Today I interviewed author Cindy L. Shirley
Cindy is awesome, and I am so glad we did this interview. I share a lot of the same beliefs as Cindy does and I love that she is using her writing to make such a huge difference in the world. Through color and fascinating stories that she writes for kids can help change the world to be a better place. Keep up the amazing work Cindy you are fabulous.
Please read along of my interview with this best-selling author to learn all the amazing things that I did.
Kaylee Shadows Talking
Thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview with me I greatly appreciate it. The purpose of this interview is to pick your brain on your writing process and hopefully help and inspire other authors.
Let’s get started…
First tell me a little bit about yourself.
I am self-employed and have several businesses. I have previously worked as an asp teacher in the Cobb County Georgia school district. I’ve also worked in asp at Kids R Kids Daycare in the past. One of my current business is a company called Let’s Pretend Spa Parties. I love children and have endless material from the silly stories they share with me. I have been married to my husband for 25 years, we have two adult children, Cailey and Casey. My beautiful granddaughter who we affectionately call Doodle Bug. She is the main character in one of my children’s books called Doodle and the Magic Christmas Float. I’ve been writing since early 2017 and have four children’s books that are currently available. I love writing about my personal experiences including my silly nieces pet chickens.
My first book, Diesel the Body Guard: No Bullies Allowed! is based on my childhood experiences with being bullied in school for having red hair and freckles.
It has won numerous awards in 2017
That is awesome, and bullying is such a huge problem in the world right now. Thank you so much for putting books out there like this and congrats on the awards as well.
My home town of Woodstock Georgia has run articles in the local newspaper about my books.
I think it’s important to have some kind of message for kids in the books that they are reading
What would you say is your favorite book of all time?
My favorite books have to be the Harry Potter series.
Are your books both in print and digital?
Do you have a publisher or are you self-published?
I am self-published but did start my own LLC as Let’s Pretend Publishing for business purposes
That is very cool
How do you market and promote your books?
Online as much as possible but when you are self-published it makes things really difficult when it comes to getting attention for your books. The market is flooded with them! I have found that marketing is best when focused on my target audience. Therefore, last year I had copies of my books printed and attended every Local Elementary School Fall Festival that I could possibly attend and took my books there. With each book I had a small giveaway. For Diesel the Body Guard, I included a free anti-bullying pledge card which had details and information for children to use if they experience bullying at school. And Doodle and the Magic Christmas float came with a free Santa Hat. Also, I gave away free feather boas with each copy of The Fabulous Life of Minnie the Sassy Chick: The Egg-Straordinary Egg. Little girls love Minnie! I sell out of that book at every festival! Another thing I like to do is go to the schools and do readings. Teachers especially request the anti-bullying book during these visits
Trying to get a self-published book in a bookstore is almost impossible so I’ve had to find a way to sell the books on my own.
That is awesome and very encouraging
I am also a self-published author, so I know that feeling
It’s awful and can be discouraging. I don’t understand why bookstores aren’t interested in having a whole section devoted to self-published authors. We have amazing talents in our field that are not being noticed
What would you say is the biggest mistake you have made as a writer?
The biggest mistake that I have made would be using a vanity publisher in the beginning.
Good to know
The very first box of my authors copies came and every other page was printed upside down. I sat in the floor and cried for two days LOL. They did correct the problem and reissued another 25 copies at no charge.
What would you say has been your biggest success so far?
I say so far because you are obviously doing an amazing job.
My big success so far has been writing books that teach children moral values while entertaining them.
Oh yes for sure what an amazing feeling that must be
As for the biggest success, I would say Diesel the Body Guard winning a silver medal in the Readers Favorite International Book Competition.
Wow what a great award
My daughter and I flew to Miami and attended the awards ceremony. It was amazing to meet so many people and have so much in common with them
I bet and a fun getaway too
Yes, it was!
I do not recommend renting a car and driving in Miami though LOL. As I did get a parking ticket while trying to park downtown LOL
I parallel park in the wrong direction. But here in Georgia that’s okay
LOL, we went through the same thing in Spokane Washington. The joys of big cities
It is nice though to have the award seal on your book. And for some strange reason parents really think that book is a better book then the others I have. Just based on that little seal, people will pick it up first. It’s bizarre
I can see that
Ok so I only have 2 more questions for you
What is one thing you want your readers to know about you?
My books are silly and very relatable to children. I try to think like a child and write like an adult. Hopefully parents enjoy the story as they read along with their child. All of my stories are based on real life events. Whether they are my experiences or my family’s, the characters are real. Diesel and Minnie are real chickens that belong to my sister and my nieces. I think when you write about personal memories or experiences it’s so much easier to write a good story.
I love that
Also, my illustrator Cleoward Sy is amazing and the covers are very eye-catching which helps when you have 5 Seconds to catch someone’s attention at a table
What advice would you offer other writers?
My best advice to other writers is to put yourself in the main characters shoes and tell the story from that point of view. This would include your reactions to whatever scenario you have in your story. How would you relate to the situation of that character and put that in your story. It makes it more relatable and believable. It makes writing a lot more enjoyable
That is great advice
What is the best way for readers to find you?
Hey look what just came in my mail.
My hardcopies of Diesel the Body Guard with the seal printed on the cover
They look great
Sorry, my husband just walked in the door with them
No problem at all and thank you for sharing that with me.
Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me
You’re welcome thank you for interviewing me I appreciate it