Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Meet Cindy Bauer - Author Interview

Cindy BauerA big welcome to today’s guest, Cindy Bauer, author of Shades of Blue. Let’s meet Cindy!

THE BIO

Christian Fiction Author & Speaker, Cindy Bauer, was born in Davenport, IA where she grew up the youngest of three children. Since childhood, she has always been an avid reader and dreamed of becoming a writer. She graduated from Assumption High School in 1975 and married her husband, Robert, in 1976. She worked as a Deputy Court Clerk and County Registrar for Scott County, IA until the couple moved to Phoenix, Arizona but when her mother became terminally ill, the couple relocated once again to Missouri in 1986 to assist in her care. They decided to stay and make it their home.

After gaining employment with her small-town daily newspaper in 2003, Cindy's dream to write resurfaced and with encouragement from her husband and sister, Cindy wrote Chasing Memories (2006), the first book in a planned trilogy series of Inspirational Fiction novels, with publication of Shades of Blue (2007) following. Debra LaVelle, her sister and a former journalism teacher, volunteered to be her editor.

This is not the first time Cindy's work has been published. She has written some news stories which merited front-page placement with her local newspaper where she is employed. She contributes recipes for the paper's weekly recipe page, some fun short stories for their Annual April Fool's editions and photos from the monthly pet fairs held to find homes for abandoned pets.
Cindy is currently working on the third and final novel in this series, Crystal Clear, and when it's finished, she plans to write some mystery/suspense novels, which are her favorite to read. They will also be Christian based novels. She loves spending time with her husband and also enjoys cooking, reading, writing and gardening. She has done some volunteer work for her local food pantry and has also donated to the "Locks of Love" foundation, an organization that helps children undergoing cancer therapy.

She is a member of the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Association, a reviewer for Bookpleasures.com, and recently featured on her publisher’s website in the “Up In Lights” section.

Cindy recently was a guest on the National Internet Radio Talk Show, "Aging Outside The Box", with co-hosts, Shirley W. Mitchell and O.E. "Cruiser" Small. The show was an hour long and broadcasted in 74 countries to a listening audience of 15 million people. You can hear the show, which is now archived, by using the links provided on Cindy's events page.

Cindy's thoughts on the Christian Fiction Series?
"I believe the Lord wants me to spread His word through my words and who am I to question His plans for me? I will follow my heart and He will choose my path."
"Dreams can be turned into reality if one has the courage to try. Failure comes only to those who don't." ~~ Cindy Bauer

THE INTERVIEW

JA: Tell us about your book, Shades of Blue.
CB: Shades of Blue picks up where Chasing Memories left off. It’s about Susan’s life after moving to Kansas City. Susan was a supporting character in Chasing Memories. Toward the end, she had taken a new job in the city, moved there and met her fiancé. So Shades begins there. She’s preparing for her wedding. However, both novels stand on their own, as they should do, so that you can pick up either book and not feel like you’ve missed something in the story.

JA: Shades of Blue is the second book in a trilogy. Is there an overlying theme to this series?
CB: The trilogy is about the lives of three women. In Chasing Memories, Laura is the main character. Her husband died in an automobile accident when their daughter Annie was just five years old. The story begins two years later. It transpires over a period of a couple of years. She loses her memory and struggles to recover her past life while living in a present life with a daughter she now, doesn’t remember, and a friend she must trust whom she also does not remember.

Shades of Blue, as I mentioned before, picks up where Chasing Memories left off and Susan becomes the main character. Susan was originally Steven & Laura’s babysitter, but later became Laura’s dearest and most trusted friend after Steven’s death, despite their age difference. It’s about her life after moving to the city once Laura is ready to take her own life back over again, and begins with her preparing for her upcoming wedding. This story covers about seven years and then toward the end, it moves forward into the future ten years later.

The final novel in this series, which I am currently working on, is about Annie’s life. I had to age Annie in Shades of Blue so that I could write about her life in the final installment, since she was only seven when the series begins. Annie had been through so much in her young life that she really begins to lose her way and must learn to trust God again. It’s going to be the best of the three novels actually, more intense drama, and will put the whole series into perspective for the reader.

All the stories are stand alones, but uniquely woven together to form the full picture while spanning the lives of these three women over a period of about thirty years.

Cindy Bauer - CoverJA: In Shades of Blue, your heroine, Susan, discovers that the man she marries isn’t who she thought he was. How did you come up with the idea?
CB: Susan was a strong character in Chasing Memories. In life, no matter how strong we are, things happen that can take control over us if we forget to let God guide us through life. In Shades, Susan finds out she’s not as strong and in control as she thought, and it really forces her to let go and allow God to guide her, something a strong person is less willing to do.

