Thursday, March 03, 2011
I'm here to talk about my upcoming release, Shortcomings. I never expected to be the author of a YA, but when an author's books are character driven, you deal with whoever comes through the revolving door in your brain. Cindy Johnson limped in one day, angry at society with a story to tell that delivers a great message. I highly recommend it for adults, too. It's never too late to learn how our behavior affects those around us.
Where did the concept for the book come about?
Cindy gets complete credit for the concept. I followed her lead, got in touch with my inner youth, and together we honed a story into a novel.
How long did it take you to finish, from concept to final product?
Miss Johnson was a little reluctant at times...I think from all the hardships she's suffered while trying to make friends in a new town. When she fell quiet, I turned to more talkative characters and finished a few books ahead of hers. All in all, it took about two years.
Are there any authors that have influenced your own writing?
Of course. I'm a die hard Laura Ingalls Wilder fan. I've read everything she's written, and when I outgrew the Little House Series, I turned to every historical by Madeline Baker that I could get my hands on. She's my role model and I wish I could tell her in person one day.
Do you have any favorite place where you feel your Muse is more apt to come and play while you write? Or perhaps you listen to music? If so, what do you listen to?
The only think I really listen to are the voices in my head. I work when my characters are talkative and I find something else to do when they aren't. I usually do have either the TV or radio on for soft background noise because I suffer from Objective Tinnitus, a condition caused by a malformed Carotid artery. Many people suffer from ringing in their ears, but with Objective Tinnitus, other people can hear it. If my husband and I share a pillow, he can tell when my blood pressure is elevated or I've had caffeine. His description..."sounds like a pissed off bumble bee in a jar."
As a writer, what is your greatest fear?
Death is and always has been my greatest fear. I have so much to do and so little time left if you consider that I recently turned sixty-five. I want to live long enough to see my grandson grow into an adult and kick Autism's butt.
What normally occupies your desk while writing? Pencils? Coffee mugs? Breakfast crumbs?
My desk is fairly organized. I learned the hard way that crumbs and liquids don't mix well with my keyboard. I try not to snack at my desk. Right now I'm looking at my business card holder where I've stashed a check for $54.51; a refund on an overpayment to a credit card. I'm keeping it and booking a facial. Love 'em.
Do you have any new projects that you are working on? If so, what are they?
Right now my main focus is Hattie's Hero, another western historical. Although I've written in many genres, I also tend to migrate back to my favorite.
What tip would you offer to a new writer who is just beginning their submission journey?
Grow a thick skin. Not everyone is going to like your work, but be persistent. There is a home for every good novel, but it sometimes takes persistence and a willingness to learn from those more experienced.
Please tell our readers where they can find you.
I recently created a new website at http://www.gingersimpson.com/ and of course, I keep a pretty active blog at http://mizging.blogspot.com/
You can also find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/mizging and what kind of person would I be if I didn't tweet? http://www.twitter.com/mizging
How about an excerpt to tantalize the readers?
Glad to oblige, but keep in mind this isn't from the final edited copy:
* * *
“Cindy Ann, someone wants to speak to you.” Her mother’s shrill voice pulled her from her biology book.
Cindy's eyes widened. “Me?”
Momma nodded. “And it’s a boy,” she whispered, keeping her hand firmly clamped over the mouthpiece.
Cindy stood, walked over, and took the receiver. There had to be a mistake. No one called her. She’d corresponded by mail with one old friend from Conner’s Corner for a time, but even that had fallen by the wayside. “Hello,” she croaked.
“Hi, Cindy, it’s Cory. I hope you don‘t mind that I got your number from information.”
Mind? Words failed her until she realized the silence was awkward. She had to say something. “Cory?” Her voice crackled. “What a surprise. What’s up?” Awkwardness overwhelmed her.
What’s up? What a nerdy thing to say. She bit her knuckle and waited for his response.
“I called to ask if we might get together sometime.”
Her head spun. She yanked a nearby kitchen chair over and plopped down. Had he just said he wanted to get together with her? She took a breath. “You and me?”
“Yes, I hear you’re a whiz in math, and I’m not doing so well. I’m afraid I’m gonna lose my spot on the team if I don’t bring up my grade. Would you be interested in helping me out?”
Aha! There it was. He’d sucked the air from her lungs with his call and followed it up with a knock-down punch. She struggled to keep disappointment from her voice. How could she refuse him when just hearing his voice tingled her toes. “Uh…I wouldn’t say I’m a whiz, but…Sure I…I’d be happy to help.”
“I can come to your house after school. You just name the day.”
Cindy peered through the arch into the living room. Toys littered the floor, and the bare cushions on the couch looked horrible. Her palms sweated at the thought of him coming here. “Maybe we can meet in the library. It’s better if we have some peace and quiet. I have three sisters and a brother, and there isn't much solitude around here.”
“That’d be great!” Cory’s answer came quickly. “How about tomorrow?”
"O...Okay, I'll meet you after my last class." Cindy's shoulders sagged as she hung up the phone, yet a pang of excitement surged through her. Maybe this wouldn't be the date of her dreams, but at least she was going to spend time in Cory Neil's company.
* * *
Shortcomings is now available from Muse It Up Publishing (http://www.museituppublishing.com)
Thank you, Marva for letting me ramble on. I look forward to hosting you at Dishin' It Out soon.