Former teacher Cindy Witty has just published her first children’s book, Musical Soul Mates. To learn more about Cindy and her journey to becoming an author, we sat down to talk about the book.
MIRIAM LAUNDRY: Hi Cindy. Congratulations on your first children’s book, Musical Soul Mates. Can you tell us a bit about who this book is for and when you started writing it?
CINDY WITTY: Musical Soul Mates is designated for ages four to six. As a former teacher, I’ve always loved incorporating reading and books into my curriculum. Picture books have always been my favourite, and I wanted to be a part of them. I just sat down one day and wrote down my thoughts, and it turned into my story. I wanted to incorporate music with onomatopoeia words because I know how young children become engaged when those two elements are involved.
ML: And what inspired you to write this specific story?
CW: My inspiration for this book was my daughter Eleanor. She has ADHD, and has difficulty learning at times. As a teacher, I always tried to find different ways of helping children learn, and I found that music helped Ellie. So, I knew I had to incorporate a story with music.
ML: What inspired you to become an author?
CW: My inspiration has always been the love of reading picture books. My favourite book when I was young (and to this day) was The Fourteen Bears Summer-Winter by Evelyn Scott and illustrated by Virginia Parsons. I loved how Ms. Parsons created individual trees for each bear. My twin sister and I got lost in that book forever as children.
ML: It’s so amazing how one book can make such an impact on a reader’s life. Is that why it was important for you to share this message?
CW: I believe it’s important to share my message of finding a way that works for you, (like Eleanora does) to use music to do something difficult for example, speaking in front of a class, because obstacles will be in front of us every day. Music is a wonderful way to help calm a situation down. And it certainly helps in the learning process.
ML: Did you face any challenges as you wrote this book?
CW: My biggest challenge was actually creating a conflict in my story. I originally created a fun story with no conflict and trying to create a simple conflict was difficult for me at first. With the help of Sharon, I was able to find my conflict, and finish my story.
ML: What was the biggest takeaway you received from that editing process?
CW: My biggest lesson to learn was that I am a writer. I am my biggest critic, and I saw myself as someone who just wrote a story on a piece of paper. Sharon Jennings, a children’s book writer and editor, didn’t say my story was awful. She liked it, and with some revision, it came about. So, I’m an author! I do tend to write with a lot of description, but that may be because I taught seventh grade English which is more designed for chapter reading.
ML: To help publish your book, you joined Publishing Mastermind. Why did you choose to join and what was the biggest value the program brought to you?
CW: I joined Publishing Mastermind because I learned the material from the previous class, however, I also knew myself. I need a tracker to keep me up to date, otherwise, I would not keep following it. I tend to put family first and then myself. I needed to put this first to reach my accomplishment.
My biggest value of being a part of Publishing Mastermind are the people. The professionalism is wonderful. I can’t endorse it enough. I hope to write more books, and I will be back. Without Miriam, Khursheed, Kalyna, Samara, and Lauren, I truly could not have finished this book. In addition, Estelle Corke and Atlanta were essential in making my book become a reality.
ML: Thank you for such kind words, Cindy. As you journeyed with others, did you create any fun memories?
CW: My memorable moment was when I first shared my original story. I feared that moment of sharing it with anyone. I thought for sure a loved one, any of them, would say, “Aww, that’s cute. Thanks for sharing.” My husband was the first I shared it with, and his response was unexpected. He had tears in his eyes and said it was so awesome. He said I should get it published. And wanted to know what we should do.
ML: That’s such a beautiful moment. What do you hope parents and children take away from this book, in addition to its wonderful characters and story.
CW: I hope they take a love of reading from my book. I hope they enjoy the characters and the words, and I especially hope they act out the scenes. It’s all the fun things about a book. Music is everywhere and it’s definitely more fun with a friend.
ML: That’s very true! Before we sign off, can you offer some advice to any of the aspiring authors out there?
CW: My advice to any aspiring author is that if one is truly serious, then don’t be the one standing on the side watching. You don’t want to be the one being left behind. It’s truly a step worth taking. I highly recommend hybrid publishing with Miriam because her company breaks it down and keeps you on track. There is light glowing brighter throughout the year. It’s a flicker at the beginning of the year and fireworks at the end.
ML: Thank you, Cindy. And congratulations again on publishing Musical Soul Mates.
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You can learn more about Cindy and her book on Instagram (@wittycindyb).
Cindy Witty grew up loving music, dancing to the beat, and reading great stories. It was inevitable that she would write a story about music.
While Cindy worked as a teacher for many years, she now uses stories to share her love of reading in a fun and rhythmic way. Cindy lives in Lexington, Kentucky with her loving husband, three older children, and three dogs. You can reach Cindy on Instagram.