Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Author Feature: Cynthia Simmons

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday

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, Strugglesand 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. Her twelve week Bible study using the stories in Struggles and Triumphs releases April 6, 2012.

You can view the book trailer for it here.

Let's get to know Cynthia!
What made you decide to write?  What did you do before becoming a writer? I’ve homeschooled my five children for about twenty-five years. My husband and I shared teaching responsibilities and taught them through high school. Words have always fascinated me, and I tried to write a novel in elementary school.

Tell us Triumphs and Struggles. I found the premise of woman of history grappling with issues of faith to be fascinating.  What inspired you to pursue that aspect? I’ve always enjoyed reading material on women in history. Typically I look for their letters and diaries so I can get a sense for how each lady thinks. The stories I unearthed demonstrated various aspects of Scripture, and I complied them so I could use them to teach. You’ll notice certain stories contrast others. For instance, Princess Alice doubted her faith, but came back. Her sister, Princess Victoria, abandoned faith. I wanted the reader to see the outcome of their choices.

You are very involved in Christian Authors Guild (CAG). Tell us a little about that. How has that community been beneficial in your development as a writer? Christian Authors Guild is wonderful. I’ve made good friends and learned so much there. Aspiring writers need the encouragement and support. If they can’t find a local group, I recommend they start one.

You also have a blog where you are regularly interviewing others and producing podcast. What has been the best part of that experience? I love interviewing writers and connect with them as I listen to their zeal. Also it’s wonderful to see how God moves his people to impact the world.

Is the life of a writer what you thought it be? What is different? Today a writer needs to be a celebrity of sorts, which means you must do other things besides write. I’ve always been shy and while I enjoy people, I dislike promoting myself. Instead I prefer to think about offering a ministry.

Do you have any special time management tricks for working in writing time and living a normal life? This question makes me smile. I used to assign my kids all sorts of chores while I did other things. We got a lot done in a short time because everyone worked. Four of my five children are out of the home now, so I’m learning a new way to organize myself.

 What do you do to fight burnout? Do you ever worry about "running out of stories"? How do combat that? Writing has made me aware of how finite I am. I often need to ask God for words. His supply is limitless.

 What do you do when you aren’t writing? Over the years, I’ve dabbled in all sorts of things, particularly music. When the kids were little, I played piano duets with my girls and sang duets with my oldest son. Currently, I grow orchids and often share the flowers with my church. I also arrange cut flowers.

 Tell us a bit about your work in progress. I saw on the website you are creating a study guide for Triumphs and Struggles. What is your hope for that? In the study guide I explore all sorts of issues that emerge from the stories. I hope that students who use the study guide will grow deeper in their faith in Christ.

What is next for you? I’m working on a novel about a bank during the Civil War that will probably have a sequel. And I’ll probably write another book about women in history and create a study guide to examine the pertinent issues.

How can we find out more about you? Blogs? Facebook? Twitter? I have a website and a blog I’m also on Facebook. I co-lead Catch the Wave Writing Conference, which is a ministry of Christian Authors Guild. 

Thank you so much for visiting with us, Cynthia! 


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