Today I’d like to introduce middle grade author Cindy Murray. I especially loved learning about Cindy’s work since she’s a fellow Southern Californian. Her busy school-visiting schedule is inspiring, as is the wonderful feedback she receives from students and teachers. I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading about her adventure trilogy.
Q. Hi Cindy. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your books.
A. I have always considered writing to be a big part of my life. I graduated from college with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and went on to enjoy a career with Hewlett Packard Co. as a Trade Show Marketing Coordinator. I’ve been married for many years, and have been lucky enough to have two daughters (both attending Baylor University.) And throughout each of these life stages, writing has always been a factor.
When my daughters were younger, I constantly volunteered in their classrooms and observed all of the students’ love for reading; especially the adventure books that had a problem to solve. I also observed the struggle for some students when reading a chapter book, and I vowed to help promote literacy in some way. I decided that I could make the most impact upon middle grade readers ages 8 to 12. That’s what inspired me to write my own series called The Adventures of Sophie and Scottie Trilogy.
Like the name says, Sophie and Scottie are adventure seekers! They are non-identical twin sisters age 11 “and a half” (as they always say) who live on a 10,000 acre sheep shearing ranch called Shear Heaven. The girls receive a package that will send them on mysterious adventures to various lands. This gift is a magical picture frame from their globetrotting Auntie Jill that acts as the portal for the girls to begin their journey. The frame glows in multicolored crystals and then grows when a picture is put into the frame that is provided by their Auntie. Sophie and Scottie find themselves on three adventures in the trilogy. They must use their teamwork, wit, curiosity, and brave nature to solve these mysteries.
Just going through the frame takes courage, and the girls must trust and rely on each other to navigate where they are in the picture of the frame. Since the frame is magical, each girl develops a talent to help them in their adventure. The girls also learn about their mystery in a scientific level that I call “EDUTAINMENT.” This allows the reader to learn something in the plot of the story and can even Google the topic if they want to as they are enjoying Sophie and Scottie’s adventure. The sisters also have access to an amazing map that acts as a resource during the many decisions they must make within the story.
My first book, Sophie and Scottie’s Adventures of the Monarch Mystery (released August 2014), takes the girls to Mexico to help figure out where the Monarch Butterflies have disappeared to. The reader learns about pollination, Monarch Butterflies, radio waves, and pulley systems. This book won the 2014 Silver Mom’s Choice Award, the Gold 2015 Family Choice Award, the 2015 Finalist Award from San Diego Book Awards for Best Published Children’s Book for Excellence, and has earned 4 stars from a Top 100 Reviewer on Amazon.com. My second book, Sophie and Scottie’s Adventures of Something’s Fishy (released May 2015), takes the sisters to a remote island in the pacific where they ride their horses through the frame! Not all is as it seems in paradise, and Sophie and Scottie help to solve the crazy ocean current problem. The reader learns about ocean currents, yurt dwellings, dolphins, Amelia Earhart, and magnets! My thirds book, Sophie and Scottie’s Adventures of Sweet Tooth Rock (released March 2016), takes place in North America where the girls find themselves staying at the Colossal Candy Castle. The sisters soon learn that there is a world sugar shortage and figure out how they can help solve what is happening to the sugar in this sweet mystery. The reader learns about where sugar comes from, the freeze drying process, glaciers, the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights, the mechanics of skiing, and Grizzly bears.
Q. Could you tell us something about your greatest success and your latest success?
A. I would say my biggest success has been to release my third book and now be able to market my Sophie and Scottie books as a trilogy. I have great characters with creative and magical adventures that are fun to read. The second success would be the amazing feedback I’m currently getting for these books. The students who are reading this series are relating to Sophie and Scottie and their adventures. I was just endorsed by one of the Poway USD 2015 teachers of the year, Dena Glynn, for this trilogy where she especially “loves” the third book! Another success was that I was recently interviewed by Scott Golden of the Power of Perception Radio network on Blogtalkradio.com, which went very well and will help me to further the Sophie and Scottie brand.
Q. What has been your biggest challenge?
A. I would say that my biggest challenge is to create awareness of The Adventures of Sophie and Scottie Trilogy. I have a great publishing team, but it is up to me to market these books and to choose wisely where my time and money goes to meet this challenge. I would say another challenge is the distribution process and how that will best benefit me as an author and business person to promote and sell my books.
Q. What are your plans for the future?
A. I will focus on marketing my book trilogy until around summer time when schools are closed for the summer and my author visits also slow down. Then I will start writing my 4th Sophie and Scottie adventure! I will continue to participate in author events that make sense for my books and will also book as many author visits in schools as I can because it is really fun to talk to the students about writing, plot and character development, good citizenship, and of course, I love reading my books to them.
Sophie & Scottie’s Adventures of the Monarch Mystery – Book One in the trilogy
An enchanting story highlighting the beauty and balance of nature, the Mexican culture, and the bravery that girls can display, especially when they work together. Sophie & Scottie’s Adventures of the Monarch Mystery will delight middle grade readers with magic, mystery, and adventure. Purchase Link
Thanks for reading!