Sandra: Please tell us about yourself.
Cindy: I’m from Macomb, Michigan. I’ve been writing since I’ve been about fourteen. Then on and off for many years in between raising two children. It’s been within the last seven years that I’ve become determined to stick with it. I write mostly science fiction and fantasy. I’ve been a stay at home mom for several years, but I’ve had a few day jobs such as web-designer, freelance editor, computer instructor, and I was once a payroll clerk for a school district.
Sandra: What drew you to writing science fiction and fantasy?
Cindy: I like settings that take you to new and exciting places. I also enjoy experimenting with new ideas.
Sandra: How did you get the inspiration for Vallar?
Cindy: It was a combination of two things. In the story, the main character Ian, has the ability to foresee the future. So I put him in him a situation where he uses his ability for the wrong reasons, but he doesn’t realize it at first because he’s being manipulated. When he doesn’t realize it, he has to get away from the people using him for their own greed. The second reason is in the beginning of the story Ian sees himself with a girl he’s never met. I enjoyed experimenting with his desire to be with her based on a vision. It’s also is a forbidden type of love, and I had fun writing it.
Sandra: What is Vallar about?
Cindy: The blurb explains it best.
Sixteen-year-old Ian Connors works for Marscorp, using his psychic ability to give the organization an advantage over other groups angling for control of the embattled planet. The people of Earth have abandoned the colonies of Mars due to a dwindling of their own resources. The leaders of Marscorp believe that by pooling the planets assets, they will be able to gain enough power to force their way back to Earth.
Ian's job is to use his visions to locate smaller organizations in order to plunder their valuables and incorporate their masses. But a disturbing vision and a horrible loss cause Ian to doubt his loyalties to a corrupt, dictatorial admiral.
Unwilling to be a pawn in the Admiral's dangerous game, Ian must find a way to escape and protect a girl he sees himself with in the future. His only hope may lie with a new organization known as Vallar - an alliance of rebel organizations willing to fight for their survival.
Sandra: Can you tell us about your forthcoming novelette “TransShifter”?
Cindy: When I was writing it, some odd ideas came to me that made it more challenging to write, but it also made for an unusual story. Here is a summary:
Earth is nothing more than a playground for shapeshifters Adelya and Eskton. They like to play a game where they compete with each other by becoming humans or animals. Whoever gives up and converts back into shifter form first loses. Adelya has never beat Eskton, but she refuses to give up. Eskton desires harder assignments and sets a new goal. They both become soldiers in a combat situation. Adelya poses as a male soldier wanting the advantage of the stronger sex.
She becomes close friends with Chad who shows her that there is more to being human than she has realized. Chad's courage and compassion causes her to take on human emotions, and she falls in love with him. How can she tell him she's not a man or even human?
Sandra: How did you find the publisher for your novelette?
Cindy: I did a search on a website called Duotrope.
Sandra: How do your experiences of self-publishing and traditional publishing compare and contrast?
Cindy: With self-publishing you have control of the product, which is a big plus. Also, it doesn’t take as long to get your book out there. The down-fall is that you have to do all of them marketing, however, even when traditionally published you are involved in the marketing. Not everyone is open minded about self-publishing. They automatically assume it’s not good without even looking further who this author might be. Which reminds me that I have even came across someone who has had novels on the NY times bestsellers list and she is now self-publishing them herself in e-format because they have gone out of print.
Sandra: Who are your favorite authors and why do you admire them?
Cindy: Orson Scott Card for his characterization. Frank Herbert for his world building. Connie Willis because she is a woman who writes science fiction and has won many awards.
Sandra: You won an Honorable Mention from Writer’s Digest in 2006; could you tell us about your award-winning story and what it was like participating in the contest?
Cindy: The story is only about 1100 words long. It’s inspirational fiction, however, it’s based on something that happens in real life. I don’t usually write inspirational fiction, but the story started from a writing prompt and ended up coming out that way. It’s so short it’s hard to say much about without giving it away, but it is available free on my website in many e-formats. It’s a fun, short read.
Sandra: What other writing projects are you currently working on?
Cindy: I want to finish a sequel to Vallar. Plus I would like to write a fantasy/historical novel set in the mid 1700’s.
Sandra: What’s one of the goals you hope to achieve with your writing?
Cindy: To have several books published, and to keep improving my stories.
Sandra: What’s something people wouldn’t be able to guess about you just by looking at you?
Cindy: I look like your ordinary mom, but I’m actually a geek that writes science fiction.
You can learn more about Cindy at her website and her blog. She has graciously offered five free copies of Vallar to readers of this blog. If you're interested, please comment on this post by midnight CDT Friday, May 13. I will select five winners at random and announce them next week.