Saturday, September 6, 2014

Erin Sands on #SocialMedia, Writing & Reading @TheDunesBook #AmWriting #AmReading


Born in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised in the Bay Area of Northern California, Erin grew up with an innate love for dance, theatre and the written word. A graduate of Loyola Marymount University, Erin began her career in the arts as an actress and choreographer. After booking several notable roles in television and film, Erin began to use her gift of writing in blogs featuring political and social commentary, as well as developing content for theatrical use.

Although The Dunes, is a divine departure from Erin’s previous writings it is by far her most cherished work to date. “I wrote The Dunes initially as self therapy because I needed to release some painful experiences and disappointments from my past. I had this thirst to walk in the complete fullness of life with joy as my constant companion. I had no idea what effect it would have on other people. But when I saw people read it and be released from fears that had held them back for years…when I saw people forgive and be able to walk in the freedom forgiveness brings…when I saw people commit and serve and how those things opened up new opportunities in their life, I was just humbled. Humbled by the awesome power of God and humbled that I had been allowed to go along for the ride”.

When asked why she writes, Erin pauses and reflects on the truth of her heart. “I write because although I am only now beginning to truly love the process, I have always loved the outcome. Like a composer, words become my notes. I string them together in song eliciting the response of my reader, grafting a picture of my soul. Where besides the written word can you effect change so utterly and so succinctly? What besides the written word can pierce the universal collective mind? Everything begins with a thought, but it isn’t until that thought is articulated in written word and those words passed down can life changing movement happen. It must be written, it must be expressed on tablet, and when it is, we all become greater, whether the writing be genius or fatuity, it has evoked thought and debate. Why wouldn’t I want to be apart of that phenomenon? Why wouldn’t I want to share my story, give my testimony…add my paradigm to the mix? Whether it is a novel, a poem, an essay or an article, it is humanity visited. An insight into a new or sometimes shared truth. In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God. And with that I live my life”.

What are you most passionate about? What gets you fired up?
I am passionate about issues that concern the health, wealth and pursuit of happiness for humanity. Whether it is policy based or related to opportunities being fairly provided for all, you will find me at the front line, marching and championing human rights. I love exchanging ideas with critical thinkers who look at life outside the box. I love faith driven passionate people who are open to new ideas and who realize the importance of giving back. I love creative people who use their talents to entertain and enlighten. These are the topics, the endeavors and the kind of purposed living that excites me and makes my heart sing. These are my passions.

How do you feel about social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter? Are they a good thing?
As with everything under the sun, social media has its good aspects and its not-so-good aspects. The great thing about social media for indie authors like myself is the ability to promote our books and connect with readers in a much broader way. It is literally a global stage for ideas and promotion. Social media does not discriminate. It has leveled the playing field for content creators. I can promote my book on Twitter and Facebook the same way a more established, well-known author can. Ironically, the bad thing about social media, is the very same thing that is great about social media, it does not discriminate. No matter what your thought (how hateful or intolerant it may be) you can share it with the world. It gets equal billing along with all of the other thoughts and posts circulating out there. In terms of social interaction, Facebook helped me to get in touch with childhood friends that I had not seen in years.  It also allows me to keep in touch through pictures and posts with family members who live out of state. It’s like one big block party. I see far more positive outcomes with social media than I see negative outcomes. It is such an intrinsic part of local, national and global communication now that I can scarcely imagine life without it.

Do you find the time to read?
One of the many things I looked forward to after the completion of my own book was catching up on my reading. I am an avid reader and I love biographies, fiction books as well as books based on history and public policy. When I am not promoting my own book, writing blogs or working out the logistics of another creative endeavor, I am reading. The two books I am reading right now are: Guns, Germs, and Steel…the fate of human societies by Jared Diamond and Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor.

Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?
Writing The Dunes reinforced the most important and yet the most painstaking quality of writing, which is re-writing. I really cannot tell you the number of times I have re-written The Dunes. I’ve lost count. But if you want to be a good writer you must become comfortable with this very necessary truth. Writing is re-writing and your first draft is just that…a “draft”. Excellence requires writing, re-writing, re-writing that and then re-writing again and that’s before the editor takes a pass at it. There were times when I was completely blocked and I would write something down on the page just so I could move on to the next thought. Luckily my husband wouldn’t let me get away with it. He would take one look at it and shake his head “no” and give it back to me. I can’t tell you how infuriating that was! How many times I wanted to yell and scream at him but I am so grateful he did not let me fall victim to my impatience of wanting to be finished with my book. He knew that I could express the idea in a better way for the reader and he made me stick to it. The funny part is, my husband wasn’t even my editor, these were just the challenges I went through before I gave my manuscript to my editor. Who upon receiving it made even more suggestions on how to make the book better. Writing is re-writing and in the end when you have a book that you are proud of from cover to cover, you know that it was so worth it.

