In what passes for an ordinary day in a psych ward, Dr. Zoe Goldman is stumped when a highly unusual case arrives. A young African American girl, found wandering the streets of Buffalo in a catatonic state, is brought in by police. No one has come forward to claim her, and all leads have been exhausted, so Zoe's treatment is the last hope to discover the girl's identity. When drugs prove ineffective and medical science seems to be failing, Zoe takes matters into her own hands to track down Jane Doe's family and piece together their checkered history. As she unearths their secrets, she finds that monsters hide where they are least expected. And now she must solve the mystery before it is too late. Because someone wants to make sure this young girl never remembers. The Girl Without a Name is a powerful novel of memory and forgetting, of unexpected friendship and understanding...and of the secrets we protect no matter the consequences.
Ali: What is your favorite book of 2015 so far?
Sandra: I just read Blackout by Sarah Hepola. Great book. Memory is such a fascinating topic, and her take on missing memory (by virtue of a drunken hippocampus) manages to be both witty and profound at the same time.
Ali: Did you always want to be a writer?
Sandra: It sounds cliché, but yes, I always wanted to be a writer. I remember in fourth grade lying on the sidewalk and writing on a slip of paper about a plane marking across the sky like chalk. My mom said, “You’re writing poetry?” And I thought, “Oh, that’s what this is! I guess I’m a writer.”
Ali: What inspires your writing?
Sandra: Walking inspires me. I often solve a plot hole or come up with an idea while taking my dog out.
Ali: What was the hardest part of writing THE GIRL WITHOUT A NAME?
Sandra: The hardest part was hiding the villain. I had to make him/her likable enough, but at the same time with glimmers of darkness.
Ali: What is your favorite thing about writing THE GIRL WITHOUT A NAME?
Sandra: My favorite part of writing the book was creating the character of Daneesha. She doesn’t take crap from anyone, and at thirteen, she’s smarter than a lot of her doctors. She kept me on my toes.
Ali: Do you have any habits while writing? For example, a specific snack food you have to have or maybe music playing in the background.
Sandra: I don’t have time for habits! I take my iPad everywhere and steal writing time whenever I can. So, if I had to have coffee or a specific scented candle, I’d be in real trouble… 🙂
Ali: What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t writing?
Sandra: My favorite non-writing activity (besides family and reading of course) is cross-stitching. I happen to be a cross-stitching madwoman.