Saturday, 4 November 2017

Guest Author Sally Cronin of the UK.


Have you ever met a person that goes out of their way to be nice?

That’s Sally Cronin and we are so happy to have her as our guest this week on the Scribbler. She was willing to participate in a 4Q and share an excerpt from her work with us.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Thank you very much for your invitation to be interviewed Allan, and for the great questions. Delighted to be featured here with so many of my favourite authors.

 

I have been a storyteller most of my life (my mother called them fibs!). Poetry, song lyrics and short stories were left behind when work and life intruded, but that all changed in 1996. My first book Size Matters was a health and weight loss book based on my own experiences of losing 70kilo. I have written another ten books since then on health and also fiction including three collections of short stories. I am an indie author and proud to be one. My greatest pleasure comes from those readers who enjoy my take on health, characters and twisted endings… and of course come back for more. 

Please see Sally’s links below.

4Q: Before we talk about writing, it is without question that you are one of the most generous authors I’ve met online when it comes to promoting other artists and writers. Is there a reason for that?
 
 
 
SC:  Thank you for the compliment Allan, and there is an important reason behind my commitment to sharing the work of others. When I was first starting out twenty years ago as a writer, it was a very different story when it came to marketing Indie books. Without the Internet it was a question of sending letter after letter to the media both local and national, and it was very difficult to get any kind of response. I was very lucky to get the press coverage that I did; but I look back at that time as being very stressful and disheartening. 

The world of publishing has changed considerably, particularly in the last decade. The opportunities to publish books are varied and improving all the time. However, this has resulted in millions of titles hitting the online book shelves each year.  In many ways this is fantastic, but it has created exactly the same problem for authors as I faced twenty years ago; getting books in front of potential readers.

The numbers are overwhelming, but I firmly believe that instead of trying to make a difference to everyone, you start by making a difference to a few.  At the moment I promote around 25 authors a week in various promotional posts, sharing them on my blog and with social media followers. I have spent the last four years building those platforms to an effective level to promote my own books, and it makes sense to me to use them to give other authors a boost at the same time. 

The community of online bloggers and authors is without a doubt a very generous one; their reciprocation on their platforms is very much appreciated.  Without massive budgets for advertising and promotion, it is probably the most effective form of marketing for the majority of authors.

 

4Q: You have many publications to your credit but which one is your favorite and why?

SC: Probably my favourite book is Just an Odd Job Girl since it is mainly auto-biographical as far as the main events are concerned. It took me a while to find a career that I really enjoyed which was the hospitality industry.  I began work at the age of fourteen at weekends and during school holidays along the seafront in Portsmouth and then moved from job to job as need and circumstances dictated.
Thankfully I was never out of work, as I believed in doing whatever I needed, to bring home a weekly wage packet, including temping at certain times.  Apart from jobs that lasted a number of years , I have also worked in a funeral parlour, brokered bull semen, washed dishes in a Chinese restaurant, typed 100 cheques a day for an insurance company (some of which 40 years ago were several times my annual salary) and spent a snowy February lambing.

Writing the book brought back so many memories of those days, and the response from those who have read it, and found it entertaining, is the icing on the cake.

 

4Q: Please share a childhood memory or anecdote.

SC: We travelled a great deal when I was a child as my father was a Royal Naval officer and was stationed in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon), Malta and South Africa. My first memories would be from about the age of three when we were living in Ceylon. I had two elder sisters who were ten and eleven years older than I was. I had an amah (nanny) during the day, but when my sisters arrived back from school, I would be handed over to them. I am sure at thirteen and fourteen they were thrilled to have me trailing behind them, but they were very good to me. Everything that they did, I would do too; including swimming behind them in the sea in my rubber ring.
Both were excellent swimmers and divers. One afternoon there was a school swimming and diving competition and we went as a family to watch the two girls compete. My eldest sister climbed the ladder to the high board and walked to the end, executing an excellent dive into the sea. She came to the surface expecting applause from the audience; instead there was absolute silence followed by a universal gasp from the spectators. 

Not to be outdone, I had wandered away from my parents and climbed the ladder to the diving board, tottering to the end where I had last seen my sister.  Noticing her far below me in the water, I decided to follow suit and jumped.  I surfaced completely unaware of the horror that I had inflicted on the crowd, my sisters and parents, and exclaimed "Again"

My life to be honest has been a little like that at times!  Either by accident or design, and I have to say I have loved every minute of it.
 

4Q: This is a double question for you Sally. What inspires your stories and what are you working on?

SC: I have given this question a great deal of thought over the years and I have come to the conclusion that it is life which inspires me. It is so complex; filled with such vivid experiences, good and bad, that you do not have to look far for inspiration. As I mentioned in the previous question, I was very lucky to have travelled as a child, and in adulthood I have spent more of my life abroad than I have in the UK. Such a rich tapestry of different cultures, peoples and experiences that have made such an impact on me.
Probably the most significant element of this life we lead, is the people that we meet and their stories that we absorb. Most of my characters are drawn from this reservoir of people I have met; had relationships with, or even met in passing through airports or on a train. I find people fascinating and that is magic for a writer.

