Category Archives: Q&A Central

Q&A: Sephira

Sephira are musicians Ruth O’Leary and Joyce O’Leary, two brilliant, wonderful and talented women who spent a few years on tour with the group Celtic Thunder, and who are now out on their own making giant waves in the musical world. I adore them both and am delighted to share a Q&A with them! Watch their Facebook page (link below) for news on upcoming appearances around the country!

Q: How/why/when did you become interested in music and the violin?

A: Ruth: My playschool teacher started teaching violin and I was her first student!

Q: How long have you been playing, and what formal or informal training have you had?

A: Ruth: I’ve been playing violin since I was 6 years old and piano since I was 10. I had started taking violin quite seriously when I was about 15, so it was a natural progression for me to continue music into college level. Although, my career path has veered off the classical route, I do have a first class honors degree in Music Performance, which I’ve never once been asked for!!

A: Joyce: I started playing violin when I was 2 and a half years old. I started singing when I was fifteen and followed in Ruth’s footsteps and studied music performance at third level in the Royal Irish Academy of Music. In 2005, we started Sephira and haven’t looked back!

Q: Favorite memories in your career?

A: Without a doubt, getting a call asking us to perform at a private event for Larry Hagman and his wife was definitely one of our favorite moments so far. It was amazing to find out that an icon like Larry Hagman was a fan of our music!

Q: How would you describe your music?

A: Celtic Classical Crossover

Q: As you’re Irish, do people expect you to play Celtic music?

A: Yes, all the time! But the interesting thing is, that no matter what we play, people still feel that it has a Celtic sound. We’ve done a lot of work with Tourism Ireland and they have been using us as ambassadors for Ireland at many different functions across the US.

Q: In March you filmed a PBS special with Michael Londra called Beyond Celtic. Does this address the idea that not all Irish performers are in the Celtic genre?

A: I think it addresses the more new age Celtic sound which opens up a lot more avenues for artists like ourselves. At the end of the day, I think what’s really important is that music is played from the heart. If you can get this right, then I think you’re on the right track.

Q: Tell us more about the Beyond Celtic show? What’s it about, who is in it, when can we see it?

A: Beyond Celtic is Michael Londra’s new PBS special which we’re appearing as special guests on. Also featured on the show is Frankie Gavin and Dé Dannan. The filming took place on 18th March in The California Theater, San Bernardino in LA. It is said that Beyond Celtic will be airing on PBS nationwide from July/August. We are so excited about this project and it has been amazing to get to work with Michael Londra who is one of the nicest people you will ever meet.

Q: Where do you find the inspiration for your music?

A: Everywhere. Anything in life that sparks emotion is where we find our inspiration.

Q: What is your process in creating a new piece?

A: Melody always comes first for us, then lyrics and then chords. We started doing some co-writing with a well-known song writer at home, Shay Healy. It was great to see how other people create music and it made us experiment with other ways of writing.

Q: You offer confidence building music workshops for youth. What made you want to offer these classes?

A: The reason behind the classes is that we feel that children spend so much of their time practicing for exams or concerts and then when it comes to the performance time, often nerves take over and they can’t show their true colors. The idea behind our workshops is to boost children’s confidence and make it fun to show off what they’ve learned. Of course, there will always be nerves, but in a controlled way that will just add fire to their performance.

Q: What do kids learn in the workshops?

A: As well as building confidence and teaching performance skills, we also teach the rudiments of music.

Q: It seems youth could apply these skills to other areas of life, too?

A: This is very true. Just having the confidence to get up in front of a group of people and talk about yourself is nerve-wracking for most people. We encourage the children to get up and introduce themselves before each performance so they can connect with the audience more comfortably. This sort of experience is invaluable for life experience and will hopefully stay with each child forever.

Q: What advice would you give to kids hoping to become musicians?

A: Practice, practice, practice … and don’t give up!

Q: You have traveled around the country several times in a bus. What is it like to live on a bus?

A: It’s great fun, especially having a sister on the road to share it all with! The buses are very luxurious and they become like home. There are rules for life on the road and as long as everyone sticks to the rules, it makes bus life very comfortable! Now of course, we all love our hotel rooms when we get them!

