Sally Cronin is Back!

 

For many of us in the world of authors-marketing-ourselves, we know Sally Cronin as a treasure who selflessly promotes others, spotlighting their new books, re-showcasing their old ones, and offering endless encouragement and support to artists of all stripes.

But Sally is also an author, and a prolific one at that. Not only does she write blog posts that enlighten her readers on everything from the benefits of garlic to heart health to the weather in Ireland, but she also writes short stories and books, both fiction and nonfiction. And she’s here today to tell us about her latest work, What’s In a Name.

Welcome, Sally!

Thank you so much Amy for asking me over for an interview.. It is a real pleasure.

Tell me about your new book, What’s in a Name.

The short stories in this collection are about ordinary people who in some way bring their own unique spin on their names.  Can Alexander, a small boy with a mother who is a fan of Richard Burton, be great?  Can Clive conquer one of the most deadly predators in India?  There is romance, ghostly events, serial killers and those who need revenge and hopefully something for everyone who enjoys an eclectic mix of genres.

What made you decide to write about that particular subject?

Names are fascinating things. They often identify the decade you were born in and in the cases of some celebrities where you were conceived. We might be named after a favourite aunt or uncle in tribute and to keep their memory alive. In my case I was given the second name Georgina after my maternal grandmother. If we are named after someone famous it can also be a huge challenge to live up to their exploits. Imagine being called Napoleon, Caesar or Einstein!  The alphabet provided a great prompt for the stories and as there are stories for both male and females for each letter… There will be 52 tales by the time the second volume is finished.

How long did it take you to write it?

I spent about six months writing the stories and posting them on my blog. I wanted to get initial feedback before publishing and this was very useful. Also it was easier to fit in a story a week rather than sit down and write twenty all at once.

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

Probably coming up with a different concept for each name. It helped when the name was previously owned by someone with exploits or historical connection as the story could be geared to something similar. Also I wanted to avoid offending anyone on and offline if depicting a less than reputable character!  I still wanted friends at the end of the book.

Do you see aspects of yourself in the stories?

Certainly I have used locations that I know and have visited for example in France, Ireland and Sri Lanka where I spent some of my childhood. From that perspective it uses my experiences but with 52 stories over the two volumes, I am going to have to get creative.

Tell us about some of the other books you’ve written.

My books are a mixed bag. Non-fiction relating to health and media and then fiction in the form of novels and collections of short stories. I love the discipline of non-fiction where things have to be exact if the book is to be taken seriously. This is why I always have a fiction book of some description on the go at the same time for some light relief.

Do you write in a solitary environment or do you like to be around other people, noise, etc. when you write? I suppose what I’m asking is, do you write at home or in a coffee shop or another location?

I share an office with my husband who is a book designer and we tend to get on with our own work and confer from time to time on specific projects. I cannot write if there are distractions or lots of noise. I love music but keep that for the treadmill or when we are out walking.

Do you write every day? What does a typical day look like for you?

I do write every day in one format or another. The blog is important to me and so is maintaining my social media platforms that I use for the promotions that I do for other authors. I spend an hour or so going through the overnight traffic and also boosting the posts that have been scheduled from midnight. I may then do one of the daily blog posts before getting on with a chapter of my latest book or a short story to post during the week. I do take breaks for shopping, cooking and exercise, but it is fair to say that when it comes to writing… I need to get a life!

Do you have a favorite story in What’s in a Name?

I do have a favourite and it is the story of the toddler Clive in Sri Lanka who finds himself in a dangerous place. I was his age when we lived there and my first memories are of my amah pulling me away from danger. Touching any of the wildlife could be lethal as rabies was rampant even in the dogs and of course plenty of poisonous insects and predators. But I also remember the smell of curry, the warmth of the sun and swimming with my sisters.

Did you design the cover? If so, what’s in the background of the picture?

The photograph of the peacock was taken in the royal gardens of the king’s palace in Madrid when we took my mother and sisters there when they visited in 2000.  We took a number of shots and so we can use a slightly different one for the second volume.  My husband designs my covers and in the last few books I have used photographs that mean something to me.

