Monday, August 22, 2011

Sad News - Sandra Hyatt

I heard some very sad news this weekend   that Harlequin Desire author Sandra Hyatt  passed away very suddenly while at the Romance Writers of New Zealand  Conference in Auckland. 

My husband and  were lucky enough to meet Sandra when we attended the RWNZ  conference in 2004 and we were at the RWA Conference in San Francisco when she  got 'the call' to say that she had sold her very first book.  She was a delightful person and   has been taken far too young, when her career was only just beginning to get going. My heart goes out to her family and friends,

Sandra was in my mind only a couple of weeks ago when I read a post which mentioned her over on Jackie Ashenden's blog.   This post had  a wonderful piece of writing advice in  it that I think is valuable to  all writers - but might be particularly useful to those of you who are planning to enter the  New Voices  contest.  Sandra was talking about  a Michael Hague  workshop she had been too  and - well, here's what Jackie said on her blog (Thanks Jackie for permission to quote)

Well, at our most recent chapter group meeting, the very wonderful Sandra Hyatt gave us a talk about the Micheal Hague workshop she did and part of it really resonated with me.

Our characters wear two faces - the face they show to the world, and the face they keep to themselves. The face they show to the world is their identity, the face they keep to themselves is their essence (the people they truly are). Now in the story, the characters should conflict at the level of identity, but they should connect at the level of essence.

I thought that was a very simple way of making sure there is conflict in a story, but also some real romance. Because it's the moments where the two characters connect that show the reader that these two are meant for each other. Of course what it means is that I need to figure out who my characters actually are, as opposed to the face they show to the real world. Tricky. I know the faces they show to the world but working backwards to find their essence is another thing.

It's great advice - and  as Jackie says-
>what it means is that I need to figure out who my characters actually are, as opposed to the face they show to the real world.

Little gems like that renew my spirit to write when  sometimes I'm tired and feel I'd rather watch paint dry. And thoughts of talented, vibrant women like Sandra who were here last week  - and  now are  no  longer with us - also make me remember that if you want to be a writer you need to get on and write no matter what stage you're at in your career.  Otherwise the stories in your head will never come alive on any page.  And no one will ever share them.

The paint will still dry anway, even if you're not watching it.


Phillipa said...

Kate - what very sad news about Sandra. I didn't know her, or even of her, but I love the piece of writing advice from her that you quoted because I think it's such a key to hero and heroine and conflict, as you say. Recently, I saw the blurb for one the US release of one of my books and the copywriter had described the couple as two 'mismatched but perfectly attuned lonely hearts' which I hope is saying the same thing as Sandra.

Thanks again for the link to her article and I send my deepest sympathy to all her family and friends. At least, people have the legacy of her books forever.

Heather R. said...

Oh Kate, that is sad news. I have enjoyed her writing. My thoughts and prayers go to her family.

Marilyn Shoemaker said...

Kate, that's so very sad. I've read a few of her books and enjoyed them.

Some good news? I just finished Natasha Tates One Touched, Never Forgotten and it was incredible. I'll be fortunate to spend the evening with Natasha and Jennie when they attend conference here in Seattle.

More good news? I suggested on the MU&B FB page, people stop by and sign up for your newsletter.

Caroline said...

Oh how sad. Caroline x

Kiru Taye said...

This is really sad news. My sympathy goes to her family.

Jackie Ashenden said...

Many thanks for sharing your memories of Sandra, Kate. It's a great loss. The workshop she gave was so helpful and she put it in such a way that it was very easy to understand.
Thanks for a lovely tribute to this lovely lady.

Marlena Cassidy said...

Sandra's advice is wonderful, and it's a shame that we've lost her so soon. She had real talent and anyone could tell that she loved writing.

Kaelee said...

That's heart wrenching news as she was just getting started in her writing career. So sad to hear of someone passing away so young. Her website said that she would have a book out in December. I think that the book would still come out right? It must be in the totally written stage by now?

Sonali said...

I heard about Sandra yesterday. It saddened me greatly. My condolences go out to all her family and friends.

Christine said...

So sorry for Sandra's passing. My condolences to her family and friends.

Nas Dean said...

Hi Kate,

Thanks for a lovely tribute to this lovely lady.


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