Wednesday, October 13, 2010

May I Have the Envelope, Please? The Winner: Cindy Wilson

One of the greatest opportunities God gives us is to meet new people. Often this new person becomes an immediate kindred Anne of Green Gables and her friend Diana Barry.

This week I had the privilege of interviewing one our new contributors to The Writer's Alley, Cindy Wilson. Instantly I sensed a kindred spirit. To find the right information worthy of this presentation, I blew off the dust on how to interview books, opened secret closets, and looked under rugs seeking some inner cryptic revelation that would open the pages of Cindy's life. Here are the results--call me Gumshoe.

Why do you enjoy or feel led to be a Christian Romance Writer?
I love characters and relationships. They inspire me and move me and that’s a huge part of our Christian journey. It’s about relationships with the Lord and with friends, with family, even with those who don’t fit into any of those categories. And of course, love stories are my favorite. It just seems natural to write about characters who are either approaching or amending relationships, finding love, and doing it all to God’s glory. The depth of their growth and sweetness of their connection is what I hope will speak to readers.

When you sit down to write, what do you do first?
Okay, if this is actual scheduled writing time then I make sure I’m prepared. I usually get a glass of Diet Pepsi, even if it is still morning. And I find myself some background noise. Sometimes the television and sometimes music (I make a playlist for every new story I write). I have my laptop and my notebook nearby. Since I’m a plotter, I always have a notebook full of notes, characters, scenes, etc—depending on what point I’m at in the process. Oh, and I let myself have a little snack sometimes, too. Usually Reese’s Pieces. Chocolate. Yum! And then I’m ready to write.

How do you find time to get your writing done?
I don’t struggle too much to find writing time. I feel fortunate in that I can write pretty much anywhere, anytime. It doesn’t have to be early morning or late evening for inspiration to strike. When I’m working on a story, the characters, the setting, and the plot are circling my mind for so many hours of the day that when I finally do get the chance to sit down and write, a lot comes out. That said, I am a stay-at-home mom, so I have to work around the kids’ schedules. I try to sneak in a little writing in the afternoons when they have down time or in the mornings before things get hectic, but I usually have to write the most at night after they go to bed—or on the weekends.

What is your favorite writing resource, and why?
My favorite writing resource has always been reading—and usually that’s reading other books in my genre. Reading a great novel, especially in a genre that you’re passionate about writing, lets you learn, be entertained, and be inspired all at the same time. Of course just reading isn’t the only thing you need to do to hone your craft but it’s still so important since reading books is what made most of us passionate about writing in the first place.

In a few sentences, what is your testimony?
I’m apologizing ahead of time because this is going to be more than a few sentences. I became a Christian at the age of twenty-five and of course it changed so much about my life. One of the biggest things it influenced was my writing. I had written secular fiction for several years before that and started to pursue publication. One I was born-again, I realized a few major things about my writing. One was that I needed to change what I was writing and why. I’ve always had a passion for writing but now I was writing for the Lord and I needed to approach it with that perspective. The other thing was that I knew nothing about Christian fiction. I’d never read any Christian fiction and I was a new Christian myself—hardly ever went to church as a kid and my parents never talked about it or the Bible. So, not only was I learning what it meant to be a Christian in every day life but I had to learn what it meant to write Christian fiction for Christians who had probably known the Lord a lot longer than me.

You recently went to a conference, what was your one, most significant, take away?
That’s such a tough question because there were so many amazing experiences in that one tiny weekend that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I think the biggest thing I realized, though, was that it’s all about God’s timing. The contacts we make, the successes in our writing journeys, and every little divine appointment is in God’s hands. I truly believe He orchestrated that entire weekend for me and it was a humbling and amazing reminder that I need to trust God and seek Him for every decision I make with my writing.

Won't you take a sec to write my knew kindred-spirit friend
a welcoming message?


Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Welcome Cindy! We love having you on board! I have to say, I love your testimony. To come to Jesus later in life probably gives you a fresh perspective that those of us who grew up with Him don't have. That will inevitably make your writing stronger and more interesting!

Blessings to you!!!

Renee Ann said...

Nice and interview, Mary! It's good to learn more about Cindy. I have questions for Cindy if she "visits" the comments section later. After you were saved and realized your writing style and reading examples needed to change, what were some of the first Christian fiction books you read that made an impact on you? Did you find the faith messages realistic? . . . Thanks for sharing today, ladies!

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Amen to God's timing, Cindy. I'm so glad we met and that you read my work. Your eye is keen and your instruction, wise.

Glad to be writing with you.
~ Wendy

Julia M. Reffner said...

Cindy, I can't wait to read more. Nice interview, Mary & Cindy. I love that you make a playlist to go with each story, what a neat idea. I love your testimony. :)

Terri Tiffany said...

Welcome! Glad to see you here:)

Angie Dicken said...

It's so great to see some stay-at-home moms finding the time to write! I always struggle with the guilt of being with the kids, and wanting to sit and write. So glad to get to know you on here, Cindy.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Hi, Sherrinda, thanks for the welcome, it's so great to be here. I hadn't thought about having a fresh perspective because of coming to Jesus later in life but that's interesting. Another great thing about us all being different and God making each of us unique!

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Hi, Renee. Those are great questions! When I became a Christian, I remember walking into a Christian bookstore for the first time and thinking, "Wow, there are a lot of books!" But I still didn't think I'd find anything that I'd enjoy quite as much as what I could find in the secular world.

Before that, I enjoyed some lighter romance and suspense/thriller books--also women's fiction. I started browsing and came across the O'Malley series by Dee Henderson. Suspense and romance--why not, right? And I was completely drawn into a new world. Not only was the writing just as good as what I'd read in the past, but the plot drew me in and I fell in love with the characters. The faith message was a little stronger than other books I've read since that, but I didn't know any different at the time. I thought all Christian books were like that.

And instead of turning me off, it made me excited about writing Christian fiction and it made me excited about being a Christian. I'd look up verses in the Bible because of it and want to share them with my family even though they were Christian.

Sorry for the long answer :) but those books were my favorites. I read the entire series and knew writing Christian fiction was definitely for me!

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Hey, Wendy! I'm so glad to have met you, too. God's timing--isn't it perfect?

Julia, hi! Yeah, those playlists are absolutely my BIGGEST source of inspiration for each story. Great to be here!

Hi, Terri--thanks for stopping by.

Angie, that is definitely a struggle we stay-at-home mom's face. That balance thing is tough--good to know we're not going through it alone :)

Erica Vetsch said...

Great interview. I'm so glad to get to know you more, Cindy.

And how exciting for you to be on The Writer's Alley!

Renee Ann said...

Dee Henderson--great books to start with! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Pepper said...

Welcome, Cindy.
I know it was a God-thing that we met on the way to the airport.
And you ARE a kindred spirit. what a blessing!!
Chocolate, reading, Jesus, chocolate, reading...did I say Jesus?
Plus, you can write anywhere - which I've found is more of a necessity ;-)
So glad to have you here and to learn more about you.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Hey Erica, great to see you here! I'm excited, too--thanks for stopping by.

Renee, I agree. Dee Henderson books are great to start with. Have a great day!

Pepper, yay! That was totally a God-thing--I love it! Yep, chocolate, reading, Jesus...good stuff.

Casey said...

What a pleasure to have you here Cindy. I am looking forward to your posts and the fun of getting to know you better. Wonderful interview you ladies, who knew we were all such Anne Shirley fans?? Kindred spirits indeed, maybe we should all take apart that story for a series or something. ;)

Tana said...

