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 The (Semi) Formal Stuff

Lynda Sandoval is a former police officer-turned fiction writer with twenty-two published (or soon to be published) books to her credit. She lives (and writes) in Denver with a gigantic, rollicking family of mostly beasts who regularly trash the house. Included in the brood are Lynda's partner (who is not a beast), three silly dogs—Ditto, Mojo, and Levi—and two perfectly behaved and housetrained-when-they-wanna-be bunnies, Coco and Georgie.

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Never the type to pick one thing and stick to it (just ask her mom about the jazz, tap, cello, drums, soccer, gymnastics, and theater phases) Lynda blissfully writes across the board. She's done women's fiction and nonfiction for HarperCollins Rayo; romance for Silhouette Special Edition; a fun novella for Avon A; and young adult novels for Simon & Schuster. She launched her career with five award-winning books for Kensington Bouquet and Pinnacle Encanto, and her popular nonfiction text published by Gryphon Books for Writers, True Blue: An Insider's Guide to Street Cops—For Writers, is still selling strong. She is thrilled to have recently signed with Houghton Mifflin for young adult novels and novellas which will hit bookstores in 2008, 2009, and 2010. In her spare time (HA!), she works more than half-time as an emergency 9-1-1 dispatcher for the Fire/EMS Department, just for some relaxation time. (KIDDING!) She also teaches writing for Long Ridge Writer's Group and volunteers at a GLBTQ youth center.

Lynda's books have won numerous awards, which you can read about on the FUN! page if you're so inclined. Prior to selling, she was a two time Romance Writers of America Golden Heart award finalist for best unpublished manuscripts.

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Some career highlights? Lynda's first novel for teens, Who's Your Daddy?, was selected by the Colorado Endowment for the Humanities as a Colorado Book Award finalist in Young Adult Literature. It was also named to the prestigious New York Public Library's "Books for the Teen Age" list, selected by the American Library Association as a Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, and nominated for the King County Library System's Evergreen Young Adult Book Award. Who's Your Daddy? has gone into multiple printings and will be re-released (in fancy new packaging!) in spring 2008. Lynda's second teen novel, Chicks Ahoy also made the cut as a Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Readers, but more importantly? It was named to the coveted (by Lynda, at least!) list of "Books Teens Love and Parents Hate."

RT Bookclub People Magazine (spanish) In October 2000, Lynda was profiled in People en Espaņol, the Spanish language version of People Magazine (click here to read article), and in August 2002, the Sunday Denver Post Book Section ran a profile of Lynda which led directly to her first sale with HarperCollins—two days after her agent submitted the proposal. (Thanks, DP!) In 2004, Lynda was featured in both Writer's Digest magazine and Romantic Times BOOKCLUB (click here to read article). She's also been profiled in Catalina magazine, numerous local papers, and has been interviewed on nationally syndicated radio shows from Pasadena, California to New York City and beyond.

When Lynda is procrastinating (a "slacktivity" she has raised to an art form, incidentally), she loves to quilt, knit, make purses, watch reality TV and reality crime shows, bid obsessively on eBay, laugh at dumb dog videos on YouTube, nap (hey, it's an activity), and read everything she can get her hands on.

 The Real Lynda

Okay, enough with the "professional" bio, even though its "professionalism" is seriously debatable. Here's the scoop directly from MOI:

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I grew up the youngest of three girls, and I milked that baby-of-the-family status for every advantage I possibly could. Hey, let's face it—I'm still milking it. My oldest sister always knows I'm up to something when I e-mail her with the opening, "Hello, it's your tiny baby sister!" When you find an M.O. that works, though, you don't just let it go.

I started reading at the age of two-and-a-half or so—not that anyone believed me. Then again, they also didn't believe I was choking on a chicken bone during dinner when I was seven, until I fell onto the floor and turned blue. SHEESH. Anyway, starting at age three, after I finally convinced the skeptics of my mad skills, I got to spend a quarter day with the Big Kids in kindergarten reading with a specialist. It ruled. From that day forward, I knew I would someday write books.

