Saturday, June 18, 2011

Saturday Stories, Cindy M. Hogan

Today I am joined by newly published author Cindy M. Hogan. Cindy's debut novel Watched hit bookstore shelves this month.

Click here if you want to check out Cindy's self-titled blog.

Click here if you want to visit the blog for Watched.

Click here if you want to learn more about the upcoming novel in the Watched series called Protected.

Q--Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Utah but moved to Oregon when I was 13. From there we moved five different times and I attended four different high schools in three different states. It was quite the fun ride. I came back to my favorite four-season-state, Utah, once I finished high school and then I graduated from BYU with a BA in education. Speaking at my college’s graduation was the most heart-stopping thing I’ve ever had to do. I married the love of my life and had two cute little girls who are now extremely fun teenagers. I’ve worked as a teacher for the last nine years and love spending time with unpredictable teenagers. If I’m not writing or reading, you’ll find me doing something outdoors or sacked out watching my favorite flicks. I spend my summers teaching swim lessons to the most amazing little ones. I love my life.

Q--Please share your road to publication. From when you decided you wanted to write to when you got your contract.
After writing my first three chapters, I went to my sister for some advice. Much to my surprise, I found out she had also written a book. She encouraged me to go to a writers’ conference with her. It changed my whole outlook on writing. Even though an editor asked for my first three chapters, I never sent them to him. The conference classes had opened my eyes and I didn’t want to submit until I had implemented everything I’d learned. I joined a critique group and fell into a consistent pattern of writing and editing for the next two years. At my second conference, an agent requested my first three chapters and yet again, I wanted to polish my work even more before sending it in and then never did. When the 2010 ABNA contest rolled around, I decided to enter it, hoping it would give me courage. It did. The contest started with five thousand entries and I made it all the way to the cut down to 250 entries. Using the prize Amazon gave me for getting so far in the contest, I created my print book. I was thrilled with how it turned out. So, I showed it off to everyone and most wanted to buy it. I told them it was just a proof and for fun. It spurred me to investigate indie publishing. With the crazy changes taking place in the publishing industry right now, I decided it might be just what I was looking for even though I was about to sit down with yet another agent to pitch my book. I set the wheels in motion to indie publish—and these are big, heavy wheels—and even made it available for sale as an e-book. Once again the agent at the conference was intrigued with my book and wanted me to submit those three chapters. I almost convinced myself to stop those indie wheels, but then remembered why I’d chosen indie publishing in the first place and let them roll.
Q--What were you shocked to learn during the publishing process?
I was shocked to discover that even published with a publishing house, a debut author is almost solely responsible for her success. It takes a lot of time and serious effort.
Q--Tell us about your book, Watched.

Watched. It takes more than a school trip to Washington, D.C. to change fifteen-year-old Christy’s life. It takes murder. A witness to the brutal slaying of a Senator’s aide, Christy finds herself watched not only by the killers and the FBI, but also by two hot boys. While the danger deepens around her, she must face her own feelings of inadequacy as the boys coax her into changing in ways she feels ill-equipped to handle and somehow settle on beliefs and values of her own. She quickly discovers that if she can’t help the FBI, who want to protect her, it will cost her and her new friends their lives.
Q--This is a chicken and an egg question....Which came first, the voices in your head or the desire to write?
The voices in my head definitely came first. After an awesome dream, the main character, Christy, wouldn’t leave me alone until I’d written her story and it’s still unfolding.
Q--Which do you prefer, chicken or steak?
I love steak in all its forms. No offense, Chicken, I eat you most of the time.
Q--If you could re-write the ending to any book or movie, what story would it be and how would you change it?
I'd like to change the endings of three books: Mocking Jay, Breaking Dawn, and the Deathly Hallows. All from series I loved. (In fact, I find myself reading the Harry Potter Series about once a year) However, I have no idea how to change the endings to make them satisfactory. Maybe I just didn't want the series to end.
Q--It’s obvious from your blog you love to cook. What’s your all-time favorite dish and where can we get the recipe?
My all time favorite treat to make is orange rolls. You can find the recipe on a blog post dated May 23 on my blog, So easy and so delicious.
Q--Finish this sentence: ”I never thought I’d....”
I never thought I’d snorkel over a huge ship in the Caribbean and be able to touch its mast. Incredibly cool.
Q--How have your children influenced your writing?
I love to see my girls melt away into a series of books. There is just something so satisfying about seeing them curled up in bed or on the sofa engrossed in a book. I wanted them to have the same experience with my books. I just love it when one of my daughters reads a new chapter I’ve written and comes to me begging for the next or telling me that “such and such better not happen,” or “so and so better not end up with so and so, OR ELSE” I just grin. I also want my girls to know their friends can read my books without their parents having to read them first.
Q--What is the strangest thing to ever inspire you?
While in D.C. I couldn’t help but notice the over-abundance of “No Parking” signs. I just knew I had to get that little detail into my book. It just happens to show up on the first page.
Q--Which genre(s) do you love to read? Which genre(s) do you love to write?
I love to read almost anything I can get my hands on, but my true love is in Y.A. I love writing about teens and their world. YA all the way.

If you're interested in purchasing Watched check out the links below.


  1. Great interview. It's interesting to hear the choices you had to make to publish.

  2. So nice to virtually meet you, Cindy! I am intrigued by your book and will have to look into getting it for my iPad! Thanks for the wonderful interview!



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