Moments With Mercy: Interview With Cleopatra Thomas

Hello everyone, Today I'll be sharing my interview with Cleopatra Thomas with you all!  For those of you who remember, I actually posted an interview with her co-author Kerri Brown yesterday.

Now, I don't want to share to much before the interview I just have to say how impressed I am with this young lady.  Only 15 and she's already co-written a book!

And now for the interview.

Mercy: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Cleopatra: I was born and am still being raised in Nebraska. A tiny little town most people haven’t really heard of! I started out in public school, then moved at first grade to a private school. Just after I
started fifth grade, my siblings and I started homeschooling. I’m in ninth now, and we are still
going! Like Kerri said, some people say we miss out – but we don’t miss out on anything
important really!
A big – REALLY big – part of my life is family time. That might be my parents, siblings and I
watching a movie together, saying some prayers, stretching together, playing games, etc. Or
maybe it’s my grandparents, aunt and uncle and sometimes cousins coming over for a Sunday
afternoon of cards and food. During the summer, close to every weekend is spent at the river
with family.
Truly, my passions in life all have to do with creativity. Whether it be writing, sketching, singing,
dancing – anything of that sort! My parents have raised my two siblings and I to appreciate the
creative side of life, and I’m very thankful for that.
More and more each day, I’m learning to trust in God. To have more faith. Sometimes, life is so
hard I wonder how prayer will even HELP whatever the situation might be. I try to reflect on
how good my life actually is when those rough times come about. And God is there for me. Even
in the times I don’t realize it.

Mercy: What made you want to start writing, not just reading?
Cleopatra: Ha-ha, there’s a little story that relates to this.
My dad, just a few weeks ago, asked, “When did you start writing?”
Mom and I look at each other and I responded, “Uh, I’ve been writing for as long as I can
remember!” and mom nodded.
So, in all honesty, I can’t remember a time when I was not writing. It wasn’t always novels
though. Sometimes it was a story or two about my dog or my family, sometimes I would keep a
journal and write about our day. I still have lots of my old journals that I like to look back on
sometimes.
But I have always loved to read too. I read the Little House on the Prairie series in first grade.
From then on, I LOVED reading The Boxcar Children. (I was extremely excited when they
released a movie of that!) Now, I love realistic fiction in the genre of romance. I love books that
are heartwarming and wholesome – just like Hallmark movies.

Mercy: How did you and Kerri come up with the idea to write Love In The Rain?
Cleopatra: Okay, I seriously love the story about this one.
Kerri and I met because of one thing in common, When Calls the Heart. We’d followed each
others fan accounts on Instagram for a while, then one night in mid-June, she sent me a
message and asked if I wanted to co-write a book. Of course, I was thrilled and got permission
from my parents. Kerri told me to go look at her Insta-story for the ideas she already had. Well,
Instagram stories only stay on for 24 hrs., so I screenshotted them. I still have those original screenshots!
The funny thing is, I had been wanting to write a story similar to When Calls the Heart, but had
no idea where to start.
That’s where God/faith intervened and brought Kerri and her ideas into my life. From there, it
just snowballed into this awesome book that is now literally published!
But in all honesty, I have to give original credit to Kerri for coming up with the idea.

Mercy: What's something you are really good at that few people know about?
Cleopatra: Not a lot of people know that I play guitar and piano and sing. Playing the piano and singing have always been back-hobbies of mine, but I never really focused on them all that much. I took piano lessons for years, and my love for it has never gone away, but it’s definitely not as strong
as it once was. As for guitar, mom and dad purchased us a little red one when I was, hmm, ten
maybe? I’m not sure how old I was. Anyway, I didn’t know cords or anything about it, but had
lots of fun just strumming on it! My dad can play a little blues guitar. I received my own guitar
for Christmas a few years back, and for a while, I practiced A LOT! We signed up for this ‘Six
String Country’ where they have videos and whatnot explaining how to play lots of different
songs.
So, if I was gonna have something that I’m pretty good at that few people know about, it would
be my ‘musical talents.’
P.S. A lot of my family does know about it, though.

Mercy: How do you balance writing and schoolwork and a social life?
Cleopatra: Honestly, I just fit writing into my day whenever I can. All – or the mass majority – of everything I write (excluding this interview, ha-ha) is hand-written and then typed. Something about using a pencil and paper to write down my stories is special to me. Plus, I almost always have my
notebook with me. I might not always have my laptop handy.
As for balancing it, I think it works itself out pretty naturally. There are days I don’t write at all,
then there are days when I get quite a bit written. My schoolwork schedule is flexible and when
we go out into the world, I am present.
That wasn’t always the case, though. I’m crawling out of my shell more and more each day.
Sometimes it’s a struggle. It would be so easy to pull out my notebook or the novel I’m reading.
But, balance in life is key, right?
I don’t have any actual formula to balancing those things in my life. Just go day by day and try to
focus on whatever task is at hand in the moment.

Mercy: When you develop characters, do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?
Cleopatra: Both, really. I write up an outline of my main characters, their looks, personalities, flaws, etc. I want to ‘know’ the character a little before I start writing them into a story. But on the contrary,
they also develop as I go. If a storyline comes to mind while I’m writing, it may affect how the
character lives, or their personality might change because of it. I like not being super stiff in my writing, and allowing it to flow how it should. Which means that sometimes I don’t have an outline of my story drawn up before I even start on it. Once I grasp the basic storyline, it’s in my head and very hard to get it out of there!

Mercy: Do you feel like its harder to for you to get attention as a young writer?
Cleopatra: No. I think that I’m blessed to have a family that supports me as an author, and to have a
community such as the Hearties that has brought me such good friends that also support me.
Sure, it’s not every day that a fifteen-year- old releases her first (co-written) novel – in the
romance genre, nonetheless. But I think that God has blessed me with amazing people. People
who might not normally go into a bookstore (or in my case, order it from Amazon) and pick up a
book such as Love in the Rain. But they do it because I co-wrote it and they want to read my
work. And that is special to me to know that there are people like that in the world. You just
have to pray that they come into your life.

Mercy: Do you have a mentor for writing, and if so, how did you get that mentor?
Cleopatra: I wouldn’t say I have an actual mentor, no. The closest thing to it is my grandma. I read – or she reads – pretty much everything I write and also helps me brainstorm ideas. So, in its own way,
yes she is my mentor.
My mom also reads my writing and lets me know of things she things would be better this way
or that.

Mercy: Where can we find you on social media to keep up with your writing?
Cleopatra: Heart of the Writers is a Facebook page Kerri and another girl, Chanel, and I started to update ya’ll on our writings. That’s the best place for solely my (and Kerri and Chanel’s) writing.
Otherwise, there is my personal Instagram, @cleomthomas, that you can follow along that has
my life adventures and I do post about my writing occasionally.
On Twitter, I’m @cleodore3324. I mostly use that for tweeting about my favorite show, When
Calls the Heart, but I also do post about my writing sometimes!

Cleopatra, Thank you so much for doing this! Readers, I hope you enjoyed.
~Mercy

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