A Wicked Welcome to Sandra SG Wong! **plus a giveaway**

by Julie, summering in Somerville

I was fortunate to work with Sandra when she was the national president of Sisters in Crime, and between weekly meetings and committees we became friends. I’ve been hearing about In the Dark We Forget for a while, and I’m so glad to celebrate its upcoming release in both the U.S. and Canada as part of our genre hopping series.

Thanks so much for hosting me again, Julie! I’m so thrilled to be welcomed back among The Wickeds.

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only writer to have ideas spark while traveling—whole scenes and scenarios even, springing forth into one’s imagination while on holiday somewhere. But what happens when you’re on a romantic anniversary trip, just you and your devoted spouse, and the dark scenarios just keep coming..?

If you’re me, you are blessed to be married to an exceptional person who truly understands you, so you go with it. You even share your strange new ideas, the ones flickering at the edges of your imagination, teasing you with their morbid potential.

For example, you’re having a scrumptious dinner one evening, in the only restaurant in a tiny hamlet in the Canadian Rockies. The restaurant is named Truffle Pigs. It is May 2018. You treat yourself to a slice of house-made strawberry rhubarb pie. When it comes, you’re delighted that it’s exactly the perfect temperature. As you cut into the flaky, golden-brown crust, you suddenly remember that flash of inspiration from the day before, the one that hit when you drove around a bend in the highway. To one side was a flattish space of weedy grasses, stretching to a line of trees at the foot of a mountain. You remember thinking, What would it be like to just wake up there, and not know how you got there? What would you do next? How would you feel?

Your spouse, of course, ever attentive, asks if you’re thinking of that idea you had. They want to know more. So you start talking. Next thing you know, only a few crumbs remain on the plate, your Earl Grey is sadly tepid, but you’ve got the biggest, silliest grin on your face. Your spouse, decades-married to a writer now, encourages you to keep at it. During the rest of the 5-day trip, they catch you any number of times daydreaming about that idea. Every single time, they ask you to share more. Your spouse is deeply, deeply wonderful, by the way.

And when you get home, you start noodling in earnest. You’ve never written a contemporary suspense novel before. But you have published 3 novels so far and a handful of short stories. You have a general idea how to approach this, at least.

Nine months later, you share draft #3 with your spouse, who is always your first reader, and with a trusted writer friend. They both give you extremely honest feedback. Fifteen months later, you sign with a literary agent. Two-ish years later, you sign the publishing contract. Four years later, your book is released.

And so here we are.

I had such fun writing this book. Which sounds weird since it’s dark and heartbreaking in parts. But I think there’s always place for joy when we write. At least, that’s what I strive for.

I’m excited to do a giveaway of the Canadian print edition of In The Dark We Forget today for Wickeds readers. (You can catch my unboxing video here to see how one looks.)

Just answer this question in the comments to be included in the random draw: What’s the weirdest place/time you suddenly found inspiration for a creative endeavour?

Open to US and Canada. Comment by midnight ET today to enter.

In The Dark We Forget releases June 21st. More details, and pre-ordering, available here.

Here’s the Bookshop link if you’d like to support local indie booksellers through Bookshop.org.

SAVE THE DATE: For her release, Sandra SG Wong will be in conversation with Tess Gerritsen over Zoom. Tuesday, June 21 at 8pm EDT. Register here.


Sandra SG Wong (she/her) writes fiction across genres and is a multiple crime fiction awards nominee. A speaker, mentor, and hybrid (indie/trad) author, Sandra is Immediate Past President of Sisters in Crime and a proud member of Crime Writers of Color. Connect with her: Twitter @S_G_Wong, Instagram @sgwong8, and sgwong.com.

36 Thoughts

  1. Welcome back, Sandra! What a great tale of conceiving a story. Yes, you are blessed in partners! I can’t wait to read the new book.

    I’ve found inspiration driving down the road, shoveling snow. watching people ice fish, hearing bits on the news – in so many places.

    1. Thanks so much, Edith! It’s just part of the writer brain, isn’t it, finding inspiration in the most “normal” of things.

  2. Hi Sandra! I was driving back from testifying at the NH State Legislature and was being tailgated by an old beater car. I was beginning to feel some extreme irritation and then the car passed as we approached a long bridge. And I thought, wow, someone angry enough might force that car off the bridge. And then I thought what would make someone do that? And that led to an award-winning short story!

  3. You have a wonderfully supportive husband, very special! Probably not odd or weird, but I find inspiration on long walks around our local lake. I find the water calms my mind, allowing room for great ideas.

    1. Kathy, I totally get it. I love walks to clear my head when I come to a sticky spot in my drafting. I love that you have a lake nearby!

  4. Ideas come at all hours and places, so you could say that’s weird. What’s normal is the challenge of capturing the idea and making it retrievable in my digital database. Ah, the joys of writing!

    1. Feeling shy, I see, eh? No worries, though. Sometimes it can feel weird sharing our ideas. 🙂

  5. In the Dark We Forget is AMAZING! I stayed up late reading it and started again early in the morning. A conversation I overheard in the airport years ago became the opening to my first published book Tagged for Death.

    1. Sherry, thanks so much for your enthusiasm for my book!! <3 Oooh, I love overhearing things and jumping into a story from there.