Q: You recently moved from Ireland to New York to forward your career. What are some of the challenges of being a musician in Ireland?

A: We have a very specialized niche that works here in the US. There are more opportunities created in one day in New York than one year in Ireland. Ireland, although it’s a beautiful country, it’s a very small country with a very small audience!

Q: What do you think of New York so far?

A: We LOOOVE New York!!

Q: Can we hope for a new CD anytime soon?

A: Yes, the end of 2011/beginning 2012.

Q: What are your goals, plans, hopes and dreams for Sephira over the next few years?

A: Other than world domination!!! We want to expand Sephira in as many ways as possible. We want to put a complete Sephira show on the road with dramatic production and a full band behind us. We hope to have our music used in a big feature film in the near future. We want people to know the full scope of Sephira’s capabilities.

Q: What makes you happy?

A: Ruth: Being true to myself makes me happy. Knowing that my actions match exactly what I feel deep down creates harmony in my life. When I’m in that place, I radiate happiness which is infectious for other people (I hope)! But it’s definitely something that I keep working on because life always throws new challenges at us!

Joyce: The simple things in life make me happy! For example,  a smile from a stranger makes my day, someone making me a cup of tea, an unexpected hug from a loved one. Apart from all this though, happiness, I know, must come from within. Keeping myself in check, keeping myself grounded and constantly working on myself to make me a better person also makes me very happy.

Elements of happiness: positivity, encouragement, honesty, generosity, thoughtfulness and above all LOVE!

Connect with Sephira!

 


Shameless self promotion: Don’t forget to check out my book, Letters from Wishing Rock (a novel with recipes) too!

Download a FREE excerpt here.

in print:
CreateSpace
Poor Richard’s Book Shoppe in Gastonia, NC
Amazon.com

ebook:
Buy for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, iTunes
Buy for Kindle
Buy for Kindle in the UK
Buy for Nook
Buy for Sony eReader
Buy at GoodReads

Don’t have an e-reader? Get a free Kindle reading app!

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Q&A: Author Sinead Tyrone

Meet another author! Sinead is a poet and novelist – hopefully soon we’ll be able to see her book in print!

Q: Tell us a bit about your writing. What have you done in the past and what are you working on? Genre, summary?

A: I’ve tried a number of styles and projects and have discovered I like two styles best: fiction/novel, and free verse poetry. I am currently building a collection of poems I would love to have published, and currently working on the third draft of a novel, set in Ireland, about a young man who has to learn how to rebuild his life after losing his family.

Q: Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?

A: My inspiration comes from God, and from what I see in the world around me. Nature inspires me greatly, and watching what people around me go through. Sometimes tv or movies inspire me. Mostly I write what God puts on my heart.

Q: I know your current novel has to do with Ireland. Have you visited before? What are the challenges of writing a novel set in a place you’ve never been to?

A: I have not been to Ireland yet, hoped to get there this spring but that didn’t work out. I have been passionate about Ireland for over 20 years, so it was a natural choice to set my novel in. The challenges of writing where I’ve never set foot are that I can’t fully describe the way the light hits, the smell of the air at daybreak or evening, the sounds unique to a particular location, or the way a culture different than mine handles certain situations. Active imagination and deep research will fill in as much as I can until I can get to Ireland myself.

Q: How do you write – do you need to go into a quiet den, do you have to have music playing? Do you work on one section until it’s perfect and then move on, or write the whole thing then edit?

A: I cannot write on the computer! I write everything with pen and paper, then transfer it to the computer. My poems I write in one sitting, if I set a poem aside it’s hard to go back to, the moment is gone. My novel, the first draft was very random, the characters giving me different pieces at different times. The second draft pulled the pieces into a more cohesive form, what I didn’t have answers for I guessed at with big notes to research more. In the third draft I am writing in chronological order and doing the research as things come up so I don’t leave blanks or questions.

Q: Research: Love it or hate it?

A: I am a research fanatic! Love it! I can’t wait to delve deeper this time around!

Q: What is some of the best writing advice you’ve received or read?

A: Best writing advice: First, always have a pen and notebook handy (or a digital voice recorder if you’re driving!). You never know when inspiration will hit! The more important piece of advice was write what you’re passionate about. If it doesn’t stir my heart deeply I can’t write it effectively and it will never move my readers.

