She Creates Stories with Roots in Culture and History
Author Sandra Moran asked me whether I was a morning person or afternoon person when we agreed to meet to discuss her writing career and her newest book, All We Lack. Why was I not surprised to hear she’s a morning person? After all, she writes at least 1,500 words per day, teaches at a community college, and runs marathons.
Moran’s paperback, which is her third book, will be released April 1; the e-book was released in March. Bedazzled Ink in Northern California is her publisher.
“They do primarily female-focused publications and a lot of lesbian literature,” Moran said.
Moran offered a short description of her new book’s characters and the situation they find themselves in.
“It starts with a bus crash on an express bus from New York to Boston,” she said, “and four of the passengers are connected to each other through social media and deception. One of them is a woman named Maggie who is a closeted funeral director in Seymour, Indiana. One is Helen, who is an insurance investigator from Chicago. One is a guy named Jimmy who’s a drug-addicted paramedic from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and one is a 10-year-old boy whose name is Bug, and he’s from Philly and he’s going to live with his aunts in Boston.”
All We Lack, the book’s title, relates to the missing elements in the lives of these characters who are united through tragedy.
Moran said she gets her inspiration for these characters from social media like Facebook. But she said with a laugh that no one would read the book and think she had patterned a character after them.
“So many people that I know are connected to each other in ways I would never imagine,” she said. “It really got me to thinking about the degrees of separation and how we are becoming so much of a global village in a lot of ways.”
Moran, who teaches cultural anthropology at Johnson County Community College, said, “I find these changes in cultural paradigms absolutely fascinating.”
She described how she got into writing.
“I started out as a newspaper reporter at the [Topeka> Capital-Journal. I really was that reporter that started out on the obituaries and worked my way up. Then I worked for the [Lawrence"> Journal-World. I worked as a writer for a magazine in Amarillo, Texas, and came back to Kansas in 1995 to work as the deputy press secretary for Bill Graves, the former governor of Kansas.”
Moran said she knew when she went to college that she either wanted to be an archaeologist or a writer.
“And I made the decision that there would be so much more money in journalism. Yeah,” she said, laughing at the misperception. “So when I was working for the state, I decided then … that I really wanted to look into archaeology. So I quit my job and went on an archaeological dig.”
She went back to school at the University of Kansas for a degree in archaeology, started teaching at JCCC in 2001, and has been there ever since.
Nudge, her book published in 2013, drew a lot on her archaeological background, she said.