Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with Cyndi Sand-Eveland

Share |
Ten Questions with Cyndi Sand-Eveland

Tundra author Cyndi Sand-Eveland has worked with elementary-aged children for the past fifteen years as a teaching assistant for students with learning disabilities and ESL students. She has also led storytelling and journal writing workshops for primary and intermediate students. Her first novel, Dear Toni, and her original poetry were recently included in a workshop to inspire students to begin their own creative adventures in storytelling and journal writing.

OBT:

Tell us about your novel, Dear Toni.

CSE:

Dear Toni is the often funny (at least I hope so anyways), sometimes ridiculous and occasionally sad collection of Gene Tucks rambling thoughts. It all begins with an assignment from her sixth grade teacher — one hundred days of journal writing. Could any assignment be worse? Not if the thing you hate most is writing. Not if what you do best is doodle and daydream. Not if your life is the most boring on the planet. Not if…well maybe not until things begin to look up, your life gets dumped upside down just one more time, and you end up living in a doghouse.

OBT:

Did you have a specific readership in mind when you wrote your book?

CSE:

Personally, I love juvenile literature and picture books as well as adult fiction and non-fiction. Actually, I love books; almost all of them. So I hope that anyone could read this and enjoy it regardless of their age. But, if I have to nail down an age group, I’d say grades 4-7.

OBT:

The protagonist in Dear Toni, Gene Tucks, has to keep a journal as an assignment for her sixth-grade class. Did you keep a journal when you were a kid, and do you still keep a journal?

CSE:

I did. Usually just for the months of January through about March as that is when the dates begin in a blank journal. Then I’d lose interest until something monumental happened. Perhaps an argument with my parents or a friend or exciting news like a jump in my allowance.

I do [keep a journal]. It’s more or less a scrapbook/journal.

OBT:

Describe your ideal writing environment.

CSE:

I love to wake up early, real early; especially in the summer. It’s quiet in the house and the stars are just starting to fade. A pot of tea is steeping on my desk. But really, when I’m in the thick of something I’ll write any time of day and any place. Time whisks by me and before I know it I’ve been writing for hours, or maybe it’s been days. That’s my ideal writing environment.

OBT:

What was your first publication?

CSE:

Dear Toni is my first published book. But my very first publication was a poem for International Children’s Day back in the 80s.

OBT:

What are you reading right now?

CSE:

I’m rereading all of Dr. Seuss.

OBT:

If you had to choose three books as a “Welcome to Canada” gift, what would those books be?

CSE:

If You’re Not from the Prairies by David Bouchard - Because so many immigrants go to the big cities to live and never see the prairies.

A Northern Alphabet by Ted Harrison - Because I love the north and for many people who come to Canada it is uniquely Canadian.

And I am trying to remember this book that was put out about 25 years ago. It may have been called Canada in Pictures. It was a great book of Canadian Landscapes.

But truly those are just three that come to mind. I know I could think of many more.

OBT:

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as a writer?

CSE:

Don’t give up, keep writing.

OBT:

Describe the most memorable response you’ve received from a reader.

CSE:

A few days ago, I was in a classroom during silent reading. A young girl was giggling away as she read my book. Looking up at me she smiled and said, “This is really funny.”

OBT:

What is your next project?

CSE:

I’m working on another novel for young readers. But I never talk about a book I’m working on until I have the first draft done. For me it dilutes the energy I need and want in writing. Even with my closest friends, I don’t share the plot until I’m finished a first draft.

I’m also polishing up a number of picture books I’ve written and never sent out to a publisher. They’re a great distraction at the moment!




Read mores about Dear Toni by Cyndi Sand-Eveland at the Tundra Books website.

Related item from our archives

JF Robitaille: Minor Dedications

Dundurn

Open Book App Ad