in some form. I wrote my first short story in the 6th grade, and was published for the first time in The Cincinnati Enquirer (our local newspaper) when I was a senior in high school. Since my interests revolved mostly around film and television, I went to film school with the dream of becoming a screenwriter. John Lennon once said that life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans, and that’s sort of how it was for me. I was planning a career in film … while the Lord was crafting a road for me that led to Christian publishing. I still hold onto the hope that there is another stop down the line where the two will blend.
WHAT DO YOU MOST HOPE THAT READERS GET FROM READING YOUR WORK?
My deepest desire is that my readers will close my books with a smile on their faces. I’m all about the joy in a journey that leads to a happy ending. The best reader mail I get are those that tell me they laughed their way into an unexpected blessing within my books. Humor and laughter have always been the greatest healers of my life, so the opportunity to bring that to others in a venue where they can also embrace faith in God … that’s a dream come true.