Monday, 1 October 2012

Author Interview: Lucinda Sue Crosby

What is your name (or pen name) and where do you live now?
Lucinda Sue Crosby, Ridgecrest, CA (southern tip of the Sierra Nevada)

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I have had a slew of careers in my life but most of them involved storytelling at some
level. As a child, I was surrounded by family, friends and relatives who took
communication to an art form and it seemed a grand way to get along in life. I have
been mostly a writer since about 1991 although I was also still working in film after
that and was a commentator for the Women’s Tennis Association television feeds.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it what would you say?
My last fiction work was “The Adventures of Baylard Bear: a story about being
DIFFERENT.” (July 2012) It’s about a bear cub whose bear parents leave him
wrapped in moss at a human orphanage because they can’t give him the life he
deserves. Baylard wants to love and be loved for who he is and his dearest wish is
to be adopted into a nurturing family. But of course, he’s DIFFERENT – can’t do
things that other children can do. We follow him as he discovers that being
DIFFERENT can be a good thing; we see him adopted and out in the real world…
where the adventures REALLY begin. This book placed in the top three in Dan
Poynter’s Global eBook Contest in the children’s fiction category in July, 2012.

Most recently, I co-wrote “$ell More eBook$” – all about digital publishing and
marketing. My business partner and book publicist, Laura Dobbins, is the maven
behind this book but she allowed me to contribute some important editing.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it? There
is no formula. And it isn’t the writing that takes up most of the time … it’s the
rewriting. I rewrite until both my editor and I are satisfied – and then polish at least
twice more.

Do you have plans for a new book?
Yes. The next work will be another children’s book called “I Love Water; Water
Loves Me!” I spent five years as a coordinator of water education and conservation
programs and feel it’s vital to acquaint young people with water – forge a emotional
bond with water – so that it will seem precious and worth using wisely throughout a

What genre would you place your books into?
I don’t write by genre; I write what impinges on my creative self the most at that time.

What made you decide to write that genre of book?
Each genre has its own and separate rules,structure, challenges and a varying
audience. Of course, certain aspects don’t change: proper grammar and
punctuation; taste … what goes in and what stays out; and a deep and abiding
respect for My Reader, whatever age or cultural background. My relationship
with My Reader is a sacred bond and should reflect my truth, the best writing
I can produce, themes that work on a number of levels that matter, original
expression and thought provoking and emotionally evoking prose.

Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?
My fave is probably my first, a novel called “Francesca of Lost Nation,”
because the protagonist is based on my real grandmother, Frances Ella
Pittstick Mendenhall. The woman was modern though born in the 1890s and
like my character, the flesh-and-blood woman, she raced cars in county fairs
and never lost, she was a pro calibre poker player and she was the first female in
her county to attend college. The novel has won four awards and earned rave
reviews from readers wherever it is sold.

Do you have a favourite character from your books? Why are they your favourite?
Since my grandmother was the most fascinating person I ever met and because
she prodded me to read and guided my way through advanced material to me from
the time I was eight, she is my alltime coolest and most satisfying character.

Where do you get your book plot ideas from? What/Who is your inspiration?
If you’re a detailed observer of life and you LISTEN CAREFULLY, wonderful
book subjects, film projects, songs, essays, newspaper stories and poems are
everywhere around you. Sometimes the whole story can be overheard in a
coffee shop or nestled within a turn of phrase that instantly becomes a title. Inspiration
is easy if you let it in. BTW, in my opinion, too many writers work alone at their desk.
They need to get out and mix it up more!

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I usually write at my desk. I sometimes write on paper in bed (why DO such
 amazing ideas come so often at 3 am?). I also write great phrases or newspaper
titles down if they evoke real feelings or that sense of recognition that hits in the gut.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
If I come up with a divine title, it brings on so much else. That would be true for
songs, poems, novels, essays. For me, the titles of newspaper stories do come
on completion.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
I use as many real names as I can although I do make some names up. And,
character names for me are vitally important for everything that comes after:
character development, idiosyncrasies, speech patterns, clothing styles,
favourite colors, etc.

Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I try to let them develop as we go along. I do usually have a strong sense of the
general personage but the bits and tics that make us all unique – they come
along as I come along. And too, I use real traits I’ve observed in real people.

Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
I write a LOT. I don’t suffer block but I do sometimes get burnt out. The only fix,
whatever the deadlines, is a day or two off.

Is there a certain author that influenced you in writing?
Jane Austin, Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, and a former Los Angeles
Times sports columnist named Jim Murray.

What is your favourite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
No favourite book. Right now my favourite author is P.D. James. Her ability to
express a character’s motivation, influences, downfalls, angst – she is superb.
Also, she possesses facile vocabulary manipulation.

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst book to movie transfer?
Books are often not suited to films in their original form because a novel writer can take
pages to say something where a film just doesn’t have that luxury. The look and feel of
a movie character or a scene has to be suggested due to time constraints, leaving much
to the viewer’s imagination – even though they are seeing it! In my opinion, it is rare for
a film to be as nuanced as a novel. “The Exorcist” was a fine example as was
“Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café.”

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or
I am reading “The Crimson Petal and the White.” I prefer hardback or paperback
unless I’m suitcase-inhibited.

Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books? No. Even many
young digital-wonks prefer “real” books.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Learn the rules of punctuation and grammar so you’ll know when, why and how
to break them. Never underestimate the intelligence of your reader. Develop
your “taste muscle” - what has to be in, how much explanation needs to be in, what
should NOT be in. Learn how to weave the beginnings plot lines into the fabric of the
tapestry of your creation so they slip by unnoticed and grow until they count. Learn
to describe in ways that contacts all the human senses and in ways that are unfamiliar
yet still true.

All Lucinda's books can be found at, Barnes & and 

Lucinda Sue Crosby is an award-winning journalist and environmentalist as well as a published and recorded Nashville songwriter. A former pro tennis player, Crosby also worked for the Women’s Tennis Association as a color analyst on In-Demand Pay-Per-View. Since 2006, she has earned 19 awards in word-centric
pursuits and was also listed in 2011’s “50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading.”

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