Interview: Cynthia Jaynes Omololu

Today I'd like to welcome Cynthia Jaynes Omololu, aka CynJay or C.J. Omololu. She's debuting with Dirty Little Secrets, a YA novel about hoarding, today, February 2nd. Cynthia was awesome at answering some of my questions, and I hope you'll join me in reading her answers! :)

Very clickable links: {website}, {blog}, {goodreads}, {amazon}


1. What three words would you use to describe DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS?
Hoarding and romance.

2. The burning question: Why did you choose to write about hoarding?
I was on an airplane and read an article in Marie Claire about a woman who had grown up in a hoarded home. That started me thinking about the subject – I ended up doing research with the woman in the story. I didn’t grow up in that situation, but I’ve known some hoarders, which made it easier to picture the situation and the emotions that would go along with it.

3. Why did you choose to write from Lucy's perspective (versus her mother or some other spectator)?
That's just how the story came to me - first person from the perspective of a sixteen year old girl. I think it was important to see how one person's actions affected the whole family.

4. What is the strongest message you're trying to send to your readers through your book?
I didn’t set out to make a point with the book, but what I came away with (and hope readers do too) is that your secrets are only as bad as you make them.
I think that Lucy didn’t realize the support system she had around her if she’s only realized it earlier.

5. What made you decide to write young adult books and do you plan on continuing writing YA in the future?
I'd been writing picture books and a critique partner started writing novels so I thought I'd give it a try. I love writing YA and I can't imagine doing anything else.

6. What would you say were the best and worst parts of writing your first YA book?
First drafts are always hard - I'm afraid the story will go away before I can get it all down. The best part was all of the help I had doing the research - the women from Children of Hoarders were really great. I liked writing the romantic scene in the cafe as well - that was a thrill to write.

7. Favorites time!
· Book: Too many too choose! I know that's a cop out, but it's true.
· Song: Long Hot Summer by the Style Council.
· Food: Avocados
· Hobby (other than writing): Photography
· Place to write: In my very own office. Oh wait, I don't have one. At my kitchen counter then.
· Way to annoy people: Singing out loud. And not well.

8. And what's the one thing you absolutely cannot live without when writing?
Silence. I can't really get into it with music or noise of any kind. If other people are home, I'll put in earplugs and then my noise-cancelling headphones and then distractions can still bug me.

9. Any heads up on books you're working on now?
Something totally different than DLS. Still YA though ;)

Thank you, Cynthia! Congrats on your debut, and best wishes for success!

I hope you enjoyed the interview, and you can check out my review of Dirty Little Secrets here. I think Dirty Little Secrets is a great book, and I would definitely recommend going out and picking up your own copy! :)

Edit -- Want your chance to win Dirty Little Secrets? Head on over to Cynthia's blog, and enter before February 6th. Open to US and Canada addresses.