Quick Qs and As with C.J. Omololu

C.J. (or Cynthia Jaynes) Omololu has written a picture book, When It's Six O'clock In San Francisco, and a fabulous, if I say so myself, debut YA titled Dirty Little Secrets.


Can you describe your book, Dirty Little Secrets, in three words?

Hoarding romance. There, I did it in two.

Are you similar to your main character Lucy in any ways?

Funny, the cover shot (which I had nothing to do with) looks a lot like I did at 18. Otherwise, I think Lucy really is her own person. I really did have a brown gingham teddy bear like she does though. Still have it as a matter of fact.

A big part of Dirty Little Secrets has to do with hoarding. So, what kind of research did you do while writing it?

So much research. I got in touch with three women from the website Children of Hoarders and they were awesome. They told me stories about their lives growing up and read parts of the book to tell me what I’d gotten right or wrong. There is the A&E show Hoarders on now, but when I was writing it, the only film about hoarding was a documentary called My Mother’s Garden by Cynthia Lester. I’ve watched that over and over and still get chills when I see parts of it. I’ve actually known a couple of hoarders so I had a tiny bit of experience with it, although nothing like Lucy.

How did the title Dirty Little Secrets come to be?

We went through so many titles. The working title was Living Like This. We used Hoarding Normal for awhile, but none of them were really spectacular. Right before we were going to send it out on submission, I suggested Dirty Little Secrets to my agent and she loved it. I was a little hesitant because there are other books out there with that title, but everyone else said not to worry about it. In one episode of Hoarders, a woman says that her hoarding is her “dirty little secret”, so I guess we chose the right one.

Is there a specific message you hope readers of Dirty Little Secrets take from it?

 I didn’t intend for there to be at the outset, but now I think that Lucy’s message is that your secrets are never as bad as you think they are. She would have gotten support from the people around her, she just didn’t realize it.

How does it feel knowing your book is going to be in bookstores soon?

Freakishly exciting. A little vulnerable too I guess.

What’s your favorite thing about being an author so far? Least?

The best is when I get an email from someone who has been really touched by the story. Not too many people have read it yet, but I’ve gotten a few teen readers who really liked it, and an adult who had experience with hoarding and was really emotional about the book. The least favorite is the pressure to write another great book. I’m working on that ;)

Is there any book out there that you just wish you had written yourself?

Besides the obvious Harry Potter and Twilight references, probably The Hunger Games and/or Catching Fire because they’re so dang brilliant.

What is your typical day like?

After the kids go to school, I take the dog on a two mile walk. I call that my “moving meditation” because that’s where I get a lot of thinking done. I sometimes do freelance writing in the morning, or just spend it answering emails and wasting time on Facebook. Then I write fiction for an hour or two before the kids get home. Often, I have some revising to do at the same time, so that takes another hour or two. If I’m really on a roll, I like to write late at night – around midnight seems to be when I can get some great stuff done.

You’re part of amazing group called the 10’ers which leaves me to wonder what you experience has been like working with them?

 I love the 10ers. I can’t imagine writing for any other genre where everyone is so supportive. It’s nice to be with a group of people who “get” what you’re going through. And most of them are so much smarter than I am, so they have lots of good info.

What’s up next for you book-wise?

I’m working on a project that is completely different from DLS – possibly paranormal, maybe series. Very fun!

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Don’t think so – you did a great job!
Thanks Cynthia! Now, what are you waiting for? Go check out her book (Amazon, Indie Bound, Barnes and Noble) or visit her on the web (website, twitter)


  1. Great interview! I'm really looking foward to reading this one!

  2. I always enjoy reading your interviews with authors. They are relatable and fun. I am excited to read Dirty Little Secrets!

  3. Great interview! This book seems really interesting. After watching an episode of Hoarders I really want to read this now.

  4. This book looks great and tackles such a difficult subject, and I'm hoping that the added attention from the Hoarders show will ensure that even more people buy it!

  5. This book looks good. It's already on my wish list.

    BTW, I passed a blog award to you.

  6. oooh...Dirty Little Secrets sounds like such an amazing book! I wish I could get hold of it...I'm curious as to what Lucy does after she finds her mother dead. Disturbing premise but sure to be enthralling.

  7. Oh, great interview! I can't wait to read this, it sounds so good. I love your Q & her A! :)


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