I’m very happy to host a guest interview with author, Cordelia Dinsmore. Cordelia Dinsmore lives in a century-old farmhouse surrounded by fields of corn, wheat, sunflowers, etc., depending on the whims of the farmers. A dog, five cats, a horse, and several humans share the small farm where she works and plays. Cordelia writes strictly for children and has a fondness for creating rhyming picture books. When she’s not writing, she loves to grow flowers, blackberries, tomatoes, and the occasional herb. She also loves bird watching and scouring the Flint Hills for artifacts and prehistoric shark teeth. Cordelia’s middle grade book, MICHAELA’S GIFT is published by Musa Publishing. You can find out more about Cordelia at her blog, or friend her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.
Story Blurb: 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.
You can buy MICHAELA’S GIFT at:
Where did you get the inspiration for MICHAELA’S GIFT?
Michaela’s Gift began as a seed from memories of my grandmother’s dog, Blackie. My mother was terrified of the dog and wouldn’t let us play with her. I wanted a pet of my own, but my parents weren’t crazy about the idea of another dog after ours ran off, and I was allergic to cats, so there were no fur people in my life. I made friends with Blackie, but only saw her once or twice a year, so I used to dream up adventures for her and imagine what it would be like if she had some sort of magical power.
What was the most challenging part of writing MICHAELA’S GIFT?
The most challenging part was Michaela’s mother. Everyone kept telling me she was just too mean. She is mean, although she is much nicer than the original version. But there is an explanation to her attitude toward Michaela.
Can you tell us a little bit about your path to publication? How did you decide to submit MICHEALA’s GIFT to digital first publisher, Musa Publishing?
I’ve been involved with the amazing writers over on Absolute Write for several years now, and if it weren’t for their feedback and the critique partners I have found through them, I would never have considered submitting to any publisher. They gave me courage and confidence in my ability. I also discovered Musa Publishing and Celina Summers over on AW, and advised another writer to submit to them before I ever considered doing so, myself. I read their contract, and the comments over on AW, and decided to give them a try. I’m certainly happy that I did.
What is one thing which has surprised you about being published?
Actually, when I received the offer of a contract, I was elated. Then I became terrified by all the new things I was going to have to learn. I had never formatted a manuscript to a house style. That was very scary. I had never considered the amount of time involved in promotions, and that was frightening. But as I face each new challenge, I know I’m learning something that I will hopefully use over and over again. I also couldn’t be happier with all the new friends I am meeting as I continue to reach out in the world of publication. I guess that’s a lot more than one thing, but it’s difficult to be precise when there is so much involved in the process of publication.
What advice would you give to young writers?
I have run across a few young writers who have been in a hurry to see their name on the cover of a book. Be patient. You can still be persistent, but take your time to learn your craft. Find mentors whom you trust, and then listen to the advice they share with you. I have read published works that were exceedingly poor in quality of writing because a young writer did not want to heed the advice of people who knew better.