Saturday, August 2, 2008

Promotional Interview with Mary Cunningham

Your Name: Mary Cunningham

1. Where you are from and where are you now?

I'm originally from Corydon, Indiana, but now live in West Georgia. I've moved 9 times which makes for some very interesting stories!

2. How did you get started writing?

I began writing as soon as I knew how to write words. My dad was a professional writer and I had such admiration for his work. Naturally, I wanted to write.

3. What do you do when you are not writing?

I market and promote my book series, arrange booksignings, speaking events, set up more book events with my amazing writers' group. Promotion is never-ending. When I do have some leisure time, I play golf (poorly!), watch TV, and read. I'm also a sports fanatic. Being from Indiana, I love my I.U. basketball! (the football team is doing great this year, too!)

4. What would readers like to know about you?

I have a wicked sense of humor. I'm not "quick on my feet" however. Sometimes I'll think of a really good comeback or joke…a day late. I'm also one of the least observant people on the face of the earth! Can you imagine? A writer being unobservant? My husband will say, "Wow! Did you see that woman by the side of the road with the purple cow on her head??" Uh, no…missed it.

5. What inspired your first book?

A recurring dream I'd had for more than 20 years about a mysterious attic. When I finally realized that the dreams took place in the attic of my childhood best friend, Cynthia, the dreams stopped and the writing began.

6. How many books have you written?

Four – Three "Cynthia's Attic" books and one women's humor/lifestyle book, "WOOF: Women Only Over Fifty," due to be released in the spring of 2008.

7. What are the titles of your books and what genres are they?

"Cynthia's Attic: The Missing Locket, Book One" (young reader/fantasy)

"Cynthia's Attic: The Magic Medallion, Book Two" (young reader/fantasy)

"Cynthia's Attic: Curse of the Bayou, Book Three" (young reader/fantasy)

"Women Only Over Fifty (WOOF), (women's lifestyle/humor) Spring 2008

8. How do you decide on that topic or genre?

I didn't really choose the young reader genre. It chose me. I began writing a memoir of my childhood and it turned into a 33,000 word fantasy/fiction. I was just beginning to explore the possibility of getting published and wasn't writing for a specific audience.

9. How do you manage to keep yourself focused and on track?

Quite simply, I don't! Each morning I have to make a list of the things I want (need) to accomplish. Otherwise, I get distracted very easily. And, at this late date, I don't see myself changing. LOL!

10. Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?

If I were writing for the money, I would've quit long ago! That said, if I hadn't made one cent off my "Cynthia's Attic" series, it would've been worth writing. I've enjoyed every word. To be able to go back in time and interact, albeit fictionally, with my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, has been an amazing experience. I also receive and answer numerous e-mails from young readers?a priceless experience.

11. What are some traditional methods of marketing you have used?

I send out press releases, not only when my books are released, but any time I have special news to report. I also design my own postcards with blurbs from all three books on the back. I mail these to libraries and book stores. I have my own website (which I update regularly) and not only have my own blog (Cynthia's Attic Blog), I blog on six others, including MySpace and JacketFlap.

12. What are some unique methods of marketing you have used?

I write short, informational stories and post them on the Internet on Notepad, Article Beat, etc. I also interact with libraries and librarians on MySpace and JacketFlap. I make sure they know about me and my books, and that I keep up with what's happening in their libraries. I also invite authors of YR/YA books to be guest bloggers. I just completed a blogging week with Kirby Larson and her Newbery Honor Book, Hattie Big Sky. We had a lot of fun and gained amazing perspective.

13. Do you sell through a website? If so, what’s the address? If not, why not?

I don't sell directly through my website; however, anyone can e-mail and request a signed book(s). I haven't gotten the nerve to actually sell online. I have so many links to online bookstores on my website that I really don't see the need.

14. Where can people order your books?

Anywhere! The best place to find buy links is through my website:

The series can also be ordered through Booksense (independent bookstores), Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powells, BAMM, Fictionwise, etc, and are available through all major distributors.

15. What format are your books – e-book, print, audio etc?

Print and e-books (multi formats).

16. Will you write more books?

I've been asked to write "Cynthia's Attic: Book Four" so, to answer your question…yes! I'm also working on an adult time-travel, and some YR short stories.

17. What do you have in the works now?

My co-writers (Diana Black and Melinda Richarz Bailey) and I are putting the finishing touches on "WOOF." I'm also working on an adult novel titled, "For the Life of Claire."

18. What does the future hold for you and your books?

Oprah? NY Times Bestseller list? Disney movies? One can dream, right? My immediate wish is for my books to open up a dialogue between grandchildren and grandparents; that young writers will find inspiration in stories about the childhood days of their grandparents, and that grandparents will enjoy the books, too.

19. What was the most successful thing you did to promote your books?

I believe online interviews and blogs are my most successful promotional tool.

What was the least successful thing you did to promote your books?

I view all promotion as positive; some just work better than others.

This interview was done in conjunction with Nikki Leigh. For more information, visit –

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