Author Spotlight: Sally Cronin

I’m thrilled to host Sally Cronin this week on Reade and Write. Sally is the author of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, short stories, and an incredible wealth of blog posts where you can read about topics ranging from healthy eating to holiday customs to music and travel. She is also a tireless promoter of other authors’ works and is beloved in the blogging and writing communities.

She’s here today to discuss her latest release, Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet. If you read my Reading Round-Up two posts ago, you know how much I enjoyed the book. If you didn’t or if you need a refresher, click here to see my review.

Welcome, Sally!

Thanks very much Amy for inviting me over today and appreciate your support in getting my new collection of stories promoted.

The pleasure is mine, Sally.

When I read your books, I always wonder if there’s a lot of you in your stories. Would you say any of them are autobiographical?

There are definitely elements of my life woven into the fabric of several stories in this collection and others that I have written. I don’t want to waste any of my experiences in life or the amazing people I have met, and I hope that it adds a touch of authenticity to the emotional content. Nobody’s life is perfect, however much we wish differently. Whilst there have been times I have wondered ‘Why Me!’ in all honesty in hindsight, there were valuable lessons to be learnt and it usually sent me off in a direction where I was meant to be. Bringing characters I have met in life, many of them now gone, is a great way to keep them alive in my memories.

A related question, and one you’ve partially answered: Do any of your story ideas come from people you know, or things you hear on the news, or snippets of conversation you overhear?

I think probably apart from my own experiences, the state of the world is the next trigger for stories. I enjoy writing stories around topics which are close to my heart such as animal welfare, domestic violence and the elderly. I love reading stories of feisty old people, and in all the collections I always leave room for one or two old but inspiring characters, and of course dogs and cats. I get some prompts from images which I think are very powerful creatively. This is particularly the case for the poetry that I write.

Do you prefer writing short stories, or longer books/novels, or poetry? Or are they just different forms of expression for you?

I have written a couple of novels in the past and two books of linked stories which is a medium that I rather enjoy as they offer continuity throughout the stories and an opportunity for some interesting character interactions. I am not sure it is the same for other readers, but I find that I cannot face the 400 to 500 pages of an epic novel in the same way as I used to, and this is reflected in my own writing. Certainly, with the blog and book marketing, I am not spending as much time writing as I might, so short stories actually fit in well with my schedule. This year the focus is on a return to non-fiction which is requiring me to have a different focus and writing schedule.

And as long as we’re on the subject of writing preferences, do you have a favorite story or poem in the new collection?

One of my daily pleasures is the antics of the garden birds who we built a pyramid feeder for this year. They also have a meter square bird bath created from a seed tray which they love to play in and during this year of lockdowns they have brought a ray of sunshine into our days. This was a Garland Cinquain that I wrote in tribute to them and included in the collection.

Garden Birds

The birds

in the garden

have created a world

removed from the reality

of life.

The Doves

wary and shy

hover on the side lines

waiting to be invited to

the feast


fall from the sky

bring ancient mystery

intent on plundering the stores

of seed


a raucous flock

delight in the water

splashing and preening their feathers

of jet


agile and swift

dart backwards and forwards

eager for the sunflower seeds

that gleam.

The birds

wary and shy

bring ancient mystery

splashing and preening their feathers

that gleam

That is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it.

Was the new book written in response to any of the events of 2020, or did you write the stories before then?

I had written some of the stories earlier in the year before the crisis began, but I actually made a conscious decision not to mention the pandemic as the collection progressed in the later months. I felt that everyone was already living daily with COVID, events in the USA and in the UK with Brexit, and more importantly I was too.  I have to say I found it very difficult to fictionalize the situation, and as writing is a form of escapism for me, I wrote stories and poems that made me feel hopeful.

The stories in the book are divided into categories, such as “Winning Streak” and “Technology.” Do you write the stories to fit into the categories, or do you find that the stories categorize themselves organically once you’ve written them?

I like to write to a theme, such as in What’s in a Name?, where I wrote stories about men and women (and some animals) with names according to the alphabet. So I decided on the categories first and then wrote the stories to fit into them. The poems were already written and luckily I was able to slot those in appropriately.

Do you have stories (short stories or novels) or poems that you’ve written and not published? If so, how many? Will you eventually publish them?

I do have several short stories and poems that are already written and will be published later in 2021. This year images are the focus and I am working through our archive of photos from all our travels and the countries we have lived in and I am using those as prompts.

I’m already looking forward to it, Sally. What else do you have coming up?

This year it is 25 years since I lost 150lbs and wrote my first non-fiction book ‘Size Matters’, which eventually was published in 2001 as the first edition. I have since revised the book, and want to publish this as a sequel in the spring to celebrate that turning point in my life. I also have a book of linked longer stories based in the village where I was born during the war years, and the collection of short stories and poems I mentioned in November/December.  And in between writing those, I will continue to keep the blog going with the focus on book promotion for other authors (as well as myself) and writing new health series.

Congratulations on such a terrific milestone. I know you’ve inspired so many people to have a more positive relationship with food and weight.

Thanks so much Amy for letting me talk about my writing and thoughts on the year. It has been a lovely experience.

Again, thank you for being here, Sally. It was a wonderful experience for me, too.

