About the Author
Cindy Vincent, M.A. Ed., was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and has lived all around the US and Canada. She is the creator of the Mysteries by Vincent murder mystery party games and the Daisy Diamond Detective Series games for girls. She is also the award-winning author of the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Caper novels, and the Daisy Diamond Detective book series. She lives in Houston, TX with her husband and an assortment of fantastic felines. Cindy is a self-professed “Christmas-a-holic,” and starts planning and preparing for her ever-expanding, “extreme” Christmas lights display every year, sometime in the early Spring . . .
1. How did you get started as an author? What or whom inspired you?
It's funny, but I started writing creatively just as soon as I learned to read and write. I wrote my first real "work" in the First Grade, in the mid-1960s. That's when the Charlie Brown specials had come out, and I wrote my own version as a puppet show. Of course, I added a commercial, which I spelled out — using my phonics — as Kamershell. Ha! I still have a copy of this. I made sock puppets and my wonderful teacher let my friends and me perform it in front of the class. I'm sure it was pretty bad, but our teacher was wise enough to just let us do it ourselves and learn from it, rather than taking over and making it perfect.
In later grade school years, I wrote class plays and short stories and on and on. Now, as a grownup, my happiest days are the days I get to spend writing. When I'm not writing, I'm thinking about writing. Writing for me is right up there with breathing and eating and sleeping. (Okay, maybe not sleeping so much . . .) It's a necessity, and not an option. I'm sure lots of writers feel the same way.
2. How many books have you written and in what genres?
Since humorous mysteries are what I love to read, that’s what I tend to write. I have four books in my Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Capers series, including the one I have on this blog tour now. The first in the series is The Case of the Cat Show Princess, where Buckley and Bogey go undercover at a cat show to save an animal who has been abused by her owner. Buckley enters in the Cutest Family Pet category, while Bogey enters the Agility Competition.
The next in the series is The Case of the Crafty Christmas Crooks, whereby Buckley experiences his first Christmas and fights to uncover some crooks who are trying to ruin the season for everyone. And the third book is The Case of the Jewel Covered Cat Statues, which is loosely my spoof on the Maltese Falcon, done Buckley and Bogey style. But instead of a jeweled bird statue, Buckley and Bogey are in search of a jeweled cat statue. Naturally. (Did you expect anything different?)
I also have two books out from an earlier series, my Daisy Diamond Detective novels. The Mystery of the Missing Ming and The Case of the Rising Star Ruby are middle-grade novels that went along with a series of mystery party games that I created for ‘tween girls. And . . . speaking of games, for twenty years I owned and operated Mysteries by Vincent, where I wrote and sold over forty different murder mystery party game titles. It was a lot of fun, and my games were shipped all over the world. And, I might add, they went to more interesting places than I did!
Plus, sixteen years ago I wrote a grown-up’s mystery novel — Makeover for Murder. This was a spoof on the door-to-door cosmetics industry, and is available on Kindle today. Finally, as a complete departure from what I usually write, I put out a Daily Biblical Devotional book a few years ago, called Cats are Part of His Kingdom, Too. In this book, not only do I chronicle many of my personal experiences with some of my own cats, but I also parallel the love a pet owner has for a cat with the love that God has for his people. Much like we humans work in many behind-the-scenes ways to make the lives of our cats better, God works in behind-the-scenes way for us, in ways that we can't even comprehend.
As for current projects, I’m right in the heart of writing the first book of a new mystery series set in the 1940s. Since I enjoy studying history so much, I especially loved doing all the research for this series!
3. How long does it typically take you to write a book?
This varies greatly, and it really depends on what else I have going on in my life at the time. For instance, when I ran a full-time business, I was somewhat limited on writing time. But typically it takes me about six months to write a Buckley and Bogey book or a middle-grade novel. Grown-up novels are a different ballgame, and can take up to a year to write. I love those times when I can fully immerse myself in a novel and write without interruption. That’s when I can really burn rubber on the keyboard.
4. When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote my first book in my early thirties. It was a romance novel that made the rounds in New York, but never went anywhere from there. But the truth was, I’m not a romance reader and only wrote a romance novel because someone advised me it was a good way to break into the industry. But I think editors spotted this right off the bat, and no doubt, readers would have, too. It was a good lesson for me, and I’ve learned to be true to my own voice and write the kinds of books that I would like to read.
5. What suggestions would you give potential author to help them become a better writer?
First, I would suggest that you never, ever quit learning, and read everything you can on the craft of writing. Then, I would advise that you keep practicing and write something every single day. It’s so important to keep your little gray cells active and fired up. After that, I would strongly recommend that you guard your gift zealously. That means taking good care of your brain. Make sure you feed it enough healthy food (blueberries are my recommendation), get some aerobic exercise, and stay away from alcohol or any drugs/medications that might impair your thinking ability long term. And last, I would suggest that you be very careful in choosing the people who critique your work. Your grandma or your best friend will probably just tell you what you want to hear, and that nasty neighbor across the street will be critical purely for the sake of being critical. Instead, seek out other writers and authors who know what they’re doing, and seek out people who read your genre. Don’t get offended because someone suggests an improvement, and be sure you get a few opinions before you officially put anything “out there.”
6. How frequently do you hear from your fans?
I get wonderful letters and photos from fans probably on a weekly basis. While my books appeal to both kids and cat lovers of all ages, most of my fan letters come from elementary school kids. And let me tell you, those letters are wonderful. I usually get a nice long story about their own cats who seem to have plenty of adventures themselves. It sometimes amazes me that children see aspects of my books that I didn’t even realize I’d put in there. In fact, one little girl wrote me about the third book in the series, saying how she loved that the final scene took place in a church, because she just knew that God was watching over Buckley and Bogey. And helping to save them from the bad guys. To tell you the truth, I hadn’t even considered that when I wrote it. Some of their comments bring tears to my eyes.
7. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did becoming a writer ever cross your mind?
Ha! As a child, I had so many interests that I had a million different ideas for a career. I remember going through a phase where I wanted to be a private detective and I believe I also wanted to be a fashion designer for a while. I thought being a flight attendant would be pretty fun, but I think by junior high school, I was determined to be a doctor, mostly because I had a fantastic Biology teacher who pushed me in that direction. Later, I believe I thought about being a journalist for a time. In a nutshell, I think I wanted to do it all because so many things interested me! As for writing, I think I always saw it as more of a sideline career, probably because I had never actually met any authors. I honestly never dreamed I’d be doing this fulltime and I feel so incredibly blessed to be doing this!
8. What hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
Hobbies are a bit of an issue for me, since I have more hobbies than I’ll ever have time for. I dabble in painting, photography, gardening and interior design. But my absolute faves are art quilting and apparel sewing. I have art quilts all over my house, (and a few other people’s, too) and I’m forever making a new dress or top or jacket. A few years ago, I took a weeklong couture sewing class, and since then I’ve been addicted to sewing evening gowns. (Of course, there is no logical explanation for this — it’s just something that I like to do. Maybe it hails back to my Barbie® days as a kid?) Thankfully, my husband and I take a lot of cruises, so I always get a chance to wear my latest creation on formal night.
Check out my reviews for
THE CASE OF THE CAT SHOW PRINCESS (coming soon)
THE CASE OF THE CRAFTY CHRISTMAS CROOKS (coming soon)
THE CASE OF TEH JEWEL COVERED CAT STATUES (coming soon)
THE CASE OF THE CLEVER SECRET CODE (coming soon)
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