Cyndy Salzmann interview

» Posted on Jun 20, 2007 in Blog | Comments Off on Cyndy Salzmann interview

1. What made you start writing?

I began writing books as an excuse to avoid laundry. Frankly, I wish I had a loftier reason for kick-starting a writing career. But I don’t. The simple truth is at the bottom of the laundry pile – probably under a pair of smelly socks.

I despise laundry. My husband claims that at any given moment, I can come up with a list of ten reasons why we have no clean towels. He’s probably right – but for the last eight or so years, hunching over my laptop, pleading looming deadlines and artistic angst, has proven to be a handy excuse to stay out of the laundry room.

2. How long have you been writing?

I wrote and illustrated my first book at age six on manila paper and bound it using rubber cement. The title was The Beatles Book and commemorated the Fab Four’s “landing” in the United States. When I heard recently that Yoko Ono is now 72 years old – the shock sent me into a full blown hot flash.

I also have a degree in journalism from the Missouri School of Journalism and I worked in broadcast news for about ten years. After that, I worked in public relations and had the opportunity to write everything from videos to brochures.

When did you sell your first book?

My first sale was in 1999 for a nonfiction book – Making Your Home a Haven: Encouragement for the Domestically Challenged. It kick-started a speaking career and earned me the reputation as America’s Clutter Coach.

3. How do you handle rejections?

I basically curl up in a fetal position and pray to be taken from this miserable life where no one understands my artistic genius. : )

4. Why do you write?

Of course, the primary objective of every novelist is entertainment. My series has a lot of humor and a bit of mystery – so I hope it is entertaining to readers. But for Christian novelists, we also take the lead from Jesus’ use of parables and use story to illustrate important spiritual truth. With the Friday Afternoon Club Mystery series, which focuses on the friendship of six women, I hope to cause the reader to see the practical application of 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…) by investing in friendship.

5. What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?

Cooking! I adore trying new recipes! In fact, I include about 35 recipes in my novels that go along with the story.

6. What are you working on right now?

I’m working on the next book in the Friday Afternoon Club series –Killer Karpool.

7. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?

I definitely identify with Liz – wanting to be that ”marvelous mom” and “wonderful wife” but always feeling like she falls short. A peek in my laundry room will tell you why I often feel the same way.

8. Tell us about the book you have out right now.

Crime & Clutter is the second title my light-hearted mystery series focusing on the friendship and adventures of six women who have dubbed themselves the “Friday Afternoon Club.” Caught up in the everyday challenges of carpool, soccer practice, music lessons and never-ending laundry – this feisty group of midlife moms find themselves acting as sleuths to unravel the mysteries and predicaments they encounter. In this book, Mary Alice is forced to face the difficult memories of her father’s abandonment when she was a baby. The FAC rallies around her to help resolve her family’s long-buried secrets which take readers through the Sixties counterculture.

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?

It actually comes from Stephen King… “To write is human. To edit is divine.” Listen to your editor. : )

10. How important is faith in your books?

I want women to understand that God knows and loves us dearly – and is concerned with even the most trivial details of our lives. For example, I once asked Him for a better attitude about laundry and He led me to Genesis 2:25, “They were naked and not ashamed.”

11. What themes do you like to write about?

In my Friday Afternoon Club (FAC) series, friendship is one of the primary themes. I count the friendship of my FAC group as one of the most precious blessings in my life. We have been together through the hilarious – “Stop! Before I wet my pants!” times to heartbreaking periods of grief and anguish. My last child was born prematurely and died shortly after birth. During my recovery period, my friends brought me meals, flowers — even chocolate. They sat by my side, cried with me – and eventually helped me to smile. I’m not sure where I would be without their support.

This type of friendship doesn’t just happen. While I think that we, as women, long for these types of relationships, we don’t make it a priority build them. The most common excuse is that we’re just too busy with family and work responsibilities. Or we feel guilty about taking time for ourselves. I also think some women are hesitant to reach out because they were wounded by the pettiness of other women in the past. It’s my hope that readers will see the value of investing in friendship – and be motivated to start their own FAC groups.

12. What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?

Definitely Crime & Clutter. It was fun to research the Sixties since I remember much of it. It is also somewhat of a personal story and helped me work through some issues of forgiveness. It can be very cathartic to write.

13. You have written both fiction (mysteries) and non-fiction books. Is it difficult to shift from fiction and non-fiction?

I use fiction techniques in my nonfiction so it’s fairly easy to make the switch. Plus, writing fiction is like taking a vacation to a different world. Such fun!

14. What is your writing schedule like?

Roll out of bed – sometimes early/sometimes later. Make coffee. Drink a glass of OJ with a little umbrella in it while I check email. Grab cup of coffee and read my email devotion that comes from Reflections Ministries: Write in my prayer journal.

Then… if I don’t have a speaking engagement or other pressing obligation, I head to a nearby coffee shop and write or edit for as long as I can – usually 2-3 hours. I also try to do a little marketing while I’m there – at least an hour. For example, today I discovered a great new cooking show and emailed the host to tell her that my mystery series has recipes that go along with the story. She was excited, emailed me right back for a review copy and is going to schedule me on her show. My publisher was thrilled.

The rest of the day is spent on home stuff – housework, kids, etc. I try to keep evenings free for family time. : )

15. I love your book about home organization (Making Your Home a Haven). Your description of the book sounds like my life right now-hectic and clutter-filled. Why did you write this type of book?

The day my husband asked me why I was saving dryer lint and used dryer sheets and I responded with what I thought was a valid reason, I knew I had a problem with clutter. The look on his face convinced me that this “saving” had to stop. As God taught me the joy of letting go of STUFF, He began to give me opportunities to help others do the same. The book was a natural extension of this ministry.