I am so excited that Cynthia L. Simmons is my first author interview. Keep reading because you have a chance to win a signed copy of Cynthia’s latest novel, Valuing Gold.
A Chattanooga native, Cynthia and her husband have five grown children and reside in Atlanta. A Bible teacher and former homeschool mother, she writes a column for Leading Hearts magazine. She has written homeschool curriculum, conducted writing workshops, served as president of Christian Authors Guild, and coached new writers.
She is fond of history and hosts Heart of the Matter Radio to offer women the elegance of God’s wisdom.
I met Cynthia at a writers’ meeting outside Atlanta, where she asked me if I wanted go together to local events to sell our books. Having just moved to Georgia I had wondered how I would find my way around. I knew right then that God had given me a real blessing, which is why I’m so glad that she is my first Author Highlight.
Cynthia just released her latest historical novel, Valuing Gold, the prequel to her critically-acclaimed Pursuing Gold: A Novel of the Civil War. She has also written a companion curriculum Pursuing Gold: A Historical & Critical Thinking Curriculum, Women Who Overcame and other nonfiction works. Be sure to check out her website: https://clsimmons.com/
Valuing Gold synopsis: Uneasiness permeates Chattanooga, Mary Beth Roper’s hometown. Every conversation around her is heated, yet her banker-father still tries to shield her from the reality. Will Tennessee secede and force them into war? Mary Beth wants to be part of a solution, but is there one? Everyone is out to get what they want, no matter what — even murder. The only person capable of helping her is Peter Chandler, her father’s partner. But she can’t bear to be with him. A murder is tied to her father’s bank, will she and Peter unravel an impossible puzzle to value her faith?
Cynthia, welcome! I’m so glad to be able to introduce you to my readers. Let’s begin.
How has Christian fiction impacted you personally?
I can’t stand to start reading a novel and get mired in a story about immorality that’s treated as if it’s okay. We all know that happens in our world, but it hurts everyone involved. Even Shakespeare messed up in that area, and that was a long time ago. Christian fiction doesn’t leave me frustrated.
Who are your favorite authors to read & why?
I love historicals and mysteries. I read all the Agatha Christie novels and longed for more. Then I discovered Dorothy Sayers. I also like Cathy Gohlke, Anne Greene, Alan Bradley, Christy Barritt, James Scott Bell, Richard Mabry, Brandilyn Collins, Kristi Ann Hunter.
Do you have any strange writing habits/quirks?
Yes. I learned to multi-task when I homeschooled all five kids. Sometimes in the middle of writing, I have an urge to check my email or social media. There’s not a good reason, but I learned to keep more than one job going. It’s a hard habit to break.
Which of your characters has really stretched you as a writer?
Elise did that. She’s Mary Beth’s companion/nurse. I had to research how a black person talked in that era, and I made her someone who couldn’t stop talking. I’m a person who uses few words, so I had to think.
What is the story behind Valuing Gold?
I grew up in Chattanooga near a huge Civil War battlefield, Chickamauga Park. We often went there for picnics or holidays, so the war was a big part of my childhood. My dad told stories about the war and explained about black powder pistols. I assumed everyone grew up climbing on cannons. When I married an accountant, he got me interested in the history of money, so I started to research. My dad accompanied me to the Chattanooga library when I studied documents there, and I based the stories in my hometown.
What is something God taught you while you wrote Valuing Gold?
My heart learned God is my refuge. My mind already had that, but I needed to let that sink deeper into my emotions. Writing exposes your heart because what you write comes from deep within. You become vulnerable. I’m okay because God is my fortress. Ps. 31:14-17
What is one of your favorite quotes from Valuing Gold & why do you love it?
“One must value true gold rather than that which glitters.” I love that quote because that’s something I have to tell myself every day. I don’t need to accumulate pretty things because they aren’t eternal.
I have a friend who once asked me, “What is important to you? What are you so passionate about that you would pound your fist on the table?” What is your pound-on-the-table passion?
Living by faith in Christ and following Him outstrips selfish living. You are living for something bigger than yourself and learning self-control, unselfishness.
What do you hope readers know about you and your books?
I hope readers come to seek God and realize what a treasure He is.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Value God and his word more than life itself because He’s the source of existence.
I’m so excited about Valuing Gold’s book trailer. I hope you’ll watch it.
Great interview, Cynthia. Thank you. It’s time to announce the rules for the book giveaway!
To enter, post a comment below about the interview. One week from today, I will randomly select a name and announce it via email — oh right, have you subscribed, yet? Be sure and do that down below. Otherwise, it may take awhile for me to find you. One winner! And it could be you!