Friday, April 27, 2012

Interview with Cynthia Simmons

Welcome, Cynthia, and thanks for visiting with us. Why do you write the kind of books you do? My goal is to tell stories that illustrate the beauty of walking by faith and encourage believers to remain strong even in hard times.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?

My wedding day stands out as my most incredible day. My bridesmaids wore dresses with lavender and blue flowers, and I carried a single cattleya orchid on my mother’s Bible. The photographer wanted to snap a picture of our hands on a Bible. So my husband turned to Ephesians 5 and placed his fingers under the words “Husbands love your wives.” He’s done a wonderful job doing that now for almost thirty-four years.

How has being published changed your life?

I’ve always been a private person, but writing forced me to change. When I put my thoughts on paper, I’m letting people peek into my mind.

What are you reading right now?

Informed Consent, by Sandra Glahn and Willian Cutrer.

What is your current work in progress?

I’m working on a historical fiction novel set in my hometown during the Civil War.

What would be your dream vacation?

I’d love to visit Scotland and see Balmoral, which is a royal castle.

How do you choose your settings for each book?

The stories in Struggles and Triumphs come from women in history, so I couldn’t choose settings. For my novel, Pursuing Gold, I wanted to share the history of my hometown.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

I always enjoy conversations with intelligent people who can look at a topic from all angles. But I don’t have any particular person I’m itching to meet.

What three things about you would surprise readers?

I’m good at public speaking, but I’m quite shy. When I tell people, they are shocked because I’m so comfortable in front of a crowd.

My mind works all day long. During sermons I can listen and research Scripture at the same time. However, because I’m always thinking, I tend to avoid listening to the radio.

I don’t like talking on the phone. Whenever I get a phone message I put off returning the call. On the other hand, I love email, and I usually type an answer right away.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

I’ve dabbled in all sorts of hobbies. When my kids were young, I played piano duets with the girls and sang duets with my oldest son. Also we often rode bicycles together on vacation. For birthdays I baked and decorated a suitable cake for each child. To enhance my homeschooling, I took several art classes and learned a little about watercolors.

I love growing orchids in my home and have several varieties. Flowers of all kinds fascinate me, and I make arrangements of orchids and cut flowers for my church.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it

I’m succinct when I speak, and I write that way too. Describing scenery poses a challenge because I’d rather be telling the story. I have to drop myself into the scene and look around at what’s there to improve the imagery.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?

First, attend writing conferences. You’ll learn how to write and what’s going on in the industry. Plus you’ll get to know people and networking is a huge part of writing.

Second, join a critique group. You won’t see your own mistakes, but someone else will see them or let you know you haven’t been clear. Third, try to find a writing group close to your home. You’ll make lifelong friends this way and help each other get published.

Tell us about the book.

Have you ever wondered what’s wrong with our world? Shouldn’t a God who claims to be all powerful and flawless prevent suffering? How can we continue to believe when storms rage on in our lives? If you’ve ever had tough questions like these Struggles and Triumphs Study Guide is the book for you. It will guide you toward solid Biblical answers. This twelve-week Bible study for ladies comes from stories of real women as told in Struggles and Triumphs: Women in History Who Overcame. As you study, you’ll come to understand God’s perspective on timeless issues that impact your life. The carefully chosen Scriptures combined with interesting historical information will challenge and encourage you.

What do you want readers to take away from the book?

I hope the ladies who use my book will grow in their faith and learn how heartache can make them stronger believers.

Cynthia L Simmons and her husband, Ray, have five children and reside in Atlanta. She has taught for over twenty years as a homeschool mother and Bible teacher. Active in Christian Authors Guild (CAG), she conducts writing workshops and has served as president, vice president, and conference director. In December 2009 the membership granted her Life Time Membership for her numerous contributions to writers. “Cindy” is fond of history and writes both historical fiction and nonfiction. Her writing appeared in CAG publications, NATHHAN NEWS, Chattanooga Regional Historical Magazine, Georgia Right to Life Newsletter, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Catholic Exchange, and Christian Her first book, Struggles and Triumphs, came out in 2008. While promoting her book, she had interviews on radio and TV across the nation and was nominated for 2008 Georgia Author of the year. She also conducts monthly podcasts called CAG Spotlight in which she interviews authors and VIPs in the writing industry. At present she is completing a twelve week Bible study using the stories in Struggles and Triumphs.

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