Until next time,


177 thoughts on “Author Spotlight: Sally Cronin”

  1. EXCELLENT interview, Amy. You asked all the questions I thought of as I read Sally’s latest book. I finished it two days ago and haven’t reviewed it yet only because I am re-reading some of the stories and poems. It is a great collection. I found myself getting teary-eyed at several of the stories not because they were sad but because they were hopeful and I really got into the characters. Sally, I felt like I got to know you better in some ways, even though these are fictional stories, because you delved into each character so beautifully. I’m glad you added your bird poem here. My guy and I have enjoyed the antics of the birds in every season this past year and I totally related to that poem. 🤩

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Pam. It sounds like you and I had similar experiences while reading Sally’s newest book. I love her characters, and I, too, felt like I learned more about Sally through her stories and poems.

      And we love watching the birds outback!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. So pleased you have enjoyed the stories Pam and delighted that you have your own bird chorus to keep you entertained. I think that most of us infuse our stories with elements of our own lives and in some cases it is very therapeutic and you can change the endings to one that you prefer lol.. thank you for sharing your thoughts here…hugs ♥♥

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I agree, we can only trust ourselves. And it will be weird. It is difficult to read people with their faces covered. The eyes speak volumes but we still need the whole face to judge a person and their speech.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Miriam. I always look forward to Sally’s stories because they’re full of meaning, heart, and wisdom. And her poetry is so accessible to me, so I love reading that, too. I often struggle reading poetry, but not hers. I’m so glad you stopped by!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fantabulous interview ladies. I always love learning more about my friends, even when you think you know a lot, there’s always new nuggets. And great questions Amy. As usual, I’m with Sally, I neither have the inclination to read big books or write them. But I have the utmost respect for writers who can write big books. I really enjoy reading short stories because I can finish a chapter and pick it back up to a new story. Bite-sized stories 🙂 ❤ ❤

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks Amy. And so true. I can only imagine when we all get a chance to meet our good friends in person, there would be many more deep dark finds to discover. ❤ Excellent interview girls! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Great interview, Amy! Sally has a mountain of knowledge and experience. She has also lived an interesting life, and I always enjoy reading about her previous endeavors. We are all the lucky recipients of those tales.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A wonderful interview, Sally and Amy. I also enjoy Sally’s stories and loved her latest collection. I was surprised to learn that the categories came before the stories. And not surprised by Sally’s desire to avoid the pandemic as a topic and focus on stories of hope. Have a wonderful day and Happy Writing to both of you. 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Diana! I’m glad you enjoyed the interview. It’s such a pleasure to host Sally here. There’s always something interesting to learn when Sally does an interview, isn’t there?

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Really interesting – and especially Sally’s decision not to write anything about Covid or Brexit. So hard, really. I really enjoyed What’s In A Name, and Sally’s like me – I can’t face any epics at present!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My kids don’t understand how lovely it is to sit and watch the birds outside our kitchen window. They’ll realize the allure when they’re my age…

      Thanks for reading! I’m glad you enjoyed the interview.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think going with the flow is a subconscious process and has less to do with luck than with habit, passion, and determination. Those traits feed our inner judgment and lead us. Don’t sell yourself short, Sally! xo


  6. Thank you, Amy, for featuring Sally today. She warms the hearts of many, and this is especially true for me. Congratulations, dear Sally. 💗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a pleasure to have you here today, Sally. As I mentioned in another reply, this is my very small way of thanking you for everything you do, not only for me, but for all of us in the blogging and indie writing communities. I’m very excited to see what the coming year brings for you! Thank you again for being my guest.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I do love to feature Sally here, Darlene. She’s done so much for so many of us, and it’s a pleasure to be able to return even a small measure of her generosity. Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much Toni.. just been out in the snow to feed the birds who were chattering away the hedge at my lateness! I find it hard to believe it was nearly 25 years ago.. I went the route of agent and publishers he approached liked the book but said I was unknown and they didn’t want to take the risk. So I went to a self-publishing company Trafford in Canada and published by first two books with them before we set up our own publishing company and have been happily indie ever since.. I may never make a fortune but I am happy which is the main thing.. ♥♥

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Hi, Toni,

      Wasn’t that poem beautiful? Even the name for the type of poem, Garland Cinquain, is beautiful. What better way to celebrate a book’s 25th year in print than to offer up a new edition filled with updated information? I am so happy for her.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Most definitely! And not just because the book has been out for so long, but because you’ve managed to maintain that healthy lifestyle for over two decades now and I’ll bet you’re much happier for it. So much to celebrate!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. It was such a treat to have her here, Carol. I think the short story is becoming more popular for lots of reasons: people have less time to read, their attention spans are more limited, the stories pack a punch that can’t be replicated in a longer book, etc. Sally’s stories are a delight to read and I’m eager for the next release. xo

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I really only started reading short stories in the past five years or so, and it a direct result of “meeting” Sally and falling in love with her stories. She has opened my eyes to a whole new type of writing.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I think readers respond to a writer’s voice even moreso than the length of the work. If the voice is there, it doesn’t matter how long or short a story is. And your voice, as I’ve said many times before, is like talking to a friend. I know I’m not alone in feeling that way.

        Liked by 2 people

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