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An Exclusive Interview with Cindy Callaghan
Written by
She Writes
April 2020
Written by
She Writes
April 2020

Today's interview features middle-grade author Cindy Callaghan whose latest book, Saltwater Secrets, comes out April 28, 2020.

Share your writing routine.

I don’t know that I can call it a “routine,” because it varies all the time depending on demands and schedule for the rest of my life. But, I do have some habits:

  • I almost always write early in the morning when the world is really quiet.
  • I like to write outside of my house because there’s always something that needs to be cleaned at home.
  • I write very quickly when I’m drafting with no mind to grammar or typos, but I edit very slowly and toil over every word choice and try to tighten chapters, paragraphs and sentences.
  • I sleep on it. I let ideas marinate sometimes over long periods of time, and I let pages “rest” before another re-read. Some space gives me fresh eyes and perspectives.
  • I get feedback. I can’t write without a feedback mechanism. For me, it’s my critique group.
  • I outline and plan.

What’s the first/worst job you ever had?

I had so many jobs growing up, that it’s hard to remember which was the first and which was the worst because several were pretty bad.

  • Lifeguarding was a great job in some ways (sun), but most people don’t realize that it also involves cleaning bathrooms and a lot of waiting – for your turn to hit the chair and for the rain to stop.
  • Waiting tables is also a great job (fast cash), and while most people are very nice, many are jerks. It’s long, late nights and hard, heavy work.

All of my jobs, whether good or bad, I always managed to make friends and have fun. And, all those experiences add to the bag I can pull from when writing.

Describe your writing style in three words.

Funny, Fast, Commercial.

What is the first thing you can remember writing?

The first major piece I can remember is a play that was the sequel to Grease. It was called Hair Oil and my third-grade class put it on!

When did you start to feel like a writer?

I started to feel like a writer when I signed a contract.

Was there something about the publishing experience that surprised you?

It’s so slow. Once a book is sold, it takes a long time for the book to hit the shelf. My longest experience has been 36 months.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Three words: Butt. In. Chair. You have to put your butt in a chair to write, and if you don’t write it, it won’t get written.

What do you do to help develop your craft?

Over the past two years, I’ve learned screenwriting and even tried a graphic novel. By stretching in this way, it sharpens my novel-writing skills.

Why is it important for women to share their stories?

I think it’s important for everyone to share their stories. I like writing stories with strong female leads who inspire girls.

What’s your favorite way to support other women writers?

I support all writers, especially, but not limited to women. I’ve had multiple writers support me and I’m happy to do the same. Unlike many professions, writers are very likely to lend a hand to someone else to help them move forward.

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