Today Cindy Ervin has stopped by the blog to share her Path to Publication story. Without further ado, here’s Cindy…
Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Christi. I’m happy to share my path to publication. I’ve been doing this writing thing off and on for decades.
I was first published in 3rd grade. My teacher put a poem I wrote in a mimeograph class paper. In 8th grade I wrote a very short story that the teacher encouraged me to submit to a contest. I didn’t win or even place, but I was hooked. I spent my high school years on the newspaper staff and writing lots of skits for Thespians to perform at a variety of functions. Over the years my writing has evolved with life. While my children were young, I wrote for children’s magazines and radio programs. I’d started a novel many years before my debut Secrets & Charades that is probably in a file somewhere. My mind has always been full of stories. As a teen, I used to put myself to sleep plotting an episode of a favorite TV show. I’d talk to characters in the shower, too. Wait. I still do.
After stepping out into the work force, I put writing aside for another decade. God got my attention about 15 years ago and redirected me back to writing. I wasn’t sure it was His voice, so I put out a fleece and he answered by providing the funds to take courses through the Christian Writer’s Guild. I knew I was rusty and publishing had changed. I’d never written a novel before and knew I need some instruction. After completing the courses and the first draft of my historical romance, there were years of rewriting and submitting my debut novel to publishers. Those were times when I wanted to quit, days of directing my attention to blog posts, figuring out social media, and writing lots of on-line articles. Let me see, twenty or so rejections later my novel won the Editor’s Choice Award and a contract with LPC. I’m thrilled to say my historical romance Secrets & Charades recently won third Place in the Maxwell Awards.
Random factoids about me
I was a military brat. Which means I’ve developed the ability to meet strangers and engage them in conversation. Military families move a lot. As kids, my sisters and I made friends quickly and a few years later made new ones. I call myself an introverted extravert. I like interacting with people. I’ll strike up a conversation with random strangers, but I love my time to myself. I’m ok with being alone.
I think I’m addicted to tea. No one actually admits their addictions but hey, I talk to random strangers. I’ll drink hot tea all year long. I even have a tea ball, so I can drink the “good stuff,” the loose-leaf variety from England, India and China. I’m also a chocoholic. That’s common among women so I’m not embarrassed to admit it.
The Story behind New Duet
I’m excited about my newest release New Duet. It’s a contemporary romance set in Aurora, Illinois where I have lived for over 40 years. We have a large immigrant population from around the world, and generational neighborhoods. Our downtown has a great artist niche and some fun restaurants. The Paramount Theater built in the 1931 and on the National Historic Register has great Broadway performances. Aurora is a wonderful backdrop for my story.
Widow Isabella Wilson is still recovering from her abusive marriage when she joins her sister in Aurora. Dan Sweeney attends the local college after leaving the army career he loved, to find a new life with his disability. Isabella hopes to rediscover her muse and her identity in Christ as she heals from her past. Dan is trying to adapt to his new normal. Together they help each other while resisting their attraction.
The inspiration came when I was standing on the platform during a worship service. My writer’s mind said what if the worship leader dropped dead. No, I had no ill-will toward my friend. But I’m sure a drama from the past was the seed for the idea. During a leadership meeting many years ago a visiting missionary dropped dead from an aneurism during the meeting. He finished what he had to say and went instantly into the presence of His Savior. It was traumatic for the men in the meeting. The seed of the idea evolved around the worship leader’s wife. That sent my mind spinning to develop the character of Isabella. The heart of her story is to inspire abused women to break out of their circumstance and move on.
But who would be the hero? I had a conversation with my son who left the army to go to college due to a medical condition he developed while in the military. He has a heart for veterans and understood about PTSD and trying to rebuild a life after the military. So, I gave former Army sergeant Dan some disabilities and a desire to find his new normal. My son showed me a video of a veteran and his service dog. Then I decided Dan needed Brutus, a German Shepherd/Pitbull mix to help him. Both breeds have been a part of our family. So, Brutus has a mixed pedigree. Again, my goal in creating the character of Dan is to give the physically wounded hope that God works all things together. Both Isabella and Dan will learn the past doesn’t need to haunt the present.
A word of wisdom to aspiring writer
Be patient, it takes time. While you wait for that first break, learn all you can. Be part of a critique group, and join an online writers group. Subscribe to blogs and writing magazines. Read, read, read craft books and lots of novels in the genre you want to write in. Immerse yourself in the writing craft. Attend writers conferences to meet authors, editors and agents. Tell yourself every day, I am a writer.
I have a novella coming out in The Cowboys novella collection, released through LPC in August 2019.
Back Cover Copy for New Duet:
Isabella Melinda Wilson has been squeezed into the music ministry model of her controlling husband’s making. Before she can leave him, he leaves her a guilt-ridden widow. Her mother-in-law is no comfort and presses the guilt button at every turn. Isabella flees to her sister’s home in search of her own identity and a new beginning.
Dan Sweeney has one goal. Be as normal as possible. After losing a leg, some fingers and his self-worth, he needs his service dog Brutus to help keep his PTSD at bay. Career-less and clueless about the future, he struggles to put his life back together.
Isabella isn’t looking for a new relationship and Dan feels unworthy of one. Can these two broken people heal into one whole love?
Buy Link for New Duet
Cindy Ervin Huff is a multi-published writer and her debut novel Secret’s and Charades won the Editor’s Choice Award in 2014 and placed third in the Maxwell Awards in 2017. Her contemporary romance New Duet released in May 2018. She has been featured in numerous periodicals over the last thirty years. Cindy is a member of ACFW and founding member of the Aurora, Illinois, chapter of Word Weavers. Although she has been creating stories in her head since childhood it wasn’t until high school those imaginary characters began appearing on paper. After raising her family, she began her novel writing adventures. Cindy loves to encourage new writers on their journey. She and her husband make their home in Aurora, Illinois. They have five children and six grandchildren.
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