Cynthia Herron pens heartfelt, homespun, contemporary Christian romance novels set in the vibrant foothills of the Missouri Ozarks. She is very blessed to be represented by the fabulous Mary Keeley of the Books and Such Literary Agency.
Cynthia and her family live in the very geographic region that is the setting for her novels. She and her husband have a middle school-aged daughter who aspires to be a preschool teacher, and they also have a son who is a college senior studying elementary education. Cynthia earned her Bachelor’s degree in psychology at College of the Ozarks, and she has a background in social work. She currently substitute teaches.
Cynthia is a PK, the wife of a deacon, and a Pollyanna with a touch of rebel thrown in. She enjoys scrapbooking and making memories with her family. Cynthia has a fondness for all things apple. She likes collecting gingerbread men, old cookbooks, and miniature teapots. She adores the ocean and the sound of the incoming tide. In fact, her husband has promised her that one day he will retire with her on the water! Hmmm.
Cynthia has chosen my Writer’s Quiz interview format. Since she’s a teacher, that’s fitting, right? Rest assured, there are no grades involved. Cynthia’s already a winner in my book.
Multiple Choice Questions
(Please explain your answers.)
1) When did you first experience your love of writing?
- I came out of the womb with a pen in my hand.
- I dabbled in high school but didn’t get serious until recently.
- I read a romance novel, fell in love, and had to write one.
- None of the above.
(a) Even as a young child, while other kids clamored to get to recess, I was content to curl up under a good shade tree with a pencil and tablet.
2) I understand you write contemporary romance. What kind?
- Sweet, traditional stories.
- Suspense-filled tales.
- Stories with a hint of humor.
- None of the above.
(a) and a combination of (c). I strive for the heartfelt, homespun aspect in my novels while injecting a healthy dose of offbeat humor.
3) How did you respond when Mary Keeley offered you representation?
- I almost made her go deaf in one ear with my shouting.
- I was in a total state of shock and could only mumble goofy responses.
- I burst into tears and had to make a run for the tissue box.
- None of the above.
(d) I literally saw spots and almost fainted! My dear hubby had to get me a glass of water.
(Maximum of two paragraphs per question.)
1) What led to your offer of representation?
This is the brief version: I initially sent Mary a query regarding my book, and then we began corresponding through a series of e-mails. She requested a partial and then a complete. She loved my story! I began to get good vibes when she asked about a marketing plan. I polished what I had and sent it, too.
We then agreed upon a specific date to “chat” by phone. I felt like I knew what was coming, but nothing can really prepare you for it until you hear those magical words, “I’d like to represent you…”
2) What aspects of writing do you find most challenging? Most rewarding?
The most challenging aspects of writing (for me) are learning to compartmentalize and knowing when to call it a day.
Most rewarding: Getting to do what I love to do on a daily basis, networking and making new friends, and having my family tell me, “We’re so proud of you! We knew you could do it!”
3) How does your background in psychology help you in your writing?
I believe it gives me deeper insight into what motivates individuals, although sometimes, people can still surprise me.
True or False
(Please explain your answer.)
1) I can’t start a story until I’ve figured out the faith elements.
False. I always begin a new work knowing whether or not my main characters are Christians, however, their personal stories may very well take a direction that I’d not initially intended and it becomes purely a “God thing.” I’m talking about those goosebump moments when it becomes glaringly obvious that the Holy Spirit is the one guiding the story, not me as the author.
2) I’m a character-driven writer.
True, but only to a point. If you mean do my characters steer their own ship’s course, for a brief time, I’ll let them think they do.
The bottom line is: there’s a story that has to be told, characters that want to tell it, and they may for a time. Then I have to step in with my creative pen, so to speak, and edit what they say and do to get their story back on track.
3) I write best when there’s plenty of activity around me.
False. I like to “people watch” at the mall, church, and other public places, but as far as writing and crafting, I prefer solitude with a blend of quiet music.
Fill in the Blank
1) My favorite creativity fuel is: ___________________.
Mashed potatoes and gravy. Oh, and Starbucks, of course!
2) When I need an infusion of inspiration I: ___________________.
Read favorite Bible scriptures.
3) The members of The Cynthia Herron Fan Club are: ________________.
My husband and children and immediate family, and also our church family.
Story Problems: Just for Fun
(X is an unknown number. You get extra credit for tackling these. :-))
1) You’re hubby calls, says he’s taking you out to dinner, and suggests your favorite X restaurants. Which are they, and which one wins out?
Hemingways (seafood restaurant) within the Bass Pro complex, Lamberts (home of the famous tossed rolls and known for their down-home country cooking), or Olive Garden (breadsticks…need I say more?). Though I’m fond of them all, Hemingways would probably win hands down. Who doesn’t love crab legs soaked in butter?
2) You were the winner of a $3,000 shopping spree at your favorite mall. The contest sponsor will arrange for three of your favorite celebrities to meet you there to keep you company and to carry the bags from your favorite X stores. Who are the celebrities, where are the bags they’re carrying from, and what is in each of them?
A few favorite celebrities might include Celine Dion, Dr. Oz, and the Duggar family (Ooops…I’m guessing I’d have to narrow that one down. Okay, make that one Michelle.) I’m a very laid back, down-to-earth kind of gal, so I rarely shop high-end. My bags would probably be from J.C. Penney, Old Navy, Bath and Body Works, and Starbucks. Inside the bags: casual slacks and blazers, jeans and tee shirts, a purse or ten, a variety of hand lotions, and a humongous bag of Sumatra or something equally as bold, please.
3) A longtime friend says she’s going to be able to pay you a visit and wants you to give her a taste of the Ozarks. You choose X of your favorite places to show her. What are they, and why did you pick each of them?
The family-oriented, Christian theme park Silver Dollar City in the Branson, Missouri area because it blends a taste of today with yesteryear and beautifully showcases our Ozarkian heritage. I’d then whisk her away to the gorgeous campus of College of the Ozarks where the students work for their education and are able to graduate debt-free. We’d, of course, settle in for the evening at the Keeter Center Hotel (on campus) where we’d be pampered with homemade C of O cookies, milk fresh from the dairy, and turn-down service with chocolate treats on our pillows.
Cynthia’s Question for You
If you were planning a trip to the Ozarks, what are some points of interest YOU would like to see? Any myths about the Ozarks you’d like dispelled?
Cynthia has generously offered to give away (2) $10.00 gift cards good at these Darden restaurants: Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, or Seasons Fresh Grill.
To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Cynthia by June 23rd and enter your email address when prompted during the comment process.
On June 24th, I will hold the drawing and post the winners’ names here as well as in a comment and will contact her/him via email to get a mailing address.
Congratulations to the drawing winners, Lisa Lickel and Patti.
Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.
Prizes will be mailed to U.S. or Canadian addresses only.
Thank you, Keli, for having me today. It’s been a blast! And thank you to all who stopped by to visit with me for a while. May God truly bless you in your walk with Him.
Learn More About Cynthia
Visit her personal blog ~ http://cynthiaherron.wordpress.com
Friend her on Facebook: Cynthia Herron