Monday 18 June 2012

Authors In The Limelight: Cordelia Dinsmore

Michaela's GiftI want to thank and welcome author, Cordelia Dinsmore for sharing her personal writing journey with us on my blog today. Her book, Michaela’s Gift, can be purchased from Musa Publishing, Amazon, and other on-line bookstores.

Welcome, Cordelia! How long have you been writing?
Truthfully? My brother taught me to write my name when I was four. I carved it all over the back screen door with a butter knife and got in major trouble, even though I lied and said the boy next door did it. So that sort of killed the desire in me for a while, but not too long. My mother was a writer, mostly of poetry, so I spent many evenings sitting at the kitchen table scribbling down little rhymes. It was mostly a way of gaining attention. I’m a middle child, you see, just as Michaela is, and we middlings have to go out of our way to make our mark in the world.

Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write Michaela’s Gift?
The idea for Michaela’s Gift originated with Blackie. She was my grandmother’s dog, and everyone was terrified of her. Everyone, that is, except me. I’ve always been a lover of animals, and I couldn’t keep my hands off of her. I know after the last answer it may seem like I was a bit of a sneaky kid, but I just knew Blackie wanted a friend. She lived with two old people out in the middle of nowhere! How much fun could that be? So we became friends. And I never forgot her. So one day I just decided to write a book in her honor. It turned out to be someone else’s story, but she still ended up with a great part.

What sets Michaela’s Gift apart from other books in the same genre? 
Hmmmm. I really hate questions like this. You know, the ones where you have to be thoughtful and philosophical. I guess it’s the fact that there are a lot of surprising little twists to the story. There’s also a lot of depth.

Ohh, I love surprises! As an author, Cordelia, what is your writing process?
I’m definitely a pantser, although for some reason I always want to call it a pantster. Either way, I have forever hated outlines. When I was still in school, a million and a half years ago, I hated assignments that involved an outline. I would always have to write out the entire assignment and then go back and make an outline from my completed work. I never got the point. Now I realize that an outline can help keep your work focused, but it’s still an effort in futility for me.

I know what you mean! How long did it take for you to start and finish Michaela’s Gift?  
It probably took me about six months to write it initially. Then it took me two years of repeated edits and tweaks before I felt confident enough to share it with other eyes. Then there were more edits, of course, before it was accepted by Musa Publishing. Fortunately, my editor was very kind to it from there, and the final editing process was relatively fast and painless.

Do you have any advice for other writers, Cordelia?
Ha. I have to laugh because I never took myself serious as a writer until I’d spent many years convincing myself that I was pretty much useless. I had to quit working in my early thirties because of a crippling illness. I couldn’t even hold a pen in my hand for several years. And typing was murderous on my hands. But then my brother told me to check out a site called Absolute Write. That experience renewed my interest and gave me new purpose. So I guess, in a very roundabout way, I would say that anyone who wants to write, and feels that they have a story to tell, should do everything they can to make the time and effort to do so.

Well said! So, what’s next for Cordelia Dinsmore the author?
I have several things in the works. My current WIP is giving me fits right now because my MC does not want to deal with the inevitable. Her life has been one huge disappointment, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. We fight almost daily, and right now she’s winning more of the battles than I am. I’m also in the process of a rewrite on another YA that takes place in the 1960’s south. I’m changing it from third to first person, and that’s a new, but interesting, challenge for me. I also have a couple of picture books out on sub to a small publisher. She’s promised some more feedback soon.

Best of luck! Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series – If you could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why? 
I would go back to the early 1920’s, but only if I could watch my parents grow up. My favorite times as a kid were when all of our relatives got together and talked about their past. I listened, but not closely, so there is too much that I missed. Imagine how wonderful it would be to know what your parents experienced, and what formed their characters, on a first-hand basis. That would just be so totally awesome! Plus, my parents were great entertainers. They were forever telling stories and filling my head with wonderful ideas. I would love to go back and tell them stories of the world as it is today. I would love to see their faces when I told them about the technology we have available to us now. It would be a great science fiction novel.

Thank you, Sharon, so much for having me here today. I really appreciate your many efforts to support and promote fellow authors.
Here’s the blurb for Michaela’s Gift:

Michaela Cochran and her family make the trip to her father’s ancestral home every year, but this year is special. Michaela is now twelve, the age when every girl in the family receives a special gift. When Aunt Sharon explains that Michaela’s gift is a magical ability to bring one of her drawings to life, Michaela begins making plans. What she wants most is a castle high on the mountain, where her family can live together. But if she can’t figure out how to resolve the growing hostility between herself and her mother, her gift is meaningless.
Michaela’s Gift is available as of June 15th at

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  1. Great interview Cordelia! I'm looking forward to your book! :)

  2. Love how you got the idea for your book, Cordelia. Blackie must've been one special dog (and friend).

  3. Thank you, Sharon, for allowing me into your virtual home. It's been a real pleasure. And thanks to Lisa and Mary for taking the time to read about Michaela and comment. Yes, Blackie and I had some special moments.

  4. You're welcome back anytime, Cordelia, and best wishes with your publishing ventures! Cheers to Lisa and Mary for stopping by and showing their support! Woot!

  5. Very interesting and inspiring. I think I love your cover best of all at Musa, Cordelia. Yes, I'm a dog lover! :)

    1. Agreed, Ann! Love Newfoundland doggies! It's the Canadian in me!

  6. I love big dogs, so this cover calls to me. :-)

    All the very best of luck, Cordelia. :-)

  7. Thanks so much for stopping by, everyone. Dogs rule, as they say.