Interview with Cindy Tomamichel author of 5 MINUTE VACATIONS and DRUID’S PORTAL
Preorder now: myBook.to/5MinVacation
Q: Cindy, thank you for sitting down with us today in the Askew News Update room. Why don’t we start off with a little introduction? Tell us a little about yourself and what you’ve got to share with the world, today.
A: I am a multi-genre author from Australia. My first book – Druid’s Portal – was published in 2017, a time travel romance set in Roman Britain. I have various other fantasy and science fiction stories in anthologies with Rhetoric Askew and Quantum Soul. When I am not writing I collect old books, potter around the garden, bake, and get taken by the dog for long walks.
Q: 5 MINUTE VACATIONS sounds like a fresh concept. How did you come up with the idea to do this book?
A: I started writing these some time ago when I was working full time in a high-pressure job. They were a way to relax myself, and I emailed them to a few people who also liked them. So the idea was born – if I could escape, would others like to as well?
Q: Do you remember the first time you said to yourself, “You know what? I’m going to be an author?”
A: The step from being a writer to an author was huge in my mind. I have been writing since I was a teenager, and writing novels for the last fifteen years. But writing is such a solitary occupation, for me, being an author required external validation. So while I have had stories published over the years, it wasn’t until I got a publishing contract that I felt I could say I was an author. As this author caper is my third career, it is still somewhat of a surprise. It has certainly not been an overnight success, so I would encourage all writers to hang onto their dreams, and keep writing.
Q: We hope you don’t mind us taking a peek at your website, www.cindytomamichel.com, but we couldn’t help ourselves. You mention on the site that you’re carrying on your great-grandfather’s tradition of pursuing adventure. What’s one of your favorite adventures?
A: Exploring the South Pacific in recent years has been wonderful. I have been to Niue and Tonga, both off the regular tourist routes. Niue only has one plane a week! We snorkeled with sea snakes, swam in underground caverns lit only by torches, and drank from fresh coconuts. You then fly back into the darkness of Winter, and the experience becomes a dream that you can revisit when the cold winds blow. I also had a ride in an old biplane, a gypsy moth. It was so old the bottom had rusted out and I could see the sky below my feet. It was open cabin, and even though I was rugged up like an Arctic explorer, it wasn’t enough to stop me turning blue with cold. I can only admire the toughness and bravery of the early fliers.But I can still smell the engine fumes, and feel the roar of the engine and the fierceness of the wind.
Q: Every author has their own method to the madness, so-to-speak, what’s your writing process look like?
A: I do NaNoWriMo (write a novel in November) and enjoy the creative pressure. I start with a mind map on paper, then set up a document with chapter titles. I also write down any lines of dialogue that have popped up.So I have a vague outline, but the majority of it swirls around in my subconscious, and I don’t poke around in there!
Q: When you develop your stories and characters, do you let them grow in front of you or do you have everything all planned out?
A: No, I find planning things out absolutely destroys the story for me. I am pretty organised elsewhere, so I have tried the process of outlining and character sheets and all the things a writer “should” do. But I got so bored with knowing what was going to happen I couldn’t write the story! So I leave those sorts of things for when I am a bit stuck.
Q: Tell us about some of your favorite authors and books and why you love them.
A: I enjoy a range of genres, a hangover from grabbing random books in second-hand shops and bookstalls. For action and adventure, authors such as Matthew Reilly, David Morell, Andy McDermott and Michael Crichton. For science fiction, I have been getting into some older collections of short stories, I find I learn a lot from reading them in terms of tight writing and character development in few words. Fantasy authors? Tolkien, Lewis, Pratchett, and my favourite sword and sorcery writers such as RE Howard and Fritz Leiber. Modesty Blaise by Peter O’Donnell for some excellent villains. I have been getting into some indie authors of late, enjoying sci-fi with E.M. Swift-Hook, alternate history with Brent A Harris and Leo McBride, and urban fantasy with Peter Benney. But my heart will always be with older authors, and I recommend all writers pick up the classics and explore writers from past decades and centuries. Why do I love them? Because these authors – for me – build a world that races me along with the characters, or plunges me into questioning the universe. By opening a book you can pick up a sword and battle sentient apes or ponder the effects of time travel. For the price of a coffee, that is a wonderful thing.
Q: What do you hope your readers will take away from reading 5 MINUTE VACATIONS?
A: I hope that for a few minutes they can relax and have a daydream away from their current stress. For people in difficult situations, I hope that for a few moments they can be in another, more pleasant, place.In the longer term, the practice of mindfulness, being in the moment and noticing the small things that bring you happiness is something I would hope everyone can find.
Q: Where can all your Askew fans find you when you aren’t writing? <Social media links, etc>
A: Website: http://cindytomamichel.com/
Druid’s Portal preview: https://goo.gl/ydf8qK
Amazon Author page: https://amazon.com/author/cindytomamichel