Sally’s Smorgasbord Blog Magazine is a lovingly generous mix of her writing, the writings and books of her fellow authors, collaborations, poetry, book reviews, laughter and a series of articles, such as the current one on Relationships with Debby Gies.
She is a prolific writer and her books are a delight and full of life experience, warmth and imagination; What’s in a Name (Vol. 2), Life’s Rich Tapestry; Woven in Words, Just an Odd Job Girl, Media Training, What’s in a Name, Tales from the Irish Garden, Cuentos del Jardin, Size Matters, Tales from the Garden, Just Food for Health, Flights of Fancy, Turning Back the Clock, Sam; A Shaggy Dog Story and Forget the Viagra, Pass me a Carrot.
Sally has a huge heart and her intuition hears and feels the world and people in a unique way. She has the gift of sharing her perspectives and insights through writing and there are many blessings in being connected to Sally. Her indefatigable support for others is much appreciated, as many can attest too.
I am thrilled to bits to share an interview with Sally today.
Thank you for having me over Jane…
- When did you first become aware that you could see people and situations in all their layers?
We travelled to several countries with my father who was in the Royal Navy, and it meant that I was thrust into unfamiliar situations and meeting strangers from the age of 18 months. I think that gave me confidence, and also a curiosity about life and people. I apparently was one of those children who questioned everything and must have been a pain in the neck. That curiosity has persisted up to the present time and I love nothing better than a tough nut to crack. I am very happy with change and people are fascinating; as a writer, the experiences have been gold dust.
- What is your earliest writing memory?
When we came back from South Africa when I was twelve years old, I was a year behind everyone at the grammar school in Preston I was enrolled in. They said I would catch up… It was not just certain subjects such as geography, history, French and mathematics that I was behind in. In the previous year, the girls in my class had formed their friendships and groups, and I was definitely the odd one out with my accent and tan!! I felt unhappy and isolated for the first couple of terms. Every Friday in last period, our form teacher would invite girls to stand up and read a story or a poem they had written to the whole class. One Friday, I put my hand up and delivered a poem on bullying that emphasized how everyone should be grateful they did not live in a country with apartheid especially if they were considered to be inferior. It was titled ‘We are all human beneath our skin’. There was some funny looks between the girls and also from the teacher but on the Monday there was a thawing of relations and I found myself being included a lot more.
- Could you share with us some of your favourite books and authors?
That is very tough as I have so favourite books and authors from childhood onwards, and have gathered many more over the last 50 years. I have every book written by Wilbur Smith on my bookshelves, buying my first when I was 11 in 1964; one of the authors that I still buy in print. Also the amazing Earth’s Children Series of books by Jean M Auel which encouraged me to discover more about my own history dating back 20,000 years as part of the Oxford DNA project. To discover that I was genetically related to a woman who lived at approximately the same time as the humans in Jean Auel’s books, was a revelation and life-affirming.
- Does where you live have an impact on your writing?
I do think that where I have lived during my life is reflected in my writing, as are the people that I have met. I have written a book set in Spain and one in Ireland and I have written short stories about many of the places I have lived and visited. I wouldn’t want to waste those experiences and encounters as they have made me who I am today. Also, I hope that I am creating a catalogue of memories that will be useful when I am in my dotage!
- What lifts your heart in the everyday?
It has to be relationships, particularly the one I have been privileged to enjoy for the last forty years with my husband David. I had escaped from an abusive marriage and after finally obtaining my divorce after three years; I was adamant that I was not going to get married ever again. They call it famous last words for a reason. I met David when I was an assistant manager in a remote Welsh hotel when he booked in as a guest for two weeks. He asked me out on his last day and asked me to marry him the next day. We got married six weeks later. We have travelled the world, lived in 19 homes and have worked out of the same office for the last 20 years. He is my soulmate and best friend and that certainly lifts my heart every day.
And of course, there are family and friends who always have my back, including some very special online friends who have been with me every step of my blogging journey.
- Is writing your main creative pursuit?
With the blog, poetry and books it has certainly taken over much of my life, but in a good way. Writing takes us out of ourselves and mentally and emotionally offers so many benefits. It might involve a little too much sitting on a day to day basis. but I hope it means I will keep my marbles until they carry me out the door, gripping my mouse in one hand and the keyboard in the other. Hopefully, wherever I end up they have Internet!
- Do you have a favourite time of year?
I spent so much of my life from a baby in sunny climates including 17 years in Spain, that for me it has to be summer. If I am not writing then I am reading, and to sit outside with a cup of iced lemonade, a good book and feel the warm sunshine is bliss. I love colour in the garden and early summer when there is still blossom on the trees is magical.
- When life tumbles and falls, what centres you?
There have been a number of close calls physically and emotionally, and I know that having someone who is supportive and loves you come what may, is essential. I also learnt to be self-sufficient growing up as a nomad which helps, as does the knowledge that I am a survivor. No life is perfect and it is the tumbles and falls as well as the highlights which make us the person we are. Some bring with them invaluable lessons that benefit us on a daily basis.
