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Christopher M. Lawson

Cindy Bauer
An interview I conducted with Cindy Bauer, author of Chasing Memories and Shades of Blue, both published by PublishAmerica.

Chasing Memories
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Cindy Bauer

Shades of Blue
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Cindy Bauer

1. Can you give us a basic summary of Chasing Memories and Shades of Blue?
 
Chasing Memories is about Laura Thompson, a young widow and mother. Toward the end of the book, Susan, one of the supporting characters, accepts a new job and moves to Kansas City. Shades of Blue picks up where Chasing Memories left off with Susan’s life after she moved to Kansas City and became engaged.
 
Chasing Memories: 1st in trilogy
 
Laura and Steven Thompson were the happiest couple, especially when their daughter Annie was born. Life was perfect and they thought they had forever. But in a matter of seconds, Steven was gone forever....
 
As Laura and Annie are slowly getting their lives back on track, Laura suffers a freak accident. Now, not only has she lost her husband, but her memory as well! Laura struggles to recover her past, while living in the present with a daughter whom she no longer remembers and a future filled with uncertainties. Her story is one of tragedy, survival, courage, and faith. And the ending will surprise you!
 
Shades of Blue: 2nd in trilogy
 
Susan Barnes is finally moving on with her life after landing that great job at the law firm and moving to Kansas City, leaving her best friend Laura and small hometown of Hampton behind. Full of hope and visions of happiness, she is about to marry the man of her dreams.
 
Tom Watson is a handsome young attorney with a promising future, but it isn't long before Susan discovers he's not the man she thought she had married. Behind those attractive gray-blue eyes lies a secretive side that Susan is completely unaware of and now she's living in an endless nightmare...with no way out!
 
Will her faith be enough to save her? Don't miss what happens next, as all of your favorite characters from Chasing Memories return in Shades of Blue!
 
2. How long did it take you to write each from start to finish?
 
I began writing Chasing Memories on December 18, 2004 and it was completed and sent to my publisher on September 18, 2005. So it took 9 months exactly and we dubbed it “my baby”. My sister is a former journalism teacher and volunteered as my editor. She pre-edited it chapter by chapter as we went along. This meant doing re-writes as I wrote the book itself. But it saved on re-writes later on.
 
Shades of Blue took a lot longer. It took me roughly 11 months to write and sis another 10 months to edit. We didn’t pre-edit and do re-writes as I went along on this book. My sister felt she would like to edit it in its entirety. But sis has a busy schedule with her own work and limited time for editing. It took about 23 months all together before it was ready for the publisher. However, I felt it was much better written than Chasing Memories.
 
3. Did you do any research while writing? If so, what kind?
 
Yes, some. I wrote from my heart and the first novel, Chasing Memories, was based around my memory box. But of course, I had to turn that into a story of some kind. When Laura had her accident at the end of Chapter Four, I drew a blank as to what to do with her from that point. My husband asked me what my problem was and listened to a brief summary of the book to that point. He suggested I give her amnesia. So I had to do some research on amnesia. Since we don’t have children, my sister had to help with that end of it. Laura, the main character, has a seven-year-old daughter.
 
With Shades of Blue, there was also a little research on one subject in particular, however I can’t disclose that to you. It’s a part of the novel that isn’t mentioned in the synopsis and I would give away a very important issue if I tell you.
So let’s just say, in retrospect, that I basically wrote “what I know” and did some limited research for both novels on two subjects.
 
4. Are there any authors or books who inspired you as a writer?
 
Yes and no. My favorite to read is mystery and/or mystery-suspense. As a child I read Nancy Drew, Robin Kane, Annette, Meg Parker, Trixie Beldon, etc. But those are intended for young adult readers and of course, I am now an adult.
 
As an adult I have read several mystery-romance novels. A couple of my favorite authors are Rebecca York and Debra Webb. I would say though, that what inspired me most in writing my own books, would be God. I love mysteries, but the trilogy wound up being Inspirational Christian Fiction. I didn’t realize that until I was about mid-way through Chasing Memories.
 
When I switch genres after the trilogy to mystery-suspense, they will also be Christian oriented. Some of the best-selling novels and movies of our day, are not filled with sex, violence and foul language.
 
5. Do you keep a strict writing schedule?
 
No. With Chasing Memories I wrote whenever something struck me and I wrote until I ran dry. Sometimes I would lay in bed at night, pondering the stopping point for that day and if I came up with a solution, I got back up out of bed and continued until I got past the point where I became blocked. Some days I wrote very little.
 
