Featured Interview With Cynthia L. Matlock
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I was raised on a farm in East Texas where my parents raised vegetables to eat and sell at a local farmer's market. We also raised pigs, cattle, and chickens. We still lived a rural lifestyle even in the 1970s-1980s. After finishing college with my BBA degree in Business Management, I married my college sweetheart and we moved about 30 miles from our hometown. We have three adult children, and now raise cattle ourselves. I love to read a good book to relax, gain knowledge, and escape our everyday life. I have been writing stories over 10 years, mostly short stories and have three magazine articles published. "Dancing in the White Sand" is my first book published, and it was inspired by my Great-grandmother, Lucy.
I did extensive research and tossed back and forth about publishing it for others to enjoy and get inspiration from her journey during the 1859-1861 pre-civil war era. Now I spend my time helping to manage the cattle farm/ranch, critiquing and writing in our local Writer's club, taking care of my elderly mother, age 97, and my adult son who is autistic. I usually have a book near me to finish, or start and realize how important it is to use our creative minds to help others.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
Probably around age 10-12 when we were assigned books to read in school, I would always check out an extra book to read over the weekend. I'd ask my parents to buy used comic books, magazines, paperback books as I loved a good story.
I started writing to make sense of the world after my children were born. My first short story dealt with a crime in our city that I did not understand. The words and scenes just came to me, and I felt so much better after writing it into a story. After that story I kept writing several stories and entering them in writing contest. When "Dancing In The White Sand" won a award, I did more research and sent it to beta-readers, and finally decided to expand it into a book.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
Sandra Brown, Toni Morrison, Kimberla Rory Lawson, Lynn Austin, and now Jasmine Guillory. My favorite genre to read is Historical Fiction, romance, and Biographical books of inspirational people. My writing club members, family and friends.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
It's 1859, and Lani, a curious Yoruba teenager, is torn from the safety of her village in West Africa by marauding men. She is determined to finish empowering steps into womanhood even in a strange land with outlandish people. Lani and her mother, Toluwani, are brought to a beautiful Caribbean island, where she quickly makes friends with Molayo and other girls who learn to fight and protect each other. She learns about the historical places along a Texas river as she bounces along, memorizing landmarks. After her third boat rides, she docks in the piney woods of East Texas. She overhears about captives running away to Mexico. Unknown to her new owners, she is a great swimmer. When Lani and the others get to their new home, she meets remarkable new people and experiences a new giddy feeling of romance for, Agibe, or Ben. Miss Martha becomes her surrogate mother, and shares her knowledge of African customs such as naming ceremonies. Things like salt: which means the child's life would not be ordinary, but filled with substance, and they'd preserve all that was good.
There are four steps required before a final dance, and Lani finds something deep in the Texas woods that reminds her she can dance, here. When she overhears of a pending fire, she must choose whether to let her new home burn, or fight and stay. Besides running away, what are her other choices? A determined teenager’s life during the 1859-1861 pre-civil war era.
I worked on and researched and revised the book for over eight years.