Do you like to do readings, say at a bookstore or a library? Do you get many opportunities to read your work?

I did do some readings in the UK when I was living with my mother from 2008 to 2012 and had the opportunity. I loved it but we returned to Madrid  after my mother died and of course the language was an issue. This is another reason to get some of my books translated into Spanish at some point.  Since coming back to Ireland last year we have been focused on getting our new home finished but I am keeping an eye open for book festivals coming up in the summer.

What’s next on your writing horizon?

I have three books that are on their way to the final process. Two non-fiction, one on surviving modern life and some of my thoughts on why we find ourselves at odds with the world at times. The other is a people management manual for home and work… There are parallels including working with outside contractors, communicating with those in authority, and teenagers! I am nearly finished with volume two of What’s in a Name and then I must make a start with the sequel to Tales from the Garden which will be set in Ireland.

Where can readers find your books?

My books are all on Amazon, most in print and Ebooks.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

My books are also available via my own publishing site, some at a reduced price.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books/

And where can readers find you on social media?

Blog: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sgc58

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sally.cronin

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

It has been such a treat having you on Reade and Write, Sally. I hope you’ll come back again sometime!

Thank you again Amy for asking me over.

Until next week,

Amy

 

 

 

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Meet Sally Cronin

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Please welcome Sally Cronin, author of a short stories, a copious and impressive blog, novels, and a number of books on health, wellness, weight loss, and media training. Her most recent book is called Tales from the Garden. I’m particularly thrilled to have Sally on Reade and Write because she is a tireless and selfless promoter of other authors.

Hi, Sally!

Thank you so much Amy for inviting me along today to talk about my books and blog.

Tell me about your new book.

My latest book is a collection of fairy stories called Tales from the Garden and the stories cover the usual fairy story themes of love won and lost, evil witches and handsome princes.

Tales From the Garden small- Cover

Who is the audience for the book?

Judging by the comments it would seem that fairy stories appeal to all ages and I was surprised by the reaction from men and women when they read the stories originally on my blog. It would seem that ‘Happy Ever After’ is still popular.

I love “Happy Ever After” stories. Tell me about the setting of your book—how did you choose it, what kind of research did you have to do, why did you choose it?

The setting is primarily my garden here in Spain in the mountains to the north of Madrid. Most people assume that Spain is hot the entire year but being at 900 metres we have alpine weather. At night in the winter it can be minus four to five but in the wind shade, with the sun out, you can sit out and tan. The garden reflects this with evergreens and colour most of the year around. We bought the house 17 years ago and the original owners had collected stone statues that were dotted around the garden and sometimes hidden in the hedges.

We have the house on the market and apart from the glorious weather and views, I will miss the large figures that are far too heavy to take with us. I realised that if I created stories for each of them, I could take those with me instead. I did do some historical research on the area in general for some of the stories based in previous centuries but apart from that it was just letting my imagination run riot.

What a charming way to take the statues with you wherever you go! What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

Probably the hardest thing was to keep up to date with the photographs as there are 80 in the book. I also took some pictures when back in the UK and Ireland in gardens of my family to enhance some of the stories and also to add more snow or grey skies when needed for a story line.

If your book were made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the main characters?

I would love to see the book as an animated film in which case I think there would need to be a central narrator with a great voice. Someone with gravitas such as Patrick Stewart… Captain Pickard from Star Trek… Make it so!

Tell me about the other books you’ve written.

I published my first book in the late 90s based on my weight loss and the programme I designed to lose that weight. Size Matters is now in its fourth edition and Ebook. This was followed by three other health books: Just Food For Health which is one for the whole family, Forget the Viagra; Pass me a Carrot which is a men’s health manual, and Turning Back the Clock which is an anti-aging guide. My fiction is a romantic comedy for ladies of a certain age called Just an Odd Job Girl and a collection of short stories – Flights of Fancy and Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story, the book co-authored by our Rough Collie. I also have a Media Training guide that I have used in my training consultancy in the UK.  They have all been converted to Eversions in the last 18 months which has been a great opportunity to promote them again.

