Everywhere I turn, I see or hear about author Cindy Sproles.
I had the pleasure of meeting her at the Ridgecrest Novelist retreat
in 2014. Let’s find out the latest . . .
1. Thanks for stopping by High Cotton. Cindy, your new fiction release Mercy’s Rain is highly acclaimed. Readers are touched, even gripped, by the story. Please explain.
I am thrilled. It’s one of those, “Who’d-have-figure-it” moments. I think readers are caught up in the story because it is transparent and emotional. I knew when I started this book, it wouldn’t be your run of the mill NORMAL. I wanted readers to feel the deep emotion of this character. I wanted them to connect with their own feelings — anger, hurt, betrayal. By allowing Mercy to feel those things and state them clearly, readers connected.
So often, readers say Christian Fiction is hokey. I believe it’s because we don’t want the world to know that Christians suffer. OR that things don’t always turn out the way we expect. We paint the picture that God obediently answers every prayer exactly the way we want, and we both know that isn’t true. I wanted to fill Mercy’s walk toward redemption with the pains and frustrations every person experiences. I don’t know a Christian who hasn’t at some point asked God, “Why?” The difference is trusting God is with us, and in His will we overcome. I wanted the secular world to see this woman have a true walk into faith. It had to be hard. It had to angry. And it had to end in the resolution that God was not heaping bad things on Mercy. Instead, He was the strength carrying her through.
2. Although Mercy’s Rain is a fiction debut, you are a seasoned writer. Tell us about your “beginnings” and writing projects.
I began writing devotions. But I only wrote them for me. I needed to do two things to become a writer for God. 1) Strengthen my own relationship with Him 2) Learn the craft. So I bought one of those plastic bread loaves filled with scripture (Our Daily Bread). There are some pretty obscure scripture pulled from the Bible in those things. Everyday I pulled a scripture from the loaf and if it was obscure, I didn’t allow myself a do-over. Instead I pulled out my Bible, looked up the scripture, and read it in its full context. Next I wrote myself a devotion. I found a story in my life or in something around me, figured out how to apply the scripture to the story, learned the application and then offered myself a challenge to change. In the process, I studied to better my writing mechanics. Before long, I was working with Eddie Jones launching a web ministry of daily devotions. Along the way, I learned to write fiction – well, I’m still learning fiction. The key for me was being determined to write for God. It took some time – as it should, and God has blessed me.
3. You speak, teach, edit, and have a caregiving blog. What sparked these interests?
Well, when you write, you speak and when you speak you write. The two go hand in hand. As your writing grows and expands so does your expertise. This leads to teaching. Hold your hat – I’m really an introvert at heart. So when I am the position of teaching or speaking, I put on a new hat so I can manage it. I attended Christian Communicators to learn to be a speaker. And it seems the more I write, the more I speak. It’s a morphing process.
The caregiving blog comes from my day job. I work as an office manager for Comfort Keepers, an in-home, non-medical company that places caregivers into the homes of the elderly. The caregiving blog for the families of our clients morphed into a bi-monthly article in a newspaper, several guest blog posts on CBN.com, and some have helped write state legislation for eldercare. It’s amazing how little things turn into big things. I was honored to have my caregiver blog posts spur changes and grow empathy for aging Americans so legislators asked to use them. I love the elderly. They’re a wealth of information. This is why writers tell you to write about your passions. When you write from your passions, compassion explodes onto the page. Then those words change lives.
4. On a fun day, what is Cindy Sproles doing?
Really? (laughing). I love hiking. I love the mountains where I was raised, so my husband and I spend time walking mountain trails and visiting small mountain towns. I love the river and sitting close to it, relaxing. When we have all four of our boys home, we hit amusement parks or go to the beach as a family. And we laugh. . . a lot.
5. What one tip would you give new writers of nonfiction? fiction?
This is my answer and I stick to it. Don’t marry your words. There are always better words, better ways, to write your thoughts. If you marry your words, you develop “the words are perfect” attitude. Don’t fall into that trap. Always be open to improvements.
6. What’s on your reading table?
Dee Henderson’s Taken.
The Heiress by Mary Ellis.
Centralia by Mike Delosso.
The Red Letter Prayer Life by Bob Hostetler.
7. Any parting remarks?
I would say follow your heart in writing. Writers write because they can’t NOT write. Don’t rush to publication. Take the time (years) to hone the craft so when you do publish, it is the best work you can offer, not only to the reader but to God. After all, He gave you the gift. Don’t grow frustrated. Publication is like a giant wheel. What you write today may not have spun to the top of the wheel yet. Be patient. Your time will come.
Thanks for having me. I’m honored to be a part.