I was so pleased to have the opportunity to interview Cindy. She’s one-of-a-kind and shares some behind the scenes as well as good advice for the aspiring writer.
1) How long have you been writing? What or who would you credit with inspiring your writing?
I’ve been writing seriously since about 1999, published since late 2006. As far as inspiration, it’s hard to say. I think it’s something I always had in the back of my mind and “someday” turned into, “let’s give it a try” when I had a job that required me sitting in my office, but not always with anything to do unless people came in. So in between, I wrote.
2) Tell us about your first book publication. What was the title? What was the book about? Who published the novel/novella? Is it still available for sale?
I had three books I’d subbed and had been rejected. I finally decided to try subbing to e-publishers and sent each one to a different house. So basically I sold three books in a 3-4 month span in 2006. The first one sold was Curses, to Triskelion publishing (came out March 2007). It’s a paranormal romance set in Michigan ’s UP, and it’s now up for sale with Wild Rose Press after Triskelion folded. The first one published was The Cowboy’s Christmas Bride, which came out in Nov. 2006, a contemporary western romance.
3) Goals often change and influences do as well. Who or what influences your writing now?
Everything I see or hear around me is liable to filter its way into my writing. Music, scenery, snippets of overheard conversation… My influences are too many to name. My goals remain the same, but I think I have a better handle on them now. I want to write books that will make people smile, and get them out there so readers can find them. Paying the bills along the way would be a nice bonus.
4) As a reader, what genre do you read most? As a writer, what genre do you enjoy writing most?
Probably paranormal romance, but historical and romantic suspense are close behind. I truly just love romance, which also explains why I can’t just write one kind. I’m currently having a lot of fun with the steampunk/gaslamp fantasy setting, though. That may end up being a favorite, possibly because it combines so many others.
5) Which Cindy Spencer Pape book was the easiest to write and why?
Easiest? Argh. They’re all work! Actually, Steam & Sorcery flew pretty easily. So did Crazy for the Cowboy, and Eagle’s Redemption.
6) Which Cindy Spencer Pape book was the most difficult to write and why?
The hardest for me always seems to be book 3 in any series. No idea why, but #3 always kills me, even if that isn’t the final book.
7) Tell us about the ideal setting. What setting have you created that you enjoy most? Why is it ideal?
Again, I’m leaning toward my steampunk world, which combines Victorian social structure with futuristic technology, plus vampyres and werewolves. It’s just cool, and dark, and different. I’ve also set up a Michigan college town that attracts unusual beings in my Geek Love series, one of my first. That one remains a favorite.
8) Do any of your heroes or heroines have a common thread? Tell us about them.
I think all my heroes are smart and strong-willed, and usually in good shape. They have to have a sense of humor. They’re not all alphas, and they range from college professor to cop, but they all have a little something that makes me love them. My heroines all have to be smart and gutsy—even if they don’t know it themselves. And none of them, heroes or heroines can be perfect. They have to have flaws. Perfect people scare the crap out of me!
9) What is your latest book release?
A contemporary romance from Resplendence Publishing called Wrong Side of Town. It’s got a hot ex-military sheriff’s deputy and a feisty librarian, and a handful of goth teenagers in a small Texas town. I had a lot of fun with this one!
10) Tell us about your upcoming books or recent contracts you're excited about.
I’ve got the final Urban Arcana book, Motor City Mage coming out from Carina Press on March 12. That one will be hard to say goodbye to. I’m hoping to have a steampunk novella out from them next summer, but that isn’t final yet. Beyond that, I’ve got a bunch of stuff in the works, but nothing contracted at this point—which is kind of scary!
11) The book industry is forever changing. Where do you see yourself in five years?
I really wish I knew the answer to that. Hopefully, my readership will continue to grow, and my books will be available in whatever formats the readers want to buy—whether that’s e-books, audio, or print.
12) You’re multi-published. Why have you chosen to submit to your current publishers? What makes your publishers stand out in a crowd?
Oh, wow, that’s a tough one. I’ve been with Ellora’s Cave and Wild Rose Press from the very beginning of my career. I subbed to EC (their Cerridwen Press imprint) because at the time they were the big dogs in e-publishing, and I’ve been very happy there. Wild Rose was looking for Christmas stories that first year they opened, so I landed there with Cowboy’s Christmas Bride, and am still a big fan of that company. Total-E-Bound and Resplendence Publishing I got into through anthologies. In each case I was invited by a friend to contribute to an anthology, and I have a hard time saying no. My one little short story with Resplendence did so well, that I decided to try publishing a full-length novel there, which is why today’s release is with them. And finally, when Carina opened up, it seemed like a wonderful new venture—an e-publisher with the backing of Harlequin Enterprises. I submitted Motor City Fae the day they opened their doors, and was one of their launch-day authors several months later. So far the experience there has been good, though unfortunately they don’t yet offer print.
