The Dirty (I mean clean) Dozen–bits of info from Cyndy Salzmann
The book “Miss Reader” won in last month’s contest was “Crime and Clutter” by Cyndy Salzmann, a hilariously funny story with deep truths about friendship, family and forgiveness. The author has agreed to answer a dozen interview questions for us, so I hope you will enjoy getting to know her through her comments. And I hope you will read some of her books to see what you have been missing. Check out her website at www.fridayafternoonclub.com
1. Your tagline is “Advice and Encouragement from America’s Clutter Coach.” How and when did you decide to rid the world of clutter?
CS: 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. 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.
2. Your early books were nonfiction , which you share lead you to the speaking circuit. What motivated you to write those books?
CS: I wanted women to understand that God knows and loves us dearly – and is concerned with even the most trivial details of our lives. Clutter. Getting dinner on the table. Even laundry. I once asked Him for a better attitude about laundry and He led me to Genesis 2:20, “They were naked and not ashamed.”
3.Is publishing in the nonfiction arena vastly different from what you later experienced in the fiction world?
CS: Definitely! I had thought that my nonfiction fans would also be fans of my novels. This isn’t always the case. I’ve had to woo them to the fiction by including extras like recipes and household tips. I’ve also had to learn how to connect with readers who rarely read nonfiction.
4. Tell us how you moved into fiction. What was your inspiration for the Friday Afternoon Club?
CS: The inspiration for the Friday Afternoon Club came from my own group of friends that has been getting together on Friday afternoons for more than 15 years. We have no agenda, no crafts or no service projects. We’ve gone through career changes, divorce, the deaths of parents and spouses, illnesses, marriages—just about every major life change you can imagine. I count the friendship of these women as one of the most precious blessings in my life.
I had toyed with the idea of writing fiction for quite some time but came up with the idea for the mystery series when our group was taking one of our “road trips.” We spent ten hours on a train going to Chicago and laughed the entire time. On the trip home, I thought it would be a great premise for a mystery. We ended up plotting a story with the help of several passengers and the conductor, who happened to be a part-time mortician. Although the trip inspired the series, that particular story hasn’t been written—yet.
5. I am amazed by all you accomplish: wife, mother, writer, speaker, podcaster, weekly radio station contributor, blog, contributor to blogs, organizer. ‘Fess up…you have an identical twin, right? clone? How do you manage all of your roles? When do you write?
CS: Shhh! My family thinks I’m a Pampered Chef Consultant. Seriously… I divide up my day in a way to hopefully provide a sense of balance – and I am careful to protect certain things. Morning devotions. Dinner as a family. Date night with my husband. When these things are in sync – the other stuff seems to get done.
6. What mistake(s) do you think most new writers make when attempting their first manuscript? If you could give them one nugget of advice, what would it be?
CS: My best advice actually comes from Stephen King… “To write is human. To edit is divine.” Listen to your editor.
7. Do you plot before you glue yourself to the chair? What is a “typical” writing process for you?
CS: I first take some time to get to know my main characters. Then I put them in a situation to shake up their lives. From there I let the story write itself. I just try to keep up on the keyboard.
8. Do you set weekly/monthly writing goals, like number of pages or words per day?
CS: Once I know my deadline, I divide up how many publishable words I need to write each day while leaving a month for a good polish. An easy pace is 1000 words a day but I can push myself to 3000-4000 words when I need to. It’s just no fun to be around me.
9. What one organization tip can you offer for time management?
CS: Start your day with a few minutes reading the Bible and praying. Be flexible and let God set your to-do list. After all, He fed 5000 with a few fish and some bread. Let go of perfectionism and trust Him to make the most of your time.
10. Great video snip on your website for Crime & Clutter! Did you have someone else put that together?
CS: Thanks so much! I did that myself with Windows Movie Maker. Such fun!
11. What is your vision for your fiction?
CS: The reason I began the FAC series was to encourage women to invest in friendship. Good friends like my FAC group don’t just happen. You have to put in the time to develop the relationship.
12. Fill-in-the-blank: If I couldn’t write, I would………….
CS: …have to think of a new excuse to avoid laundry. : )
Thanks so much for taking the time for this cyber-visit, Cyndy, and for all your sage advice. I’ve read and laughed out loud over the first two books in the FAC series and hope to read more of your FAC books in the future. Also hope you will gain some new readers after they read this witty interview!
And, I hope all those reading this will leave a post and be entered in the drawing for Robin Lee Hatcher’s new book this month. Be sure to leave a way of contacting you in case you are the winner. Rose