Former Los Angeles-based publicist Sandra D. Bricker was honing her chosen craft of screenwriting until she had to put Southern California in her rearview mirror and move across the country to take on the new role of “caregiver.” But—as many detours are—this one proved to be Providential. Now, a number of years later, she is a multi-published inspirational author “living the writing dream.”
Sandie, an animal rescue advocate, and her red-haired collie, Sophie, recently relocated to Ohio.
When did you first realize you enjoyed writing? How significant was “writing” to your public relations career?
I was in elementary school when I wrote my first short story, and it opened a floodgate. Even though I was an editor on my school paper and was mentored a bit by a family friend who wrote for a newspaper, it was fiction that I loved. In fact, it never occurred to me I might actually be able to make a living at something I loved so much. I thought I’d have to be something like a journalist to utilize my writing, and I had no designs on that at all. It wasn’t until I reached a pretty significant crossroads later in my life that I decided to try and pursue the dream that had been pushing through the soil my entire life.
Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?
He seems to work like that in my life a lot. I’m a big planner, so I spend a lot of time spinning my wheels and formulating blueprints and considering all the options. Then one day, the Lord opens a door I never saw coming and WHAM! I’m on my way in a whole new direction. The most profound time was when my mom became ill in Florida and I gave up my life in California to move across the country to take care of her. And I’m sorry to report that I showed very little grace as I did it. I left Los Angeles kicking and screaming all the way. But if I hadn’t made that move, I probably wouldn’t have shifted my focus from screenwriting to novels, which is where I found my home.
How does your faith play into your work?
My faith is the foundation of every aspect of my life. I wouldn’t even know how to keep that element out of my writing! It’s as instinctive as breathing, and I became really interested in telling stories that exhibit faith in Jesus as a natural thread of everyday life rather than something out of the ordinary. In secular storytelling, the Christian always ends up being the villain or the nut case or the moron. I’m so proud to show the believers in my stories as intelligent, free-thinking, honorable humans.
It was such a blast to write, and I guess you could say that it developed out of my own personality flaw. After my mom passed, I didn’t have any more familial ties, and there are a lot of challenges that come with that . . . not the least of which comes at Christmas. The holiday is marketed as one that is exclusive to families—as if singles don’t even count or relegated to the outside of the holiday, looking in at the ones who belong to it. Eventually, I started noticing that my heart would fill with dread right around Halloween, and I’d hold my breath until after New Year’s Day. I’ve matured in my faith over time, and I eventually found others who understood and helped make it fun to dislike the commercialization (Santas and elves and mistletoe). So I thought it might be funny to write something based on those years, and the first of the two novellas—Once Upon a Jingle Bell—was born as Joss tries to escape the holiday completely on a Bah! Humbug cruise.
God often uses our writing to teach us something. What did you learn (about life, faith, and/or even yourself) in the process of writing this book?
I think the most significant thing I learned was to appreciate that scripture that says God sets the solitary into families. Family isn’t just about blood ties; it’s woven into our DNA that those of us without the families on the seasonal commercials tend to find a way to create a family right where we are.
A few fun questions in celebration of the holidays…
What’s your favorite Christmas song?
O Holy Night
What’s your favorite Christmas comfort food?
My mom’s cookies. She was a masterful baker, and no matter how hard I’ve tried, I’ve just never been able to adequately recreate her cappuccino cookies or those little butter/sugar cookies she made with a cookie gun in shapes like Christmas trees and poinsettias. I loved those cookies!
What’s your favorite holiday tradition or memory?
The luminaria, hands down. My dad and I made it our tradition when I was growing up in Cincinnati, and I never make it through a Christmas Eve without thinking of it. And if readers want to know more about it, they’ll have to read my book! They can experience it for the first time through Reese’s eyes in It Came Upon a Midnight Deer.
Which best describes your perfect Christmas tree: a lush blue spruce decorated with the latest couture; a shaggy cedar covered in homemade ornaments and strung with popcorn; a vintage aluminum tree with shiny glass bulbs; or a palm tree adorned with pink flamingos?
Can’t I have them all???
I’m a dog lover, and I know you love animals too. Are there any “pet” stockings hanging from the mantle at your house this year?
Absolutely! I’ve just sold my home in Florida and moved to northwestern Ohio. I’ll still be living with my best friend of forty years at Christmas, and we both have dog-kids. My Sophie (a red-haired collie) will have a stocking hanging over the fireplace right next to Hannah’s (a yellow lab/mastiff mix).
Thank you, Sandie! It’s great to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.
My pleasure! Thanks for having me.
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For more information about Sandie, visit her website.
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