“Women work and accomplish by building collaborations and consensus. How different is that from so much of government and big business? Time after time women coming together for a common purpose have proven they can make meaningful changes. The challenge is that kind of leadership and activity require time and dedication that not many women can afford. And that’s something we need to work on.” Shared Peg Silloway, author, CWA (Cat Writers Association) member and business owner. Silloway shared her thoughts on the importance of having the support of others. “Having that support is not just important, it’s essential! We never accomplish anything all by ourselves. We may do most of the work or put in most of the time, but each of us has some sort of support system for just about everything we do. For me, the support of my family and friends has always been central and knowing that the many members of CWA are out there and willing to answer questions and give guidance is empowering. I read every digest of the CWA Prolist and all of the posts on the CWA Facebook page. From those I learn a lot and join in the celebration of each member’s success.”
Peg became a member of the CWA in 2009. “I learned about CWA from my friend and CWA member- who is also the President of the Mid-Atlantic Book Publishers Association – Mary Shafer. Mary knew about my work on The Cat Lover’s Book of Days and not only encouraged me to apply but also sponsored me. I’m forever grateful she did!” Silloway feels connected to other CWA members through social media and the annual CWA conference. “It has been so helpful to belong to CWA. It is such a cooperative and supportive group; the members are always cheering on each other and sincerely celebrating each success or sharing difficult times.”
The Cat Lover’s Book of Days, has been a labor of love for Silloway. Peg not only accomplished her dream of becoming an author, but in 2010 she became an award winning author when she won the Muse Medallion for best gift book from the Cat Writers Association. Peg explained, “…winning the Muse Medallion is a high point. I put my heart and soul into that book and having it recognized was a great thrill…I was so happy to have my husband and my sister (at the awards ceremony) there to share it with me; my husband for his patience and support and my sister because she is a professional editor and was my editor for the project.”
Silloway is currently working on her next book, A Cat For All Seasons.
Do you dream of becoming an author?
“Don’t wait!” Peg explained. “Do something today to move you toward your goal. Be sure to have a clear picture of what you want and why, then figure out the small steps between where you are now and where you want to be. It can seem as if the gap between now and then is too big for you to cross, but it isn’t. Read. Talk to people. Join online groups of people who already do what you want or who are also learning like you.”
Silloway recommends that aspiring authors take time to read Stephen King’s On Writing and Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. Peg discussed the importance of joining writing groups that fit the genre you wish to publish. “Go to conferences if you can. Join an online critique group to improve your writing, or check with your local library which may have a writers group. And don’t quit your day job yet!”
“We are owned by Kira, a fifteen-year old grey and white long haired cat. She has trained us well to provide her care and entertainment.” Peg commented. Kira and Pipsqueak (Pipsqueak enriched the Silloway’s lives for nearly fifteen years) are the cover modes for The Cat Lover’s Book of Days. Peg hopes to continue volunteering with a cat rescue and adoption organization for as long as possible. “Right now I am a caregiver volunteer for the Cat Adoption Team and I spend time at the local PetsMart caring for the cats that are there for adoption. It’s wonderful when you see a lovely animal find their person and go to their forever home.”
“My retirement has been gradual, starting with going from full-time to seventy-five percent-time to half time at my last employer, a “Beltway Bandit” (one of many IT consulting firms that circle the Washington DC beltway and focus on serving the federal government’s need for consultants). By the time I retired completely I had already begun my publishing business, The Silloway Press.” Silloway explained that a friend asked her to turn her blogs into a book. “After we had a manuscript, we looked around and decided that self-publishing would be the best way to go…That was the very start of my adventures in publishing!”
Peg also has a jewelry making business, The Prancing Otter, which started in the late 1970’s where she creates beautiful new designs and sells sterling silver, glass and stone jewelry.
“My best friend, Margaret Rome…it is thanks to her that my writing and publishing business got off the ground and she personally recommended me to many who became clients.” Rome has cheered Silloway on from the very beginning and hasn’t stopped doing so. Silloway shared, “The other person who has made the writing and jewelry business possible is my husband, Phil Marcus. He always encourages me and asks good questions to help me think through any issues that arise…He is the wind beneath my wings.”
Peg Silloway’s favorite quote? “You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.” (Richard Bach).