I’m excited and proud to introduce one of my dear friends from across the
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
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
The biggest regret you wish you could
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
My family, myself and my work.
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
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
It could be a chapter, a paragraph, a sentence or
even a word, but it's there.