Cynthia Graham interview with David Alan Binder

posted Feb 10, 2017, 10:01 AM by David Alan Binder

Cynthia Graham interview with David Alan Binder

 Bio from her website:

Cynthia A. Graham has won several writing awards, including a 2015 Midwest Book award for Mystery and the 2016 Gold IPPY from Independent Publishers magazine in the Mystery/Cozy/Noir category (Blank Slate Press) for her debut novel Beneath Still Waters.  Her short stories have appeared in both university and national literary publications. She attained a B.A. in English from the Pierre Laclede Honors College at the University of Missouri in St. Louis. Cynthia is a proud member of the St. Louis Writers' Guild, The Missouri Writers' Guild, the Historical Novel Society, and Sisters In Crime. She is the author of three novels: Beneath Still Waters (Blank Slate Press), Behind Every Door (Blank Slate Press), and the forthcoming Beulah's House of Prayer (Brick Mantel Books) 

 www.cynthiaagraham.com

 https://www.amazon.com/Behind-Every-Door-Blackburn-Mystery/dp/1943075182/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF 8&qid=1486498441&sr=8-1&keywords=cynthia+a.+graham

  https://www.amazon.com/Beneath-Still-Waters-Cynthia-Graham/dp/0991305841/ref=pd_bxgy_14_im g_2?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=0991305841&pd_rd_r=T2HW9TQVCNSF8WP91246&pd_rd_w=UI9 0z&pd_rd_wg=XLZO8&psc=1&refRID=T2HW9TQVCNSF8WP91246

 https://www.amazon.com/Beulahs-House-Prayer-Cynthia-Graham/dp/1941799337/ref=pd_sim_14_2?_ encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=1941799337&pd_rd_r=CA7MY37T8TV4TFHFR95P&pd_rd_w=lUuvp&am p;pd_rd_wg=HsiKF&psc=1&refRID=CA7MY37T8TV4TFHFR95P

1.   Where are you currently living? 

St. Louis, Missouri

2.   What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?

To stretch myself. To allow my characters to become who they are and to not try and make them over into another version of me. 

3.   What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?        

When I write mysteries I don’t always know “whodunit” until I’m half-way through. I like to learn and discover along with my protagonist.

4.    Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?  
I have never self-published but have been published by two different publishers. I have a very good working relationship with both. They are both small so I am personally acquainted with the people I’m dealing with and I feel they are very supportive.

5.    Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?
Blank Slate Press (a Division of Amphorae Publishing), St. Louis, MO
Brick Mantel Books (a Division of Pen & Publish, Inc.), Bloomington, IN

6.   Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing? 
No insights really. As an author, eBooks pay a better royalty, but as a reader I prefer print books.

 

7.  Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?
My only tip is never give up. Don’t stop putting your manuscript out there and keep writing.

8.  How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent?  Any tips for new writers on getting one?
I don’t have an agent.

9.  Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)? 
My suggestions are this: Write the most striking prose you can. Don’t be content with lazy descriptions and sloppy dialogue. Write, and then edit and when you are finished editing, edit again. Writing takes diligence and hard work. Also, it is imperative to find a critique group. You need to get the opinions of others and listen to their criticism. Find a group that supports you and wants to see you published.

 

10.         What was one of the most surprising things you learned your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating? 
The most surprising thing I learned was you have to force yourself to do things that are uncomfortable. I have had to force myself to speak in front of people, in spite of that fact that I’m an introvert. I have had to force myself to go to book signings, conventions, etc. You have to meet other writers. You have to network. You have to step out of your comfort zone.

 

11.         How many books have you written? 
I have written lots and lots of books over the years and have had three published and another coming out in March of 2018. It is never a waste of time to write any book, even those that won’t be published because with every word you write you learn something.

12.         Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer? 
There are no tricks to writing. Writing requires a great deal of personal discipline as well as hard work. It helps to read your writing out loud, especially dialogue. If it sounds awkward or stilted, you can rewrite. Often those are things you don’t catch when you just read.  I have to reiterate how important editing is. 

13.         Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story? 
If you’re writing in first person, I always enjoy an unreliable narrator. Also, create doubt in the reader. Introduce a likeable character and then make the reader wonder if, perhaps, they were wrong in their judgment.

 

14.                       What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?

I’ve had many readers tell me that Beneath Still Waters surprised them because the sheriff protagonist had so much self-doubt and made mistakes.  I like the sheriff, Hick Blackburn, because he’s vulnerable. He’s not a John Wayne kind of hero. I tried to make him realistic, with normal doubts, frustrations, and fears.

 

15.         What are some ways in which you promote your work? 
Social media is a great way to promote your own work. Also, book signings, book clubs, library talks, conferences, book giveaways, and entering contests. There is no one way to promote. You have to do everything you can.

16.         What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?
I would not have waited so long to put my work out into the world. Fear and self-doubt kept me from submitting for a long time. I wish I’d gone for it sooner.

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