Author Interview (and a Giveaway!): Cindy and Erin Woodsmall & As The Tide Comes In

Posted August 21, 2018 by meezcarrie in Author Interview, Christian, Cindy Woodsmall, contemporary, Erin Woodsmall, giveaway / 40 Comments

Hi, dear reading friends! I’ve got a treat for you today – TWO authors for the price of one! And it’s RELEASE DAY for their new book, As The Tide Comes In!

Cindy Woodsmall is the New York Times and CBA best-selling author of twenty-two works of fiction. She’s best known for her Amish novels. She’s been featured in national media outlets such as ABC’s Nightline and the Wall Street Journal. Cindy has won numerous awards and has been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards. Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains.

Erin Woodsmall is a writer, musician, wife, and mom of three. She has edited, brainstormed, and researched books with Cindy for almost a decade. She has family roots in the Golden Isles of Georgia, and spent time every summer of childhood on St. Simons Island.

You can connect with Cindy & Erin on Cindy’s website, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

A New York Times best-selling author releases her first southern novel, a Steel Magnolias-meets-Sweet Home Alabama story set on St. Simons Island.

After losing two loved ones in a devastating tornado and suffering a head injury, Tara Abbott flees to St. Simons Island, where her disorientation causes the lines between imagination and reality, past and present to blur.

There she encounters island residents Julep Burnside, Luella Ward, Sue Beth Manning, and Dell Calhoun–The Glynn Girls–who have been friends since Bible camp, forty years earlier. When Julep’s son Gavin identifies a troubled soul in need of help, can the Glynn Girls guide Tara back to herself?

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To read the first chapter of As The Tide Comes In, head HERE.

Hi Cindy & Erin! Welcome back to the blog!

Erin: Summer for sure! Even with Georgia’s heat, bugs, and humidity, I love it. I’m really into cooking and eating seasonally and all of the best is ripe in the summertime: tomatoes, berries of all kinds, peaches, fresh basil, zucchini, and much more. Also I love taking my young children on adventures that involve water, and I can see many more amazing summers in our future.

Carrie: Ugh, I hate summer. BUT i do love all the fresh fruits and veggies and grilling out. If I could just have all of that in the winter I would be so happy haha!

Cindy: Netflix. I can run a Search to find a show, rather than trying to find a specific movie and DVR it. The Netflix shows are ready when I am—whether that’s six am or midnight—and it’s commercial free.

Carrie: Commercial free is blissful, isn’t it?

Cindy: Over, but only because others in my home said they’d start replacing the empty rolls of toilet paper on occasion if I’d start adding my changes as “over.” If I’d known that deal could be worked out, I would’ve gone “over” decades ago!

Carrie: hahahaha!

Erin: Board game. We’re homeschoolers and my kids and I are all about “gameschooling,” which is a term I heard online that means we include educational games as a regular part of our homeschool day. And most all board games have some aspects that use math, reading, or logic skills. Scrabble, anyone? (note: card games work for these things too.)

Carrie: i love that! Learning should be fun whenever possible ♥

Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?

Cindy: I would like the superpower of eviscerating procrastination and misuse of time! But don’t fear, I wouldn’t go around zapping people with that power. Also don’t fear because I clearly do not possess this superpower!

Carrie: LOL duly noted 😉

Q: As the Tide Comes In is called “a Steel Magnolias-meets-Sweet Home Alabama story”. Between all the dynamic female characters in both movies, which character are you most like? Who is Erin most like?

Cindy: I like to think I’m most like M’Lynn in Steel Magnolias, played by Sally Field. She’s kind, giving, smart, and discreet, but I have a cold that’s been dragging on for weeks and I slept four hours last night, so I certainly feel more like Ouiser (Weezer) Boudreaux, played by Shirley MacClaine: I’m not crazy, I’ve just been in a very bad mood 40 years!

Erin: I’m not sure. I’m probably a bit like Lurlynn in Sweet Home Alabama. She’s the young mom in the bar with a baby on her hip, not that I would ever do that (is that even legal?), but she’s kind, down to earth, and nonjudgmental. Unfortunately, inside of her quirky ways, she leaves herself open to a lot of judgment.

Carrie: Ok, so… this is where I admit that I’ve never seen Steel Magnolias (I know, I know), but I would totally put Cindy more in the M’Lynn camp than the Ouiser camp lol. (Feel better soon!) And I have always loved Lurlynn in Sweet Home Alabama so I think we all three need to become friends ♥

Q: Cindy, with your daughter-in-law Erin Woodsmall co-authoring As the Tide Comes In as well as a couple other titles with you, can you both tell us what it has been like working as a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law team?

