In His Own Words:
Now let’s be honest, am I capable to be a writer, a painter, and music composer? Well, yes. And you can see all my three abilities in the Book Trailer for “Arboregal-The Lorn Tree” if you click here
I write under three book genres and therefore three pen names:
Mit Sandru for Sci-fi, Paranormal Thriller, Vampire
D.G. Sandru for YA/Children Fantasy, Adventure and Survival
Dumitru Sandru for non-fiction
Where are you from? I was born in the last millennium in the western part of Transylvania, Romania. I’m not over the hill yet, but I do qualify for social security. I immigrated to United States when I was 18 years old, seeking glory, money, and fame. I’m still working hard to achieve them, and I still enjoy the process.
Why do you write? I have a very creative mind, and ideas come to me in abundance. In other words I’m a dreamer, day or night. Yes, some of my story ideas came from night dreams, like “Folding Reality.” Writing is one of the simplest ways to bring to life the stories that come to mind, and vicariously live in those stories. So far I’ve published 11 books, click here to see all my books.
When did you write your first book? How long did it take you to write it? I wrote my first book in 2001 and finished it in 2009, while I was working full time as a project manager in IT. Besides writing I painted many of the sceneries in the story. Click here and here to see the paintings. The first book was “Arboregal - The Lorn Tree” a YA Fantasy. It was published in 2011.How do you write? Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story? How do you go on from there? Maybe you can give us an example with one of your books. For my first book “Arboregal - The Lorn Tree” the world was first, a world where all living things dwell in giant, mile-high trees. For “Vampire-Vlad V” the characters Dracula’s nephew –Vlad the Fifth– and Cat Sanders came first. Most of the time the character(s) tell me the story. In “Vampire” I didn’t know the ending and the plot until I was three chapters from the end.
Where do you get your ideas? Do you jot them down in a notebook, in case you forgot? I have more ideas than time to write them into books and they come from many stimuli, a name, a book, a movie, a picture, even one of my sketches. They all prompt me to say “what if?” I have a note pad, and I use a small digital recorder, but nowadays I am home most of the time and I write the ideas in certain files on my computer. It’s safer that way. To generate ideas simply ask, “What if?”
Which of your books feature your family/friends, etc? What characters are modeled after them? Why? In “Arboregal - The Lorn Tree” the four heroes are my two daughters Melissa and Michelle and my best friend’s two sons. I even wrote about myself in “Escape from Communism” which is a true story. In “Vampires of Transylvania” four minor characters were based on my aunts and uncles. They didn’t play the roles of the vampires. However, I don’t rely much on people I know, and most of the characters are strangers, and then they become my friends. I’m not sure if they love me or are afraid not to ‘kill’ them. My editor asked me not to kill one of the characters; she liked him a lot and he was not a vampire. He lived. For now.
Which of your heroes/heroines is most similar to you? Why? There will be a book that will be based on me. It will be extreme science-fiction. And it will be based on me, because unlike having a character that I have to create and expose him/her to the world I created, in this case I will expose myself to the new worlds. It is not vanity; it is like existing in another world, a virtual world like no other world.
Who is your strongest/sexiest/most lovable/hottest hero/heroine? Why? So far Cat Sanders in Vlad V series is my best heroine. I’m writing about her in the first person and at least one reader thought I was a woman writer. I took that as a compliment. The character starts as an innocent young woman and her transformation, while being exposed to blue-blood vampires, until she herself becomes a vampire. The series are Vampire, R.I.P., Vampire Slayers, Vampires of Transylvania, and The Queen of Vampires.
Have you ever wanted to write your book in one direction but your characters are moving it in another direction? What did you do in such a situation? It happens all the time, and I’m surprised where the characters take me, and the stories they spin. Some of the subplots are theirs. Occasionally, when I find that they ramble too much I know they derailed my story and throw them a curve, and see what they’ll do next. It always surprises me.
What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done? When I was 18 years old I ran away from home and escaped from communist Romania, a country at the time that resembled a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. Barbed wire fences, patrols with guns and dogs surrounded the country to prevent its people from escaping literally from Hell. I managed to escape without being shot, blown up, or caught and imprisoned, and I came to the Promised Land. I wrote about that story in “Escape from Communism.”
