Thursday, 23 April 2015

Author Interview - Kathy Cyr

Dear Readers


I’m excited and proud to introduce one of my dear friends from across the pond.

Kathy Cyr – a new novelist, who has written and  published her first (middle grade) book in the

Max Hamby series – Max Hamby and the Blood Diamond.

Kathy is a home-schooling mom who had a burning dream to be published and buckets of talent to match her ambition.  Despite a number of personal challenges she devoted herself to her craft….and…. she did it!

She is an inspiration to me and I hope you’ll buy her book and share it with your own middle graders who have an appetite for magical fantasy.

Currently on Book 2, Kathy is beavering away to continue Max’s intrepid adventures battling with the dark forces that stand between him and his goals.

Written in an engaging style,  young readers cannot fail to fall in love with its protagonist, his side-kicks and the other colourful characters that accompany him on this journey.


I know as an avid reader (and sporadic writer) myself I also like to get to know the woman behind the writing. So Kathy answers twenty questions I posed on life, death and everything in between.


Below that you’ll find a writer Q&A session where Kathy discusses her writing life.

Kathy has a regular blog and is a pretty good artist too:







Kathy Cyr……                    



The prized possession you value above others…..


My husband and children above all else.

Materialistic things: my 30 year old teddy bear. I still sleep with it  and probably always will.


The biggest regret you wish you could amend….


I have many regrets, but in truth, they are lessons learned. The choices I have made have not always been right and there have been countless ups and downs, but they lead me to my husband, the gifts of my two beautiful children and the chance to learn more about myself daily.



The temptation you wish you could resist…..


Temptation knocks at the door daily, as I'm sure it does for others. It is difficult to withstand its enticing call, but I try, to the best of my ability.



The book that holds an everlasting resonance…..


The Harry Potter series. I fell head over heels in love before the first half of the first book.



The priority activity if you were the Invisible Woman for a day…..


I'd be curious to see how others act behind closed doors. Most people put on a good front and never truly let their down, relax and just be themselves.



The pet hate that makes your hackles rise…..


I don't hate anything. There are some pet peeves, but I try not to put too much into them.

I'd be angry all the time, if I did.



The movie you can watch over and over…..


All Harry Potter movies, Ratatouille, Paranorman, Rio, Brave, etc. I love children's animated movies.



The figure from history you most admire…..


The ones that come to mind first are John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, Ghandi, Princess Diana. They all wanted and tried to make a difference.


The piece of wisdom you would pass on….


From my experience alone: Be strong, be kind, don't wait. Be strong when life takes a scary turn. Be kind because a kind word goes a long way and will always come back to you. Don't wait because life zips by and is too short. Live your life the best you can your way.


The poem that touches your soul…..


I don't have a favorite poem, but I cherish a book of poems (Emily Dickinson) that was given to me many years ago by my great aunt.



The unending quest that drives you…..


To be a (decently) successful author. To be the best mom and wife I can be. To be the best me as humanly possible.



The event that altered the course of your life and character….


Meeting my husband, again, after so many years. Getting married, having my children, publishing my first book.



The song that means the most to you….


I do not have a favorite song, although I enjoy many genres. I don't listen to music that often but when I do it's usually something upbeat.



The way you would spend a fantasy 24 hours with no travel restrictions…..


I would visit Ireland. My family originated from Kildare or Tipperary. My great aunt used to visit family over there, but I never got a chance to learn who they are.






The happiest moments you will cherish forever….


Moving into my first apartment with my husband, getting married, having my children, being published.



The saddest time that shook your world….


The death of my grandma and my dad.



The unfulfilled ambition that continues to haunt you…


Owning our own home.


The philosophy that underpins your life……….


Same as above.  Be strong, be kind, don't wait



The order of service at your funeral…..


I have a “thing” about funerals, death/dying, etc. Never discuss it.



The way you want to be remembered……


Remembered as in past tense and is similar to gone, deceased, etc.

Can't get my mind there.



The Plug…..


The first book in the children's fantasy series – Max Hamby


It's the end of the school year and the day of the class field trip. Twelve year old Max Hamby gets locked in a strange room at the museum. It sets off a string of events that sends his life into a tailspin.

An unwitting recipient of a magical stone as a baby, the Blood Diamond has awakened.


Witches. Wizards. Gnomes. Dwarfs. Trolls. Giants.


Max is left reeling when his mother disappears. The Shadow Stone is to blame. The key to a wasteland for the dead and a prison for a five hundred year old witch. It was never meant to be found. Now someone is using it to free the witch and has marked Max for death. In a good versus evil battle, he must use his power to fight for his life and find his mother before it's too late




Kathy Cyr – My Writing Life


Who are you and what do you do?