Q: Worst advice?

A: Worst advice: outline your novel’s chapters in advance. There’s no way, even in the third draft my characters have minds of their own and want to take me down unplanned roads!

Q: Here on my blog we talk about happiness a lot. What makes you happy, brings you joy?

A: God, the center of my life. My friends, the circle of love and support that helps me stand and keeps me laughing. Nature, bird watching, gardening, walks in fields or woods. Reading and movies of various styles. Hand embroidery. And chocolate! (M+Ms are life’s best addiction!)

Q: Where, when, how can we buy your writing?

A: Two of my poems appear in locally published anthologies dedicated to the victims and families of Flight 3407 which crashed near Buffalo two years ago. If anyone wants information they can send me a message on Facebook, MySpace or Twitter. As soon as anything else is published I’ll post it on these sites. And if anyone visits the Buffalo area in the future let me know, if it’s a poetry reading night I’d love to have you all stop in!

 


Shameless self promotion: Don’t forget to check out my book, Letters from Wishing Rock (a novel with recipes) too!

in print:
CreateSpace
Poor Richard’s Book Shoppe in Gastonia, NC
Amazon.com

ebook:
Buy for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, iTunes
Buy for Kindle
Buy for Kindle in the UK
Buy for Nook
Buy for Sony eReader
Buy at GoodReads

Don’t have an e-reader? Get a free Kindle reading app!

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Q&A: Sarah Moore, Life Sciences Manager at Pacific Science Center

Sarah Moore, Life Sciences Manager at Pacific Science Center, is one of my favorite people. (Don’t worry, you’re one of my favorite people too!) Her passion for her job is a joy to behold, as is her ability to see – and convey to others – the beauty and wonder in all things in our natural world. I’m so excited to get to do a Q&A with her!

Q: You are (correct me if this is wrong) the Life Sciences Manager at Pacific Science Center. How long have you had that job? Did you have other job titles at PSC before this one? What does a Life Sciences Manager do?

A: I am the Life Sciences Manager at Pacific Science Center. The job has evolved, but I have held it in some capacity since 1997. I worked here briefly before that, as an animal caretaker, an evening rental coordinator and a Science Interpreter.

My days are never the same which is why I’ve stayed so long. I might help the horticulturists pick up trash from our planters, or discuss with them how to grow more nectar providing plants. I get to file permit requests for 250 species of butterfly, which involves knowing a whole lot about butterflies. I helped staff make an exhibit on decomposer beetles by sticking spam in a skull for them to eat. I talk to kids about stuff they watch sea anemones doing, and how to treat animals on the beach. I talk to staff about doing their job with more mindfulness, I write letters of recommendation for fabulous high school interns, or show a VIP a chrysalis alive and wiggly and golden.

I have gotten to work with honey bees, go to beaches, grow hydroponic vegetables, and handle a newborn corn snake.

Summary – I like my job.

Q: Anyone who sees you in your element can see your passion for what you do. What exactly is it about what you do that you love? Is it sharing knowledge and education, is it working with kids, is it working with animals and nature …? When and how did you know that this was your passion?

A: What do I specifically like about my job? Some part of it is selfish. I can’t have unlimited weird animals at home and I don’t have unlimited guests coming over that I can yack with about my weird animals. Work lets me do that, and then lets me go home at night and have my own space (and my own family, guests and animals). But I have also seen benefits that are only apparent because I’ve been here so long. I have seen a change in attitude on the part of visitors toward many of our animals. Less fear, more curiosity. I have to believe that our exhibits have helped many people develop an interest in and love of sea life, insects, and strange animals of all kinds, and with that love, perhaps a deeper respect and desire for understanding.

I do also find kids and the growth of the human mind fascinating. I love the connections kids make and those they fail to make because they haven’t gotten there yet. I love their fearlessness when it comes to speculation and imagination. I also like that grownups come here and get to put aside some of their self imposed standards, and just play. The naked mole rats for some reason bring this out in people. One of my favorite things is when someone looks at them and just starts laughing. It’s not laughing at or even with them. It sounds like laughing for pure surprise and joy. I’ve seen kids do this, but perhaps my favorite was when an adult with an important job who was preparing a conference on urban pest species saw them and just cracked up, probably for ten minutes. It had probably been a long time since he had thought of animals in a non-strategic way, and just enjoyed them. I love that we let people do that, and that they feel safe enough to let themselves do it.

