Cindy writes under her married name, Cindy Trumbore, though in her "other life" as an editor, people know her as Cindy Kane.
Her book, Parrots Over Puerto Rico, is a 2014 Robert F. Sibert Medal for Most Distinguished Informational Book for Children, American Library Association award winner.
Interview with Cindy:
1. How did you get started writing?
I actually started as a children's book editor, not an author. I ripped up everything I wrote myself because I was working with stellar writers and I felt my work couldn't compare with theirs. Then one day, a friend in educational publishing called and offered me a contract to write a book about the Titanic. She'd had a writer fall through and she knew I was interested in the topic. So that got me started--I couldn't rip up the manuscript because my friend was waiting for me to deliver it!
Kids liked the book. One wrote and said, "How did you know so much about the Titanic? Were you on it?" So I kept on writing.
2. Who influenced you?
The writers with whom I have worked influenced me greatly. With my nonfiction, my influences are Joanne Ryder, a nature writer who showed me you can write nonfiction with a strong point of view, and Diane Stanley, a biographer who has an eye for details that make a topic come to life. My fiction is influenced by Norma Johnston of the Keeping Days series (she wrote mysteries for me); Amy Goldman Koss (I edited her first novel and the three books she wrote after that), and Richard Peck (I edited six of his books, including his Newbery Medal winner, A Year Down Yonder). When I write, I sense them looking over my shoulder. Norma tells me to think about the rhythm of my words, Amy tells me to know my characters inside and out, and Richard tells me not to waste words.
3. Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting?
Yes, my favorite book is These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It shows Laura struggling to be a teacher and falling in love as she helps her future husband tame a team of horses. It's funny because I'm terrified of horses, but I have loved that book ever since I was a kid.
4. What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?
Read and write! Read everything--fiction, nonfiction. Read like a writer. Think about why you love a writer's words. And plan your story or nonfiction book out before you start writing. Great writing is great because the writer planned it that way.
5. Where is your favorite place to write?
I can write anywhere, but I especially like to work in small spaces, like airplane and train seats, because I can't wander off and make a cup of tea the way I can at home.
6. What else would you like to tell us?
Save your work--don't rip it up!