Saturday, 6 January 2018

The Hippo Hangs Out . . . . with Sandy Day

Now that the festive season is well and truly over I thought it would be the perfect time to introduce a new feature here on The Hippo. Over the last few months I've been trying to come up with questions to ask authors that are not only book related but a little bit quirky as well. I love finding things out about people, you never know what weird and wonderful things they think about or can do (I'm still stunned and a tiny bit disturbed about what Barbara Copperthwaite can do with her little toes! *shivers just thinking about it* 😱). I came up with a slightly eclectic mix of 22 questions, thought of a name for the feature and then reached out to authors to see if they'd be interested. The response has been fantastic and my inbox is filling up faster than I can reply, I've never felt so popular!
I asked everyone to chose eight questions from the list and the replies are fantastic. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did.

Now you know the story behind how this feature came about, I think it's time that we cracked on with introducing the lovely lady who is doing the honours of kicking off The Hippo Hangs Out  . . . . .  lovely, treasured readers it gives me great pleasure to welcome Sandy Day!

Photo courtesy of Sandy Day


Sandy Day is the author of Fred's Funeral. She graduated from Glendon College, York University, with a degree in English Literature sometime in the last century. Sandy spends her summers in Jackson’s Point, Ontario on the shore of Lake Simcoe. She winters nearby in Sutton by the Black River. Sandy is a trained facilitator for the Toronto Writers Collective’s creative writing workshops. She is a developmental editor and book coach.

                                                       *    *    *    *

What book/books made you cry and why?
The book I remember bursting into tears over was Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill. I was on the streetcar coming home from work. It was really crowded and the weather outside was lousy, sleeting rain. I had my book out and was ignoring the crush, reading, when suddenly the main character was reunited with her long lost father. I couldn't help it, I started crying and searching for tissues in my pockets. What a splendid book! 

Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I have written under a pseudonym. My erotica is published under a different name. But I've been reading some romance lately, like the acclaimed Hate to Want You, and I'm wondering what there is to be worried about? When the licenses are up, I may publish my little erotica books as my own.

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing etc come from?
When we were little, my mother read to my sister and me every night before bed. We read the Madeline books and Robert Louis Stevenson, A.A. Milne, and many picture books. My mother was a children's book illustrator so the world of book creation was always around me. I started writing as soon as I knew how to spell (maybe even before). And I was lucky to have wonderful teachers from primary school on. I went to school during the 1960s and the emphasis back then in Canada was on creativity.

What did you edit out of your last book?
I wrote and rewrote Fred's Funeral so many times it took six years to complete. Most of what I edited out was the stories of other characters. I plan to write some sequels to Fred's Funeral that concentrate on the lives of other characters like his grandfather, and his sister-in-law Viola who is the antagonist in the novel.

If you could spend time with a character from your book who would it be and why? What would you get up to?
The character, Fred, in my book is based on my real Great Uncle, who I never really knew. He was a WWI soldier who came home from the war and was soon suffering from what we now call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I learned about my Great Uncle from my grandmother's stories, which were always told through her bias, of course. Fred, in her view, was a troublemaker and deserved to be shut away in one institution or another.
When I discovered a box of my Great Uncle's letters in the attic, a different picture of him began to emerge for me. I transcribed the hundreds of letters and he soon began to talk in my head. If I could spend time with my Great Uncle I would ask him about the war; he probably wouldn't talk about it - soldiers rarely do. But I would ask him about the horses he took care of for the Canadian army and hopefully that would get him reminiscing. I think I would read him Fred's Funeral and ask him how accurate it is, did I get it right? That would be an amazing conversation.

You get a brilliant idea/thought/phrase at an inappropriate moment (eg in the shower or driving) what do you do?
This happens all the time when I'm driving. When I wrote the poems in my upcoming collection, Poems from the Chatterbox, I had to keep a pad and pen on the seat beside me so I could scratch down lines while paused at red lights or in traffic. The poetry was coming fast and furious and I just had to write it down.
Currently, I have a seventy-five-minute commute to work twice a week so I listen to writing podcasts there and back. I often get ideas or hear of blogs or books I want to remember. I have learned to rush into my room and make notes the minute I get home or it all gets lost in the ether.

What is your guilty pleasure?
My guilty pleasure is watching Survivor on American TV. I don't even have television access anymore so I watch it the day after broadcast on the website. I don't know why this show continues to intrigue me, I just find the social context fascinating. When a season is over I actually go into some weird kind of withdrawal that lasts for a couple of weeks. So embarrassing.

                                                    *    *    *    *

                                                     Fred's Funeral


Fred Sadler has just died of old age. It’s 1986, seventy years after he marched off to WWI, and the ghost of Fred Sadler hovers near the ceiling of the nursing home. To Fred’s dismay, the arrangement of his funeral falls to his prudish sister-in-law, Viola. As she dominates the remembrance of Fred, he agonizes over his inability to set the record straight.

Was old Uncle Fred really suffering from shell shock? Why was he locked up most of his life in the Whitby Hospital for the Insane? Could his family not have done more for him?

Fred’s memories of his life as a child, his family’s hotel, the War, and the mental hospital, clash with Viola’s version of events as the family gathers on a rainy October night to pay their respects.

 Fred's Funeral is available now in  paperback and eBook.

I love historical fiction and this year I'm going to make sure it's a genre I read more of so this is being added to my TBR!

You can find out more about Sandy and connect with her using the links below:

I'd like to thank Sandy for taking the time to stop by today to answer my questions and also for being the first author to take part in my brand new feature. 


  1. Thank you for coming up with such interesting questions. It was fun to answer them. I look forward to future posts by other authors.

    1. I'm so pleased that you enjoyed it Sandy. It was a pleasure to host you and thank you for launching my new feature! 😘

  2. Sounds a fascinating story. It's only after the 'oldies' have gone, that we realise how much we want to ask them.