I met Sandra Rhoads at a conference years ago. We ran into each other at writer’s events and kept in touch. Now, I’m so excited to announce Sandra’s debut novel, Mortal Sight releases today, April 14th. I’m excited because Sandra is a friend, but I’m even more excited because Mortal Sight sounds like an amazing YA.
I am fortunate to have Sandra as my special guest this week. She agreed to answer a few questions.
1. Mortal Sight is the first book in your Colliding Line series. I can’t wait to read it. It sounds amazing! How many books do we have to look forward to in this series?
The Colliding Line series is a duology, so Mortal Sight is the first of two installments.
2. Was there a defining moment when you realized you wanted to be a writer? How did that come about?
For me, the lightning strike moment happened in middle-school. I was given an assignment to write a descriptive paper. The whole class grumbled about it, but I was thrilled. I drew with words the first scene that came to mind. It was a place that time forgot: a place with a dirt road, a field, and a wire fence where trees swayed with joy. I crafted somewhere I could step into and escape from the numbing madness of the middle school world—a place I thought no one cared about but me. It was my teacher’s note that flipped the writing switch. At the top of the paper, scrawled in green ink she wrote: “You possess a gift.” I don’t remember her name, but her words sparked a desire to keep telling stories. And I did. Poetry, short stories, script-writing, journals, and now a novel.
3. You studied literature in college, and John Milton in particular, getting your masters on his work. Milton’s poem, Paradise Lost, is widely regarded as the greatest epic poem in English. In Mortal Sight, Cera often finds herself thinking about Paradise Lost. Was that poem your inspiration for this book, or was it something else?
Milton sort of forced his way into the story. The original story seed came from a “what if” question. What if someone never felt like they belonged—because they didn’t, they were really born for a place they couldn’t see? And if so, what things in the everyday world would shout out this truth, point to this other world, and trying at whatever cost to get their attention in order to let them know that the restlessness is intentional. The verses from the poem kept popping in my head (not unlike Cera) and as I skimmed through the poem, I carved the idea that artists could play an important part in pointing to this other realm; Milton’s words in particular because he speaks of invisible battles and unseen wars.
4. Who is your favorite character from this book, and why?
Oh, I love them all so much, but in Mortal Sight, besides Cera, I think my favorite character is Gladys. I loved writing her. She’s such a balm for Cera and the epitome of grace. And I’d want to eat her cooking all day long.
5. In Mortal Sight, all Cera wants is a normal life, but instead, her life is turned upside down. She has visions and is drawn into a war against unearthly creatures. Why do you think the story of the reluctant hero resonates so well with readers?
I think a reluctant hero’s tenacity is what resonates. Standing up for what is right, seeking the well-being of others, and putting their own needs aside are admirable traits. Cera has a heart to do what is right, but ends up making a lot of mistakes. Those mistakes keep her from thinking she has the power to do anything “great” but gets up, dusts herself off, and she tries again.
6. You were born in Queens, N.Y., but now live in Dallas, TX. Is there anything you miss about N.Y.? What do you like about Dallas?
Snow—but only for so long. I’ve lived in Texas for so many years now (Houston, Austin and now, Dallas) that my blood has thinned. I also miss how the trees look to be on fire with the changing fall season. It’s not quite the same in Texas.
As far as Dallas? I like the weather (which at times feels like SoCal) and I love Mexican food—fajitas and street tacos, in particular. I also love the arts culture in Dallas.
7. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you or your book?
I am so excited to share this story. I have a deep love for artists and the creative community and love encouraging others to tell stories through art, whether it’s visual, music, poetry, dance or writing. Art is so needed in the world.
I also have a book trailer coming out that can be found on my website: sandrarhoads.com and It will be on Instagram @sfrhoads.author as well as my FB author page, Sandra Fernandez Rhoads – Author.
Thank you so much for letting me share a little about this story!
Collide, Shadow Wrestles Light
Seventeen-year-old Cera Marlowe wants a normal life; one where she and her mom can stop skipping town every time a disturbing vision strikes. But when a girl she knows is murdered by a monster she can’t explain, Cera’s world turns upside down.
Suddenly thrown into an ancient supernatural battle, Cera discovers she’s not alone in her gifting and vows to use her visions to save lives. But why does John Milton’s poem Paradise Lost keep interrupting her thoughts?
In a race against time and a war against unearthly creatures, will decoding messages embedded in the works of classic literature be enough to stop the bloodshed and protect those she loves?