Where and when do you write? Tell us about your favorite work place and time. Any special reason? I prefer to write in my quiet office. I don’t listen to music, because it distracts me. I don’t have scheduled hours to write, but I write almost every day. Once I start a new story, I cannot stop until it’s finished. In a way I’m the first fan of my book, I have to find out how it ends.
Did you encounter any obstacles in writing? What are they? How did you overcome them? I don’t suffer from writer’s block, although one time I got stuck at the chapter about Auschwitz when I was writing “Folding Reality.” The solution was to start writing something else and that’s how I wrote the first book in the Vlad V series “Vampire.” If you have writer’s block just keep writing, even if it’s nonsense. Eventually you’ll get out of it. My biggest problem is that I cannot spend even more time writing.
Is there a process you stick to, or do you just write as it hits you? Common wisdom among writers is that you are either a planner or a pantser. The planner makes an outline, does the research, defines the characters, the settings, the conflicts and so on until the story is complete in a form of an outline. Then he/she writes the story. The pantser has an idea, or a character, or an imaginary world, and he/she begin writing, literally by the seat of his/her pants and discover where the story goes. Of the two methods the planner is more efficient, but the pantser is more creative. A pantser uses the right (creative) brain most of the time, and if you don’t intervene you’ll be amazed what appears on the screen. The planner uses the left (rational) brain during the planning stage. I’m more of a pantser writer.
What do you think about editing? Thou shalt not publish an unedited book. Editing is a must. I don’t publish any of my books without being thoroughly edited.
What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write? Fantasy and Science-Fiction are my first preferences. And if you push at the margins of Fantasy you get into Paranormal, as it is in “The Pregnant Pope” a paranormal mystery-thriller. I like these genres because I can use my imagination to create things that don’t exist in our world. It is a form of escapism.
What is your advice to aspiring writers? Write, write and write. And read or listen to books that are similar to what you’d like to write. By the way, there is a formula for success:
Results = Talent x Skill x Hard Work x Motivation
If any of those variables Talent, Skill, Hard Work, and Motivation is zero the results will be zero. I believe that everyone has some talent. Hard Work gives you the Skill and the writing output. Motivation is the ultimate maker or breaker of anyone who wants to achieve anything, including writing.
Any new projects, work in progress? My current project is “Arboregal -The Cascade Tree” the sequel to “Arboregal - The Lorn Tree.” Many readers have been waiting patiently for four years to see what will happen to Melissa, Michelle, Nathan and Perry in the strange world of Arboregal. And after that I have four new books lined up to write next year.
Can you tell us about your road to publication? Before my first book was published I got 99 rejections from Publishers and 100 rejections or no responses from Agents. But in the end I found this small publisher, Chivileri Publishing, which published my first book and all the others afterwards. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am the owner and CEO of Chivileri Publishing. In other words I am and Indie Author and Publisher. Some people may think that you are not validated unless a New York Publisher publishes you. You can take that route and wait forever. You may have written the best book the world has ever seen, but if a publisher thinks that your book will not sell, your book will die. So much for validation. In the end you have two choices, never be published or become and Indie Author. See Createspace and Kindle for that option. By the way you get 70% royalties from Amazon on eBooks.
E-books, print, or both? Any preferences? Why? Actually both are fine to read. E-Books are easier to publish, and you can be pricing the eBooks competitively. Most of my books are published in both formats.
How much time do you spend promoting your books? Not as much as I should. When you’re an Indie Author and Publisher you wear two hats, the creative and the business. The old saying - if you create a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door - is not true if the world doesn’t know about you. Discoverability is a big issue for a new writer. You’ll have to burn the midnight oil and then some.
Tell us more about your latest release.
As I’m writing this I just published my eleventh book “Gold Rush Mystery” America is back on the Moon. This time, we intend to stay and establish a self-sustaining permanent base for tourism and mining. Our first lunar base is named Gold Rush. Establishing permanent life on our closest, lifeless neighbor is a challenge. But the challenge turns into a mystery when life finds us first.
Gold Rush Mystery is a sci-fi book that is part of the Terraspantion Series. Although this is book 1 in the series, I wrote book 2 “Time Hole” first. Both books are hard science fiction with a dose of intrigue to spice things up.
E-mail Mit: firstname.lastname@example.org