What a great interview! Of course I heart Cindy to pieces so I'm biased. ;) I love how you can write anywhere, anytime Cindy! I think a lot of writers get locked into a particular time of day but when you can write at anytime it frees up so much more work opportunity! I can't wait to read your work girl!

Susan R. Mills said...

So fun to get to know you a little better, Cindy!

Kav said...

I loved seeing Anne and Diana there front and centre! Love the phrase 'kindred spirits' --there seem to be many hanging around these blogs. My first Christian fiction reads were Dee Henderson as well. She totally converted me to the genre. I've been reading it exclusively for about a year now.

Sarah Forgrave said...

Cindy, I loved hearing your testimony at conference and hearing it again here. I love how God switched your heart and your writing toward Him. So cool! And I'm amazed you can write with the TV and music in the background. I can do that only if I'm editing...maybe. :)

Jennifer Shirk said...

Hi, Cindy! I loved hearing your testimony. I came to Christ when I was about 30.
Fun to hear you begin your writing with Diet Pepsi and Reeses Pieces. :)

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Hi Casey, great to be here. And I was thinking the same thing about Anne Shirley! I LOVE that we all have that in common :)

T. Anne, I heart you, too :) You are just too sweet. I can't wait to read your work, too.

Hey, Susan, thanks for stopping by! Interviews are so fun because you get to talk about all those things your own family and friends get tired of hearing :)

Hi Kav, that's so cool to hear about Dee Henderson. Don't you love how certain books can have such an amazing impact on our lives?

Sarah, I love how God switched my heart, too :) I'm amazed at how writers DON'T write with something in the background--but I'm just weird that way. If I'm not doing at least three things at once then I don't feel productive. I'm looking forward to your interview!

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Jennifer, thanks for stopping by. How great you came to Christ when you were 30. I'd love to hear your testimony someday.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Well, Cindy..looks like you have many new kindred spirits:).
Thanks everyone for stopping by today...we are so glad you did.

Keli Gwyn said...

Cindy, I'm excited that you're one of the new inductees at TWA. I look forward to your posts.

I think it's neat that you said your favorite writing resource is reading. I've heard so many authors encourage us to do just that. I was one of 1,000+ at the Sacramento signing Nicholas Sparks did last month. In his Q&A session, he said he reads 125 books a year in a variety of genres. Two books a week and then some. Wow! I agree with this advice. I learn heaps from reading the work of talented authors--plus I have fun. =)

What is one book you've read recently that had a profound effect on you and/or your writing?

Krista Phillips said...

Welcome welcome welcome!!!!!!!! LOVED hearing more about you! LOVE having you on the writer's alley!

Can't ya just feel the love? :-)

Lydia Kang said...

Hooray for kindred spirits! It was wonderful meeting another writer. Thanks to both Cindy and Mary!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Cindy & Mary -

Great interview! I enjoyed learning more about you, Cindy.

The world of CBA must have induced a bit of culture shock. :)


Cindy R. Wilson said...

Hi Mary, you had excellent questions. Thanks for interviewing me :)

Hey Keli, it's great to see you here. 125 books is a lot! But you're right, you can learn so much from talented authors. A good majority of books I've read recently have been just plain fun but not too long ago I read The Kite Runner. I don't stray from Christian fiction that much anymore but someone gave me the book and I wanted to give it a try. Overall, the book was difficult to read because of the subject matter and there were parts that were really graphic. But ahhh...there were a few moments when the author drew me in so completely, just tossed me into the story with reckless abandon, and I was caught in this fictional world where I could feel and hear and see what the character did. And it really moved me. I WANT to do that with my writing and The Kite Runner just heightened my passion to do so. Great question.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Hi, Krista! It's soooo great to be here. Feelin' the love :)

Hey Lydia, thanks for stopping by :) And I second that hooray for kindred spirits!

Susan, you're so right. Culture shock. In a good way, but wow :D

Heather Sunseri said...

I'm so excited to read more of your thoughts over here at Writers Alley! congrats, Cindy.