Q: Favorite creature(s) anywhere and why? (Insect, mammal, anything!) Are there any creatures (animals, insects, whatever) you don’t like?

A: Favorite animals = ants, solitary wasps (species where each individual builds her own nest without shared labor), crows, spiders, cats, coyote, goats, slugs. I tend to like animals I can actually see, or see signs of. I feel like I know them better. I like to watch animals build their homes, care for their young and go about their day, more than fighting, hunting etc. Most of those on my list have complex and interesting lives, except maybe spiders’ and slugs’ lives might be boring to me.

Don’t like = I don’t like touching fish and amphibians though I think they’re cool. Scared witless of centipedes. Healthy fear of bears, cougars, etc. I like other people’s dogs but I don’t think I could handle that much devotion.

Squirrels annoy me but geez they’re cute.

Q: You have goats and chickens … what else? What foods do you grow/nurture? Do you have a lot of farmland or are you considered an urban gardener? It seems like there’s a greater interest in farmers markets, locally grown food, buying or bartering for food from neighbors, etc. In your opinion is this a growing trend, stable, decreasing?

A: I have goats, chickens, also bees which are really my husband’s and son’s deal. I have a corn snake and three goldfish. I also have holes drilled in things for solitary bees and wasps to live.

We live on an acre. Half of it is cultivated urban farm; greenhouses, livestock, garden beds, apple, plum, pear and cherry trees, vine and soft fruit, etc. Half of the rest is just “front yard” but is next on the plan to turn into a garden. And the last bit is somewhat wild and will probably stay that way. There are a couple of madrona, some salal, and some volunteer hedgerow things. Birds and bugs like it there.

From what I’ve seen, there have always been people who want to farm, trade, be a bit more sustainable or even just a bit less involved in the drive for wealth. I’ve had the same desire for 20 years, and I don’t think I’m the only one.

What’s changing is that people with a little urban farm experience are linking up and finding each other via various social network options that didn’t used to exist. Just as scattered bits of habitat may not support a rare species, but corridors between fragmented wild places can give access to wider range, the links between urban farmers lets them be more engaged, productive, and competent. Some lost skills like home butchering, or propagating sour dough, need to be passed on, and it’s getting easier to find someone who can help with these things. So the skill set can grow, and more people won’t give up in frustration. And ultimately, become comfortable enough to find the political voice behind what they are doing.

Q: What can you tell us about the health of the Puget Sound and the marine life in and around it? Has it changed over time?

Puget Sound faces a lot of problems, from low oxygen in the Hood Canal area to acidification, to chemical pollutants to habitat destruction from construction and overuse, to litter which is ingested by the bigger macro fauna. Everyone knows this, but to see what it means, I wish everyone would go visit a beach. And visit the same beach again and again. Don’t move the animals or the rocks around, don’t pick things up.

Get really into the tiny life forms doing their thing. Let yourself fall in love with one beach. Take a lot of pictures and compare them. Different times of year or tides will look different, but you will also have a background to use when you look for change. A few lucky beaches have had a lot of work to help them get closer to their natural condition. Others may look the same, or worse. I believe if you love the beach and see it get hurt, you will want to protect it much more than if you read about it.

Think about what you do that hurts it, and change that. Think about how you can influence others, and do that too! One thing I have learned from Pacific Science Center’s little touch tank is that what we do to it really, really impacts how well the animals survive. If we rinse our hands of soap and chemical residue, we can literally add years of life to those animals. So if there is something you can do or someone you can talk to, don’t worry that it’s “just a start,” do it! It is a piece of a much bigger picture, but it might be a critical one.

Q: What are some ways parents can get kids interested in life sciences from an early age?

A: I don’t really know how parents can get their kids interested in science from an early age, but I have two suggestions. 1) show them what you are passionate about and then tactfully give them breaks from it. 2) follow up on their interests and try to learn about them. Even if it’s not your thing, learn about volcanoes and dinosaurs when they’re three, or gorillas or race cars or whatever they care about that also gets them learning.

