Davenport native Cindy Cassman Bauer always wanted to be a writer, and now she’s getting her chance three times over.
“I just didn’t think it would ever be possible,” said the 1975 graduate of Assumption High School who worked at the Scott County Courthouse as county registrar and deputy court clerk when she lived in the Quad-Cities.
“I got married, we moved, I changed jobs, so I just never thought it would happen,” she said.
Working at a newspaper, Bauer, 48, who now lives in Clinton, Mo., has had the chance to write a number of articles, and the letters she sends to her older sister, Debra Cassman LaVelle, a former journalism teacher who lives outside of Atlanta, Ga., made an impression.
“Debbie has always told me I write beautiful letters and that I should write a book,” Bauer said. “Finally, she asked me, ‘Will I still be alive when you write that book?’”
And that did it, Bauer said.
With her sister as editor, she got started, and nine months later, the novel “Chasing Memories,” the first in a trilogy, was done.
“It took me nine months to the day when I started to the day I sent it to the publisher,” Bauer said. The book is being published by PublishAmerica Inc. and is scheduled to be released March 27.
She said it also took her months to think about what the book would be about.
“I have a memory box,” she said. “Originally that’s what I was going to call the book. But there already are a couple of books out there with that title.
“And then I had to come up with a story around my memory box,” she added.
She wrote as thoughts came to her, often getting up in the middle of the night to scribble ideas and then weave them into the plot of the story.
When all was done, she had come up with the story of Laura Thompson, a young widow and mother who suffers a freak accident while helping an elderly neighbor. As a result, not only has she lost her husband, but her memory, too. Laura struggles to recover her past while living in the present with a daughter whom she no longer remembers and a future filled with uncertainties. Laura’s story is one of tragedy, survival, courage and faith.
But there was more than just figuring out what to write about.
“I had to get her a computer and Internet service,” said LaVelle, who was her sister’s editor, collaborator and cheerleader.
“I’ve never had an original idea in my life,” she added. “That’s why I was the editor. I can take somebody else’s idea and turn it into something good.”
Not every writer can handle an editor making suggestions, she said.
“But Cindy is blessed with no ego,” LaVelle, 54, said. “That leaves her with a very open mind to any new idea.”
Since Bauer has no children, LaVelle said she had to do a bit of coaching.
“The heroine is a 7-year-old girl, and Cindy had written about the girl’s chubby little arms. But 7-year-old girls don’t have chubby little arms,” LaVelle said. “And then she had the parents turning on the VCR and TV. But today, 7-year-old kids teach mom and dad how to work the VCR and they can turn on the TV for themselves.”
For the nine months that it took to write the novel, Bauer said it took her four months to write the rough draft, three months to do rewrites and her sister a couple of months to do all the editing.
She began the book Dec. 18, 2004, and submitted it for publication Sept. 18, 2005.
“I had the prologue for the second book written when I submitted the first one,” Bauer said. She added that the supporting character of the first book, Susan, becomes the main character for the second book, “Shades of Blue,” which she hopes to have completed and published later this year.
The books do not reflect her life, she added. “And there’s nobody in there from childhood, at least I don’t think so.”
She did learn that writing fiction is difficult, and you have to keep so many elements straight.
“I had to be careful,” she said. “I’d find I had one color for an object in one chapter, and then find I’d made it a different color in another.”
The book is fiction-drama that is oriented more for females, she said. “But it is family-oriented so anybody can read it.”
After this trilogy is finished, Bauer said, “I’ve always loved reading mysteries, and maybe would like trying a mystery.”
Thomas Geyer can be contacted at
(563) 383-2328 or email@example.com.
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