The Heroine’s Journey of Sandra L. Rostirolla

What is the best thing that I love about my work?

I am a writer and I love telling stories. I delight in creating new worlds and filling them with rich characters, then seeing how these characters react to challenging situations. These fictional beings become like an extension of myself and I love when they surprise me with decisions that end up taking me down a path I had never thought to go.

What is my idea of happiness?

Happiness is knowing that my family is healthy, financially stable, and excited about their daily activities. Life is meant to be enjoyed. The thought of a loved one struggling because of health issues, money struggles, or being trapped in a monotonous daily grind clouds my soul. I am at my peak spirits when I know my loved ones are living up to or exceeding every day’s promise.

What is my greatest fear?

Not achieving my goals. I have a new fantasy series that I am desperate to start. I’ve mapped out the mythology, developed my main characters, and have a basic plot regarding this world’s conflict. For various reasons, I’ve had to delay the actual writing of the story and I can feel my internal stress growing. My unrealized stories start to feel like a lead weight on my chest. The only way to remove this discomfort is through writing. The thought of living the rest of my life with this deep-pitted sensation freaks me out.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

I get very chatty when I’m excited or passionate about a topic. This over-excitement usually results in a word salad because my mind throws out thoughts faster than I can say them. This is not ideal during a pitch situation, where thoughts need to be clear and concise, or when expressing an idea to a team with the goal of swaying them in my direction.

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire?

Stephen King because of his down to earth approach to writing. He made me realize that I didn’t have to be a literary master in order to write. The craft can be learned, but no one can teach passion and dedication. Writing is re-writing. Perseverance to learning the craft is what ultimately makes the writer. This little nugget of gold helped me springboard away from my fears and insecurities and head first into my debut novel, Cecilia: The Last Croilar Tier, which went on to win several awards and ultimately spawn a trilogy.

What is my greatest extravagance?

My greatest extravagance is skiing and snorkeling. My husband and I, try to get away at least twice a year to the snowfields and the tropics. Skiing is probably the most extravagant of the two due to the combined upfront investment in gear and ongoing expense of lift tickets. That being said, since we have a decent snowfield at Mammoth Lakes (which is about a six-hour drive from Los Angeles), we don’t always have to splurge on airfare. Whereas snorkeling always requires us to fly to a destination. Our favorite place so far is the Big Island in Hawaii. We are yet to make it to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, so when we do, that will probably top our list of extravagances.

On what occasion would I lie?

An occasion when I did lie was as a teenager not wanting Mum to know I’d smoked a cigarette. She smelled the tell-tale scent on my school jumper (sweater for American readers) and I blamed it on “the other kids who were smoking.” I didn’t fear getting in trouble. I lied because I didn’t want to disappoint her.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

I very much dislike sitting all day. I used to be active in my former profession as a Physical Therapist and then later, as a manager in a hospital, which required doing rounds. Since walking up and down the necessary flight(s) of stairs was usually quicker than waiting for the elevator, I easily completed close to 10,000 steps per day. (I know this for a fact because I wore a pedometer.) Since becoming a writer, my daily step count has plummeted to around 3,500.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?

After publishing Cecilia: The Last Croilar Tier, I began winning awards, which usually meant flying to a conference or a ceremony. Not only was this a great excuse for my husband and I to travel to parts of the US we probably wouldn’t have thought to go to, I was meeting some pretty great fellow authors.

If I could, what would I change about myself?

When I was 20 years old, I had jaw surgery to correct a malocclusion (basically, when I bit down, only my back teeth touched). Feeling all my teeth connecting for the first time was amazing. But then, I got lazy and stopped wearing my retainer. Over time, my bite slipped and I’m basically back to where I started. If I could change one thing, I would’ve kept wearing that darn retainer.

What is my greatest achievement in work?

My greatest achievement would have to be writing Making Friends With Monsters, which releases April 4th 2023. When I first started my writing career, I’d always wanted to tell a story where the reader learned little nuggets along the way. In this book, Sam Nolen is filled with misery. With a drought ruining his family’s farm and his older brother moody and distant, the sensitive twelve-year-old wishes he knew how to make his loved ones happy. Knowing that Monsters are the cause, Sam sets out to try and tame these beasts and along the way collects 26 “Facts About Monsters” which act as thought bubbles for the reader to reflect on their own inner Monster.

Where would I most like to live?

I would certainly love to live closer to the beach with easy access to great snorkeling spots. I like warm climates and wouldn’t have a problem wearing shorts and a t-shirt year-round.