Kids need to see that grownups still have curiosity and things to learn. Let them teach you at least a third of the time. Let them see you ask questions and stumble and goof around. Allow a little messiness for doing experiments or storing specimens or whatever. And don’t reject science fiction or even magic as pathways to science. Interest comes first, then curiosity, and finally more critical skills, which aren’t much use until the other ones have developed.

Q: What makes you happy?

A: Since I have a big garden, working in it makes me happy. I like to work till I can barely move. I actually love gardening in the rain, or doing winter pruning of trees when no one else is outside. I like the decision making process that goes with it. I like watching things like animals and bugs doing their activities, or plants growing over time, or the different beach life at different tide levels. I’m quite introverted and I have a job with a lot of people around, so some of my happiest moments are stolen chances to be alone. On the other hand, I have started making new friends recently and I really love when I meet someone and talk and know that I like them. A lot of my grownup life I haven’t been able to do that easily so it’s been a great gift that it’s becoming more possible. Perhaps as I mature I’ve stopped eying other women as competitors? I don’t know. Oh, also I love shoes.

Q: Talk about work/life balance. Do you think you’ve achieved it? What are the components of a good balance?

A: Work/life balance. This was very hard when I had a preschooler. At times, I don’t think I did either very well. Everything was about schedule and there was no room for fun or deviation from the routine. But it’s still hard because I expand my activities to fill any available time. On the other hand, work is part of life, so really it’s just balance I’m seeking.

Q: If you had twice as much time as you have now, what would you do with the extra time?

A: I think if I had twice as much time I would fritter away lots of it on useless stuff. I’m better off trying to do what I can with the time I have. That’s hard to say because I would love to do more and live forever but it’s the result of hard meditative thought and I stand by it.

Q: Kids summer camps always look like so much fun. If you could go to summer camp, what kind of camp(s) would you want to attend?

A: My perfect summer camp would just be all the activities with no theme. But I have a dream of running a religious studies summer camp for atheists. I am not religious, but don’t like people trashing religions without knowing them well. And I think an immersive environment with skits and stuff would be a great way to get to know sacred literature so you could trash it more respectfully or maybe just coexist with it. Or I’d like to run executive retreats on my farm, which is basically a summer camp. I just never have sat down and figured out how to make these things profitable.

 


Shameless self promotion: Don’t forget to check out my (Pam Stucky’s) book, Letters from Wishing Rock (a novel with recipes) too!

in print:
CreateSpace
Poor Richard’s Book Shoppe in Gastonia, NC
Amazon.com

ebook:
Buy for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, iTunes
Buy for Kindle
Buy for Kindle in the UK
Buy for Nook
Buy for Sony eReader
Buy at GoodReads

Don’t have an e-reader? Get a free Kindle reading app!

Leave a Comment

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Q&A: Author Molly Ringle

It’s the second of our Q&As! This time we talk to author Molly Ringle. I have a fabulous assortment of people coming up, and everyone has something interesting to say. Yes, I know you do too! Want to be a part of a Q&A? Send me a message on twitter, or contact me through my website!

Q: Tell us a bit about your books.

A: I have two novels categorized as romance of the regular adult variety: The Ghost Downstairs (paranormal romance; haunted house in Seattle), and Summer Term (contemporary comedic romance; lowly grad student meets famous actor). I also have a YA novel, What Scotland Taught Me, about American teens getting into relationship tangles in Edinburgh. And soon I’ll have a novella coming out, Of Ghosts and Geeks, which is particularly silly paranormal romance–almost a parody of paranormal romance, really–and I merely hope it’ll make people laugh.

Q: Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?

A: I hardly even know. I’m always on the lookout for stories. Or rather, since I’ve been toiling at fiction for over twenty years now, my mind has arranged itself to look at everything in terms of a possible story. Dreams, news articles, movies, random encounters, subjects I’m studying–I’ve turned all those things and more into stories. I have no shortage of story ideas, only a shortage of time to write them!

Q: Two questions – answer separately or together: As an adult writing young adult books, do you draw more on how your youth really was, or on how you would have liked it to be? How much of yourself goes into your stories?

