Interview with MG author Cinda Jo Bauman

cover for only my horses knowToday’s special guest author is Cinda Jo Bauman to chat with me about her new contemporary middle grade novel, Only My Horses Know.

Welcome, Cinda. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
My husband and I have always lived in Illinois. Twenty years ago, we moved to Mahomet. Our new shih-tzu-poo puppies, Lilly and Abby, keep us busy and entertained! We have one grown beautiful daughter, Brittany, who lives about thirty miles away. Art was always my favorite subject. Once we had our daughter, children’s book illustrations caught my eye. After researching and much study, learning about writing and illustrating children’s books, I joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and FOUND MY PASSION! I am currently writing the second book in the Hope and Horses series. I also love to write picture books and illustrate them with cut paper sculptures. Painting in acrylic and oil is something I am looking forward to one day spending more time enjoying.

Please tell us about your current release. 
Only My Horses Know is about twelve-year-old Kylie Hannigan and is set on a horse training ranch in Montana. Her life has been all about horses and hanging out with her best friend, Joey, until one summer when her mom begins to change. Soon, Kylie can’t keep up with the changes, the extra work that Mom isn’t doing anymore, or the secrets she’s keeping about her mom’s strange behavior. Only her horses know what really goes on in her life, and if something doesn’t change soon, her mom will not be the only one with mental health concerns.

What inspired you to write this book?
I have always dreamed of writing and illustrating children’s picture books. After working on a few, I just wondered if I would also be able to write a novel. I had the characters, I had the horses, but I struggled to find the plot. Only My Horses Know was written after remembering a character on an old medical series called ER. One of the nurse’s mom struggled with a mental illness. It made me so sad for the character, how she had kept that secret all her life. I could just feel her pain. I kept wondering what sort of life the character would have had as a child, pre-teen. I decided I would write what I imagined life would have been like for her.

 

Excerpt from Only My Horses Know:
Olivia looked so happy when she said, “Let’s go, Kylie!”

I felt sick.

To calm my stomach and avoid Olivia’s happy face, I melted into the seat, closed my eyes, and tried to calculate how many weeks I had to work with Kiwi before the rodeo. Finally, I heard the gravel on the tires and knew we had turned up my lane, so I opened my eyes. “What the heck?” Linens hung from makeshift clotheslines all over our front yard.

“What’s going on?” Olivia asked.

“Summer cleaning, I guess.” My eyes scanned the lines across the yard from all the way left of the house clear over to the yard on the right of the house. Every blanket, sheet, tablecloth, and rug we owned whipped in the wind.

“Looks more like you all got evicted!” Olivia said.

“Kye! Good, you’re home!” Mom bounced down the porch steps and right up to Olivia’s mom’s car. “I’ve been waiting for you. I tried to sweep and mop in your room, but I can barely find your floor under all those clothes. Get up there and pick up that mess. Will you, Sunshine?”

“Um, Mom…Olivia and her mom brought me home when no one came for me,” I said as I got out of the car.

“Oh, right. Thanks guys!” She leaned down to the window and gave a quick wave, before dismissing them. She turned back to me. “And grab one of those empty boxes at the bottom of the stairs. You need to go through and pull out all the clothes you don’t wear anymore,” she rambled on her way back to the house.

“But—” I stopped myself from saying more in front of Olivia and her mom. I thanked and said goodbye to them. They both looked confused, and then I hurried to catch Mom. “Wait! Why didn’t you pick me up? Mr. Riley had to leave for a meeting, and everyone else left, except Olivia. I had to ride home with Olivia. Olivia, Mom! How embarrassing.”

“Well, I thought your dad was picking you up.”

“Well, he didn’t.” My voice shook when I said it.

 

What exciting story are you working on next?
I have been working on book #2 in the Hope and Horses Series and jotting down ideas for cover art as they cross my mind. The themes for the series are: Book #1 acceptance and healing, book #2 anxiety and loving yourself, book #3 forgiveness and moving on. Book #3 is already written, but I’ll be anxious to start on the revisions once #2 is finished. This is all super exciting for me!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Hmm, maybe by the tenth major revision of this book and still not giving up! Ha!

Growing up, I always liked to think up stories. I remember sleepovers when we would take turns building off of a story beginning. Mine would just keep going and going! And in school, my imagination kept me from listening to what I really should have been paying attention to. I didn’t realize that all was the beginning of being a writer until I started taking our daughter to the library and fell in love with children’s picture books. I remember thinking how awesome that would be to be a writer-illustrator.

Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I have a full-time job as an office manager at the University of Illinois, so I’ve always squeezed writing and art into evenings, weekends, and lunch breaks. There was a long dry spell when being a working wife and mom took all my mojo. Luckily, as life settled in, my creative side came back.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
When I’m working on a story, and driving in the car, I often get whole conversations going on in my head between my characters. Sometimes I get a little worried! Then, I heard other writers say the same thing and figured I must be okay.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a flight attendant, so I could travel. Then I realized I was too clumsy to serve people on the ground let alone in the air! Then, I wanted to have my own line of greeting cards like Precious Moments.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
The underlying theme in all my books will be trusting God. I want the books to be secular, so I am being careful to keep it very subtle. I need to remind myself of this theme for my writing, and just stop worrying if the book is going to sell or not. I just want to enjoy and be proud that I am a writer. God will take care of the rest!

Links:
Website | Hope and Horses YouTube channel | Goodreads | Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Thanks for being here today, Cinda.

 

  — Blog Tour Calendar

June 7th @ The Muffin
Join us as we celebrate the launch of this incredible blog tour. Find out more about the authors, their touching books, and enter to win books for yourself. Become an active participant in the tour, and you can win a gift card. https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

June 8th @ Lisa’s Reading
Visit Lisa’s blog where she shares a guest post about clean, sweet, books and how to find them (and why kids will love them too). https://lisasreading.com/

June 8th @ Pages and Paws
Come by and read a review of Read-Aloud Stories with Fred https://pagesandpaws.com/

June 9th @ Create Write Now
Mari shares a guest post today about tackling the stigma of mental illness. https://www.createwritenow.com/

June 11th @ Pages and Paws
Come by to Pages and Paws again and read a review of Only My Horses Know https://pagesandpaws.com/

June 13th @ AJ Kormon’s Blog
Join us at AJ Kormon’s blog where you can read a guest post about finding problems kids will relate to. A must-read post for children’s book authors! https://www.ajkormon.com/blog

June 14th @ AJ Kormon’s Blog
Join us again at AJ Kormon’s blog today where you can read a review of Read-Aloud Stories with Fred and Only My Horses Know. https://www.ajkormon.com/blog

June 15th @ HERE!
Join Lisa as she interviews author Fred Olds about his book Read-Aloud Stories with Fred Collection. https://lisahaselton.com/

June 16th @ Words from the Heart
Linda reviews the book Read-Aloud Stories with Fred Collection by Fred Olds. https://contemplativeed.blogspot.com/

June 17th @ Literary Quicksand
Join Jolissa as she reviews Read-Aloud Stories with Fred Collection by Fred Olds. http://www.literaryquicksand.com/

June 18th @ Words from the Heart
Linda shares a guest post about tackling Christian themes in secular books. https://contemplativeed.blogspot.com/

June 20th @ A Storybook World
Join Deirdra as she features Read-Aloud Stories with Fred and Only My Horses Know. http://www.astorybookworld.com/

June 21st @ HERE!
Join Lisa as she interviews author Cinda Bauman, author of the book Only My Horses Know.

June 23rd @ Bring on Lemons
Visit Crystal’s blog today where she reviews Read-Aloud Stories with Fred and Only My Horses Know. http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

June 26th @ Shoe’s Seeds and Stories
Join Linda as she reviews Read-Aloud Stories with Fred and Only My Horses Know. https://lschuelerca.wordpress.com/

June 28th @ Jill Sheets’ Blog
Visit Jill’s blog where she reviews Read-Aloud Stories with Fred and Only My Horses Know. http://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

July 1st @ What is That Book About
Michelle shares a guest post about following your dreams at 92. What an inspiring story! https://www.whatisthatbookabout.com/

July 2nd @ One Writer’s Journey
Visit Sue’s blog where she reviews Read-Aloud Stories with Fred and Only My Horses Know. https://suebe.wordpress.com/

July 6th @ McFly’s Book Bliss
Join Marisa as she reviews Only My Horses Know. http://mcflysbookbliss.com/

July 9th @ Strength 4 Spouses
Join Wendi at her blog Strength 4 Spouses where she shares her review of Read-Aloud Stories with Fred and Only My Horses Know. https://strength4spouses.blog/blog/

July 10th @ Shoe’s Seeds and Stories
Visit Linda’s blog again where she shares a guest post about finding a good critique group. https://lschuelerca.wordpress.com

July 11th @ Strength 4 Spouses
Join Wendi again at her blog where she shares a guest post about the importance of communicating in families. https://strength4spouses.blog/blog/

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