A week or so ago, I reached out to a few fellow blogger authors I follow and asked if they’d participate in my new guest author posts column, and I’m happy to say that I’ve gotten some great responses. It gives me great pleasure to share with you the following guest post from author Sally Cronin.
Thank you so much, Patty, for inviting me over to talk about myself and my life. And thank you for such interesting prompts to get me thinking…..
Perhaps I can set the scene by briefly telling you how I got to this point in my life. My father was in the Royal Navy and we travelled around the world until I was fourteen years old before we settled back in the south of England. There have been a few hiccups in my personal life but in 1980 I met and married a wonderful man, in six weeks. They said it would never last, but it has and thank goodness he was not looking for a perfect woman! I had an amazing career the hotel, retail and telecommunications industries but decided to train as a nutritional therapist 20 years ago. Apart from working for myself, this enabled me to return to one of my first ambitions of being a writer. I published my first book in 1999 and have 11 others on the shelves currently. I discovered blogging in 2013, and today I find myself in front of the screen for far too many hours a day doing something I love.
We have spent the last 39 years moving around from country to country for work. We lived in the USA for two years in 1985 and travelled around the country in our spare time to take full advantage of our time there. We lived and worked in London for nine years and stints in other parts of the country before two years in Brussels, three years in Ireland and then seventeen years in Madrid. We now live back in Ireland on the Wexford Coast and have been here for three years. We are about 40 minutes from Wexford and an hour from the centre of Dublin which is handy for both airport and ferries. We bought a ‘doer upper’ which needed a lot more ‘doing up’ than we expected. But it is now almost ready to sell to some family looking for a lovely home, and we will head off to another part of the coast to the south. A smaller house, with less to do, and with a sea view, she says hopefully!
The most important person in my life is my husband, David, especially as for most of the last forty years we have lived abroad and away from our families… On my side, I have two older sisters and a younger brother and their children and they live in the UK. David has a lot of family here which is great, and a third generation is now growing up which is lovely to see.
Also very important to me are the friends that I have made on our travels who we still keep in touch with. In the early days that was tough with snail mail, but so much easier now with email and social media. This has also enabled me to connect with people online around the world. It is wonderful to be able to direct message friends in Canada, America, Australia and Thailand at some point during the day. Can you imagine being able to do that even ten years ago?
Also, a key part of our lives, and who was a delight, was our fur baby called Sam. He was a Lassie Collie and we lost him in 2008. We will definitely be getting another dog in the near future. The house is not a home without one.
You mentioned in your introduction to this series Patty that you were interested in what drives people to do what they do, particularly writing and I gave it some thought as I was interested to find out why I do it too! I always was a workaholic and that has not changed since I began working for myself. Although my blog is not monetized, and I certainly do not make a living from my books, it is still my job and one that I can do until I am pried away from the keyboard, hopefully when I am about 110 years old. When I began life as an indie author 20 years ago, there were not many of us around and I took a lot of stick. I am inspired by all those other indie authors who have overcome the prejudice and now fill the shelves of not just Amazon but high street bookshops. That drives me to find more and more ways to showcase their work and my own, as well as creating a thriving watering hole for people from around the world to gather and communicate.
I do have a life after I switch off the computer. Books are obviously very special to me but I also love music and the movies.
Music has always been a companion and also a therapy, getting me through some tough times. I listen to classical, jazz, pop and rock and roll. I would not be able to choose one particular piece of music or song that is a favourite, but I think we all have one song that lives in your head and you listen to time after time. I wish I could say that it was an inspiring anthem, but for me, it is a rock track, Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
It is the same for all the thousands of movies that I have watched since the first one at age five. The Key with Sophia Loren, William Holden and Trevor Howard in 1958. It was my birthday in February, and I had nagged my mother to take the 15 miles to the seaside. Of course, it was raining and cold and my mother in frustration took me to the cinema. The film was way above my head, but I still remember snippets and it fueled my love of films ever since. From that time until my twenties I wanted to be an actress and singer. Life got in the way and different roads taken, but never say never!
If I was to select a favourite movie it would be one that I have watched countless times and know every scene by heart which is ‘The Last of the Mohicans’. From the opening music to the finish it is breathtaking. I have also read the book by James Fenimore Cooper several times and considering it was written in 1826, it still competes with some of the best thrillers and sagas of today.