You must be a very busy woman. Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

Actually only a personal one. My husband is a book designer and we work closely together not only on my own books, which David reads and adds constructive feedback, but also for our authors we work with.

Do you write every day?

I do write every day but not always on my current book. I find that particularly with books on health it helps to take a break and write in a different style with a more creative topic. I post on my blog at least once a day and if I am promoting another author it is more likely to be twice a day.

When you read a book, what authors do you like best? What genres do you like best?

I was weaned on Wilbur Smith and fell in love with epic novels that brought terrific characters and adventures together. I am currently reading Bernard Cornwell again, alternating between Viking novels and Sharpe. That will probably keep me busy for a couple of years!  I also love books that explore our origins so have Jean M. Auel, author of the Clan of the Cave Bear and the rest of her books in the series about Ayla in hard and paperback.

Where would you like to go more than anywhere else on earth?

We have travelled a lot in the last thirty-six years and I also lived in South Africa, Malta and Ceylon as a child. We have lived abroad for 22 years of our marriage although I have been back and forth to the UK for extended periods to look after my mother. Once we move back to Ireland we have one more long haul trip to make and that is to take the train across the Rockies in Canada, visiting friends and family and taking in that stunning scenery.

It sounds like your own life would provide you with lots of ideas for books and stories, both fiction and non-fiction. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t force yourself to write in a genre because you think it will sell better than another. Your first book should be about something you are passionate about, understand and can communicate well. Once you have finished the writing… At the very least spell check and then if you feel you cannot edit yourself find someone who can. If you cannot afford to pay an editor then check your local colleges or university for someone who is majoring in English or your native language; see if they will take the book on as part of their course. Read and read again and it helps if you read out loud to establish how the narrative flows. Then decide how you are going to publish the book but do not be too disappointed if you do not get an agent or mainstream publisher. That may happen if your first book is successful in time. These days there are plenty of ‘how to’ blogs and books that will guide you into self-publishing especially in Ebooks. Nothing should stop you if that is what you really want.

What is your favorite movie and why?

I have loved the movies since early childhood from “Lawrence of Arabia” through to “Mama Mia.”  If I had to pick a movie that I can watch at a drop of a hat, “The Last of the Mohicans” would be the one. From the opening scene as the three men chase a stag through the forest to the last scene as they look out over the changing world they now face, it keeps the pace and flow beautifully. The cast is magnificent with Daniel Day Lewis in the lead role, the script is brilliant and the music superb. You cannot beat an incredible story brought to life with exceptional direction and acting.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

That the decisions that you make on the spur of the moment can have long lasting effects on your life but that is not necessarily a bad thing. And to be grateful for what you have and delighted when you get more than you thought possible.

Describe yourself in three words.

Writing, music and chocolate.

A woman after my own heart! Can you see yourself doing what you are right now for the rest of your life?

Absolutely. I would like to publish a book at 100 years old and still be able to make people laugh.

Where can readers connect with you?

My blog: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com

Social Media: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/sallycronin1
https://twitter.com/sgc58
https://www.facebook.com/sally.cronin
https://www.facebook.com/sallygeorginacronin
https://plus.google.com/+SallyCronin/about

Where can readers find your books?

All my books can be found via my Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2.

Also I have my own bookstore and the books are slightly cheaper there links can be found along with reviews. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books/.

Thank you again Amy for your hospitality.

And thank you, Sally, for your thoughtful and inspiring responses to my questions. I’ve loved having you on Reade and Write.

Until next week,

Amy

P.S. My end-of-winter newsletter is now out! You can view it by clicking here. If you haven’t signed up to receive it yet via email, click here. All my subscribers are entered for a chance to win a Hawaiian Swag Bag to celebrate the release of House of the Hanging Jade. Void where prohibited.