Author Spotlight: Cindy Williams Schrauben
March 18, 2022
We are excited to feature author (and long-time friend!) Cindy Williams Schrauben and her debut picture book, THIS COULD BE YOU, illustrated by Julia Seal (Cardinal Rule Press) coming out on April 1. Enter to win a copy below!
Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for children.
Hi! Thanks so much for having me. As a mom, grandmother, and former teacher, books have always played a big part in my life (typical statement for an author, right?) I have always enjoyed writing but didn’t begin to take writing seriously until right before my daughters left home. I knew the empty nest thing was going to hit me hard, so I was trying to be proactive. I wrote for and edited a local health magazine for a bit before turning to picture books. Kidlit411 was the first place I landed and there was no turning back – my family would say I’m obsessed – I’m alright with that (hmm, that sounds like a TikTok video - ha).
Congrats on your picture book debut, This Could Be You! Tell us about the story and what inspired you.
I was inspired to write this book by my grandsons. It is the first of my books that has a clear and intentional purpose – to empower kids with a growth mindset. I also want adults to realize how easily they can tweak their language and behavior to help the children around them dream and achieve. Most of my stories are funny and quirky, but this book has grabbed my heart for sure.
Was your road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?
My journey has definitely been winding and sweet and I’d say… longish. All the credit for my perseverance goes to the amazing kidlit community – what a generous group of people. From websites and blogs like this, to contests, critique groups, twitter parties, etc. children’s book authors have lifted me up and propelled me forward.
What projects are you working on now?
Per usual, I am in the middle of several work-in-progress picture books, but I am spending the bulk of my time right now getting ready for the launch of This Could Be You. It has been fun, enlightening, and exhausting all at the same time. I am also beginning to play around with illustration. I have always loved art and hope to be an author/illustrator one day – whether that happens or not, I am enjoying the creative process.
Another project that I am trying to get off the ground is my Partners in Literary Program (see my website) in which businesses can sponsor my school visits by purchasing a book for each child. I hope to kick this off in the fall.
What advice would you give to your younger self? Is it the same you'd give to aspiring authors?
My best advice to my younger self is… believe in you and your ability to move forward… failure is an opportunity to learn. Writing this book has revealed how much I needed to embrace these growth mindset strategies myself. Quick story: In high school, my best friend consistently told me I was a bad writer and proceeded to ‘fix’ my papers. The worst part is, I let him do it and his words stayed with me into adulthood. What I should have done is ask him to help me get better so I could continue to improve.
Yes, I would tell all aspiring authors that you aren’t going to write a bestseller (or even a book worth publishing) right off the bat. It takes lots of work, but it is worth every minute! I’m so glad I didn’t quit.
What is something most people don't know about you?
People who don’t know me personally would probably be surprised to know that I haven’t always followed my current mantra: ‘believe in yourself and persevere’. In the past I was apt to give up when things got tough or to take a detour when I saw something new and shiny (just ask my family). For some reason, it has been different with writing - maybe I just needed to find my passion.
Where can people find you online?
Cindy Williams Schrauben lives in Michigan where she writes books for kids that range from the truly serious to the seriously silly. Before embarking on this path, she held positions as a preschool administrator, teacher, and assistant director of a children’s museum -- always striving to empower kids. When not writing or honing her craft, Cindy might be found dissecting her grandsons’ shenanigans for story ideas, reading on the floor in the bookstore, or eating ice cream… ideally all at once.