A big thank you to Robin E. Mason for joining us today. She has an interview to share with us from the lead character in her newly released book Cissy. Find out more about the Unsavory Heritage series and all about Cissy!
rem: Good afternoon, Cissy. Welcome.
Cissy: Good afternoon, Robin. I’m so delighted to be here. [hugs me]
rem: You’re wearing the same dress Clara wore yesterday. Did you plan that?
Cissy: No, but we do think alike. [winks] It is my favorite, you know.
rem: Yes, I remember that. Cissy, you are one of the most gifted people I know.
Cissy: Thank you. [smiles]
rem: And you’re talented in so many things. What’s your favorite?
Cissy: Oh dear! Robin, I could no more choose a favorite thing to do than, as you say, choose a favorite of your children.
rem: [laughs] I get that.
Cissy: It depends on my mood, really. Some days, I pick up my pen and write poems, some days, I draw or paint—
rem: Do you feel a different mood for drawing versus painting?
Cissy: That goes more to what I’m painting or drawing, or the mood I’m trying to capture. But yes, I reckon it has a good deal to do with my mood, as well.
rem: You wrote a lot of poems. Did you have a favorite one that you read?
Cissy: Easily Be Thou My Vision. It’s a Gaelic prayer.
rem: I know. It’s my favorite, too. [winks] What about your music?
Cissy: There’s not a day I don’t enjoy playing the piano.
rem: What’s your favorite thing to play?
Cissy: Sonatinas. Muzio Clementi composed sonata and sonatinas—he was the “Father of the Piano,” you know?
rem: I did not. Clementi is a favorite of mine as well.
Cissy: You play?
rem: I have. Not in many years, though. Cissy, besides your remarkable abilities, you were quite intuitive. Beyond your years.
Cissy: I just understand things without anyone explaining them, I always did. It’s hard to explain—for instance, I knew that Clara wasn’t like that. It was puzzling to me sometimes, when we were still small.
rem: Can you give us an example?
Cissy: When Mama and Papa would speak of Scriptures. Of an evening, after Clara and I were abed. I didn’t fall to sleep right away—in fact, most nights I didn’t sleep until after Mama and Papa were abed. I would creep down the stairs—I wasn’t spying mind you—and I’d sit and listen to them, to the rhythm of God’s Word. I could have answered—I knew the answers to their questions.
rem: Tell us about the day your Uncle Clem came home. You had never met him before that day, had you?
Cissy: No ma’am, I surely hadn’t. I knew who he was, though. Not just on account of him being in uniform. Any old soldier could have come by our house. I heard folk at church talking about how soldiers would come to their door, begging for bread—or ale.
rem: But you invited Clem in and made him coffee.
Cissy: He hadn’t had real coffee in so long. And I wanted to talk with him.
rem: You sure surprised him.
Cissy: [shrugs] I remember how awful he smelled. I was never so glad as when Aunt Abby helped him with a bath. [laughs]
rem: Cissy, things changed for you when you were still so young.
Cissy: Mrs. Whalin. Although it really wasn’t her fault. She didn’t know any better. She just said what she believed.
Cissy: Oh, I remember that. I did love Mama’s lavender bath powder.
rem: She was a very sad woman.
Cissy: You’re right, Robin, she was.
rem: But her words that day—
Cissy: —I didn’t stop to think about it. In my heart I knew better.
rem: You fought against it.
Cissy: Much later, yes, I did. But it was too late…
rem: It’s never too late, Cissy.
Cissy: [stares] Dulci—I mean, Dorothea told me that.
rem: There was so much to your story, more than the book could begin to encompass. What was the hardest thing for you?
Cissy: Being apart from Clara. I felt I was split in two, and a part of me hated her. I couldn’t bear that, so I stayed away.
rem: Cissy what a sad note.
rem: You left your paintings and poems as a message, correct?
Cissy: That’s right.
rem: Were they for Clara?
Cissy: I hoped she would find them, yes, and understand. But I didn’t really believe she ever would. Although, she surprised me when she came to me that day.
rem: It gave us all such hope for you.
Cissy: Me too, Robin. Me too.
rem: Cissy, I think we should end here before we give too much of your story away.
Cissy: [laughs] I imagine you’re right. It’s been a pleasure talking with you today, Robin. Thank you for inviting me.
rem: Cissy, it’s always a pleasure to chat with you. You’ll always be in my heart—and my head.
Cissy: Thank you for telling my story. You did a mighty fine job. [hugs me again]
I have been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on my debut novel, Tessa in 2013. Meanwhile, I cranked out a few dozen poems, made countless notes for story ideas, and earned my BFA in Interior Design. I lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; I didn’t want to be who I was and struggled with my own identity for many years. My characters face many of these same demons.
I write stories of identity conflict. My characters encounter situations that force the question, “Who am I, really?” For all who have ever wondered who you are or why you’re here, my stories will touch you in a very real—maybe too real—and a very deep way. I know, I write from experience.
The unsavory heritage series. Tessa, Clara Bess and Cissy, is available on Amazon, both for Kindle and in print. I also have several poems included in an anthology, Where Dreams and Visions Live (Anthologies of the Heart Book 1) by Mary Blowersas well as a short story, Sarafina’s Light, also in an anthology, Blood Moon, compiled by Mary Blowers. I will also be working on a personal compilation of poetry to be released in 2017.
BLURB and AUTHOR’S NOTE
Evil words. Words that should never have been spoken. Words that she should not have heard.
But she did. And she believed them.
Everything changed when Cissy heard those words that day. She was five.
What torment is wrought when wicked words are spoken? Can Cissy’s ravaged life be redeemed? Or will she wreak havoc on all who love her?
Can the lie be undone? Is there a word powerful enough to break the curse and undo the unsavory heritage?
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Cissy is not easy reading. She faces evil and succumbs to it. She is seduced at a young age, and learns to wield her body to manipulate and wound those most dear to her. There are no graphic scenes, but neither do my scenes merely allude to what is happening.
Cissy is the dark and gritty, high-tension climax to the Unsavory Heritage series.