How did you come up with the title?
I came up with the title for The Dunes because in southern California in the city of Manhattan Beach there is a 100-foot sand dune that people come from miles around to use as a form of exercise. It is incredibly steep and the sand gives such a loose traction that it is extremely challenging to climb to the very top. Years ago I was one of the many who would go there in the blazing sun and attempt to make it to the top. The journey and the pay off were so intense that it made an impression on me. So when it came time to write the allegorical part of my book I instantly gravitated to that memory in terms of a character overcoming a hurdle in their life and the feeling of victory that comes from being able to conquer your “mountain” so to speak.

How much of the book is realistic?
The Dunes consists of 7 chapters that are referred to throughout the book as “Revelations”. Each revelation sheds wisdom and advances the journey, which is composed of an allegory, a personal testimony from me, journal questions and a challenge for the reader. Although the first part of each revelation is an allegory, I think the story is very realistic in terms of its relatability to human nature. The rest of the book is really about the reader and their journey and as honest as the reader wants to be will define how “real” their transformation is.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Today I am a daughter, a wife an activist and an author. In five years I will add to this list mother, producer and working actor. I took a break from some creative endeavors to focus on my book. Some things require 100% and The Dunes was one of them. But I am looking forward to acting again and I am in the works to produce a script that I have written. I am a creative person and a critical thinker so I hope to continue to grow and expand in those areas. But I think by far my greatest production will be that which I will share with my husband through the birth of new life and parenthood.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
What writing The Dunes has made me “realize” in terms of fulfilled dreams and legacy, is who I am and what I offer. I have always been the friend who people told their inner most secrets too. I have always been the friend that asked probing questions that made people think on a deeper level. I have always been the friend that challenged those I love to be brave. These are all of the things I do in The Dunes. I just do it on a larger scale now. So writing The Dunes has made me realize my purpose in life, who I am and what I offer on an intimate level. I can now say, that a very real part of my purpose has been fulfilled and it is a gift to know that.

Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?
At the onset of my book, my very first page, I dedicate my book to my mother. I thank her for “teaching me how to fly”. Obviously I mean it as a metaphor but in so many ways as a woman she has taught me to believe in myself and to spread my wings and strive to meet my fullest potential. She is an extraordinary woman and I will always be grateful that God gave her to me. I could not have written my book without my husband. He was my encouragement during the more challenging parts. He was my first editor. He was the one I bounced sentences and story ideas off of. He was the one when I was being impatient and would write something down that wasn’t worthy of The Dunes, who would give me a look, shake his head “no” and give the manuscript back to me, forcing me to push myself to be better. My mother and my husband have been my biggest support and a great extension of Gods unconditional love during my writing process.

How do you work through self-doubts and fear?
It’s funny but writing a book sharing your experiences and insights about overcoming self-doubt and fear in no way exempts from moments of self-doubts and fear in your own. I think it is something that on one level or another, as long as you are growing and challenging yourself, you will sometimes encounter. I do think the difference will be how you deal with it. Hopefully with grace, class and a very introspective insight into your triggers. Nowadays when those feelings come up for me I face them head on. I take a minute to truly examine what it is that is making me feel that way. Is it irrational?  Is it motivated by an experience from my past? Is it blocking me from fully experiencing life? When I locate the source of my feelings, I pray about it and do it anyway. I do “it” whatever “it” is in spite of any fear or trepidation. If I am feeling insecure, I do it anyway. If I am feeling scared about the outcome, I do it anyway. I determined long ago that although I may not be able to control my feelings, I do however, have control over my actions and I do “it” afraid.


If there was a journey that could masterfully change your life in seven revelations...would you take it? 

In life, sometimes the kernels of wisdom and the richness of revelation can be found in the most innocent of stories; and so it is with The Dunes. Join one man and one woman in an exquisitely simple yet remarkably profound journey as you discover with them that the mountain you must climb in order to live the abundant life of your dreams is located squarely within your heart. 

Illuminated in seven revelations; The Dunes carries the reader on a journey to not only examine the obstacles that are holding them back in life but to conquer and over come them as well. With each revelation The Dunes intimately calls on the reader as the journey companion to face a challenge…a dare if you will that requires an uncompromising commitment to change. In the family of faith-based self help books, The Dunes stands alone, simultaneously taking the reader from fiction to life and back again, equipped with a tailor made journal for the readers inner most secrets and reflections. The Dunes is part allegory, part testimony and part journal, but the best part is the healing it offers your heart. When you’re ready to step out of your comfort zone and step into the miracle of your life…The Dunes awaits. 

CAUTION: Readers of this book are subject to significant changes for the better. Side effects may include frequent smiling and enjoying life in every season.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Non-fiction
Rating – G
More details about the author
Connect with Erin Sands on Facebook & Twitter

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