Sandra Levy Ceren's Stolen Secrets

My guest today is Sandra Levy Ceren. A long time clinical psychologist and former New Yorker, Sandra is now based on the California coast. She writes fiction and non-fiction and has had numerous short stories published in mystery anthologies. For a complete list, click HERE

Prescription For Terror, the first in her psychological thriller series introduced spunky psychologist/sleuth Cory Cohen. The second in the series is Stolen Secrets. Imposter for Hire will be published this year, and she is busy writing book four.

Anne – Welcome to my little corner of cyberspace, Sandra. Tell us, what sums you up as an author?  

Sandra - When I write, I’m transported to vivid scenes often guided by my muse. If I’m home alone, I may forget to eat. When I’m away from the keyboard, I’m either with a patient, at the gym, or watching TV.  

Anne - How long does it take you to write a book?

Sandra - I’ve written three and am in the middle of the fourth. The first took at least 2-3 years, the others less than a year.

Anne - Tell us about your most recent release.

Sandra - STOLEN SECRETS is the second of the series. A strait laced patient running for District Attorney is threatened by someone who knows her fantasy of living as a prostitute—a secret shared only with psychologist/sleuth Cory Cohen. After confronting Cory, the woman vanishes.

As Cory wrestles with her patient’s disappearance, the security breach and the potential harmful effects on other patients, events escalate. A patient is blackmailed, Cory is stalked, and her quarters burgled, forcing her to escape an unseen enemy and sending her on a spiraling trail of deceit, betrayal, blackmail and murder.

Anne – It sounds like a page turner! How long did the journey from wannabe writer to published writer take?
Sandra - Probably close to five years. My psychology practice took precedence over my writing time. What helped me most was a weekly three hour creative writing class that lasted several years, supplemented by a weekly mystery writers critique group also of long duration.  

I had several disappointments along the way: An editor of a major publishing house, enthusiastic over my manuscript was dismissed along with my manuscript. An author representative and owner of a prestigious agency promised representation with the provision that I employ her colleague, an expensive editor. After paying several hundred dollars to this editor and waiting many months for her edits, I received a four word critique. “Write in third person.” I complied, and resubmitted the corrected manuscript to the agent and waited an inordinate time. Finally, she told me that mysteries were hard to sell and she declined representation.

I complained to her professional organization (AAR) and not long after, she was excluded from the roster of author representatives and was blacklisted on several websites for writers.

The publisher of my book went out of business leaving many of her signed authors in the lurch, making it difficult to regain our rights.

I’m pleased for new technology facilitating the sharing of experiences among writers. and helping them publish. No longer are writers dependent upon unscrupulous agents, or hard to attract publishers.

Anne – Most authors have their own horror stories, and I’m particularly fond of the line that states what doesn’t kill us makes us writers. J Thanks so much for dropping by, Sandra. It’s always wonderful to connect with a fellow author. I'd like to encourage readers to visit your website at

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  1. Wow, the cover for Stolen Secrets is amazing! So gorgeous!

  2. I agree, Kelly! That cover is to die for. ;-)

  3. It sounds like you've got a killer series (a little play on words there). I can relate to some of what you went through with publishers and agents, and I'm glad you persisted.

    Anne, Love your line about what doesn't kill us makes us writers.

  4. Me, too, Marja. As soon as I heard it I thought, "OH! I have to steal that one!" :)

  5. The only good thing about hearing other people's horror stories is that it proves we're not the only ones in the biz with horror stories.