A: I doubt anyone would specifically want their youth to resemble Eva’s adventures in What Scotland Taught Me–she’s kind of a mess, and ends up paying for it! (Although romance is the central concern, I think of it more as a comeuppance story than as a romance.) But, while I did invent a lot of her problems for dramatic effect, it’s true I drew on what life taught me as I grew up. I think it’s what all young adults eventually learn, regardless of new technologies or changing fashions: you can’t please everyone, so you’d best form standards for yourself and then stay true to those.

As to how much of myself goes into my characters and stories: it’s an interesting paradox, isn’t it? You can only write what you know–or at least what you’re capable of imagining–and that means you’re always writing something that comes from within your own mind. But at the same time, most of us who write fiction do it because we like to escape ourselves and the real world, and pretend we’re someone else for a little while. I try never to be baldly autobiographical with any character or plot line. I do like escaping into the heads of other people. But if strong emotion is called for, do I draw upon similar moments in my own memory? You bet.

Q: You like to write about ghosts. Have you had ghostly experiences of your own? Do you believe?

A: I have never seen nor experienced anything supernatural; at least, not that I’ve noticed. But ghost stories have always fascinated me. I think it’s because ghosts are the scariest to me of all the paranormal choices. Vampires, werewolves, faeries, witches, et cetera–eh, they’re all super cool, but rarely frightening to me. Ghosts, however, give me the chills. I couldn’t get past a few episodes of the show “Supernatural.” I was too freaked out. I actually put off writing The Ghost Downstairs for a few years after initially thinking up the idea because I suspected I’d give myself the creeps by immersing myself in a story like that for months on end. (I did have a couple of nightmares while working on it!) So, unlike Fox Mulder, I don’t really want to believe, because it would be much scarier if ghosts were real and traipsing into my bedroom at night. Still, people I know and trust have claimed they’ve had ghostly encounters, and that makes me wonder if something isn’t going on in the haunted locales of the world. Maybe science will figure it out someday. In the meantime, this stuff is gold for us storytellers.

Q: What is some of the best writing advice you’ve received or read?

A: I love the advice that you should write for your ideal reader, that imaginary person who will adore every word of your story, who is dying for a book exactly like the one you’re writing. You have to forget what your grandma, your boss, or your weird neighbor will think when they read it. Pretend you’re using a pen name that no one in your daily life will ever know about. In fact, you can always do that if you want (i.e., adopt a pseudonym), so drop the fear of judgment, and say what the characters need to say!

Q: Worst advice?

A: Okay, I keep remembering a writing class I took in college, where we read some article (or book, or something) that advised writers to “make the reader uncomfortable on the first page.” I see what they’re getting at. You do want to stir up interest and reaction in your reader right off the bat, and an unnerving beginning is one way to do that. But aiming for discomfort doesn’t seem entirely wise. Then you just get a lot of amateur authors starting their novels with some disgusting event, simply for effect. I’d much rather make the reader smile on the first page, myself.

Q: Here on my blog we talk about happiness a lot. What makes you happy, brings you joy?

A: Big hugs from family and friends. Unseasonable weather–mild sunshine in winter, cool rain in summer. A peanut butter sandwich with a glass of chocolate milk. Seeing my flower and vegetable seedlings sprout and grow. Stuff that smells good, especially if it’s a new discovery (new to me, that is) of something that smells good. A song I love. Installments of a great book or TV show I’m experiencing for the first time. Views of Puget Sound and the mountains. Those rare days when I know with possibly delusional certainty that the story I’m working on is going to be awesome.

Q: Where, when, how can we buy your books?

Connect with Molly!

 


Shameless self promotion: Don’t forget to check out my (Pam Stucky’s) book, Letters from Wishing Rock (a novel with recipes) too!

in print:
CreateSpace
Poor Richard’s Book Shoppe in Gastonia, NC
Amazon.com

ebook:
Buy for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, iTunes
Buy for Kindle
Buy for Kindle in the UK
Buy for Nook
Buy for Sony eReader
Buy at GoodReads

Don’t have an e-reader? Get a free Kindle reading app!

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Q&A: Author Cyndi Tefft

Q: Tell us about your upcoming book!

A: Between is a young adult paranormal romance about a modern American girl who dies in a car accident and the 18th century Scottish Highlander who comes to take her to heaven. Here’s the blurb from the cover:

It just figures that the love of Lindsey Water’s life isn’t alive at all, but the grim reaper, complete with a dimpled smile and Scottish accent.