What is my most treasured possession?

My mum, who sadly passed away in 2021, had trouble with her eyesight, so I gave her an audiobook of Cecilia: The Last Croilar Tier, which she listened to daily. She told me her favorite line was, “A sound so sweet and haunting it felt like sadness floating on a cloud.” (The phrase is in reference to one of the characters playing a violin). I printed the words on a mug, along with some colorful flowers and birds, and gave it to her. I live in America and when I visited Mum in Australia, she made me a cup of tea in the mug. One of my relatives smirked and commented how Mum never let anyone else use it. When she passed away, this treasure came home with me to Los Angeles.

What is my most marked characteristic?

I’m very loyal and would drop everything to help a friend. Case in point, a friend called me from the airport, explaining that she had forgotten her passport and the plane was leaving in two hours. She told me where her spare key was and asked if I could get her passport and bring it to her. Because of the time crunch, this literally was a “drop everything” moment. Even with LAX traffic, her passport arrived on time.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?

There isn’t a specific location that’s an inspiration, but, rather, a situation. My husband is a great sounding board for troubleshooting plot and story ideas. I’ve had the best break throughs during road trips where we’re driving for several hours bouncing ideas around.

What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city?

I really don’t have a favorite spot. As long as I’m with great friends with enough space to sit and talk without being drowned out by loud music or excessive ambient noise, then I’m happy.

What books influenced my life and how?

The Outsiders by SE Hinton influenced my life because this book was the seed driving my desire to write. I read this novel in either Year 8 and it was the first school required reading that moved me to tears. Hearing that the author wrote the book at age fifteen (which was around my age at the time) opened me to the idea of writing, something I’d never previously considered due to my focus on STEM subjects. Over the years, this seed grew into the courage to step out of my comfort zone and pursuit a creative career.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?

On my last day, I’d probably choose to listen to Hooked on Classics. Classical music set to an 808 drum beat puts a smile on my face.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

I love Aragon from The Lord of the Rings for so many reasons. Viggo Mortensen’s looks and charm, only helped solidify the selfless, heroic character as written by Tolkien.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

My sister is definitely my hero. She is a dynamo with endless energy. I don’t know how she keeps up with everything – work, kids, the house, entertaining. She is a terrific organizer and always knows everyone’s birthday. On top of which, she’s always so well put together in her styling. I have a basic clothing palette—jeans, t-shirt, sweater—and completely lack a personal style. My sister just seems to know the right amount of dress-up for the occasion and you rarely see her in the same outfit. This is not because she has an exhaustive wardrobe. She simply has a knack for buying coordinating pieces and knowing how to put them together.

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime?

A movie I recommend everyone see is Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin. The film is an all-around fun time, and for me, a go-to movie that I can watch several times a year. The dialog is sharp and witty, the comedic timing impeccable, and the score by Miles Goodman is deliciously memorable.

What role play stories in my life and work?

Stories play a big role in my life. Not only are they my career, they are what makes the world go around. When I’m with friends, we don’t chat about facts and figures, we tell each other stories, be it factual ones relating to how their day went or fictional ones they are currently working on. My most favorite stories were those told by my eldest brother while we were growing up, which fell into the category of embellished non-fiction, where the facts became more grandiose on each retelling, making the story all the more fun to hear.

What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ to me?

Being the storyteller of your own life, to me, means that you dictate your own path. The saying is not too dissimilar to the comparison that lucky people create their own luck. Someone might look at me and think I’m so lucky to have four published books, but luck had nothing to do with it. The only time luck comes into play is in Vegas or buying a lottery ticket.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?

My greatest partner in crime is my husband. He knows everything about me and can even predict when I sneeze before I do. I owe a significant chunk of my success to his support, encouragement and belief.

Which people or companies would I like to work with?

I would love to connect with creative people who can help me turn my books into films and TV shows.

What project am I looking forward to work on?

Presently, I am knee-deep in pre-release activities for Making Friends With Monsters but I have a YA/Fantasy series waiting in the wings that I am eager to get started on.

Where can you see me or my work?

You can find out more about Making Friends With Monsters at

You can find me on social media:





What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

Passion doesn’t have a time limit. You can follow your dreams until the day you die.

Which creative professionals should Peter invite to tell their story? (amazing singer/songwriter) (talented screenwriter) (fabulous writing/producing team)

How can you contact me?

You can contact me here:

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