Cindy: It’s been rejuvenating, like opening the windows at the end of winter and welcoming the fresh spring air. Erin has helped me behind the scenes for a lot of years, but to dive into a story as a writing team has been completely different. The great thing about writing as a team is that each person brings something special to the table. We know different things about life, loss, and love, and we’ve navigated through life as a family for 12 years, so we can rely on each other’s strengths and shore up each other’s weaknesses, both on page and off.

Erin: It’s a lot of fun! I’ve always loved reading and making up stories, but for the first time I’ve been able to use these skills for something tangible. Cindy is so skilled at her craft of writing, and she has this wonderful intuition about shaping stories. She can really create juicy conflict and ultra-romantic scenes, no explicitness needed! I learn something new every day.

Carrie: I love that y’all write together and each bring your own strengths and ideas to the mix!

Q: Most of the book takes place on St. Simons Island, Georgia. Why did you select this location, and what did you learn from research trips there that helped shape the story?

Erin: When Cindy had the idea for this novel, originally it was going to be set in a town similar to our hometown, which is a suburb of Atlanta located on Lake Lanier. But she’d been unable to find a setting that felt truly right. When she told me the storyline was inspired by Sidney Lanier’s poem, I immediately thought of Glynn County, Georgia, which includes Saint Simons Island, because Sydney Lanier wrote the poem while there. I mentioned that information to her, and everything clicked into place. The whole area has a small town feel, and it seems as if everyone knows everyone going generations back. My parents grew up in Glynn County, and I spent my childhood visiting grandparents and roaming St. Simons. 

Cindy: I was so excited about the setting being St. Simons Island, and we planned a weeklong research trip to St. Simons Island. We stayed in a lovely old home on East Beach, and that house became a central focal point of the story. Because Erin had family in St. Simons, we were able to interview friends of the family that covered several generations of unique lives. Between our time there and Erin’s familial connection, we were able to create a story that stays true to the island’s culture and history. A few of the things we did while there were climb all 129 steps of the lighthouse and spend a lovely afternoon at Gould’s Inlet, which became the book’s cover. We also went on a historical “ghost tour,” although I doubt if anyone believes the ghost part of the story. But the stories are a part of the island culture and a way to pass down the island’s history from one generation to the next, because everything up to the point of the person dying and becoming a ghost is well-documented history.

Carrie: Y’all lost me at ‘129 steps’ 😉  Honestly, though, that sounds like an awesome research trip and a really intriguing setting for a book!

Q: There are a few different storylines happening at once, including each of the Glynn Girls’ stories (a group of eccentric fifty-something women who live on St. Simons Island) and Tara’s relationship with one of their sons, Gavin. Which storyline was your favorite to write? Which one was the most difficult?

Erin: I loved writing the scenes between one of the Glynn Girls Luella and a man new to the island from New York City, Charles. Without giving anything away, the interactions between the two of them are a little different than what’s typical in a romance novel because they’re each in their fifties and they’re bringing all their life experiences and developed perspectives. Let’s not forget their well-developed, strong opinions. But even though she’s not as young as most book protagonists, Luella still has many playful, fun moments, especially when she’s in cahoots with the rest of the Glynn Girls.  I liked pulling in many familiar elements of St. Simons, and I was able to use references and even stories from my parents’ lives growing up there and they are very close in age to Luella and Charles.

Cindy: I feel Erin did an exceptional job with fifty-something Glynn Girls points of view. My heart was invested in Tara’s story. It’s a story that has been on my heart for a long time as well as her fledging, fragile relationship with Gavin. Their two worlds collide in a beautiful setting, but Tara can’t see beyond all that she’s grappling with in order to realize who Gavin is. As a mom of three sons, I really enjoyed creating Gavin, a grown man who basically has four “mamas,” and he loves them, but they also grate his nerves, so it feels true to life. 🙂 Many kids growing up in the South have multiple “mamas” that take them under their wing, but it’s even more pronounced with Gavin because the Glynn Girls are so close.

Erin and I agree that the most difficult part was handling Tara’s loss, which happens at the beginning of the book. We wanted to show Tara’s journey through it, but we also needed a way to let readers see the beauty of what’s happening for the ones who passed, the eternal hope despite the earthly grief. It took a few times of rewriting the opening scenes to find what felt like the right balance.

Carrie: I can’t wait to meet these characters & discovering their story lines!

Q: How can readers who have also experienced painful losses find encouragement and hope in Tara’s story?

Cindy:  If we live long enough, we’ll all experience great loss. It’s a certainty. But God offers us the ultimate hope and mercy. We know we will see our loved ones again in heaven, and that as long as we’re alive, He has plans for us here on earth. Life is precious, unpredictable, and but a breath in comparison to the grandness of all time. So let’s breathe it.

