Quote of the day:
"A true friend is someone who knows all about you
and still likes you!"
Today is blog 100 and I'm pleased to introduce Cindy C. Bennett who hails from the Great Salt Lake City area, USA. Cindy is a young adult fiction author.
Cindy C Bennett
- Guest Author
CINDY, TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
My writing journey began as a young girl. I’ve always enjoyed writing, making up stories. In high school, I had an English teacher who had daily “10-minute writings”. What that meant was that when we showed up for class, he gave us a subject and we had 10 minutes to just write on that subject. It quickly became my favorite part of the day, and really sharpened my love of the creativity of writing.
WERE YOU A GOOD READER AS A KID?
Absolutely. I read books like I breathed oxygen. It was my favorite pastime. I read anything and everything I could get my hands on. There wasn’t a lot of young adult books available at the time, so I read books intended for adults. Or rather, I devoured books intended for adults.
WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
Through the years I’ve started and abandoned many manuscripts. It wasn’t until I wrote Heart on a Chain for my teen daughters that I actually completed one. Then I wrote them Geek Girl (which began as a short story for a contest). Finally, they suggested I publish them since I had them finished, and the rest is, as they say, history.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
That’s hard to narrow down. There is so much that’s good about being a writer. It’s just a complete flow of creativity. I get to make up stories, write them down, and others are willing to read them. That’s amazing to me. And then there are the readers. How great are they? I adore getting messages from my readers about
what they think of my work. I’ve met a lot of great people (readers, other writers, and bloggers) because of writing.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Not having enough hours in the day. I’d like to spend all of my time writing, but there is so much more to being successful than that. I spend 10-12 hours a day, 7 days a week, working on things related to writing. I wish I could spend all that time simply writing, but I have other obligations that go along with it, including interacting with my readers and marketing.
WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
I can’t imagine I was ever anything other than a writer. It’s such an ingrained part of me, how could there have been room for anything else? Although I must admit, I believe I’ve always been a mother as well. I love being a mom.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
Finally having the courage to actually finish a manuscript, and then doing something with it. I believe the reason I didn’t complete a manuscript all those years is because I was terrified of then having to put myself out there for the world to see and judge. I’m past that now. While it’s still hard to get the negative reviews, I’m having so much fun writing that I’m able to live with them.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
I just finished a retelling of Rapunzel that’s due out in February. I’m writing short stories based on other fairytales that I’m releasing as eBooks as I finish them. I have the sequel to Immortal Mine that I’m trying to finish for a December release. I’m also just wrapping up a story for a Halloween Horror anthology for release in October. So, yeah, I’m a little busy.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
There are so many things that inspire me at any given time. It might be a line of lyrics from a song, or a line from a movie. A piece of art might do the same. Sometimes I’m just out in the world and I’ll see someone or something and suddenly have an idea for a story. Maybe a look that passes between two people.
Sometimes I dream ideas for stories. Other times ideas just seem to drop out of the sky for no apparent reason. I think inspiration can be found anywhere you look as long as you’re paying attention.
WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
I mainly write contemporary YA, with a bit of dabbling in paranormal. I may someday write a novel for adults (but not an “adult” novel) that I have a few ideas for.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
Write something every day, no matter what it is. And get yourself a critique group. This should be you and 2-3 other authors that you don’t know personally (it’s okay if you know them via the web). The reason for it not to be someone you know personally is to avoid any hurt feelings or false praise. Send each other your chapters for critique, ideas, and editing. This is the most invaluable tool any author can possibly have to strengthen your writing.
DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
Of course I do. Who doesn’t? Sometimes breaking the block requires walking away from what you’re working on—but not stopping writing. Just write something different. Maybe listen to an inspiring song, or watch a movie that particularly moves you. Different things work for different people, so find what works for you. It may be something different each time you have a block.
DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
I write as often as possible. I probably write more between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m. than at any other time, but I write whenever I can.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
On my couch in my living room on my laptop. I prefer to be where life surrounds me, where my family is, where there’s a lot of noise and activity.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
Creating stories. I jokingly equate it to my childhood joy in playing with Barbies where I could make up stories for them as I played. Writing is just the adult version of playing with dolls, right? Only now, I get to make a living from those stories.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
Oh, gosh, trying to pick a favorite author would be impossible. There are so many fantastic authors in the world putting out great stories. I love so many different authors it would take three pages just to list them all.
WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED
FROM A READER?
I received an email from a girl whose life unfortunately reflects Kate’s life from Heart on a Chain, sans Henry. She told me that reading the book was painful because it was like reading her own story of abuse, but that it gave her hope. She said that immersing herself in Kate’s story made her believe that someday she can come out on top and find the happiness that she feels in being denied her right now. It’s a great compliment
whenever a book I’ve written touches someone enough to take the time to write to me and let me know.
WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
There was a one-star review left on B&N with no comments other than: “The girl on the cover is not 17 years old”. It made me laugh that their biggest beef with the book was the cover model did not appear to be the age of the character. (The model was 17, by the way).
WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT
HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
Yes. You’ll find pieces of my own life in almost every book I write or in the
characters, either things from my past, or current things going on.
HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED?
I have two full-length novels self-pubbed, and one full-length through a traditional publisher. I have one short story through a publisher, one in an anthology, and two others that I’ve self-pubbed. So six altogether.
HAVE YOU WON ANY PRIZES OR AWARDS?
I won Honorable Mention for a short story (Geek) from Writer’s Digest and Top Pick from Night Owl Reviews for Geek Girl.
WHAT DID THEY MEAN TO YOU?
It’s always a good ego stroke to be recognized in some way, but honestly it means far more when I get an email from a reader telling me they enjoyed one of my books. There is no higher award than that.
OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
I’m a big fan of hanging out with my family. I prefer that to anything. I read when I can (which isn’t nearly enough anymore) and watch a lot of movies. I like to watch documentaries and how-to type shows on TV. I ride a Harley Davidson Fatboy, which is a great place for creating when it’s just me and the road.
DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
Nope. I have an amazing critique group who helps me to catch most of my mistakes. I know I still miss some, but so do the pros, I’ve noticed. I read a book last week that is from one of the big-6 publishers that is ostensibly “professionally” edited, and it was chuck-full of mistakes.
DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
Up at noon (I don’t go to bed until between 4 & 6 a.m.) then begin writing. Take a little time off to hang with the family, maybe catch a movie, then write some more. During all of this a fairy comes into my house to clean, do laundry, and cook for me. Ahhh… that would be the life, right?
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
To keep writing for as long as the world will let me. Wherever I am, whatever else I’m doing at the time, I plan to just keep on writing. That’s the perfect future for me.
Cindy's contact points: