I have to admit that I am having such a great time interacting with so many authors. These writers come from all over the world and all have had such great advice to help us through our writing struggles.
Cygnet Brown agreed to do an interview with me and I was blessed with the opportunity to ask her a few questions. Here's what she had to say...
Me: What or who inspires you to write?
CB: I first started writing in the seventh grade when Mrs. Watson gave us an assignment to write a story about dialing a wrong number. I wasn’t able to make it a short story. It ended up being nine chapters long and I was hooked. I wrote all through high school often taking time that I should have been doing homework to write.
After I graduated high school, life got in the way. I didn’t exactly stop writing, but it wasn’t a priority in my life for a number of years while I was in the military and raising my kids. I was, however, always an avid reader and several historical events stuck in my head and I always wondered what it would be like to fictionalize some real stories from history that most people never knew about. The first one was from a story in Parkman’s works about a drummer boy who survived an Indian massacre, while every other member of his unit was killed. In addition, I had a dream that two young people were meeting for a second time on the frontier. I changed the dream somewhat from that I came up with the story that is now Soldiers Don’t Cry.
Soldier’s Don’t Cry was the first book I started, but it was not the first book I published. The first book I published, When God Turned His Head, was actually a “prequel” to Soldiers. When I was writing Soldiers, there was a scene where Elizabeth and Rachel were talking about their parents, how they had been indentured servants and I wondered what ever happened to them. Then I read the story about the murder of John Codman in Boston in the mid-1750s. The history books didn’t say anything about him having a wife, but I gave him not only a living wife, but a deceased one.
The third book in what had become the Locket Saga series: A Coward’s Solace was a “sequel” to Soldiers. This book is about a person who was thought to have been dead, but was obviously very much alive. This was not only inspired by what happens if someone you thought was dead is actually alive, but also, as I learned about some of the amazing stories that came out of Washington and the Continental Army’s winter at Valley Forge. This book just came out in August.
The fourth book in the series, Sailing under the Black Flag will be coming out this spring. This book is a coming of age story of Jonathan Mayford, Rachel’s son as he lives his adventures as a privateer, first on the American Elizabeth and then on the Royal Louis. Again the inspiration comes from history, this time from the perspective of a young sailor of a privateer under a letter of marque.
What inspires me to keep writing, though is that two years ago my father, one of my brothers and my sister all died within six months of one another. Their passing made me realize that none of us know how long we have on this earth and we have a mission that God has called each of us to do. I felt pressed to get my work out and into the hands of those who need read it while I still am on this earth to do it.
Me: Do you find it difficult to get reviews from readers? If so, how do you work around that?
CB: Yes, I do find it difficult. I wish I knew how to work around that. The important thing is not to beg.
Me: Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
CB: I have been a reader since I could put to letters together to get a sound. I remember reading cereal boxes just to have something to read. My first “favorite author” was Laura Ingalls Wilder. I was reading her books before the television show came out.
I have also always liked Gilbert Morris’s books. He inspired me a lot when I first started writing The Locket Saga.
Me: Do you have an interesting writing quirk? If so, what is it and how does it help your writing?
CB: The only one that I can think of is the fact that I don't edit until I have finished the first draft. That way I know I can finish at least that first draft.
Me: How many books have you written? Which was your favorite?
CB: I have published three novels with one more almost ready for publication. Though several of my books’ readers prefer When God Turned his Head, I would have to say that Soldiers Don’t Cry is my pet project.
I have also written three nonfiction books. I wrote one gardening book (40-years’ experience) and I wrote two booklets. One about using kelp and the other about using food grade diatomaceous earth.
Me: What are some of the greatest struggles you've faced to further your writing career?
CB: Writing is the easy part. If I had my choice of things to do, I would write all day long. Finding material to write about has never been a problem for me either.
My problems actually occurred in post-writing phases. After writing When God Turned His Head and publishing it, I learned that I really needed to hire someone to do the editing for me. I didn’t see it, but my book was riddled with typos. After I finished Soldiers, and had a professional do the proof reading of it, I went back and tried to edit the first book again. It was better the second time, but it still had lots of mistakes. Finally I sent that to someone else to edit. I have also done the same for each of my subsequent books. Moral of the story—always have someone edit your work.
Me: How can readers discover more about you and you work?
CB: To learn more about me and my work, sign up for my newsletter at http://eepurl.com/bPpzXX