Sep 122010
Authors: Hannah Cornish

Sandra Brannan, a former Fort Collins resident, has a Colorado State student murdered in her latest novel. But she hopes you don’t take it personally.

Brannan recently released “In the Belly of Jonah,” a murder-mystery that was heavily influenced by the CSU campus. She highlights several campus landmarks, such as the Morgan Library, during the course of the story. The book is the first in a series of nine.

“I needed an art expertise for the setting,” said Brannan, in explaining why she chose CSU as the setting.

On Saturday, Brannan chatted and exchanged family stories at her book signing in the Lory Student Center.

While she was not a CSU grad, she lived in Fort Collins for about 15 years. And though she currently resides in South Dakota, she said she still feels right at home on campus.

Brannan has had virtually no formal training in the writing field. She graduated with an MBA in engineering and never did much with writing until she began to feel guilty.

“I got a $500 writing scholarship from an anonymous teacher in high school,” she said. “I always felt guilty for not tapping into that talent that some teacher thought I had.”

The book only took Brannan two weekends to write but 15 years to come up with the story for her nine-book series.

As far as getting published, Brannan considers herself fortunate to have gotten the opportunity in current climate of the literature world.

“I have a stack of rejection letters,” she explained “but you’ve got to have thick skin. Most people give up, but I kept writing.”

Brannan is still not comfortable with being the center of attention yet, saying she’s more comfortable being the behind-the-scenes person.

But the book itself seems to have done well just from the reaction she received at her book signing. Old Firehouse Books ran out of the book to sell to customers after the first 20 minutes.

Brannan seemed pleased with her final product and is glad she utilized her writing skills.

“I always work from the right side of my brain, and I just never tapped into the left side until now.”

Staff writer Hannah Cornish can be reached at

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