Sandra Byrd: Author, Mentor, Friend

Debbie Austin introduces NCWA to her long time friend, writer Sandra Byrd.

Where did I meet Sandra Byrd? Not at a writer’s conference, nor in a critique group. Not even on the shelves of a bookstore. I met Sandra Byrd when our now 19-year olds were babies crawling through tunnels and over squishy cushions at Gymboree. As young moms do, we talked about sleep-deprived nights, rare but trying temper tantrums, and blissful nap-filled afternoons. Over McDonald Happy Meals, at blueberry farms, and on outings to the zoo, a lasting friendship formed. And the best part? We discovered we shared a faith in Jesus.

Early on in our friendship Sandra shared her dream of writing fiction. This was exciting stuff because at the time, I hadn’t dared to share my writing dream with anyone but my husband. Sandra became my very first writing friend.

When asked why she became a writer, Sandra says, “When I was a kid I wanted three careers: to be a hair stylist,  a waitress, and an author.  After I mohawked my Barbie, I knew I wasn’t cut out for the hairstylist career. I actually was a waitress in a Jewish deli when I was a teenager, and I worked for a caterer. Writing, however, was the real passion. And it stuck!”

If you have read any of her books, you’ll know she chose wisely. I am so excited about her new historical fiction series, Ladies In Waiting. Sandra describes herself as a lady waiting a long time to write about Tudor England, an era she loves. The first book in the series, To Die For, a novel about a lady-in-waiting to Anne Boleyn, is due out August 2011. All the books in the series are about “strong, educated women that had a major impact on the world and on the reformation.”

Whatever the subject matter, her books are filled with clear, uplifting messages. Be strong and courageous. Dream big. Trust God even when it seems very dark. Love people but don’t let them walk on you. Live with joy and faith.

Her typical writing day? “Coffee. Email. Coffee. Responding to lessons I am reviewing or coaching other writers through their manuscripts. Coffee. Writing for several hours to meet a word count. More email. Coffee.” Did I mention she has a great sense of humor? She’s also very knowledgeable about the industry and I know you will enjoy her practical teaching on solid book proposals.

Check out for more on books, her blog, and her coaching. She’s offering a 10% discount to NCWA members who sign up on her site for critique or coaching within the next two weeks.


Sandra Byrd will speak at NCWA’s March 7th meeting about crafting terrific book proposals.

She has published more than three dozen books in the Christian fiction and non-fiction market, including her latest series for adults, French Twist, which opens with the Christy finalist, Let Them Eat Cake. Her newest series for young adults, London Confidential, debuted in April, 2010 and her next series for adults, Ladies in Waiting will release in August, 2011 with Howard/Simon and Schuster.


Debbie Austin has been a member of NCWA since January, 2009.  A story that she was inspired to write from a writing exercise at a NCWA meeting won 2nd place in The Children’s Writer Folk Tale or Fantasy Short Story Contest in 2010. Her dream is to one day be a published picture book author, although she may have to revise that dream  because she has recently become fascinated by the history of the Book of Kells and the seed of a novel idea is growing.

4 thoughts on “Sandra Byrd: Author, Mentor, Friend

  1. What a wonderful introduction to Sandra! I can’t wait until the next meeting so we can here more. Thank you, Debbie, for such a great article!


  2. Thank you for the intro to Sandra, I am now even looking more forward to her presentation.
    I like this quote she wrote, “Writing for several hours to meet a word count. More email. Coffee.” Sometimes it seems like it is just about the discipline to write and a good cup of coffee which I am currently sipping on 🙂


  3. Love the comments: Be strong and courgeous, Dream big, Trust God even when things seem dark, and love people but don’t let them walk all over you. They have been words that have guided my life. Marlene


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