Award Winning Author Winnie Griggs

 

 

 

 

Follow Me on Pinterest

Connect with Winnie via facebook

Winnie Griggs on Facebook

Check out Winnie's blogs at the Petticoats and Pistols site

petticoats and pistols

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT

Cynthia Hickey

 

June 2014

 


WG:      Welcome and thanks for stepping into my spotlight this month. To start off, please tell us about yourself.

CH:      Being an army brat, I moved around a bit until the age of eleven when we settled in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas. I grew up in a family of storytellers, and love having the opportunity to put stories to paper.



WG:      Let's talk about your own personal road to publication:
Is there some individual, group or event that you can point to as the catalyst/impetus that set you on the road to becoming a writer? Explain.

CH:      My first published book, Fudge-Laced Felonies, was written on a dare. When the publisher announced they were opening a new cozy mystery line, a friend of mine dared me to write a book and submit it to them. I looked up what a cozy was, wrote the book and voila! I got my first contract.


WG:      Tell us about your journey.

CH:      I've been making up stories my whole life, even writing them, but it wasn't until 2006 that I actually took the craft of writing seriously and joined American Christian Fiction Writers Association. The lessons and networks I've gained from there are invaluable. While I still receive the occasional rejection, submissions are more regular now and I'm having the time of my life.


WG:      How many books did you complete before you sold your first? Have all/any of them sold since?

CH:      I wrote one book before getting published, and have recently self-published it.


WG:      Can you tell us something about your experience in getting 'the call'?

CH:      At the conference I attend every year, Barbour publishing hands out a contract to a debut author. I received my first contract there in 2007 in front of over five hundred people. It was a surreal experience.


WG:      How has being a published author impacted your life?

CH:      In May of 2013, I took the leap of faith, quit the day job, and became a full time writer. I haven't looked back since.


WG:      What aspect of life as a 'published author' surprised you the most - either in a good or bad way?

CH:      The need the author has to do most of their own marketing. I'm not a born salesperson and so this is difficult for me.


WG:      What about your writing process?

CH:      I write from 8 to 2, Monday through Friday, setting a daily/weekly word count goal. If I don't make that goal, I'll make it up on the weekend. I look at writing as my job.


WG:      Do you maintain a set schedule? Is there such a thing as a typical day for you?

CH:      A typical day starts with answering emails, then responding to those emails. By eight o'clock, I'm settling down to write.


WG:      Do you set writing goals for yourself?

CH:      Definitely!


WG:      Do you have a 'mood setter', something (music, ritual, environment, etc) you use to get you going when you sit down to write?

CH:      No, I like complete silence while writing.


WG:      Do you do a lot of up front plotting before you start or do you just dive in?

CH:      Mysteries need plotting. My other genres are more seat-of-the-pants, but in a mystery, I have my main characters, suspects, motives, and the culprit before starting the story.


WG:      Do you normally start with storyline or with character or with some combination of the two?

CH:      Usually a glimmer of a storyline.


WG:      Do you find certain themes or character archetypes making recurring appearances in your stories?

CH:      Let Go and Let God is the most common theme.


WG:      What do you see as your own personal strengths as a writer?

CH:      Real characters. No sickly sweet heroines for me. I write about characters who deal with the same issues we deal with.


WG:      Are there any obstacles/conflicts, specific to your particular lifestyle, that get in the way of your writing? If so, how do you try and overcome them?

CH:      Not so much anymore. I have one child left at home who will be a senior next year. He and my husband respect my writing time.


WG:      Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about your process?

CH:      If writing is something you crave, never give up.


WG:      Do you have a favorite sub-genre as a writer? as a reader?

CH:      Romantic suspense.


WG:      Is there a genre you haven't been published in yet that you'd like to try your hand at someday?

CH:      Not really. I've dabbled in everything that interests me.


WG:      Do you have any advice to offer writers still striving toward publication?

CH:      Keep pressing toward the goal.


WG:      Is there a specific 'ah-ha' moment you've had as a writer that you would like to share with us?

CH:      That persistence is the goal. That came about when I received my fourth book contract.


WG:      Rejections, less than stellar reviews and notes from unhappy readers are all part of this business. What is your own method for dealing with these and moving on?

CH:      Usually I grin and move on. Reading is subjective. Not everyone will like what I write.


WG:      Is there some piece of advice you received or bit of 'conventional wisdom' that you wish you had ignored?

CH:      Not to spread myself too thin. Concentrate on one or two genres.


WG:      What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about being a writer? What aspect do you struggle with the most?

CH:      The ability to make an income doing what I love. Staying off social media is the biggest struggle.


WG:      When you're not writing, what do you do for fun or what is your favorite self-indulgence?

CH:      I love to read and crochet. Both of those help clear my head.



WG:      When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

CH:      A teacher. I did work as a Detention Monitor in a school for ten years while getting my feet wet as a writer.


WG:      What would your readers be most surprised to learn about you?

CH:      I am very shy.


WG:      What are your favorite movies and/or TV shows? Why?

CH:      I love Criminal Minds and Blacklist. They give me fodder for my stories.


WG:      I love to collect quotes, all kinds of quotes - inspirational, quirky, motivational, profound, etc. Do you have a personal favorite you'd like to share.

CH:      "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me'." - Erma Bombeck


WG:      Please tell us about your current project.

CH:      I am reaching the end of Killer Plot, the second cozy mystery to the bestselling, Anything for A Story.


WG:      What inspired you to write this particular story?

CH:      I thought it would be great fun to write a series about a reclusive author forced to rejoin society to keep her characters from becoming too stale and stumbling across a dead body.


WG:      What sort of research, if any, did you have to do? Did you stumble across any unexpected interesting/fun tidbits along the way?

CH:      Not a lot, actually. Being a writer, I'm familiar with the lifestyle.


WG:      Tell us about your upcoming plans.

CH:      I've just released one historical series through Harlequin's Heartsong Presents line and have submitted another multi-book project to them.


WG:      And before we close, tell us how your readers can get in touch with you.

CH:      Website: www.cynthiahickey.com
     Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Cynthia-Hickey/151333448227549
     Twitter: twitter.com/cynthiahickey


WG:      Thanks so much for spending time with me and my readers this month. It was fun 'chatting' with you, as always!

 

CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO PREVIOUS SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEWS