Sunday, February 11, 2007

Cyndy Salzmann - Dying to Decorate

Cyndy is another of my online friends. She's written other things besides fiction, but today, we're featuring a mystery novel. If you want to find out about her other published works, go to . She has lots of help for those of us who are domestically challenged, to use her words.

Cyndy, tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

Okay – I’ll 'fess up. Liz, the main narrator in my Friday Afternoon Club mystery series, is pretty much me. In fact, the idea for the series came from my own group of friends that has been meeting on Friday afternoons for the last 15 years. And yes – we call ourselves the Friday Afternoon Club, too.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

Frankly… I couldn’t think of answer to your question, Lena. That was until I asked my husband. His response was, “Where would you like me to begin?” Here are a few examples off the top of his head.

Since my real name is Cynthia, I rotated the way I spelled my nickname (Cindy, Cindi, Cyndi, Syndy. Sindy, Cindee, Cyndy, etc. ) depending on my mood. My publisher insisted I make a decision before my first book came out. Now it’s Cyndy. So boring…

When my husband admitted he didn’t like that his birthday was so close to Christmas, I convinced him to start celebrating it in June instead of January. His mom was NOT impressed with this idea when I told her about his “new birthday.”

I make a BIG deal out of celebrating Flag Day each year. It’s not that I’m overly patriotic or like red, white and blue. It’s just fun to celebrate a holiday that most people forget.

Okay… I guess I do have a quirky side. ; )

Yes, you do, and I like you even more for it. When did you first discover that you were a writer?

My first book was nonfiction – written in 1964 to celebrate the Beatles arriving in the U.S. It was cleverly titled The Beatles Book and bound with rubber cement. The description and illustration of Ringo Starr is particularly insightful. I still have the book.

You must have been just a baby then. :-) Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

Maybe this explains my quirky personality. I enjoy reading humor – laugh-out-loud fiction that makes strangers stare at you – and really scary suspense. John Grisham’s Skipping Christmas is the reason I started writing fiction. I still laugh when I think about that “Free Frosty” picket line.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

People always ask me how I do all that I do. Here’s what I tell them...

Let go of perfectionism and focus on what you CAN get done – not what you CAN'T. For example, I wrote my first book while waiting for my daughter at soccer practice instead of driving back and forth. It may have not been the ideal “writing space” but it worked.

Give yourself permission to do the best you can within your personal limits. When I get behind on laundry, I take great encouragement from Genesis 2:20. "They were naked and not ashamed."

It is also very important for me to observe the Sabbath. As a Type A personality, this one was tough for me. But I force myself to take Saturday sunset to Sunday sunset as my Sabbath and always find that it restores and prepares me for the week ahead. I've also found that giving this time to God in obedience brings a spiritual blessing that I find words inadequate to describe. : )

All very good advice. How do you choose your characters’ names?

So far, I’ve named “good” characters after my friends and family. I know this is not very creative but it makes them feel special – I think. The “bad” characters are a bit more interesting. My husband warns people not to cross me or my “evil twin” may write them into a story. Heh. Heh.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

My marriage. John and I celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary this year and I just adore him. He can be a curmudgeon at times – but I know he will always be there for me. And he is my cheerleader and unfailing supporter. I still marvel at being so blessed!

I know what you mean. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

I would like to be my dog. We have a Westie, Daisy, and she is so adorable – and adored. We all fight over who gets to pet her, sit by her and sleep with her. Plus, whenever she is out – people stop to pet her and tell her how cute she is. And she’s never had to use a smidgen of age-defying cream, shave her legs or pluck a hair from her chin. : )

What is your favorite food?

That’s easy. Dark chocolate. Now, if you’ll excuse me, a bag of Hershey’s Kisses is calling my name…

Welcome back, Cyndy. Thanks for bringing one for me. What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

Dying to Decorate is the first book in my Friday Afternoon Club mystery series – which is part of Howard Books’ Motherhood Club line. It’s a lighthearted mystery with a mom lit feel – and since I’m also a cookbook author – I included 45 of my favorite recipes that go along with the story. A reader wrote me recently that her husband said my Melt-in-Your-Mouth Pot Roast was the best thing she had cooked in 20 years of marriage. As I mentioned, the series is based on my own group of friends. We have no agenda for our get-togethers. No crafts. No book club. Just a time to relax and recharge with women who get me – and don’t care if I’ve shave my legs. : )

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

I started writing nonfiction – home management books that offer “encouragement to the domestically challenged.” Three have been published by Horizon Books: Making Your Home a Haven (2001), The Occasional Cook (2002) and Beyond Groundhogs and Gobblers (2004).

