5 Questions with Cordelia Dinsmore

Published October 30, 2012 by LS Murphy

Cordelia Dinsmore lives in a century-old farmhouse surrounded by fields of corn, wheat, sunflowers, etc., depending on the whims of the farmers. A dog, five cats, a horse, and several humans share the small farm where she works and plays.

Cordelia writes strictly for children and has a fondness for creating rhyming picture books. When she’s not writing, she loves to grow flowers, blackberries, tomatoes, and the occasional herb. She also loves bird watching and scouring the Flint Hills for artifacts and prehistoric shark teeth.

Now on to the FIVE QUESTIONS

1. What was the spark of inspiration for Michaela’s Gift?
The biggest spark was my memories of summer visits to my grandparents’ home in middle Tennessee. Their house fascinated me! Many people would argue about it, but there actually were ghosts in one of the bedrooms, and I saw them one night after my brother filled my head with many details of what could happen if they came to me in the night.

The house itself seemed huge to me as a young girl, and I loved everything about it – except for the closet where the ghosts hid during the daylight hours. There was a room at the top of the stairs that my siblings and I weren’t allowed to explore. But my brother and I often snuck up there and spent stolen moments looking through boxes and dresser drawers. It was a fun time, and the fact that we weren’t supposed to be there heightened our enjoyment of it.

My grandparents also had a large black dog, aptly named Blackie. I am a dog lover, and so I spent many long hours coaxing her into a forbidden friendship with me. My mother feared the dog and had told us not to mess with her. I guess I was a pretty unruly child by the way this answer is going, but I was always naturally curious and loved exploring and making new friends. I’ve never outgrown that tendency.

2. How much of yourself did you put into Michaela?

Ha! I guess after reading the above answer, I should say she’s an exact duplicate. But that’s not quite true. I do have an older brother and a younger sister, just as Michaela’s does. And I guess my own mother did sometimes seem a bit on the grumpy side, but she was nothing like Michaela’s mom. And I absolutely adored all of my aunts – all twelve of them! But we never had the type of relationship Michaela shares with her Aunt Sharon. That’s all I can say about that without giving away too much of the story. Oh, and I’m not artistic in the least. Michaela has this amazing talent, and that’s totally not me.

3. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

They’ve all heard it before, but the best advice I can give is to read voraciously, and pay attention to what draws you into a story and what pulls you out. Then make note of that and strive to use what you’ve learned in your own writing. Also, even though a writer’s life can be solitary in some aspects, reach out to the writing community for advice and encouragement. There’s an amazing world of talented people who are more than willing to share what they’ve learned.

4. If you could go back in time, where would you go?

I would go back to the days of my childhood, if I could go with much of the life experiences I’ve acquired over the years. I would make the most of every special moment with my family and friends, and I would let the little things that are of no importance fly by without the least amount of attention.
5. Finally, Star Wars or Star Trek?

Ack! I am a trekkie, through and through.
About Michaela’s Gift

Michaela Cochran still believes in enchanted mountains and fairytale castles, but her happily-ever-after will never happen if she can’t convince her mother to accept the magical gift Michaela has inherited.

Michaela Cochran and her family make the trip to her father’s ancestral home every year, but this year is special. Michaela is now twelve, the age when every girl in the family receives a special gift. When Aunt Sharon explains that Michaela’s gift is a magical ability to bring one of her drawings to life, Michaela begins making plans. What she wants most is a castle high on the mountain, where her family can live together. But if she can’t figure out how to resolve the growing hostility between herself and her mother, her gift is meaningless.

Read an excerpt here!



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