1. Tell us about your latest series: the premise, the theme, the mood.
Cynthia's Attic is a fantasy/fiction series consisting of two books (so far - I'm feverishly writing book three!). Best friends, Cynthia and Augusta Lee, or ‘Gus’ as she prefers to be called, are as “different as bubble gum and broccoli.” The adventurous twelve-year-old girls stumble upon a trunk in Cynthia’s attic that has been in her family for three generations. The two discover its magic qualities when they are swept into the trunk and whisked back to 1914, literally into the lives of their twelve-year-old grandmothers.
They travel through time solving mysteries, getting into tons of trouble, and experiencing the childhood lives of distant relatives. My goal was to write books showing humor, friendship, loyalty, and the importance of family relationships. Considering the feedback I've gotten from grandchildren to grandparents, I believe I've accomplished that goal.
2. For what age group do you write and do you know children of that age?
4th grade through 6th grade is my target audience. My granddaughter was twelve when "The Missing Locket," book one, was published. She was extremely excited because I dedicated it to her. I also correspond with several 4th grade classes who have read the books. Their e-mails are priceless. One of my favorites is from a boy named Brandon who wrote, "I love Gus's attitude!" How much more can a writer hope for than to have their p.o.v. character be recognized for her "attitude?"
3. Do you think it's easier to be published as a children's author or an adult's one?
I really don't have a form of reference since I haven't tried seriously to get adult fiction books published. I've been told, however, that it's easier to get submissions to children's book publishers, and that it's not always necessary to have an agent. That doesn't seem to be the case with adult fiction. I was fortunate to stumble upon a publishing company (Echelon Press) that was accepting young reader fantasy/fiction.
4. Who was your favorite children's author when you were growing up?
I was a sports biography fanatic and quickly read everything my small, hometown library had to offer - from Hank Aaron to Babe Didrikson Zaharias. I also liked Nancy Drew, H. G. Wells, and in later years, devoured Lord of the Rings from beginning to end. I think Tolkien is the master of fantasy/fiction.
5. Which one of the following would you like to write about: a dragon, a unicorn, a witch, a space craft?
Weird combination but, a good witch or a space craft. I love spells and potions but I'm also a space buff. The Star Wars series is one of my all time favorites. This is embarrassing, but one of the first poems I can remember writing, as a very small child, began, "When I was a little girl like you, I went up in Sputnik number two." Guess that shows my age, and also why I don't write poetry!
6. Anything else you'd like to add?
The idea for "Cynthia's Attic" began as a recurring dream I'd had for over 20 years about a mysterious attic. One day, I decided to tell the dream to my best friend and realized that it was about playing in the attic of my childhood friend, Cynthia. "What a great title for a book!" she remarked. I never had the "attic" dream after that but the writing started and hasn't stopped. It began as a childhood memoir for family and friends, but that didn't satisfy me. I wanted to include parents, grandparents, g-grandparents and gg-grandparents, and the only way to do that was to travel back in time. I love writing adventures that I believe they would've enjoyed.