Books are such an integral part of my life and I have precious books that I have read many times in the six decades, and find something new every time I pick them up. I would say that “Clan of the Cave Bear” by Jean M. Auel is a contender for top of the list. Not just because it is an amazing book, but it because it opened up a wonderful world of discovery. It was at a time that I had just identified that I was related to a woman whose bones were discovered in a cave in Southern France, Northern Spain who died 20,000 years ago. It was part of one of the early DNA studies, and finding out more about what her life would have been like, through the series Earths Children was fascinating.
Another part of my life which also spills into my work day both on the blog and in my books is health and food. I would love to be able to say that my favourite foods are fresh vegetables but would not be able to keep a straight face. I eat anything and am passionate about using great ingredients and cooking them from scratch, but if you want to bribe me then any chocolate covered ice cream, preferably with almonds it will do the job.
It is important when you get into your mid-60s to still be open to bribery, but it is also a time when you realise that there is less time in front of you than behind. I find that I have become a bit of a grumpy old woman, so it is quite easy most of the time to ‘peeve me off’. Lack of courtesy is high on the list, particularly when directed at those who are working to serve you in some capacity. I have been in that position, and it is very hard to put on a smile on your face for customers day after day when some are so dismissive. For me, courtesy is critical in our overcrowded world, and two simple statements make all the difference. ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’. Both are sadly missing in reality shows and in dramas that we watch, and nothing irritates me more when I see a family in a restaurant and neither the adults or children exhibiting any respect for those serving them. It is indicative of a larger problem in society and in the lives of those children as they grow up. It is part of socialization and learning to be a useful member of society. Making someone else’s day is such a great feeling.
It is also a time in your life when you examine how you got to this point and what strengths and weaknesses have played a part in outcomes, good and bad. And for the last twenty plus years that has been about writing.
I am tenacious… I don’t like to lose or be told that there is something I cannot do. I will keep at something until I have achieved what I set out to do. Originally, when self-publishing was a dirty word, I committed to writing ten books to prove them wrong. Twenty years later I have twelve books and another three currently in process. I shall continue until the last minute possible. I have thought long and hard about my last words and I am hoping that these will be immortalized. “I buried the million pounds underneath the……..” That would put the cat amongst the pigeons.
I would love to say that I had no weaknesses, apart from almond chocolate ice creams. But I am not perfect. I don’t suffer fools gladly, which is probably why it is better that I am online and can draw a breath before I publish a response or a post that might offend someone. I still have that weakness but I try now to make sure that anything I do say is constructive….hopefully unless I am really ‘peeved’…
You wanted to know about dreams that I might have about the future, particularly relating to writing. I don’t have dreams anymore in a work sense. I have a project plan that stretches out at least 20 years, and with good health and a tailwind, I will make happen. Dreams are wonderful things as they open up your mind to possibilities in the future and create a desire. I have those in abundance… For example, we would love to do the train trip from one side of Canada, and possibly into Alaska and visit old friends and family. I have a dream of our next house with a view of the sea and a dog. As a writer, when I achieve those they will become stories, and who knows where they might lead.
I would love to hear from anyone reading this who would like to connect online. Either on my blog for free book promotion, or social media and the links are at the end of the post.
I prefer to communicate by email as I can check that in a planned way whereas by phone and text is quite intrusive. Also, you have to be so careful about what you say online in both blogs and social media to ensure your privacy. Anyone who wants to work with me can contact me on email@example.com and my books are all on Amazon but I have a page on my blog that people can browse, read some reviews and be linked to the right page if they would like to buy. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2019/
You asked what my favourite quote and affirmation might be and I would love to leave you with these that I think are fundamental to my beliefs.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Something that it strikes me is one of the fundamental flaws in our modern society And these two affirmations have been repeated a number of times in my life when needed…
“Happiness is not an emotion, it is a decision.”
“The past does not define me.”
Links to connect with me.
My links for the blog and social media.
Thank you so much Patty for your kind invitation and I hope that I did not outstay my welcome.
*** Patty back to say, thank you Sally for your wonderfully written essay. It does my heart good to read and share such an open piece.
I hope everyone has enjoyed this as much as have I. I hope if you do you will give a like, comment and share.
Thanks for dropping into campbellsworld and do come back soon as I’ve more guests in the line up soon.
If you’d like to be a guest here in campbellsworld, drop me a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org