An excerpt:

Thoughts from Gavin: “…if life didn’t keep on keeping on, people meant to be born wouldn’t be. So we take our losses with our gains and let love bring us joy and break our hearts.” 

Carrie: Amen ♥

Thank you both so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for y’all.

Cindy: Right now we’re working on two Amish books: first, we’re writing a follow-up Christmas novella to this October’s release, The Christmas Remedy. The next novella is tentatively titled A Restoring Nativity, and it’s a romance for a young Amish woman who has many dreams and aspirations, and none of it includes a man. A unique aspect to this new work is readers will meet a brother and sister who are in need of refuge, and readers will learn facets of the Swartzentruber Amish life. This novella will release in October 2019.

We’re also working on a stand-alone Amish novel tentatively titled His Debt to Pay. In this story a married couple grapples with a secret that threatens to undo their family. We’re very excited about this unique storyline that asks the question: Can forgiveness release every prisoner?

Carrie: ooo these sound so good! I can’t wait!

Waterbrook & Multnomah Fiction is giving away a print copy of As The Tide Comes In to TWO of my readers! (US only) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

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What about you? Have you ever been to St. Simons Island? What’s your favorite vacation destination?

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40 responses to “Author Interview (and a Giveaway!): Cindy and Erin Woodsmall & As The Tide Comes In

  1. Melissa Andres

    This book sounds really good! I look forward to reading it! I’ve never been to St. Simons Island, but I’ve seen a house show that was set there! ? My favorite place to vacation is definitely the beach. The Ocean owns my geographical heart! ?

  2. Faith Creech

    No I haven’t been to St. Simmons island but would love to go. I’ve read a lot about it though! Thanks for the chance to win!

  3. Kay Garrett

    I’ve never been to St. Simons Island. My favorite vacation destination has to be Yellowstone National Park. After going there this summer and seeing how fabulous it it, I can’t wait for a return trip. Although I want to also take in Glacier National Park next time too. 🙂

  4. Paula Shreckhise

    I have never been to St. Simon’s Island but I have wanted to ever since reading the novels of Eugenia Price way back in the 70’s. All the roads were crushed shell snd buildings were Tabby!
    I would love to read this novel. And I guess it’s time to re-read Eugenia! Thanks for the terrific post.

  5. Anne

    I have never visited St. Simon’s Island. I love vacations in Florida. The beach is my favorite place to relax and enjoy the soothing sunshine and ocean. This novel sounds captivating and beautiful.

  6. Gloria

    I have just driven through the Golden Isles but never vacationed there. I don’t have a special vacation spot these days but it used to be at St. George Island, Florida. I really enjoyed this book-setting and Characters as well as the journey that Tara took in her life.

  7. Patty

    I have never been to St. Simons Island… I have been to Savannah, GA which is not to far away! It’s not that far of a drive from me, so maybe I will make it one of these days.

  8. Mallori

    My mom and I went on a bus tour about six years ago to St. Simons Island, as well as Savannah and Jekyll Island. Beautiful area!

  9. Deanne Patterson

    I have never been to St.Simons Island but it sounds like a wonderful vacation spot
    I love to vacation in Gettysburg.

  10. Janice Moore

    Yes, I have been to St. Simons Island and it was great! I love any beach vacation or historical visit.

  11. Janet Estridge

    I have never been to St. Simons Island but would love to go if I can convince my sisters. We take a trip once a year usually to the beach. This time we want to go somewhere different.
    Thanks for entering me in your giveaway.

  12. MS Barb

    I have not been to St. Simons Island…I enjoy vacationing where my family is (we’re scattered across the country, but have met up in Branson for the past 6 years!)

  13. I’ve never been to St. Simon’s island, but have heard lovely thing about it! My favorite vacation spot is either Disney World, or camping in the mountains.

  14. Perrianne Askew

    I’ve never been to St. Simons Island but it sounds fabulous. And Carrie, Steel Magnolias is a MUST see! I love the small town where it’s filmed, too.

  15. Rose

    Yes, I have been to St Simon’s Island. My husband & I and our grown children and grands met up there for a weekend. We absolutely loved it. I think almost everyone claimed the lighthouse.We also enjoyed the beach and some of the historical placed.

  16. Marty Moore

    This is the first time I really looked at your site. I’ve now bookmarked it for reference in the future!
    I would love to read any book my Ms. Woodsmall!

  17. Sonnetta Jones

    I can add it to my list. My favorite places to visit is Trinidad. Beautiful people, food and beaches.

  18. Becky Richardson

    No I have never been to St. Simons Island but would love to. My favorite destination that I really enjoyed was Arizona.

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