My latest project is a follow up to Tales from the Garden which was set in our home in Madrid. This second book is set in a number of gardens here in Ireland and features some of the characters from the first set of short stories. Including the fairy Queen Filigree and her court who have escaped from Spain, finding sanctuary in The Storyteller's garden.

I have a number of wonderful illustrations by the very talented artist Donata Zawadzka and I am really enjoying the process.
 Tales from the Garden is also my first translated book into Spanish and that will be released later this year.



 
 
 
An Excerpt from Chapter Five of Just an Odd Job Girl
(Copyright is held by the author and is used with permission)

I lived in a naval town and it was inevitable that socially I would meet and go out with young naval officers. I was at a party one Saturday, when I was introduced to this very tall, good-looking guy. I was now nineteen and felt I looked stunning, in a new outfit that I had just bought. This included a false half-wig on a black velvet band. It was ash blonde, and if you pulled the band far enough forward it hid the true colour of your hair. It hung seductively down my back and swung with a very satisfying swish when I walked or danced. Combined with a short black velvet dress and knee-high black boots, I was ready to rock and roll.

He was a wonderful dancer. He threw me around the floor to the Rolling Stones and Rod Stewart and held me close when slow music was playing. He was gorgeous and I could see all my girlfriends looking on in envy as I strutted my stuff. This was living! My fertile imagination went into overtime. I had just got to the bit where I stunned my parents by taking this Adonis home to meet them when my favourite Rolling Stones song blared out from the speakers. Brown Sugar. If ever there was a song to dance to this was it. I was flying, and it took several minutes for it to register that not only my partner but also several people around us had stopped dancing. Assuming that they were so stunned by my gyrations and flexible interpretations of the music that they had stopped to watch, I carried on playing up to my audience.

There were a number of poles supporting the roof of the dance floor. One was quite close by, and I avoided hitting it as I twirled on the spangled floor. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of something hanging halfway up the pole, but I was busy and didn’t take much notice of it. By now about two dozen people were watching the performance and I was too intent on keeping them entertained. I whirled faster, got closer to the pole, and only then realised that the object hanging limply from a hook was my ash-blonde hairpiece.

I stood there, with my own hair pinned on top of my head covered by a stocking that held it firmly in place. I looked over at my Adonis to find a look of horrified fascination on his face. I grabbed the hair and dashed for the stairs, and the ladies.

I was wearing a little shoulder bag and had no coat, so a speedy retreat was possible. I ripped the stocking and pins from my own hair and legged it out the door and into a taxi home. I have never been so mortified in my life. Today I would have laughed it off and carried on, but at nineteen it was the end of my world and the stunning future I had envisioned for myself with Mr. Fantastic. I hadn’t even got his name, but thankfully he hadn’t got mine either.

Two days later, still squirming from my ordeal, I attended my interview for acceptance into the Queen Alexandra Nursing Service. It was held over in Gosport, at the naval hospital, and along with twenty other hopefuls, I undertook a day of testing and medical examinations.

Eye tests, weight, blood pressure, heart and lungs all checked out. This was conducted by a very severe looking nursing sister and then we were passed on to a doctor for a full medical.

At nineteen, I was not sure what this entailed, and was rather concerned to be asked to remove all my clothing and don a backless hospital gown.

Holding this gown in place with one hand behind my back, I was led, nervously, into the examining room. A head was bent over some notes and I was escorted behind a screen and told to hop up on the examining couch. The nurse loosened the ties behind the neck of the gown and stood at the head of the couch. The curtains parted and the doctor entered. Now I know what a rabbit feels like, paralysed in the glare of the headlights. There before me in a white coat with stethoscope at the ready was my Adonis.

 

This is a story I'd like to read. For you readers that would like to know more about this talented author, please visit Sally’s links.
 
Blog: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com

Amazon: https://amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sgc58

 

Thank you very much Allan for being such a great host. 
 

It's a pleasure to have you as our guest this week Sally. I'm reading your excellent short stories from the "What's in a Name" collection and am truly enjoying it. Good luck with all your future endeavors.




 
And thanks to you the visitor, feel free to tell us what's on your mind!

 


41 comments:

  1. Thank you so much Allan for being such a terrific host and for presenting me and my work in such a wondeful way.. I do appreciate it very much.. best wishes Sally

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  2. Glad to have you on board Sally.

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  3. If only I could spell wonderful.... thanks again Allan.

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  4. Fabulous to see Sally over here, Allan, and to learn more about her. Odd Job Girl is one of my next group of reads.

