Talented historical writer
How long have you known that you were a writer? Did you receive a clear “call?” Or have you just loved writing all your life?
A tough question right off the bat! I’m not one of those authors who knew they wanted to be a writer from a young age. I wanted to be a teacher, and I was for nearly 20 years. I liked to make up stories when I was young, and I dabbled with writing a little. Then we moved and I didn’t have a job. I started praying about what God wanted me to do, and I wrote in my journal that I had been suppressing my desire to write. So, I just started writing (about my ancestors) and I got the bug.
What is the genre you write in? Would you explain what it is?
What I write is history-related. I have both fiction and nonfiction and I write for genealogy magazines.
How do you spend your writing days? Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day? Can you give us a general idea of how long it takes you to write a novel?
This year I set a goal to write 2,000 words per day. I’ve been doing pretty well with that. If I don’t have any other appointments, I start my day with breakfast, devotions and prayer, writing, exercise, lunch, and more writing. Writing a novel for me takes anywhere from 6 months to a year. I might cut that down though, now that I’m more committed to a daily word count.
Tell us about your new book. What is the spiritual message in it? What can readers expect to get from reading it? How and where can readers buy your book?
- Celtic Wisdom, Treasures From Ireland is what I have a tendency to call a “kind of gift book” and that’s because of all the historical background it contains.
- But it also is filled with stories, poems, and sayings, and beautiful color photographs of Ireland.
- It’s artistically designed, something Lion does quite well with their books.
- There are chapters on all three of the patron saints of Ireland: Patrick, Brigid, and Columcille (or Columba.)
- There is a chapter on the Apostles of Erin, the men who founded the major monasteries in Ireland (and certainly Columba was one of those), and chapters on Celtic Learning and Art, and Celtic Prayer.
- There is also a bibliography of sources in the back of the book. Lion has a pdf preview on their site (a great way to get a glimpse of the interior) at:
- My hope is that readers will be inspired by the stories of these ancient people as they travel on their own spiritual journeys.
- The book can be ordered by any bookstore or ordered online at any retailer including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, even Target.
I have been researching ancient Ireland ever since I discovered St. Brigid at an Irish festival. Well, not her exactly, but a display about her. There are so many fascinating tales that I had to learn more. And then I decided to write about her. I researched the social history of the time period, which is a little tricky when you are going back to the 5th century. But there were some wonderful books written by PW Joyce in the late 19th and early 20th century. PBS did a documentary on the early time period, and there were lots of historians, both here in and in Ireland, who were willing to answer my questions and point me to resources. The research is a really fun part of writing historical fiction.
As you might guess, I have Irish roots. They go back pretty far, to the 18th century, but that is how I first got interested in all things Irish.
Do you ever feel like giving up? Most people don’t understand the stress, the work, and the joy of being a writer. How tenuous becoming a writer is. Do you care to share how it feels, what discouraging/encouraging times you’ve gone through? Who’s inspired you the most?
You are right, Caroline. The writer’s life is filled with ups and downs. I’ve had my share of rejections, of books getting close with a publishing house and then being shot down, of editors saying they love the writing but can’t sell that time period, of negative Amazon reviews . . .
The joys, however, are great. When you learn that your book is going to be published, it’s like Christmas! When you first see your cover art, you feel like your baby has been born and will soon be seen by the world. When readers tell you they love your book—those are special moments. But I suppose the greatest joy is knowing that you stuck with it and were obedient to what God called you to do.
Who has inspired me the most?
There have been a lot of people. Early on Tricia Goyer and Sharon Hinck were my mentors. My agent, Chip MacGregor, does a great job of helping me on this journey. I have several writer friends that help also. In the end, it’s my faith in God that inspires me to do what would be impossible without him.
Would you explain how you “chose” (or were chosen by) a publisher? Do you just go “inny, minny, miny, moe?” Grin. Now, that you’re published, can you sit back and relax from the success you’ve experienced?
Two good questions!
Brigid of Ireland was rejected by several publishers, including one who took the idea to committee not once but twice. I started thinking about Stephen Lawhead’s book, Patrick Son of Ireland. I asked my agent at the time about querying this publisher (that is in the UK) and he said it was worth a try.
Almost immediately after I realized that this publisher hadn’t published Patrick Son of Ireland, and they did very, very, little fiction. I thought it was a mistake. But as it turned out, they did want to publish it. So I see that as a God thing.
My most recent book, Celtic Wisdom, was targeted to the same publisher, although it went to a different division, because they do great gift books. I do have another book, a baseball biography. I did not have an agent for that one and I looked at who else was publishing those kinds of books. I chose a university press because the books don’t go out of print and you get superior editing. For that type of book, it was the right decision.
Can I sit back and relax? Are you crazy? (Caroline: just a little.)There is no guarantee for me that another book will be published. And besides that, authors have to be in charge of promoting their books, so there is no rest!
Do you mind telling us some of your likes and dislikes? Hobbies, interests? Where would you like to travel if you could?
Almost everyone who knows me knows that I’m dying to go to Ireland. I haven’t been yet. My husband and I are beginning to plan a trip.
Genealogy has always been a hobby for me since I was a teenager, but I don’t have much time now to work on my family tree. I love Celtic music, and I’m a huge Cincinnati Reds fan. I love baseball. And of course, I love to read.
Would you give us your blog or webpage so everyone can check it out? Anything else you’d like to share? Promotional information?
- My web site is http://www.cindyswriting.com/
- On the site you can sign up for my monthly newsletter. I always have some kind of contest where I give something away, usually something with an Irish theme. And you can keep up with what I’m working on. Also on my web site you can find a link to friend me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and see where I’ll be appearing.
- I have a blog called Celtic Voices where I explore the legacy of faith left to us by the ancients: http://celticvoices.blogspot.com/
- I’m the creator of a team blog focused on historical fiction. We do author interviews, book reviews, and genre info every week. We also have a drawing every week for a free book. http://favoritepastimes.blogspot.com/
It's been a real privilege to have Cindy here today.
There you have it, folks, an insight into Cindy's life and books. Check them out, and don't forget to comment for a chance to win her Celtic Wisdom book.