Author Interview- Cindy L. Shirley

Today we have Cindy to talk to us about her latest book 🙂
Tell us a bit about your book:  My latest book was released in August. A Song for Birdie: A Child’s Journey with Autism is about a young girl who is struggling in school. When her teacher calls a parent conference, the topic of Autism is brought up. Reluctantly, the decision to place Birdie in special needs class is made. Through an unusual encounter with a tiny yellow bird, the young girl begins to reconnect. With the encouragement of a new teacher, Birdie finds acceptance. The new classroom becomes the ideal setting for Birdie to excel.
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What would say is the genre for your book: Children’s Fiction although parts of the story are based on a true story.
Where did the inspiration on come from? A family member’s personal experience along with my previous experience with working in the public school system. The story was written to shine a light on the message that everyone has their own special gifts to offer. Truly, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. All we have to do is open our eyes and see it.
How did you come up with the title for your book? The title is relevant to the storyline and represents the character beautifully.
How long did it take you to finish writing the book before the first edit? About a month
How many drafts were there in total? I think there were four. I only changed a few scenes to bring attention to the behaviour patterns that Birdie was exhibiting.
Are there any characters in the book based on people you know? Yes
 How did you celebrate being published? Being self-published is rewarding in that you retain complete control over your work. I have released six books within the last year. Every story is precious to me and shares part of my life with my readers. I am fortunate that my hometown of Woodstock, Georgia is very supportive of my work. The local newspaper has interviewed me numerous times and shared my story with our community. I definitely consider that a celebration!
Did you have a launch party? No
Would you care to give us an extract? Several days had passed and conference time had arrived. Birdie was already irritated. Mrs. Andrews began by saying, “Well, Mr. and Mrs. Williams, your daughter seems to be distracted. She continually doodles in her notebook instead of paying attention in class.” As the meeting continued, the topic of possible Autism was brought up. This wasn’t the first time that Birdie’s parents had heard the “A” word.
How do you beat writer’s block? Any tips? Sometimes I need to step back and put myself in the characters shoes. Once I refocus on the main objective of the character, I can get back on track.
Do you have any hobbies apart from writing? I love spending time with my granddaughter! She is actually the main character in my book, Doodle and the Magic Christmas Float. That story is based on my family’s annual participation in our hometown Christmas parade. That is something we truly love being a part of. It takes months of preparations and hard work but the end results is amazing! I also spend a lot of my time being a part of local festivals and meeting my readers. My sister and daughter-in-law attend these with events with me. I also visit local elementary schools in Cherokee County, Georgia and talk to students about bullying. This is something that I am extremely passionate about.
When you write, do you consider yourself to be a plotter or a pantser? Plotter
Do you have any advice for fellow writers? Never give up!
If your book became a film- who would you pick to play the main characters? Emma Watson
I see you have new work in progress- care to tell us about it? My next story is called: Kitty Ballou’s Sanctuary Zoo. It deals with animal advocacy and the illustrations are going to be unbelievable!

Lastly, where can readers find you and your book on the internet? My books can be found online at numerous retailers including, Walmart.com, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million and Amazon. My Amazon author page is www.amazon.com/author/cindyshirley.

Thank you for sharing your story Cindy and looking forward to seeing your next book!
Cindy L. Shirley grew up in a small town in Cherokee County, Georgia. She is a wife, mother of two, and grandmother of one amazing granddaughter. She loves working with children and has tons of hilarious stories to share. “So many heartfelt conversations and silly experiences took place during my time working as an ASP teacher. Kids just want to feel acknowledged and share their day with someone”. It was during her time working with students that Cindy decided to pursue a business in entertaining children.
Mrs. Shirley founded “Let’s Pretend Parties” in 2006 and continues to work with children of all ages as a party planner and hostess to this day. She is involved with annual community and family events throughout both Cobb and Cherokee county school systems. These activities, along with personal experiences, are the basis for her upcoming children’s books: “Diesel the Body Guard; No Bullies Allowed!”, “Doodle and the Magic Christmas Float”, “Mom, Where Did You Go?”, and her new series, “The Fabulous Life of Minnie the Sassy Chick”. These stories are based on real characters from Cindy’s family, as well as her childhood experiences. Her creative and fun-filled story lines were written to bring a smile to children’s faces. When asked about becoming a new author, Cindy said “I will consider this new adventure to be a huge success if I can just make children laugh.”
Cindy can be found on facebook @letspretendpublishing
Here is the range of her lovely books: 43176087_1924044557638899_7787614184048427008_n
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