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    1. I'm fortunate to have her as a guest Robbie, I think sally's a terrific writer. Perhaps you will consider being a guest sometime soon?

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  5. Thank you Robbie.. and hope you enjoy Odd Job Girl..

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  6. What an awesome interview. I could listen to Sally's stories all day. That excerpt is hilarious!! I totally agree, Sally is the kindest, most generous blogger/writer I know. Thanks for featuring her here.

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    1. Thanks for visiting Darlene and your nice comments.

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  7. Thanks Darlene and so pleased you enjoyed the story. And you always reciprocate with wonderful support on social media hugs xx

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  8. I enjoyed every second of this interview. Even though I haven't met Sally 'in person,' I felt like I could hear her voice as I read her answers to your questions. What a lovely, fun-loving, giving and generous woman and writer! Fun story too. Yes, as children we were called 'fibbers.' As adults, we are called story tellers. :-)

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    1. Thanks for visiting the Scribbler.

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    2. Thank you Pamela.. so pleased you enjoyed the story. Hugs xx

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  9. Wonderful interview Allan and Sally. That true life story of you diving off the board was extraordinary! It had be gasping! Shows a plucky character that's for sure.

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    1. Thank you fro dropping by Marje.

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    2. Thank you Marje.. I think Lucky is my middle name.. and probably just as well.

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  10. It's wonderful to see Sally on your blog, Allan, and learn a little more about her. Your feature is outstanding, and I loved the questions. Will share across my pages ❤

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    1. It's a treat to have her as a guest Tina, glad you stopped by. And thanks for the shares. I'm reading Sally's book now, What's in a name" and am enjoying it very much.

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    2. Thanks very much Tina and for sharing everywhere.. hugs ♥

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  11. Great interview with Sally. She always manages to tell us something new - like the story of her jumping off the high diving board. I can just picture it! I've enjoyed reading quite a few of Sally's books and I think my favourite is Odd Job Girl.

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    1. Thank you Mary.. and perhaps time to write the sequel about some of my jobs since... it will need to be fiction.. xxx

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    2. Thank you for visiting Mary and for your kind comments.

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  12. I loved the analogy of you jumping off the high diving board without fear and your adventures in life. You are an inspiration, Sally!

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    1. Thanks Jacquie.. I am afraid my parents were not so forgiving.. my mother said I was the reason her hair went white!!! hugs

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    2. Thanks for the visit jbiggar, glad you could drop in and leave a comment.

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  13. This is a brilliant interview with one of the most entertaining and generous talents I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Your sensitive and astute questions really drew out Sally's essential qualities that so endear her to so many of us. You are spot about her being a warm and generous host and promoter of talent. She is a mentor and friend to so many of us, I think if she ever realised the good she does and the very high regard we have, she would never stop blushing. Thank for for your professional handling of the interview which brought this amazing woman to the fore. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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    1. Thank you for visiting Paul. Sally is indeed unique and a pleasure to be associated with.

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  14. Fabulous interview Allan and Sal. I always seem to learn something new about Sally in her interviews. And my favorite book by Sally, Just an Odd Job Girl :) xx

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    1. Thanks for visiting Debby and for leaving a comment.

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  15. It is always a pleasure to see Sally featured as she's such a great writer and blogger and so kind to others. Thanks, Allan.

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    1. Thank you Olga for those kind words. it is reciprocated generously by everyone in the community.. hugs xx

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    2. Thanks for visiting the Scribbler Olga. And for the kind words.

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  16. Sally is one of the most generous and kind people I have been fortunate to meet on FB and other online media. I am honored to call her a friend! She is a positive, upbeat and lovely lady. I can’t thank her enough for all she continues to do to support not only me but others as well. I don’t know where she finds the time or energy to do it all! God bless her! Thank you, Allan, for showcasing this wonderful lady on your blog! Hugs & love to you both! Xx

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    1. Thank you Janice and I am delighted we connected from the beginning as well and lovely to count you as a friend. You make the world a brighter place.. ♥

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    2. Thanks for stopping by Janice. It's been a lot of fun Having Sally as a guest.

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  17. Thank you for an enjoyable, amusing... read and interview. I have only recently 'met' Sally but soon realised what a giving person she is. Oh that there were more like her! As I have yet to read any of Sally's books, I have that pleasure to come.

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    1. Thank you Joy and look forward to many more years of friendship.. the world really is a much smaller one than we think.. hugs ♥

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  18. Wonderful to see Sally here. She truly is a treasure. Hugs.

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    1. That is very kind.. thank you Teagan.. hugs xx

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  19. Great post, Allan! It’s lovely to see Sally here. It’s great to see her in the spotlight for once. She’s very deserving. I enjoyed the questions and answers. Nicely done both of you!😊💕

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    1. Thanks for the comments Vashti. Glad you were able to visit.

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