With Shades of Blue, I tried to begin with an outline of the book’s story content, a character list, etc. I got about as far as 2 or 3 pages and realized, I can’t write that way. I have to let my characters and storyline develop as I go along. I usually have a basic idea in my head and more often than not, when I begin writing, I veer away from that into an entirely different direction.
 
I write when I’m in the mood and I write until I get to a point where I’m not sure of where to go next or until my eyes begin to cross and I almost fall asleep at the keyboard. Yet, some of my best ideas come from me when I am extremely tired. That’s frustrating for me as I want to go on, but can’t and have to take a break at that point; usually until the next day.
 
6. Who is your target audience?
 
Chasing Memories is very family oriented and can be read by anyone ages 12 and up. I’ve had readers age 12 and readers age 96, and everyone in between, and all have loved it, even the men, which surprised me.
 
Shades of Blue could also be family oriented; however, it does have a rather “touchy” plot and therefore would be best for ages 16 and up I believe. I think parents would have to decide that themselves. Again, it is Christian oriented.
 
I want to have a wider span of audience appeal, books that the whole family can enjoy for one reason or another. I think I have accomplished that. The storylines have issues that occur or could occur in almost everyone’s daily life and in the end, the reader learns that we can actually use our experiences to better our futures. I focus on optimism and allowing the Lord to guide us on our paths. Some people have difficulty allowing the Lord to handle their problems and never turn to Him in time of need until we have exhausted all other options.
 
7. What are some of your favorite books?
 
That’s a tough question. So far, I have only found one author who has written books that I didn’t enjoy reading. But if I have to choose, there were three series of books I truly enjoyed. Rebecca York wrote a series of “43 Light Street” novels for Harlequin Intrigue that I couldn’t get enough of. Also Debra Webb wrote a series of “Colby Agency” books for Harlequin Intrigue that I thoroughly enjoyed as well. Then there was also the “Tyler” series in Harlequin Romance, written by several authors whom each  contributed a story in the series. But then I ran across the Steeple Hill Love Inspired novels and I have some favorite authors there as well, such as Gail Gaymer Martin and Lenora Worth.
 
8. What would you like your readers to know about you?
 
I’m just an ordinary person, like them. I only have a high school education, but I consider myself to be fairly intelligent. I also have many years of life’s experiences behind me now. I like to write for the everyday, average person because that’s who I am. Nothing fancy, nothing so totally out of our realm of understanding. No glorified adventures to foreign countries or rich uncles in the background. I write from my heart. I am the average reader. I write about things I know about. Life.
 
I love God and it was life’s experiences that brought me back to God. It was also God that brought me to this point in my life. I’ve had my bad experiences, just like they have. Life has not been gentle on me as it is not gentle on anyone. Life is life. We learn to deal with it.
 
I don’t use my personal home-life situation to gain my reader’s sympathies. I want them to read my books because they like them and they enjoy the way that I write. I hope that they come away from my books with the understanding that despite the hard knocks life throws our way along our journey, we can overcome them, learn from them, and be able to pick up the pieces and move on. We can set reachable goals. We can look forward to tomorrow.
 
9. What are you working on now?
 
I am currently working on Crystal Clear, the final novel in the trilogy. Chasing Memories was about Laura Thompson, a young widow with a seven-year-old daughter. Shades of Blue is about Susan Barnes, a supporting character in Chasing Memories and Crystal Clear is about Laura’s daughter, Annie.
 
I had to age Annie in Shades of Blue in order to be able to write about her life in Crystal Clear. The series has been fun and I enjoy writing with characters I’m familiar with. I am also working on a children’s book. Though I have difficulty writing about children, as I have no experience with them, I have found that I can write for children.
 
10. Any tips for aspiring writers?
 
Write what you know about. Never proof your own work and send it to a publisher without first having someone at least proof it for you. You will miss things!
 
Watch out for your timelines. They can get away from you.
 
Don’t self-publish or use a POD publisher if you plan on making writing a career move.
 
Learn to accept rejection and constructive criticism. And try to remember that not everyone is going to like what you’ve written. One person’s opinion may be completely different from another person.
 
Choose your audience and then make sure that what you’ve written is in that area.
 
Show, don’t tell. A lot of authors tell what is happening but neglect to describe it. Remember that the reader can’t see what you see. You need to describe the surroundings, expressions, feelings of your characters so the reader can see what you’re seeing in your mind. Paint them a picture.
 
For more information, please see Cindy Bauer's website at www.cindybauerbooks.com.

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