(This is the second part of an interview with author Cindy Hanna started earlier this week.)
So why did you start the blog in the first place?
As a means to connect with individuals, not just those who might read my books, but with a wide cross-section of individuals who were tired of being inundated with negativity from the media to day-to-day interactions with others. Many view my blog as a breath of fresh air—a way to start…or end, their day on a positive note.
Which came first, the blog or the books?
Is writing something you’ve always wanted to do?
It’s something I always HAVE done. For me, writing is like shaking a can of soda. The trapped bubbles—my words—MUST be allowed to escape.
Excellent analogy. When do you first remember writing something for yourself (not a school assignment, or the like)?
It was actually a fourth-grade school assignment that I opted to turn into something for myself. It was to be a five-page typed report on Abraham Lincoln. But when I began my research, I fell in love with the little-known nuances to the man. So, disregarding the perimeters of the assignment, I turned in a ten-page typed report. Handing it to my teacher, she saw the number of pages and gave me an instant “F.” I questioned, “Why.” She told me I hadn’t followed instructions. My response as that young girl, “But as a teacher aren’t you supposed to instill a thirst for education in us? If so, then why would you disregard how excited I got with this project and all I learned, wanted to learn, in the process of doing it?” She handed me back my report, still bearing an “F” grade and told me to take my seat without addressing my question. It was in that moment that I knew the writer in me HAD to supersede all else.
So what did you do after the fourth grade?… How did your writing manifest itself?
I journaled for myself, wrote short stories, thrived off of written assignments given in school and wowed my teachers with what I turned in. By Jr. High, those same teachers were suggesting that I get my work published.
When did you get your first published credit, and how did it feel?
My first recognition, though not a credit, I don’t believe, was when I won a DAR writing contest, sponsored by our school, while in second grade. THAT was a defining moment. One I will never forget as I stood in front of my entire school and won that award. It proved to me that others found my work worthy. After that, I began writing little blips and articles for small publications, again, feeling amazed that anyone would be interested in what I had to say or that they would be captivated by my words.
What was your first “paying” gig?
That would be when I wrote for The Circle Magazine, a now defunct E-zine.
A lot of people often put their writing on the back burner to take care of their career or family. How have you managed the demands?
When I began having children, I knew that I would need to let my writing take a back seat to them, though I did still write. I promised myself that when I turned 40, I would resume writing full-time. It took two years past that and was quite an adjustment to the family. Though I had volunteered my time for twelve years in the public school system to help teach elementary school children the creative writing process, I had always been there for my family—first. But my husband gave me full support, knowing that I’d allowed him to pursue his dreams and that this was my time to shine. So, with a bit of finessing, I managed to learn to juggle the demands of working full-time while still raising my family and running races across the US competitively in my so-called spare time…. I have about five hours a day when I’m not working or dealing with my family and that is seven days a week. And it’s during those five hours that I hope to get some sleep. Don’t always pull the full five, but I’m close most times.
Is that all the sleep you get?
Yes, like I said, I’m nicknamed the Energizer Bunny. I’ve always been high energy and needing of very little sleep. My philosophy: I can always sleep when I’m dead.
(Part III will be published next week.)