Cynthia Polansky is a cross-genre author whose motto is “expect the unexpected.” A professional writer/editor since 1993, she uses her distinctive style to satisfy readers hungry for something different from the ubiquitous romances and mysteries. She is the award-winning author of historical novel (based on a true story) Far Above Rubies, and paranormal “lit for the thinking chick” novel Remote Control. Writing as Cynthia P. Gallagher, she’s penned four nonfiction individual dog-breed books, and is a member of the Dog Writers Association of America. Cynthia’s wide repertory affords her many interesting speaking engagements at schools, libraries, festivals, and civic organizations.
Cynthia lives in Annapolis, Maryland where she is a Writing Center tutor at the U.S. Naval Academy. She is currently at work on a nonfiction book called WHIFF: Human Aroma Through the Ages.
"If the spirit of a loving wife can't control her husband, who can?"
So thinks thirty-something Judith McBride, a Jewish control freak with an unlikely last name. When Judith dies in a medical mishap, she calls on her supernatural status to "rescue" her widowed spouse from the sexy clutches of their gold-digging, thrill-seeking, blonde accountant. But interfering with earthly events is strictly verboten, and the repercussions ripple outward, affecting not only Judith but the lives of her husband and best friend.
Judith's journey from the physical world to the spiritual is peppered with adjustments, choices, and self-discovery, ultimately leading her to the realization that loving sometimes means learning how to let go.
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The Question: How does your faith, your spirituality integrate itself into your writing?
My latest novel, Remote Control, is all about spirituality: the protagonist is a discarnate spirit, the setting is the afterlife, and the plot focuses on improving the soul. I wouldn’t have been capable of writing a book like this without a personal connection to spirituality. The novel allowed me to create “heaven” and “hell” the way I picture them, based on my own Jewish faith and personal beliefs. Judaism focuses on the spiritual achievements during earthly life rather than focusing on the afterlife as a goal. Consequently, there isn’t a lot of scriptural dogma about what happens after we die.
Judaism spells out precisely how we are to approach death, all the way up to burial. After that, we’re kind of on our own. I’ve always been fascinated by different cultural beliefs about death and the soul. In my research for Remote Control, I gobbled up every book I could find on spirituality by authors like James Van Praagh, Dr. Brian Weiss, Sylvia Browne, Dr. Wayne Dyer, and others. From these sources I took information that I found plausible and sensible, and added a dash of imagination to create the spiritual world I hope to find when it’s my turn. At first I wondered if I’d be accused of plagiarism, but I soon realized that the information in those books doesn’t belong solely to their authors; it belongs to all of us.
Like faith, writing is subjective and varying. We’re offered guidelines, but how closely we adhere to them is up to us. It can be limiting or liberating, depending on our view. Our faith is often tested, both in life and in writing. We write because we can; we keep writing because we believe there’s a purpose for it, even if we’re not yet sure what it will be. I think most writers would agree that writing, like faith, is an integral part of our lives and tonic for our souls.