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MEET CISSY

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Cissy Hassell was born and raised on a forty-eight acre farm near the small town of Gassaway, West Virginia, the youngest of fifteen children, to parents of his, hers and theirs, a total of 14 siblings. Growing up in the hills of West Virginia taught her a lot about what home and family values really meant. Although, her family was poor, they were rich in the way that really counts. She says she always knew she was loved. And she wanted for nothing. She feels blessed for having the parents she had and the upbringing they gave her. She was introduced to the written word at an early age and began absorbing them like a sponge.

At the end of her first school year, she had read every book in the first grade library. From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on. Her claim to fame in the early years was eraser tag champion in the second grade and the girls’ spelling bee champion in the seventh. She began writing at a young age. Her first attempt was a mystery/murder that she still has today. From there, her writing abilities delved into song-writing, poetry and short stories. Then later full-length novels. And on to start up a publishing company whose focus was on new and aspiring authors.

The mother of five, she lives in rural Chiefland, Florida, with her husband, Terry, still her knight in shining armor after forty-two years, and their dog, Cujo. They recently gave their menagerie of pets, a herd of pygmy goats, a miniature mule, and a big brown horse she loved dearly, to friends who take excellent care of them. She has insisted on visiting rights. She loves genealogy and dabbles in it whenever she gets the chance and is able to trace her family tree back several generations, finding that most people she grew up with are relatives.

Living on a forty-acre farm, Cissy finds joy in simple things. Wild flowers. Butterflies. Cool mornings and hot chocolate. Sunrises and sunsets. Books and music. Wolves. Buffalo roundups and whale watching. Her favorite places are Nova Scotia, the Black Hills National Forest and the Smokey Mountains. Blessings come from her five children and nine grandchildren. She is hoping to turn their farm into a sanctuary for endangered species, as they have a multitude of them on their acreage.

Out of the twenty-five books she has written, her favorite is Coming Home. She says this one was therapeutic, as the tag line on her book reads: Sometimes, coming home is the best medicine for the soul. The adage “truth in fiction” rings true for this book. Although most is fiction, there is a thread of truth woven throughout.

Her greatest enjoyment, besides writing, is riding her Harley down back country roads, though she is happiest when writing or lost in a book filled with words and magic that under certain circumstances could become true in a different time or place. She enjoys different genres and is still an avid reader of just about everything and claims the only thing better than reading a good book is writing one.

She is fond of saying she began writing as an adult to maintain her sanity. Raising five kids, although giving her lots of joy and she feels they are her greatest accomplishments, was still trying at times. She is a multi-award winning author and previous owner of a publishing company, winning numerous awards for her books. Recently selling her publishing company, she says that even though it was a satisfying venture, publishing other authors left her very little time to write for herself.