13) If you could give a new writer one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t give up! I almost did and it scares me, how close I came to quitting. Always send out one more submission, then write one more book!
Destiny, thanks so much for having me visit today. I hope everyone will also stop by my blog when Destiny chats with me later this week.
I’m offering one free download of Wrong Side of Town to one random commenter, so leave a note below to be entered.
Now for a sneak preview inside WRONG SIDE OF TOWNBlurb:
Zach Shannon is back in town, and tiny Hawthorne , Texas will never be the same. When the local military hero comes home and starts working for his father, the sheriff, one of his first cases is a string of minor fires that everyone seems to blame on a handful of teens from the wrong side of town. Even worse, Zach is rapidly falling for Laney Burroughs, a quiet librarian whose Goth nephew is the suspected ringleader. Their attraction deepens but both have too many responsibilities and too much baggage to make it easy, especially with Zach’s wealthy family, Laney’s nephew, and the entire town looking on.
“Wow! Who do you know who drives a Corvette?” Parker’s newly developed baritone caught Laney by surprise as she finished loading the last few dishes into her apartment-sized dishwasher. Even after two years, the appliance was still her pride and joy—a luxury this little bungalow had never seen before she’d taken over the financial reins. It was a small step, but she hated doing dishes and she was proud to be able to fix up the place, little by little, all on her own.
“Nobody.” She dried her hands and flipped on the machine before walking out to the living room to see what her nephew was talking about. She squinted into the setting sun at whatever was reflecting the red orb right into her window.
Damn, there was a shiny silver sports car in her driveway. Laney swallowed hard when the car door opened and Zach Shannon stepped out. Even in jeans and a blue-striped dress shirt, he still looked every inch a cop.
“Oh, crap, which one of us is in trouble this time?” Parker skittered off the couch and up the stairs. “I swear, Aunt Laney, I didn’t do anything.”
Was Parker in trouble again? Laney bit her lip as she moved to open the door a heartbeat before Zach’s fist could land on it. He stopped mid-swing, managing not to hit Laney instead, and her insides melted when he smiled.
“Nice place. Hope you don’t mind I looked up your address in the county tax database.”
Did she? No, she was too shocked to be offended.
“Is something wrong?” Automatically she stepped back from the door to motion him inside. Her mother might have been “trash” according to some people in town, but she had taught her daughters proper manners. “What can I do for you, Deputy?” She cast frantic eyes around her crowded living room, to make sure it wasn’t too much of a mess. The small space wasn’t anywhere near as shabby as she remembered it from her own high school days, but it was also nothing like what Zach must be used to. She didn’t even have time to worry about her own appearance—ratty shorts, a T-shirt featuring the library’s owl mascot, and her long hair bundled back in an untidy bun on the back of her head.
He gave her a rueful grin. “Well, to start with, you can call me Zach. I’m not here in any sort of official capacity.”
She let herself relax for a moment and smiled back. “Well, in that case, Zach, can I get you something cold to drink? I have iced tea or lemonade. Or there’s the house special—my nephew Parker prefers a half and half mix. It’s surprisingly un-disgusting.”
“Just tea sounds great. It’s shaping up to be a hot summer already, and June’s barely started.”
Great, now he was talking about the weather. She motioned him toward the sofa—an inexpensive but decent piece covered in terracotta cotton. “Have a seat. I’ll be right back.” As he did, she disappeared into the kitchen.
Tray. I have to have a tray around here somewhere. A jolt of memory struck moments before she started hyperventilating, and she pulled an old tin tray from atop the refrigerator, then rinsed the dust off under the sink. She even found two tall glasses that matched—a feat in itself. She carried the tea into the living room. Whew, I didn’t spill a drop. Sometime while she was in the kitchen, Parker had come back downstairs and started peppering Zach with questions about the car.
“Well, I know it’s traditional for a Texas boy to get a truck, but after spending the last twenty years driving big ol’ Humvees and such, I just wanted something fun.” He glanced out the window, beaming at the shiny sports car.
“Well, good for you.” Laney set the tray down on the coffee table then sank into the old bentwood rocker next to the couch.
Zach helped himself to a glass and added a generous spoonful of sugar, while she squeezed a lemon wedge into hers. “I like your house. It’s warm and colorful—sort of like its owner.”
“Thanks.” Laney was sure her skin turned as red as the sofa. With lots of plants in bright pottery containers and throw pillows matching the colorful Navajo blanket draped across the back of the couch, her home did look warm and inviting—at least, she’d hoped so. But her? She was just plain old Laney the librarian.