I met a wonderful author, Cindy Bennett, this past year and we've become cyber friends through our endeavors in the self-published world. A traditional publisher has found her and today, December 8th, 2011, her first young adult novel, GEEK GIRL, will be released. I'm happy to do an interview with Cindy.
(2014 update: Cindy and best-selling author Sherry Gammon have started a publishing company for clean fiction. Check out Creative Prose Publishing.)
Give us a brief synopsis of each of your titles first.
GEEK GIRL - Sarcastic Goth girl Jen makes a bet with her friends that she can turn the ultra-good geek Trevor into a "bad boy". She doesn't count on develping a genuine liking and respect for him. She also doesn't count on wishing that her current foster family might want to make her a part of their family. Jen bets to win, she just never imagined what the prize would be.
Heart on a Chain - Kate has lived her short seventeen years subject to abusive parents and being bullied by her classmates. Henry has lived what Kate sees as an idyllic life. Moving back after several years away, Henry finds his friend Kate transformed into a shy, beaten girl instead of the funny, happy girl he remembered. His decision to rekindle their friendship sets Kate on edge, believing he is playing a game with the intention of hurting her. Just as he manages to convince her of his good intentions, a tragic accident threatens to undo everything they've built together.
Immortal Mine - Niahm Parker's small town life suits her just fine, even if she spends most of her time on the family farm alone while her parents travel the world. When Sam Coleman moves into town--a rare occurance at best--he completely turns her life upside down. It soon becomes apparent that there is something different about Sam, something that makes him just a little more than . . . human.
Where did you get the ideas for your plots?
Heart on a Chain came first, when a girl who lived near me could be seen always outside on her swing. My first question was why? Why was she always out there, what was she trying to escape? From there the idea grew. Geek Girl began as a short story for a contest. I just couldn't get the funny, sarcastic girl who uses humor as a defense mechanism, and the boy who completely accepted her no matter how strange she seemed, out of my head. So I completed their story. Immortal Mine began as the idea of a girl so completely content with her life that she has no desire to change anything. But what if something came along that changed all that she'd known to be true, all that she thought she'd always wanted. How would she deal with that?
You self-published first. How did that work out for you?
It worked really well, actually. It took several months for me to be able to get word out about my book well enough for people to be willing to read it. I became discouraged, and impatient if I'm being honest, and so decided to try traditional publishing to see if that would work better. Ironically, the month that I signed with them I had the highest sales I've had to date. Had that happened a month prior, I likely wouldn't have signed with them. But I believe everything happens for a reason, and I've had a really positive experience working with the editors at Cedar Fort, so I can't regret at all the way things have happened. I'm very excited to see what happens with Geek Girl in their hands.
How does your traditional publishing experience compare and contrast to self-publishing?
Both are surprisingly similar so far. The face of publishing has changed so much in the past few years for both traditional and self-publishing. Gone are the days of big advances, taking chances on unproved authors, and publishers sending authors on extensive book signing tours. Not that there are still a few authors who are gifted with those things, but it's rare. Now an author can self-publish, make a name for themselves by proving their work, and then be picked up by a publisher who knows there isn't as large of a risk inherent in the author. With my publisher, though I haven't had to format my book or make my own cover, marketing is still up to me. They will help, and help me set signings and such up, but it's up to me to be out there in the virtual world to try to drum up excitement about the book. That's also up to me on my self-published books.
What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?
Other than my love of reading (I have a wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling library of books I've read - and that doesn't count the ones I've given away), I love spending time with my family. Nothing means more to me than they do. I enjoy riding my Harley Davidson, especially on long road trips. I'm a bit of a movie fanatic, and am a bit obsessed with watching TV on Nat Geo, Military, ID, History, TLC, TBS, AMC, Discovery . . . all right, pretty much any channel. I like to do crafty things, but only if it's something I can complete within an hour or two. I don't have the patience to spend more time than that, and it'll never get finished if I can't complete it in one sitting. I spend too much time on my internet learning completely useless information. For example, say I'm watching a movie. I jump online to read everything that's been written about the movie, then about the actors, then what other movies they've been in, and info about those movies . . . it can get exhausting! And yet, I quite enjoy it. I would never call housework, cooking, or sewing hobbies or interests.
I’ve read GEEK GIRL and HEART ON A CHAIN and loved them so I know they appeal to women and not just teenage girls. How do you make your themes bridge the gap from young adult to adult?
Thank you so much! That's so nice of you to say. I don't know that I ever set out to bridge the gap. I think I just write what appeals to me in the YA genre, and since I'm not a young adult, I suppose it's inevitable that it will appeal to adults as well. I do tend to deal with more mature subjects in my books, so I think women can completely relate either personally, or through someone they know (or know of) and maybe that's why they enjoy the books as well. I'm just grateful that I have both that like the books!
Where can we buy your books?
Geek Girl is available in any book store. If they don't have it, they can certainly get it for you. Heart on a Chain and Immortal Mine are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble Smashwords Smashwordsand Createspace
Where can we find out more about you and your books?
My website it Cindy Bennett.com. You can find me on Facebook at Cindy Bennett and on Twitter at Cinbennett