2020-10-08 Interview Sheila M. Cronin

There are 2 ways to receive this special access written interview with

Sheila M. Cronin

Novelist, poet, screenwriter

On writer’s responsibility, Pandemic community action, mystery writers, writing tips& more

1.  Click on link below for the pdf

***Click HERE to download the 2020 10 08 Sheila M. Cronin Interview PDF***


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Welcome to Write Volumes: Behind the Volume presents Shades of Writers 8 at 8 Author Interview series. Our goal is to give diverse voices an outlet for expression and to bring attention to diverse writers and our thoughts.  In this monthly newsletter we are featuring interviews of our wonderful writers to help people like you to get to know them better.


This month’s interview features Sheila M. Cronin.  Sheila is a writer, novelist, poet, screenwriter and a thoughtful person active in her community. Sheila’s writings center on family dramas full of wit and insight. She is working on the third installment in The Gift Counselor series, two screenplays and she wrote “Where There’s Smoke” and “Left, Right & Straight Down the Middle” in Shades of Transition & Transformation. Her poem “Ode to Father Mulcahy” was published in Upon Arrival: Prelude; Eber and Wein Publishing, 2020. You can find her books on apple, Kobo, Nook, or Amazon.  Check out her website for more information and free excerpts at http://www.giftcounselorbook.com


WV:  How important is writing to you?

SMC:  Being able to write is a skill, being inspired to write is a gift. These days, having the gift of talent is more precious than ever, because it is something I can turn to that lifts my spirit, no matter how much or how long isolation is imposed on us all.


WV:  What is the responsibility of a writer to their readers? What contract exists between a writer and reader?

SMC:  Narrowing down this broad question: A writer of fiction must first engage and entertain, sometimes educate and sometimes enlighten. With regard to a contract, traditional thinking says that a good writer “takes care” of the reader, implying that a writer does not gratuitously titillate, shock or otherwise hurt readers. There is another school of thought that subscribes to the notion that the contract refers to an exchange of money for a satisfying read. No such thing can be guaranteed. As I write, the contract (i.e., hope) that comes to my mind is: If I write it, they will come!


WV:  How would you describe your style?

SMC:  Mostly, I write stories and family dramas in the vein of Jan Karon, Alice Munro, and Jon Hassler, though lighter. My main ingredients are conflict, humor and insight. I occasionally write plays, mystery stories, essays, and non-fiction.


WV:  What advice do you have for anyone who may want to write? What did you learn?

SMC: Consider joining a writing group; there are many listings on Meetup.com. Take a creative writing class. Work on your writing as often as time allows. Don’t merely read books but also study them for sentence structure, style, charm, grammar and punctuation.


WV: Do you have 1-2 tips for writing in general?

SMC: 1) As you read a new book, keep pen and paper nearby to jot down interesting words and phrases. Your writing can benefit from the influence of other writers and authors.

2) Formatting, spelling and punctuation are as important as good writing. Take time to learn your craft. Proof your work and find reliable beta readers to help proof your work.


WV: Developing and belonging to a community are important parts of being an author. What ways do you keep community during this time?

SMC: In the week before the closings, when the pandemic became imminent, I searched my closets for unused clothes and shoes and donated them at the main library downtown. Just days before the closings began, I donated blood. To support the Red Cross, I wrote a letter to the editor at the Tribune about the need for blood donations and it was published. When blood donations were allowed to be accepted again, I made my next appointment. I observe social distancing and, mindful of others, wear a mask. I continue meeting with my writing group via Zoom and continue to support my writer friends online and by phone.


A few more questions for SHEILA:


WV:  What is on your reading list?

SMC:  More books by Susan Sussman, A.J. Pearse, Louise Penny, Dorsey Fiske, Tracy Chevalier, James Carroll, Fanny Price, Jennifer Chiaverini, and many others.


WV: Who are some of your favorite authors?  Why are they important to you?

SMC: Mystery writers to me are the “sports page” writers of fiction. In other words, they are often more entertaining than literary writers, and more creative. Jon Hassler and Mary McMullen are two writers whose styles influenced my writing. Though I don’t write in this genre, I enjoy mysteries. Donna Leon and Louise Penny are among my favorite authors because they deftly advance their characters’ lives with each installment. I also read many debut novels.


WV:  Why did you choose to be a part of an anthology?

SMC: I chose to be part of an anthology for several reasons. 1) My first published story was part of an anthology developed by WritersNet; the excitement of that event stays with me. 2) An anthology gives a writer the chance to get a story published that otherwise may be difficult to place. 3) It’s another credit to add to a cover letter. 4) I wanted to support a friend and fellow author.

That said, the question I’ll be asking up front the next time around is: what are the plans for marketing and promotion? The answer will inform me as to whether or not to participate in future anthologies.


WV: Why do you think it is important for people to read anthologies?  How do you feel people can benefit from reading anthologies?

SMC:  Anthologies provide readers with samples of work by a number of writers at a reasonable price. In some cases, the anthology may have a theme, in others, the writers may share a common bond or goal. Contemporary anthologies are aided by digital publishing, social media and networking to bring diverse voices together. The editor’s style unifies the project to present a satisfying and coherent read.


WV: What’s next for you?

SMC: I am working on the third installment in The Gift Counselor series.  I’m working on two screenplays.



WV: Where can readers find you if they would like to connect with you more?


Visit website: http://www.giftcounselorbook.com

Email me at: sheila.giftcounselorbook@gmail.com


WV: Where can readers find more of your work?


  1. The Gift Counselor, novel in paperback or digital: https://amzn.to/2FSWraj
  2. Best of All Gifts is the sequel: https://www.amazon.com/Best-All-Gifts-Gift-Counselor/dp/0996046054
  3. Heart Shaped II, ebook collection of 20 short stories:  https://amzn.to/2tlhlwb 


Please request your public library to order these books.



THANK YOU for your time and thank you so much for your writing, Sheila. We also want to thank everyone for reading.

This is Behind the Volume a look at Write Volumes in the making.  Please continue to check out www.writevolumes.com for our latest book info and links to our video series. 

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And remember together we can write volumes!

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