- What would be your ideal day?
I would say that apart from a little more sunshine on a daily basis, most of my days are pretty ideal. I cannot imagine not socialising with my friends around the world online, meeting new authors and bloggers, laughing at funnies on Facebook or smiling at videos on YouTube. I certainly cannot imagine not writing every day, be it a health post or book promotion, a short story for my next collection or a poem in response to a weekly challenge. Life does not get much better than that with good health, lots of laughter and a bit of luck thrown in.
- Do you have an outline for each book, or does it evolve as you write?
My stories start off in my head, including the longer novels. Usually when swimming or on my treadmill when my body is occupied and my mind is free to wander. Then I sit down at the computer and dump it all out as fast as possible. Then I go back and read again and again until it is condensed and flowing to my satisfaction. Then I leave for a week or so and come back to it and read again and tighten before I am satisfied.
Thank you so much Jane for inviting me over to share my thoughts with you and your readers… I have enjoyed your questions very much.
Sally’s latest book is a collection of stories and poetry, ‘Life’s Rich Tapestry; Woven in words’ and she kindly shares one of the short stories from the collection with us here:
A moment of alignment
The child walked the darkened streets unafraid of the shadows. With bare feet, she disregarded the grit and gravel underfoot and skimmed across the surface of the odd puddle or two in her path. Her shoulders were back, and her head held high, with arms swinging confidently by her side. A faint smile touched her lips as the ring around the moon glowed brighter.
It was almost time for the perfect alignment of the sun and moon and for a brief moment, there would be a window of opportunity. She only had minutes to reach her destination and she quickened her pace. From the shadows, a dog barked in warning to those within their homes to remain inside. The animals knew how special this event was and were unafraid, but knew their human masters would cower in fear of the unknown.
Inside a house in the square, a woman sat in a rocking chair before a dying fire, tears falling onto her chilled hands as they rested on her lap. The house was silent except for the ticking of the grandfather clock in the hall; a sound that reverberated around the empty rooms. Empty of life, but also of love and hope, snuffed out like a candle a year ago when her daughter had been taken by scarlet fever. Her beautiful child, the light and love of her life; gone with a last faint breath.
The girl reached the edge of the deserted square and hurried towards the blue door so rarely opened to the light these days. As the two celestial orbs reached their perfect conjunction in the sky, she knocked three times with her small knuckles. She heard footsteps on the tiles of the hall behind the door, and then a click as the latch was raised. The door opened and the woman stood silhouetted against the gas lamp on the wall. She gasped and fell to her knees at the sight that greeted her.
In the diffused light from the hidden sun, she saw her lost daughter smiling at her, and warmth spread through her body and into her broken heart. She reached out a hand to touch the girl but it passed right through her. Mesmerised she stared at the apparition as it began to fade.
‘Mama, I can only stay for as long as the moon is ringed by fire, but I came back to see you for this brief moment, to tell you to grieve no more.’
As the sun began to peer around the moon’s edge, the girl turned to walk away but looked back once more. ‘You have love to spare mama, give it to others who need you.’
With that, she disappeared completely, and the woman remained on her knees for a long time as the street became bright with sunlight.
The years passed and the house in the square became a sanctuary for many homeless children, and the rooms and halls were once more filled with love and hope. But on the days when the sun and moon were in perfect alignment, there would be three taps on the door, and for a brief moment, mother and daughter were reunited.
My Review of Life’s Rich Tapestry: Woven in words
Sally Cronin is a natural storyteller and this book is a wonderful collection of verse, micro fiction and short stories. Her breadth of life experience and wisdom show in her words and the writing style draws the reader in.
Sally’s verses cover everything from life, past times, emotions, our furry companions and nature. ‘Romance’ had me scrolling back to re-read her words and ‘Rejection’ & ‘Betrayal’ struck heart chords long buried. I found enchantment and magic in her fairy verse and in the shapes of the words and poems on the page.
Her micro fiction ‘Broken’ raised a smile and ‘Musical Interlude’ moved me to tears. A potion from The Witch’s Handbook will have you laughing and many of us will find ourselves in that one!
None who read this book will forget Jimmy or the Elephants, yet my favourite story is ‘Great Aunt Georgina’. There is so much packed into this short story and it is one that will stay with you.
In reading this collection, I feel you will want to meet Sally and sit at her kitchen table, hearing her stories and feeling her warm wisdom. I hold hope that she will share with us again in this way, as it is a loving showcase for her gifts.
You can buy Life Rich’s Tapestry at:
For all those who wish to connect with Sally and keep up to date with her latest creativity the online links are below:
It has been a pleasure to welcome Sally here today and I know you all join with me in wishing her every loving sparkle in her creative endeavours. <3