Cyndie “CJ” Zahner grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania, the second child of hard-working parents, Pasquale and Donna Mae Filutze. Her brother Mike, eleven years her senior, married when she was nine years old. Often alone, Cyndie created characters and wrote stories to wile the time away. During high school, an English teacher, Mrs. Patricia Root, introduced her to a world of reading and writing that would remain with her for life. Under Mrs. Root’s advisement, she became the school’s newspaper editor and, in her senior year, enrolled as an English major at Gannon College, now Gannon University.
Yet, in the summer before college, she worked at a local retail store as a sales clerk alongside four women with English degrees. Worried, she changed her major from English to Accounting but never lost her love for reading and want of writing. While working in the business world, she wrote grants and contributed occasional financial and women’s articles to local magazines and newspapers.
She fell in love and married her soul mate, Jeffrey Zahner, with whom she had four children. She is the proud mother of three adult children, Jessie, Zak, and Jillian Zahner, and one little angel in heaven, Jackie Zahner. Her daughter, Jessie, is now married to Dr. Jason Grieshober and lives and works in the professional sports and television industries in Los Angeles, California. Her son Zak is an attorney in Philadelphia, and her daughter, Jillian, is a special education teacher in Raleigh, North Carolina. Cyndie and her husband visit them as often as time permits.
In 2015, she began looking at life differently when her brother and his wife were diagnosed with dementia and early-onset Alzheimer’s. It was then that Cyndie’s husband pulled her aside and said, “Quit your job. You’re a writer.” After twenty years of service and the combating of repeated health issues caused by stress, Cyndie picked up her purse one day at work and quietly walked away. She never returned. She began her career as a novelist.
Since then, she completed her first book, The Suicide Gene, and a second book, Dream Wide Awake, and is in the final stages of completing her third and fourth books, Within the Setting Sun and The Dream Snatchers.
On most days now, she runs, reads, writes, smiles much, and dreams up her next novel in her lovely little hometown of Erie. On Saturday mornings, you’ll find her running with friends at Presque Isle State Park. When she’s not there, she’s usually visiting her children or hiking in one of America’s great National Parks with Jeff .
She thanks God everyday for her husband, children, family, good friends, and—–for bringing her home.
Favorite books: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks, and The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.
Favorite authors: Sidney Sheldon, Gillian Flynn.
Favorite movies: Dreamer, La La Land, The Perfect Getaway.
Favorite hobbies: Running, writing, reading, hiking, cycling, traveling, and spending time with family.
Favorite foods: Chocolate, chocolate, and chocolate!
Favorite drink: Coffee, Jeff’s home-made wine (a close second).
Greatest accomplishments: My three children.
Greatest athletic accomplishment: Qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon. Twice!
Favorite accomplishment: Crossing the finish line of the 2013 Baltimore Marathon while holding hands with my daughter, Jessie, and best running buddy, Robin.
Greatest secret about myself: I have premonitions, my most substantial one was of 9/11.
Greatest blessings: Being the mother of three wonderful children, being happily married to my soul mate, and being surrounded by true friends who have supported me relentlessly and loved me unconditionally.
Contact Cyndie at firstname.lastname@example.org