Daughter of a Ugandan Foreign Service diplomat, Rose Sandy was raised across the world—from Baghdad to India, Germany, and Paris. She met her husband in Berlin and decided London was the place she wanted to raise her family. She’s a talented musician with a deep interest in technology and works at a leading London publishing house.
Rose Sandy is the author of the Calla Cress Techno Thriller series which has over 100,000 downloads—and she shares her experiences of traveling the globe, the self-publishing world, and doing research in the halls of London’s museums.
[5:12] Rose went to international schools all her life and developed her love for Shakespeare (her favorite spot to see his plays being the Globe). Her love for stories spread to literature at large, but it wasn’t until she had children that she contemplated writing fiction of her own. When her kids were very young, Rose had a conversation with herself—stoking the urge to write a draft of a novel in three months. It was winter, so she thought it would be possible to stay indoors and get enough on paper for a whole draft. She was able to complete that draft, and after feedback from friends, publishers, and agents she decided to take the self-publishing leap and send her work out into the world.
“In this day and age readers are very used to the visual. They’re very used to plots that work in Hollywood or TV. So when we’re writing fiction—I think we have to have that reader in mind who has that attention span in mind.”
[7:58] With her Decrypter series, Rose wanted to write a strong female character—something many thrillers tend not to touch. Her books read as a genre mix-up of James Bond and the Matrix, with settings that span the globe. When asked how she finds time to write such complex novels while raising children, and as the head of a division at a major publishing house, she replies “Actually, there’s never enough time in the day.” However, she does write on the tube and dictates using a technology that transcribes her first drafts (but not while on the train).
“The main character is a British museum curator who is an orphan, and she’s always just wanted to know about what happened to her parents. And she somehow gets recruited into an undercover organization that has ties with five governments.”
She plans for pockets of time to write or do research. She reads up on BBC focus magazines on science and technology, while also spending time at a lot of museums—as her main character is a museum curator. With one of her favorite spots being the Museum of London, you may wonder if she’s happened to pass Jason Sandy (from episode one) in the museum’s hallways after a fruitful season of Mudlarking. You would be right to think this, as the two are married.
[19:36] Of course, Rose has some of her own personal experiences tied into her work—specifically London as a setting. Almost all of the locations in the book correspond to real life locales in London, including her favorite, the British Library. Rose has been vetted for a special pass where she has access to the library’s reading rooms which house a copy of the Magna Carta and other historical manuscripts. She has interviewed workers at the British Museum to see exactly how experts handle these precious documents so that her characters can be as realistic as possible.