Find a Christian store

Interview With Cyndy Salzmann

What do crime and clutter have in common? Only a professional organizer like Cyndy Salzmann can make sense out of mayhem. And she does exactly that in her new title, Crime & Clutter.

Your latest book, Crime & Clutter, released in April. Give us an overview.

Crime & Clutter is the second title my light-hearted mystery series focusing on the friendship and adventures of six women who have dubbed themselves the “Friday Afternoon Club.” Caught up in the everyday challenges of carpool, soccer practice, music lessons and never-ending laundry – this feisty group of midlife moms find themselves acting as sleuths to unravel the mysteries and predicaments they encounter. In this book, Mary Alice is forced to face the difficult memories of her father's abandonment when she was a baby. The FAC rallies around her to help resolve her family's long-buried secrets which take readers through the Sixties counterculture.

Tell us a little about your publication journey.

I began writing books as an excuse to avoid laundry. Frankly, I wish I had a loftier reason for kick-starting a writing career. But I don’t. The simple truth is at the bottom of the laundry pile – probably under a pair of smelly socks.

I despise laundry. My husband claims that at any given moment, I can come up with a list of ten reasons why we have no clean towels. He’s probably right - but for the last eight or so years, hunching over my laptop, pleading looming deadlines and artistic angst, has proven to be a handy excuse to stay out of the laundry room.

How do you balance your writing time and with your other responsibilities?

I decided not to tell my family that I am a writer. They think I am a Pampered Chef consultant. Shhhhh…

And how does your faith and spiritual life play into the picture?

I want women to understand that God knows and loves us dearly – and is concerned with even the most trivial details of our lives. For example, I once asked Him for a better attitude about laundry and He led me to Genesis 2:25, “They were naked and not ashamed.”

What was your biggest obstacle in regards to writing and/or getting published? How did you overcome it?

Too many books… so little time. : ) I have lots of ideas. It’s the discipline of working up the proposals that trips me up. I have to force myself to spend a certain amount of time each month working on proposals for new projects.

What has been the highest moment of your writing/publishing career?

I recently received a “starred” review from Library Journal for Crime & Clutter. This was the first acknowledgement from a “non-biased” source that made me think that maybe I can craft a decent story.

Who/What is your greatest inspiration to write?

I knew I wanted to write fiction after reading Skipping Christmas by John Grisham. I still lose some bodily functions when I think about that “Free Frosty” picket line. Hysterical.

I decided that I wanted to make people laugh with my writing – especially now that I found out laughing for 10 minutes each day can burn the same amount of calories as a half hour workout. I’ve wanted to be an aerobics teacher ever since Olivia Newton John released the song Physical.

Where do your story and character ideas come from?

Life. And eavesdropping at Starbucks. Note to coffee addicts: Watch what you say. The nerd on the laptop is taking notes.

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?

One of the things that makes this series unique is that I’ve blended a contemporary story with an “historical” subplot. (It was such fun to research the Sixties and look back at bell bottoms, fringe vests, macramé – and of course – the music that defined the culture. I still catch myself humming “Groovin” and “Blowin’ in the Wind”…)

I also include recipes at the beginning of each chapter that tie into the story. As a cookbook author, I just couldn’t help myself.

I understand you modeled the Friday Afternoon Club after a real group.

Yes – the inspiration did from my own group of friends that has been getting together on Friday afternoons for more than 15 years. We have no agenda, no crafts or no service projects. We've gone through career changes, divorce, the deaths of parents and spouses, illnesses, marriages—just about every major life change you can imagine. I count the friendship of these women as one of the most precious blessings in my life.

I came up with the idea for the mystery series when our group was taking one of our "road trips." We spent ten hours on a train going to Chicago and laughed the entire time. On the trip home, I thought it would be a great premise for a mystery. We ended up plotting a story with the help of several passengers and the conductor, who happened to be a part-time mortician. Although the trip inspired the series, that particular story hasn't been written—yet.

Finish this question. When I get a rejection, I…

… curl up in a fetal position and pray to be taken from this miserable life where no one understands my artistic genius.

Any parting words for up-and-coming writers?

They actually come from Stephen King… “To write is human. To edit is divine.” Listen to your editor.

Thanks for sharing with us, Cyndy!

For more great interviews, visit our Author Interview Archives.

ACFW Members, click here to apply for an author interview!

Developed by Camna, LLC

This is a service provided by ACFW, but does not in any way endorse any publisher, author, or work herein.