Sandra has been honored with the following awards for her debut Mystery in Maine novel, Deadly Trespass:

  • Women's Fiction Writers Association “Rising Star” Contest: National Finalist

  • SPR Book Awards: 2017 National Finalist

  • Maine Literary Awards: 2018 Finalist


SANDRA NEILY is a Maine native whose varied career has included working as a registered Maine guide as well as a whitewater river outfitter. An avid outdoorswoman who loves woods, waters, and wildlife, Sandra has paddled, fished, hiked, and skied all over the beautiful state of Maine, and enjoys transporting readers into the places she knows so well. Sandra is the winner of the Mystery Writers of America Helen McCloy National award, as well as a finalist for the Women’s Fiction Writers Association’s Rising Star Contest, and a finalist in the Maine Writers and Publishers' 2018 Maine Literary Awards competition.

Sandra received a B.A. from Middlebury College, and holds an M.A. from Middlebury’s Bread Loaf School of English. She also attended the Bread Loaf Orion Environmental Writers’ Conference and the Stonecoast Writers’ Conference  She has served in leadership positions at the Maine Conservation School and Maine Audubon Society, and has been honored with the Maine Public Relations Council’s “Golden Arrow” award. She also received the Natural Resources Council of Maine’s “Conservation Award” for her work to save the Penobscot River from a dam that would have drowned its famous land-locked salmon fishery and world-class rapids.

Her passion for Maine’s woods and waters landed her as governor’s appointee to the Maine Economic Growth Council, the Northern Forest Sustainability Initiative Steering Committee, the Citizen’s Advisory Committee to the Northern Forest Lands Council, and the Maine Department of Conservation Public Advisory Committee. She co-founded the Penobscot Coalition to Save the West Branch, as well as the Moosehead Region Futures Committee.

Sandra lives next to Moosehead Lake with her husband and rescue dog, and enjoys fly fishing, skiing, paddling, and being “out there,” except when she’s writing stories that immerse people in the world she loves.