NEWS UPDATE: For readers in the Northeast Florida corridor – Cynthia and the Goobers will be at the Amelia Island Book Festival, Friday and Saturday, April 26 and 27! Stop by and see her while you are at the festival!
NQ: Welcome, Cynthia! It’s terrific to have you with us here on Faith, Hope, and Grace, today! I’m excited about this interview because I have the privilege of having watched your writer-to-author journey, which is always fun for me! I can’t wait for our readers to get to know you and your “angels” a bit.
NQ: I know you worked for many years as a mental health professional working with abused kids and that you incorporated therapy dogs into your work to reach them and help them build some trust, which is really awesome! Like you, I’ve always had animals in my life – blessings for sure. Would you tell us a bit about how Xia came into your life and became the muse for your Angels in Fur Coats books?
CE: When I lived in Maryland, I worked at a government residential facility for emotionally challenged children and adolescents. At the time, I had a little black Pekingese named Lindsey. She would go to work with me on a daily basis being requested by the students. I had noticed that Lindsey gave the kids comfort and joy when petting her, brushing her, and feeding her, and eventually we incorporated the use of a volunteer dog therapy group called, Pets on Wheels, to visit the students. I called Lindsey my little angel in a fur coat.
When I moved to Florida, Lindsey was around 15 years old. Her health was declining due to natural aging. One day, I came across an ad in the Jacksonville Times Union newspaper advertising Pekingese puppies for sale. I made an appointment to see them and when I got there only one puppy was left. She was rambunctious, way too hyper for me to bring into my home with Lindsey. Just as I was about to leave the lady told me that she had two pups in the back room that were just three weeks old. They hadn’t opened their eyes yet and were the size of a small hamster. I picked up one of the pups and her little bitty tail began to wag. I placed her back down and her tail stopped. Every time I picked her back up her tail would wag…I put her down and her wag stopped. I fell in love and paid the lady to hold the pup for me until she was weaned and ready for me to take home. Four weeks later, I was able to bring my new puppy home to meet Lindsey. As Lindsey was sniffing and checking the new pup out, I noticed that she had a single pink toe. That’s when my imagination began to soar and I had a what if question. What if dogs really are angels in fur coats and what if that little pink toe really meant something?
NQ: One of the things that a lot of fantasy writers struggle with is how to write an “alternate” universe – a world that we have not experienced, but need to visualize in the book. How did you come up with your “vision” of heaven? Can you explain how you tested it to be sure it would be “real” for your readers?
CE: I like to envision heaven as peaceful, beautiful and filled with all the things I love such as waterfalls, vibrant flowers, music…animals of all kinds roaming around in harmony, especially dogs. I tried to use as many of the five senses (smell, taste, sight, sound, touch) as possible in order to engage the reader into this world, hopefully bringing it to life for them as I had envisioned it.
NQ: I remember your segment with Whoopi Goldberg on The View, which was awesome. How did you make that happen?
CE: One day, while watching The View, they announced that people could upload a video question via their website for a chance to be chosen in a question and answer video segment at the end of the show. I had recently played around with a computer program named Crazy Talk, where I manipulated a photo of my dog to make her talk for a book trailer of Angel in a Fur Coat. I thought it would be kind of funny if I had my dog submit a question. I knew it would probably be a long shot to have my video chosen, however, since Whoopi is a comedian, I may have had a slight chance so I directed my question to Whoopi, googled the name of her cat, and had my dog ask Whoopi a question about her cat. It worked. My question was chosen and my dogs were on The View talking to Whoopi.
NQ: That’s awesome! I must have watched that at least a half dozen times. You have a super talent for marketing! Your table is always the most fun at the book events I’ve attended. Can you share some of your marketing expertise? Where have you and the 3 Goobers been lately?
CE: Thank you. That is exactly what I try to do. Everyone loves their pets so I try to personalize my booth and my items to reflect the love they have for their pets. I like to do different things at events. Sometimes I pass out dog bones in a little package with my business card. Sometimes I have a contest where the people guess how many bones are in a jar and the winner gets a Fur Angel gift. One time I had the booth visitors write a message to their pet and I made a video of my dogs reading the personalized messages on my website. I try to make it as much fun, and personalized as possible, and I always attach my business card and/or website to my freebies.
Everyone loves their own dog and cat, so although, Angel in a Fur Coat, is geared toward the pre-teen market, it has a big adult appeal as well.
To enhance the fiction fantasy world of Fur Angels for my readers, I have also created a website where I make customized Fur Angels and turn people’s own dogs and cats into a Fur Angel necklace or magnet: http://www.AngelsinaFurCoat.com
NQ: Your creativity just blows me away! What are you working on now? Can we look forward to another great C.L. Enuton book this year?
CE: I am working on book four of the Fur Angel series. The title is going to be Dolittleology. Book one, Angel in a Fur Coat, and book two, Legend of the Pink Toe, were told through the eyes of a dog. Book three, Wayward Angels, and the fourth book, “Dolittleology,” are told through the eyes of a person. You could say it’s where legend and fantasy meets reality.
NQ: I’m looking forward to Dolittleology already! As a successful author and illustrator, do you have any words of wisdom for new writers and authors? Can you think of one or two things in particular that helped you succeed with your books?
CE: Once I had a rough draft of my story written in a journal, I had no idea what my next step should be so I joined every writing group I could find in Jacksonville and St. Augustine. I went to every writers meeting I heard about and eventually I gained enough courage to join a critique group. I’ve met many good people who all have the same desire to get published. Not only do I learn by having my work critiqued but I also learn in the critiquing of others’ work. Most importantly, as everyone says, never give up. Write, write, and rewrite…edit, edit, edit and write some more. As for marketing, you’re on your own. You have to find your niche and build on it in order to let your book shine. Use social media to the fullest. Take every chance you can to put your book out there for you may not get that opportunity again.
NQ: Great points – thank you. Please tell our readers where they can get more information about you, the Goobers, and your books!
CE: All my books are available in print as well as ebook format. You can also find, Angel in a Fur Coat, at Books-a-Million and Barnes and Noble brick and mortar stores.
I often use the name Gooberella as a blanket title for all my books and I use my dogs as the mascot, calling them the 3 Goobers of Gooberella.com
Below is a list of links to my major social media sites:
Official website: http://www.Gooberella.com
Amazon Author’s page: http://www.amazon.com/author/clenuton
Facebook page is: http://www.Facebook.com/FurAngels
Twitter page: http://www.Twitter.com/Gooberella
Customized Fur Angels: http://www.AngelsinaFurCoat.com
Thanks, Nancy, for having me as a guest on your blog. The questions were fun to answer and I greatly admire your ability to write and your knowledge of the book world. Thank you for your guidance, encouragement and wisdom.
NQ: My pleasure to be of any help I can! Thanks so much again for being our guest today and keep me posted on Dolittleology – sounds like another great book!
On that note, we’ll say goodbye to our wonderful guest. Any comments? Leave them here, send them to Cynthia, or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you on the 17th! Keep reading and writing. NQ