  6. Can’t wait for the opportunity to read “In the Dark We Forget”. Sounds absolutely wonderful and I LOVE the cover!

    strangest place I can think of off the top of my head would be a rest area on a deserted stretch of road between our then home and a place we use to love to go to for vacation. Now mind you, I’m not a great person for change and usually fight it tooth and nail. But I came out of the restroom, looked at hubby and said wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to travel back and forth to get to our happy place. After the shock stare I got, he asked me if I was really thinking about it. From that one statement, things begin to develop in my mind, moved to a list on paper and then actual leg work.

    After several months of could we – should we, we decided to take the leap. However, that was only the first step to many decisions and when the creativity started to flow. Our plans for a new home changed many times before we came up with what we knew would be our forever home. We had to worry about selling and then finding property we would want to buy – both of which were majorly hard to do.

    A year later, after going through and downsizing “things”, we listed the house. Imagine our surprise when it sold on the second day of having listed. Fortunate for us, they needed to wait for their farm sale to be completed. We had found our builder and the property we wanted. Seeing the 2 original 1853 large stone fireplaces from the original homestead home, we once again redrew our floor plans working one in the living area and one in the one and only bedroom. Designing this final plan was a creative process of working with what we knew we were taking with us and what we wanted in our forever home. Planning the rooms, placement of our furniture, getting custom made Amish cabinetry, finding the just right granite for the counter tops, selected the hardwood flooring and then finding the perfectly match tile for the bathrooms that you can’t tell where the wood ends and tile begins, finding the right appliances that work for our style of cooking, developing a raised bed for our little garden, and planting new flowers and shrubs all got the creative juices flowing. We thought out each decision so that we wouldn’t regret it later down the line.

    Thankfully it worked out that our home being completed and the final papers signed on the old house worked out to where we only had to move once. Here five years later, it’s still the best decision every!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. So glad you “found” your forever home, Kay. Though it sounds, really, like you dreamed it and then put in the hard work of making it reality. Congrats!

  7. Welcome back to the Wickeds, Sandra! Sherry has been raving about In the Dark We Forget and I can’t wait to read it. Years ago I had a little movie playing in my head of a woman on a large sailboat. It was dark out, but warm, and to the woman, even after many years in the tropics, it still felt odd to have the sun go down early yet the temperature remain hot. Clearly she was from somewhere farther north where early sunsets meant cold weather. Why was she on the sailboat and why did she still feel displaced? I found my answers in a short story.

    1. Thanks so much, Barb! I love stories that involve the ocean. What was the short story? Where can I find it?

  8. Mine always strikes in the shower- not the most convenient place to make a note!

    1. I hear you, Alicia. I think it’s related to being a water sign, but I also do a lot of thinking in the shower, whether it’s sorting something out or coming up with ideas.

  9. I feel like a I did something morally wrong when I admit this, but I once got a killer idea for a story one Sunday in church. The boy in front of me and his distraught mother inspired me.

  10. I loved In the Dark We Forget! It’s a haunting read, simultaneously fast-paced and creepy with psychological insight. I get most of my book ideas in the minutes (hours) before falling asleep.

    1. Thanks so much, Delia! So, do you keep a notebook next to the bed to write them down? Or, maybe make audio memos to yourself? How do you capture them?

  11. When a family member was very sick and spent a long time in the hospital, I found myself looking at magazines that I never would have otherwise. I got some excellent ideas for redecorating .

  12. What a great story! You are truly blessed to have a loving, supportive spouse.

    The strangest place I was ever inspired was at a friend’s apartment while she was sitting Shiva for her father. She made a comment about her father that stuck in my mind, when I got home I sat down to write it down & instead an entire poem appeared on the page. This was the only poem I can remember writing in one sitting without any future editing.

    1. I really am, Judith! He’s a gem. Wow, what a story. Do you go back to read that poem often?

      1. It’s one of my favorites & one of very few that’s been published!

  13. I am completely stumped by your question. Oh, well, I guess that I lack creativity. At any rate, I enjoyed reading about you and the wonderful relationship that you have with your spouse!

    1. Thanks for the positive comment, Patricia. I’ll venture a guess that you don’t, in fact, lack creativity, but perhaps my question just came at a poor time..!

  14. Contact on your new release! I’m not a very creative person, but I get some good.ideas when I’m waking up in the morning.

    1. Sounds like a great time to get ideas, Dianne. Sometimes, I wake with a head full of ideas. Other days, it’s full of nothing but static!

  15. Welcome, Sandra! I was touring Frank Lloyd Wright’s house, Fallingwater, when the river was high. There was a little deck over the water and it was lapping at the edges. “What if someone touring here found a body?” I haven’t written that one…yet.

    1. Oh wow, I would love to visit Fallingwater! What a great idea, too. I hope you have fun creating a story from it.

  16. After I survived a fire in our apartment, I started crocheting afgans for gifts. It was something that I could do with my hands when I was stressed. It was a great way to relax. Thank you for sharing. God bless you.

  17. My ideas for things come when I am in the shower, when I am driving or in the middle of the night. Never at an opportune time.

  18. Thanks so much, everyone, for sharing your stories and comments, and for the warm wishes! Take care of yourselves and create joy where and when you can.
    The winner of a Canadian print edition of IN THE DARK WE FORGET, drawn randomly, is Dianne Casey.

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