Sandra (Thomas) Bolton (1941 -) grew up in northern California's Sacramento valley. She was born in Marysville, California and graduated from Marysville High School in 1959. Immediately after graduation she married her high school sweetheart,Tom Bolton, and left California on a Greyhound Bus bound for Memphis, Tennessee to join her husband. That was her first introduction to racial inequality and it made an enduring impression on her life. Sandra spent the next 25 years traveling from one coast or country to another while her husband completed a Navy career. During that time, she raised three children and completed a college education, receiving BA's in Elementary Education, Special Education and Science Education as well as a Master's Degree in Guidance Counseling. She has maintained an abiding interest in social causes and environmental issues for as long as she can remember, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras from 1985-87. Sandra currently resides in Raton, New Mexico where she divides her time between reading, writing, hiking, gardening, photography, and gourmet cooking.
The following is the most recently submitted review of her debut novel, A Cipher in the Sand:
I bought this book (Cipher) on a whim and thoroughly enjoyed it. The story is fast-paced and the main characters are engaging and easy to relate to. Few words are wasted as images, scenes, and conversations come alive. The story itself is clever, filled with unexpected turns which weave a detailed story of naive peace corps volunteers who are thrown into a world of corruption and deceit. Innocence evolves to maturity as the protagonists make tough choices to put their own lives at risk to make the world a better place. Not in the straightforward ways they envisioned when they joined the peace corps, but in ways which tested their commitments and forced them to challenge their own government's complicity in schemes which harm the very people that the volunteers are supposed to be helping. As someone who travelled through Central America shortly before the time frame of this story, I found Bolton's portrayal of the antagonists' behaviors and values to be disturbingly realistic as she exposes the political and military double-dealing which went on in that part of the world during the era of the Iran-Contra scandal. Somebody really did their homework before they wrote this novel! But the story is then told in a very personal, touching, and intimate way. I literally could not put the book down. I was captivated from the first page, and I will keep an eye peeled for future works from the same writer.