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10 questions with science-fiction author Cindy Garland

July 11, 2010|By HEATHER LOWERY
  • Cindy Garland is director of marketing at Antietam Cable Television. She has just had a short story published by a United Kingdom company.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer,

Name: Cindy Garland

Age: 48

City: Hagerstown

Day job: Director of marketing at Antietam Cable Television, a sister company of The Herald-Mail

Story title: "To Cut a Blade of Grass" that appears on the "Short Trips" anthology CD.

Publisher: Big Finish, a United Kingdom company that produces audio dramas featuring actors from popular sci-fi shows including "Doctor Who" and "Highlander."

Genre: Science fiction

Last book read: "When You are Engulfed in Flames," by David Sedaris

Favorite book: "To Kill a Mockingbird," by Harper Lee

1. What is the story about? I had to in a short story, build up to saving the universe. I thought, 'Maybe I can narrow it down and make it personal and intimate.' That's what I tried to do. The title is based on the ancient proverb, 'to cut a blade of grass is to shake the universe.' It means, you do one little thing and it has this ripple effect and touches people in a way you couldn't even imagine. The doctor in Dr. Who is a time lord that comes in and does one little thing and effects the whole universe."

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2. What inspired you to write your short story?

I've been a fan of writing, and I've enjoyed writing my whole life. I've been a fan of Big Finish productions for a while and the things they do. When they made this opportunity available I thought I would just take a crack at it.

3. Tell us about your writing process.

Because it is a short story, I didn't want to put it on a grand scale. I wanted to make it very personal so it would be manageable to show how this character would be able to react and effect the world around him in a realistic way.

4. What was the most challenging aspect of the writing process?

It was the fact that a lot of very proficient writers have been writing for this series for 40 years and the challenge was to come up with something that would be unique for the character and the series. To try to come up with something original and compelling was the biggest challenge.

5. What have you learned that you wish you would have known earlier in the writing process?

Just the importance of staying true to the character and making sure the motivations and actions are believable.

6. Did you discover anything about yourself while writing the short story?

The main theme in the short story is something that most human beings have gone through or will go through and it was something that I had gone through, and in writing it, it helped me work through some of my experiences. It was a theme that's universal to most people.

7. What advice can you offer other writers?

Keep writing. That's the biggest thing, and keep it real. Stay true to yourself and keep doing it, whether you get published or not.

8. To be part of the project, you entered your story into a contest. There were more than 500 entries, and only 22 were picked. How did it feel be one of the top 22?

I was overjoyed. when I got the e-mail from the editor, I was like 'you're kidding me.' To think that someone from the U.S. could write something for ("Doctor Who") and have one of the original actors read it, it's very humbling.

9. Do you write other stories?

Yeah. Writing is a hobby of mine. I've never really been serious about getting anything published, I love to write. Creative writing, that aspect I do for myself. It's a stress reliever and I never really pursued it as professional because I don't want it to become work.

10. What made you want to write?

I don't know. There are things inside that, it's almost as if the characters have a life of their own and you're the channel through which they express themselves.

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