Friday Free-for-All

Friday Free-for-All: Author Interview – Sheila M. Cronin

Friday Free-for-All

It’s been a while since I posted an author interview, so when Sheila M. Cronin contacted me after reading a comment I made on Alexis Grant’s site, it seemed like as good a time as any to start back up again.

Today, I am happy to welcome author Sheila M. Cronin. Let’s get to know a little more about her and her book:

1. How would you describe your book to someone who has not yet read it?

A timeless mix of romance, family drama, and psychological and inspirational insights served with humor, The Gift Counselor is a story that will warm your heart all year long.

2. If Oprah invited you onto her show to talk about your book, what would the theme of the show be?

The theme would be gift-giving and gift-receiving, and Oprah would be all over both!

3. How did you get the idea for the novel?

I observed something unusual in a major department store during the Christmas shopping season. A man approached a perfume counter and asked for gift advice. He needed a gift to fix a problem with his girlfriend. The sales associate behind the counter, a young woman, urged him to forget about perfume and buy his girl something beautiful instead—diamonds—so lovely they would make her cry. Then his problem would be solved. Immediately upon witnessing that scene, I knew I had been given the gift of a story and I began to write it that day.

4. Which came first, the title or the novel?

The story came first, and the title followed.

5. What scene or bit of dialogue in the book are you most proud of, and why?

Some readers have told me they like the one sermon given by a priest at Sunday Mass most. It took me 25 tries to get that chapter right, and I am proud of it.

6. What inspired you to write your first book?

This is my first book. Originally, it was a screenplay. I wasn’t having any luck getting it sold. Another writer advised me to turn it into a novel.

7. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now? 

I’d have to say that when you receive a gift, such as I did when this story came to me, you’d better honor it as best you can, protect it, write and rewrite and polish it till it shines, and never lose belief in its power.

8. Considering a book from the first word you write to the moment you see it on a bookstore shelf, what’s your favorite part of the process? What’s your least favorite?

My favorite part was when my editor told me I’d written a good book and that it would go far. My least favorite was pushing to get it done when I was mentally exhausted.

9. What’s up next for you?

I am working hard on the sequel. It is called Best of All Gifts.

10. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Find a writing group and be a good member of it. By that I mean, attend every meeting, be ready to discuss your work and their work, and listen to their critiques. Find a good group with positive energy and serious writers, whether amateur or not.

Be sure to visit Ms. Cronin’s website at:

About the Author

sheila m cronin

Sheila M. Cronin was born in Chicago, Illinois and after majoring in art, she obtained a Master’s degree in mental health sciences. Sheila then practiced art therapy for ten years. Among her other jobs was a stint at Princess Cruises where she traveled to Tahiti twice in one month. “Airport Romance”, her first published story, can be found in The WritersNet Anthology of Prose.

“Heart Shaped: a collection of short romances” includes 10 humorous stories that suggest love can begin or begin again anywhere.

Writing fiction, painting portraits and composing songs on piano are her favorite “cre-activities,” next to reading a good book.

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