After transporting souls to heaven for the last 300 years, Aiden MacRae has all but given up on finding the one whose love will redeem him and allow him entry through the pearly gates.

Torn between her growing attraction to Aiden and heaven’s siren song, Lindsey must learn the hard way whether love really can transcend all boundaries.

Q: What inspired your story?

A: I was watching a video with Stephenie Meyer where she was talking about being a stay-at-home mom who had a dream and wrote it down. She made it sound simple and I wondered if I might be able to do the same. Having been through it now, I can tell you that writing a book is not simple, but it is something that you can do if you set your mind to it.

About that same time, I was reading Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series and completely fell in love with Scotland and the history of the nation. I wanted a Scottish hero of my own, so I wrote one!

Q: How do you write? In an office, at the beach, in the morning, late at night? How do you find time to write, with kids, a husband, and a full time job?

A: I usually write on my laptop while sitting on the couch (I know, not the most ergonomically sound choice). There is no way to find time to write; you have to make time because it’s important to you. In the evenings after the kids went to bed, I started writing instead of watching television. On the weekends while everyone was sleeping in, I’d sometimes wake up early with a scene I needed to get down. My husband has always been very supportive of my need to write and sometimes took the kids to the park when I was particularly manic about getting some writing done!

Q: What is some of the best writing advice you’ve received or read?

A: On Writing by Stephen King is fantastic. I found myself nodding along and thinking “Amen!” as I read that book. I got it from the library and loved it so much that I bought a copy for my bookshelf. He talks about the fear of confronting a blank page, and says that you need to write your first draft without thinking of anyone else, like you’re writing in your underwear. After you get the first draft down, then you can edit it, but write for yourself as if no one else were going to read it.

Q: Worst advice?

A: Wow, there is so much advice floating around online that it’s hard to know what is good and what is bad. So much of it is conflicting, too! I think the idea that you should write for the market is widespread but terrible advice. The market is ever changing and it can take a long time from when you begin writing to when it is in front of the consumer, so trying to time the market will likely result in half-hearted, copycat stories that don’t reflect the true you.

Q: What made you decide to be an independent author?

A: I finished the first draft of Between in about six months, then spent over a year editing it and trying to get it traditionally published. It was a very long year, full of joyous excitement and rock-bottom lows. Readers seemed to enjoy the book, but I wasn’t getting anywhere with the traditional publication route. I finally realized that agents and editors are looking at each manuscript through a critical lens whereas readers are just interested in a good story.

The characters in Between are slightly older than a typical young adult novel and the storyline doesn’t fit the mold of the romance genre, so agents would have a hard time placing it with a house. A reader doesn’t have to worry about any of that; they are just weighing whether they liked it or not.

Going the independent route is not for the faint of heart, though. There is no one to come along side you and tell you how it should be done. On the other hand, indie authors have control over covers, fonts, marketing and such that traditionally published authors do not. One is not better than the other (in my opinion), and I think that sentiment will become more widespread as time goes on.

Q: Here on my blog we talk about happiness a lot. What makes you happy, brings you joy?

A: Great question! I am incredibly blessed to have a multitude of things that make me smile: my family, my friends, my church, the new house we just bought and of course, my book! I’ll never forget the joy of holding the printed copy in my hands for the first time.

I love to sing and usually hum to myself wherever I go. And though I’ve only been doing it for a couple of years, writing is part of the list of things that bring me joy as well. Yep, blessed indeed!

Q: Where and when can we buy your book?

A: Between launches on June 1 and will be available for sale in both print and ebook formats. You can find it at online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Smashwords and CreateSpace.

Connect with Cyndi!

 


Shameless self promotion: Don’t forget to check out my book, Letters from Wishing Rock (a novel with recipes) too!

in print:
CreateSpace
Poor Richard’s Book Shoppe in Gastonia, NC
Amazon.com

ebook:
Buy for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, iTunes
Buy for Kindle
Buy for Kindle in the UK
Buy for Nook
Buy for Sony eReader
Buy at GoodReads

Don’t have an e-reader? Get a free Kindle reading app!

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