Friday, September 17, 2010

Interview in Cyberspace

My cyberspace studio is whatever I imagine it to be, so today I’m interviewing Connie Fleming (AKA C. M. Fleming) beside a creek with a slight gurgle.

C. M. Fleming, author of FINDER’S MAGIC, Onstage, 2008

We’re sitting on a quilt, pieced and hand-sewn by my grandmother. Connie has brought along her knitting. We’re munching on molasses cookies. (No ants in cyberspace!) Connie bakes and shares these tasty crunchies at bookstores when she signs FINDER’S MAGIC, her historical novel reviewed on Booklog Wednesday.

Since our setting today is imagined, the interview was conducted by email.

Joan: Welcome, Connie, and let’s get started by explaining how a gal raised in the Southwest came to write a book set on the other side of the country. What led you to write FINDER’S MAGIC?

Connie: “When we moved to Georgia, I became intrigued with the history of Atlanta, both the good and bad history. There is a lot of both. Then a friend told me about a vivid dream she’d had that she couldn’t get out of her head.”

Connie couldn’t forget that dream, either, and it became the opening chapter of her book.
“I HAD to put it on paper. I didn’t own a computer at the time. I borrowed a typewriter and began to write.”

Connie targeted the reluctant reader 4th and 5th grader boy, and describes her novel as one with language that is uncomplicated, “the danger is extreme, and the good guys win.” Two young boys are accidental witnesses to the murder of a textile mill worker. The murderers are determined the boys won't live to tell. Hank, the main character, and Calvin who becomes his unwitting ally, must use all their wits and muster up a great deal of courage to avoid becoming victims, too. While the reader is racing through page after page to keep up with the action, he’s absorbing the history of a volatile and exciting time in Atlanta.

Joan: And who is the Finder? Why does the Finder get title recognition?
Connie: “She’s an ancient African-American mystic. Her magic, Hank comes to realize, is her wisdom.”

Joan: And what about Calvin? What a spunky character!
Connie: “Calvin Yates, an orphaned African-American boy is street-wise, courageous, and has a chip on his shoulder the size of Stone Mountain. I’d love to write a story with Calvin as the main character.”

That brings us to talk of current projects. I asked Connie if she’d share.
“My current work, the one I just finished, is a contemporary Sci-Fi young adult novel. It takes place in my homeland, the Southwest.”

Connie’s husband, Dwain, known affectionately by the children in their neighborhood and at their church as “The Dude,” is also from the Southwest. Both he and Connie were raised in Arizona. A cowboy and rodeo rider in his western days, Dwain has served as an in-house consultant for Connie’s just completed novel. “He is my #1 proofreader and my biggest fan.”

When that novel comes out, I’ll interview Connie and maybe Dwain, too. My cyberspace studio will be a ranch in New Mexico. Yee-haw!

In the meantime, I’d like another molasses cookie.


  1. Mmmm... pass those molasses cookies! Great interview, Joan. Looking forward to your next story, Connie. See you both at wik in a few weeks!

  2. Yes, it's going to be a great conference.

  3. Sounds like a great read! I think Connie had me at "Atlanta history." And the Finder character just reeled me in.

    P.S. Such a good idea to read up on the WIK crowd. I need to get busy!

  4. Joan,
    You are the master at capturing the real person in your interview. You've given us a peek at a talented writer and the inspiration that drove her. What a treat!

  5. Finder's Magic sound almost too exciting for kids! I can't wait to get my hands on it. Thanks for the great review and interview!

  6. Looking forward to getting Connie to sign my copy (hopefully) at WIK. Great interview, Joan. Loved hearing the inspiration for the story!


Hillview School Library