Welcome, Cindy. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Not too much, I hope! There are some major differences between Grace and me. She had an abusive father, I had a loving one. I’ve never had to live in a workhouse or travel alone to a new country, so those emotions had to come from other experiences I’ve had (not as severe) when I’ve felt alone, unsure, and afraid. Owen desperately wants to fit in with the people in his neighborhood even though he is not an immigrant like they are. I think we’ve all wanted to fit in and be accepted at some point in our lives.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Hmm…maybe stay the night at a monastery in
Ireland run by French monks where
silence is practiced. Come to think of it, maybe that was where I got the
experience of trying to fit in.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I suppose when someone paid me for something I wrote. I got $25 for an article on a web site, and to think someone liked what I wrote enough to pay me for it really boosted my confidence. I kept on writing after that, sometimes even for free.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Wow. My reading taste is all over. I love historical fiction probably the most. I also love non-fiction history books and biographies, especially baseball biographies. But I read contemporary fiction sometimes as well. I sprinkle in some spiritual books (I really want to read more C.S. Lewis and George MacDonald) along with books on the writing craft. I’m drawn to some Celtic-themed books as well.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
It is crazy sometimes, isn’t it? I need alone time. If I skip my prayer time in the morning things inevitably do not go smoothly that day. I make family a priority. I think if you know you are firmly rooted you deal with stress so much better.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
For Grace’s Pictures, I chose Grace because it’s a name that appears in Irish history, like the pirate queen Grace O’Malley. I could say I chose it because she needed grace, but that would apply to us all. Owen is also an Irish name and I just liked it.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Having just seen my youngest son married to a wonderful girl he met at church, I suppose I’m most proud of raising three terrific young men. I had help, of course, my husband and lots of prayer.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
No one ever asked me that before! Hmm … a bird, I think because it must be a wonderful feeling to be able to fly and experience absolute freedom.
What is your favorite food?
Pizza, although I can’t eat regular cheese. But even without it, pizza is the thing I miss the most once my husband started eating gluten-free. I love lots of veggies on mine.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Plotting. I was too much of a seat-of-the-pants writer and it caused me to do much more work than if I had properly outlined ahead of time. It’s difficult for me to outline. I like to write the story and figure out what’s going to happen and why as I go along but that has gotten me off track too many times. Brainstorming with other authors helped me a tremendous amount.
Tell us about the featured book.
Grace McCaffery hopes that the bustling streets of
New York hold all the promise that the lush hills of Ireland
did not. As her efforts to earn enough money to bring her mother to America fail,
she wonders if her new Brownie camera could be the answer. But a casual stroll
through a beautiful New York City
park turns into a hostile run-in with local gangsters, who are convinced her
camera holds the first and only photos of their elusive leader. A policeman
with a personal commitment to help those less fortunate finds Grace attractive
and longs to help her, but Grace believes such men cannot be trusted. Spread
thin between her quest to rescue her mother, do well in a new nanny job, and
avoid the gang intent on intimidating her, Grace must put her faith in unlikely
sources to learn the true meaning of courage and forgiveness.
Please give us the first page of the book.
“May I take your photograph, miss?”
Grace McCaffery spun around. She had passed through the inspections without a problem and was on her way downstairs, where she would meet the aid society worker. What now?
“A photograph?” A man stood smiling at her, next to a large camera. She’d only seen one of these machines before, and that was on the ship.
“Why?” She bit her lip. Was everything about to fall apart now?
“For prosperity. It’s your first day in
handed her a small piece of paper. “My name and address, should you later wish
to see it. It will only take a moment of your time and then you are free to
Free sounded good. “What do I do?”
“Stand under that window—” He pointed toward one of the massive windows. “—and look this way.” Streams of late-afternoon sun shone in through the ornamental ironwork, tracing odd shapes on the tiled floor.
She did as he asked.
“Now look up, miss.” He snapped his fingers. “Look toward the camera.”
Her eyelids were iron weights, but she forced herself to look his way, wanting to get it over with.
After she heard a slight pop coming from the camera, he dismissed her. “Welcome to
“Must go to the workhouse.” Huge hands snatched wee Grace from her bed. “Your da is dead. Behind in your rent and got no means.”
Grace kicked with all her might. “Ma!”
An elbow to her belly. Burning. She heaved.
“Blasted kid!” The policeman tossed her onto a wagon like garbage.
“I’m here, Grace. Don’t cry.” Her mother cradled her as the wagon jolted forward. “Oh, my heart. You are special, wee one. So special to God.”
Heat emanated from the burning cottage, the temperature torturing Grace’s face. She hid against her mother’s shoulder.
Later, they were pulled apart and herded into a building.
A dark hallway. The sound of water dripping.
Stairs. Up the stairs. Following other children. So many children. Was her mother dead?
Interesting and intriguing. How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website: www.cindyswriting.com
My Twitter handle: @cindyswriting
My Facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/cindyswriting
It's my pleasure and great blessing, Cindy.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Grace's Pictures - Christianbook.com
Grace's Pictures (Ellis Island) - Amazon
Grace's Pictures (Ellis Island) - Kindle
Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)
Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.
The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.
If you’re reading this on Google +, Feedblitz, Facebook, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.