I had to come up with something that could easily do that to her. Love is sometimes blind. I know that is an old cliché, but it’s true. As we mature, get married, have families of our own, we tend to lose our focus sometimes. I’ve been married for almost 32 years and Susan was just getting married. So it just seemed right that the marriage would be the main source of her story and I built on that. There always has to be a villain you know :+}

JA: What do you hope people take away when they finish reading your books?
CB: I’m glad you asked this question. Life throws us obstacles, a lot of obstacles. We sometimes tend to focus on the negatives and place blame wherever we can, constantly trying to rationalize how something like that could’ve happened to us when really, life is an ever changing learning experience.

If you take a bad experience and focus on using the knowledge you learned from it to better your future and the lives of others, in a positive manner, then you’ve used it in a way that God had intended. Negativity and dwelling on what went wrong in the past, instead of focusing on bettering your life in the future from your past experiences, will lead you down a path of regret, depression and constant struggle with your soul. You will never be happy.

Life can be good. Things are going to happen. Turn your life over to God, store your experiences for future reference and move on. Stop dwelling on the past and focus on the future and your goals. Become a better person. And learn to accept your experiences as something that made you stronger for them, or you become weaker because of them. The Lord will get you through them and He has a plan for you.

So I want my readers to walk away from this series with the knowledge that bad things happen, but what you do with your experiences from life as they happen, is what will determine your life in the future. Life happens. Learn from it, deal with it, and put your life in God’s hands. You have to let go or you will never find true inner peace.

JA: What’s next for you in the writing arena?
CB: After this trilogy, I plan on writing some mystery/suspense novels. I’m not sure yet if they will be a series, but it’s very possible as those are what I like to read most. I began with a POD publisher (mistake number one) and I hope to line up an agent and a more reputable publisher who will help promote my work, too. My ultimate goal is to be able to make a substantial enough income that I can stop punching the time clock and work from home. My husband is disabled and really needs for me to be at home with him. It’s a long process, since I can’t write as often as I would like, but a goal worth working toward.

JA: I read on your website that your sister, Debra, edits your work. Have you found it difficult taking writing advice from a sibling?
CB: Yes and no. At first, it was difficult. She was the one who encouraged me the most to write a book. Then she criticized almost every point in the manuscript. I found that in both books, there was a point in the beginning where we disagreed, but after analyzing her “suggestions”, I later realized she was right and for the most part, I made the changes she suggested.

The reason I put suggestions in quotes, is because she kept telling me “these are only suggestions, it’s your book, keep what you want and throw the rest away”. But when I would try to do that (LOL) she would say, “...well, if you do that then don’t list me as your editor, just list me as an editing consultant”. So in the end, I basically accepted her criticism and suggested changes, and it really made for better reading and story content. After all, she is the college graduate and she taught journalism, so I figured she knew more about writing than I did, and she was giving me her thoughts on my writing. I weighed both sides and realized, she is the average reader and it’s the reader whom I want to please so they will enjoy my work.

JA: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
CB: Probably the one thing they would be surprised to learn is that I am only a high school graduate and they’ll wonder what qualifies me to be an author. Readers often make writers though. And as an avid reader, I’ve always wanted to be able to write novels. Not short stories, not news, not articles, but novels. But as a mere high school graduate, I thought it never to be possible and gave up on the dream a long time ago.

It was just a few years ago that while sending letters and emails back and forth, my sister told me that I write really well and should consider writing a book. When I told her that I had long ago dreamed of doing just that, she then began to pursue her suggestion and I finally sat down one day to try doing it. Nine months later, my first novel was published.

JA: Are there any books that you’re just itching to read?
CB: Yes. I’m doing reviews right now for Bookpleasures.com, but I also have three books from a series that Roxanne Rustand wrote for Steeple Hill and I can’t wait to begin. They’re a new romantic suspense series Steeple Hill just began and since mysteries and suspense stories are my favorite, I’m “itching” to begin those.

JA: Last but not least, how can people keep up with your latest publishing news?
CB: For the latest and most up-to-date news, they can visit my blog online at www.cindybauer.blogspot.com. I also update my website frequently so they can visit my website at www.cindybauerbooks.com for information as well.

I also want to thank you, Jennifer, for this wonderful interview. I enjoy talking about my books and I hope my readers will discover that I’m just a typical housewife, working a 9-5 job, just like they are, and I welcomed this chance to connect with them on a more personal level. They can always contact me anytime by writing to me at cindybauerbooks@yahoo.com and I will personally reply. I welcome their comments about my books. After all, they’re the ones I’m writing them for. And I hope I can bring some joy into their lives and perhaps, some hope if needed.

Blessings!
Cindy

Thank you, Cindy, and continued blessings on your writing journey!

ENTER CINDY’S WEB CONTEST
The giveaway works a bit differently today. Please feel free to leave comments here – I love to hear from you! – but it won’t win you anything. However, if you bop over to Cindy’s web site and click on the Contest link, you can enter to win one of the books she’s giving away. Good luck!

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