But first there was the whole LIFE debacle to be faced.

Here's a little inspiration for those of us who aren't naturally driven and self-motivated with school like my sister, Elena, who got her PhD (she rocks), or my sister, Loretta, who will graduate with her Master's degree this year (she rocks, too): YOU CAN STILL HAVE A SUCCESSFUL LIFE.
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I was, unfortunately, an extreme underachiever in high school (a path I don't recommend in any way, shape, or form). I wasn't a bad kid, I just didn't care and school was a drag. But I managed to skid through graduation with the riff-raff and make it to college, because in MY family, you didn't have a choice. Even if I had, though, I would've opted for college. (Kids, really, why make it harder on yourselves? College, trade school, just pick SOMETHING). Once there, I straightened up, found classes that stimulated and challenged me, and actually won scholarships and academic awards. I eventually graduated as a member of my department's honor society. SHOCKER. (Nah, not really so shocking. High school is like boot camp: you are expected to toe the line and survive. College is a whole 'nutha Oprah show).

I was on the 11-year-plan with college, because naturally I found it necessary to change majors about seven thousand times and take a midway gap year that turned into FOUR years, in order to go live an impoverished, Bohemian life in Europe (which, unlike the high school underachiever route, I HIGHLY recommend). As a result, I graduated from college at age 29 with enough credits for about three bachelor degrees and the ability to speak a second language—German. I'd also learned that I never, ever, EVER wanted a normal job...or a normal life, for that matter.

In other words, Corporate America was not for me. I've worked so many weird jobs over the years, it almost feels like I'm making them all up. Here's a random sampling:

Fast food goddess, bouncer in a comedy club, office drone, European tour guide, encyclopedia salesperson, bookkeeper for an exotic bird and reptile company, extra in a Canadian television series being filmed in Luxembourg, petite wedding dress model, salesperson for a British imports shop, sexual assault crisis counselor, runaway crisis counselor, counselor in a battered women's shelter, 9-1-1 dispatcher, mystery shopper, police officer...nun.

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Okay, OKAY, I was never a nun! Whatever. I just couldn't get into the habit. SNARF! (Sorry to joke, Grandma).

But the rest of the jobs on that list are completely true—cross my heart. So, you see the inevitable directionless direction of my life, right? I mean, what else could I possibly DO with all that fodder but write fiction?

I wrote my first three manuscripts while working as a police officer. I loved being a cop because of the autonomy and the nontraditional scheduling. I also liked the adrenaline kick. What I didn't like were the internal politics. Give me a bad guy over the brass any day, thankyouverymuch. MOST of them. Lt. Hammond? Sgt. Pickett? Sgt. Santee? Nothing but love and respect for you guys, and I had a ton of great coworkers, too.

After things started to take off in the writing realm, though, I realized I needed to make a choice. My thought pattern went something like this:

Option One: Wear heinous, butt-expanding men's polyester pants to work every day and be at the beck and call of the brass, court subpoenas, etc., or,

Option Two: Wear whatever the hell I want, work at home for a super cool boss (MOI) and MAYBE have the chance to realize my dreams.

Yeah, really difficult choice. Not.

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Okay, in all honesty, I had a hard time getting hired as a cop in the first place, what with being FOUR-FOOT-ELEVEN (even though I kicked butt in all the tests), and it was equally hard to hand in that resignation letter. But I've never looked back. Quitting in 1998 was a huge leap of faith because I didn't have a single book contract at the time. I did a lot of freelance writing to keep my head above water, and I sold my first book about six months after I left the department. I've since signed twenty other book contracts, I have a SWEET writing office outside my home and an assistant. Yep, I'm finally certain that my leap of faith was not in vain!

In my lifelong quest to be a good example rather than a horrible warning, I will finish with the moral of my story up until now: Life is short. Don't wait to follow your passion, whatever it may be. GO FOR IT.

Meet Lynda's Furry Family
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