The second book in my Friday Afternoon Club mystery series, Crime & Clutter, is scheduled to be released by Howard Books in April, 2007. And I’m just finishing up the third book, The Killer Karpool.

Not sure if you call it lucky or unlucky but, so far, I haven’t written any books that weren’t published.

Good for you, Cyndy. I do have an unpublished manuscript in the file cabinet. Thank you for spending this time with us today.

Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Dying to Decorate, and go by Cyndy's web site for more information on her other books.


Jennifer Y. said...

This sounds like a really good book!

I enjoyed the interview and loved the ideas on keeping your sanity. "Let go of perfectionism and focus on what you CAN get done – not what you CAN'T." is great advice and something I really need to learn to do.

Deborah said...

great interview! no need to enter me for this book b/c i already have it, but i just wanted to say that this is an awesome book, with really good recipes in it too if you get in the mood to eat what you're reading about. also Cyndi, you should publish that Beatles book :) i'm a huge fan of them!!

Mary Connealy said...

Cyndy, great interview. Hanging around with you with weekend was fun. Now we can hang around on Lena's blog.

Cyndy Salzmann said...

Thanks so much for inviting me the stop by, Lena!

And thanks Jennifer and Deborah for your kind comments. I just may have to scan my Beatles book for my website. After all, the picture of Ringo is QUITE interesting.

BTW -- Mary just dropped me off after a weekend in MN doing book events with five other Christian authors. Such fun! And mary didn't even complain about my snoring. What a dear friend!

If you haven't picked up a copy of Mary's new book -- Petticoat Ranch -- I highly recommend it. Nonstop action and characters that are a hoot! Just like Mary!

Cherie said...

Great interview! I love learning about authors that are new to me. Dying to Decorate sounds good.

Cherie Japp

Carole said...

Cyndy, I love your description: "women who get me - and don't care if I've shaved my legs." I can't wait to read your book.

It's neat that "Skipping Christmas" got you started writing fiction. That's one of the funniest books I've read.


L. Harris said...

The title alone makes me want to read the book. :-) Great interview!


Kay Clark said...

Loved the interview. And how did I miss John Grisham’s Skipping Christmas? One more to add to my list. Looking forward to Cyndy's series. Just went up on Cyndy's website - she is a dead ringer for a frind of mine!
Way to go, Cyndy - thanks for taking the time to interview with Lena. I just love you authors who enlighten us wishiwases (is that plural?). Now, I better go check out those chin hairs...

Cyndy Salzmann said...

Again, thanks for your kind comments.

Regarding Skipping Christmas... this is a GREAT holiday read. I read it every year and still laugh hysterically. The movie, Christmas with the Cranks, was okay... but the book is a STITCH.

KAY -- people are always telling me I'm a dead ringer for someone. The same is true with my mom -- who looks like me. I wonder if we have "one of those faces." I did meet a woman who my sister-in-law always said looked like me -- and SHE DID. The only real difference was that I color my hair to hide the gray. : ) It was a little spooky looking into "my" face.

Sheryl said...

Lena and Cyndy that was a great interview. I've heard such great things about "Dying to Decorate," both the writing and the recipes :-), I'd love to be entered in the contest to win a copy.

Lindsey Freitas said...

What a great interview! It had me laughing and wanting to read "Dying to Decorate". :-) I'd love to win the book!

rose said...

thanks for this great interview, Lena and Cyndy. I, too, have one of "those faces" and a lady in the doctor's office the other day acted like I was lying when I said I had been gone to another town all day--she said she was sure she had seen me someplace else a little earlier in the day! Guess I should put that in a story. LOL rose

Teresa Slack said...

I've gotten to know a little bit about Cyndy on Shoutlife. Now I feel like I know her even better, especially about the dark chocolate. Everyone knows the other kind is for sissies.

Mary said...

Books are always better than movies! And the only John Grisham one I've read is "Skipping Christmas"!

My favorite part of your interview was your scripture of choice when behind on laundry! That is TOO perfect! Especially when my favorite for when things are going wrong is: Rejoice in everything!? Lol.

Thanks, Lena, for the chance to win one of Cyndy's books! I really enjoyed this whole post...:O)

The Write Life said...

Loved the interview!