I am a married mom of two and a children's author.

What genre is your writing?

Middle grade (9 – 12 years old). I love middle grade fantasy.

Where can we find your writing?

Max Hamby and the Blood Diamond is on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Createspace, Kobo and other online retailers.

Book 2 will be out before the end of 2015.


How much time do you spend on research?

I don't do any research right now. I have a large binder packed with ideas, info, previous research. There's more than enough to see me through the Max Hamby series. I started it in 2010 and have been adding to it ever since. I refer to it all the time.

How do you prepare to write?

Lots of coffee and a clear head. A spot that's clean and organized is good, too.


Where do you get your ideas from?


Ideas come from anywhere. The idea for the Max Hamby series came out of nowhere, as did two other characters I have waiting in the wings. For me, ideas come when the world is quiet and I'm listening.

Do you prefer noise or silence when you write?

Nothing. For the most part, I have to work in silence so that I can hear the characters, see what's going on and feel how they feel. The only exceptions are when the birds are chirping outside.

 How many hours a day do you spend writing?

1 – 5 hours. All my writing is done before noon, otherwise it won't get done.

I love the early hours. It's that time when the sky is just starting to lighten and right before the birds wake. The world hasn't quite woken up yet and that is the time when the ideas and characters are the loudest.

Do you write every day?

I try to write every day. If I can't get to my novel, then I write in a journal. I prefer pencil or pen to paper, instead of digital.

 Do you believe in writer’s block?

If I had been asked this question years ago I would have said, yes.

I lost 8 – 9 years because I “thought” I had writer's block.

Now, I believe it was all me. I don't believe my confidence, self esteem and discipline was where it needed to be.

How would you like to grow creatively?

I'd like to be able to write faster.


When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I fell in love with writing and books as a child. I've always kept a journal. But, I didn't start following my heart till I was in my 30's.


Who or what is your muse or creative inspiration?

If there has to be a muse, it would be my surroundings. In order to write well, my surroundings have to be relatively calm and there has to be a sense of freedom to let it all hang out. Thus the reason I enjoy writing before or at dawn.

What makes for a great writer?

Persistence. You must push forward every day. Consistency. You must write everyday. Discipline. Holding yourself to some type of schedule, no matter how small, is the only way you'll reach your goals. Heart. You must write with heart, otherwise your work will fall flat.

Believe in yourself. No matter what you want to do, you must believe in yourself. You must drop the walls of self doubt, close yourself off from any and all negativity and just do it. It took me years to learn most of that.


Do you use a computer or typewriter to write?

I don't use a typewriter or a computer for writing.

What software do you use for writing?


I have LibreOffice Writer and Scrivener, but neither one gets used very often.

I use binders, notebooks, lined or blank paper, etc. For me, it's far more freeing to write long hand.

LibreOffice Writer is what I use when my book is complete.


How do you beat procrastination? Do you have a self-imposed deadline?

I am the, unfortunate, queen of procrastination and distraction. I attempted to place myself on a deadline this year and Book Two has been inching along.


How do you stay organized?

I have several binders separated into categories, different stories and research.

How do you relax at the end of the day?

The story is always there. I can't turn it off until it's complete. But, I enjoy being with my husband and kids.

Greatest teacher?

My husband. He's a very level-headed extrovert. Ninety-nine percent of the time he thinks with his head and not his heart. He's disciplined, blunt and fair. If there's something to be done, he gets right to it. I am the opposite. I am a quiet introvert who thinks with her heart and is great at putting things off, to an extent. I have a tendency to do for everyone else before I do for me.

Greatest success?

My family, myself and my work.

Writing related frustrations?

I don't have the alone time I need during the colder months, so I am really looking forward to spring.

 Choose one author, living or dead, that you would like to have dinner with.

J.K. Rowling. A mom with a dream. I relate to that.

If you could take a vacation tomorrow, where would you go?


Any advice for fellow writers? If you could go back in time, is there anything you'd change or do over again?

I've learned quite a few lessons through the years, so I'm not sure I would want to do it all over again.

The advice I have to offer is get your butt in the chair and write. There's no other way to do it. It feels so much better to do it than to sit around thinking about it. Finishing my novel was the biggest high I have ever felt, but publishing my novel sent me soaring to a whole other level of joy.

Is there anything else you’d like us to know?


Time is short. Don't waste it. What you write today may seem like a big lump of awful, but within all that mess is a jewel of awesome.

It could be a chapter, a paragraph, a sentence or even a word, but it's there.