Some of my most creative thoughts happen when on a dog walk, as do my best conversations with my dog-walking buddy. So I thought I’d invite some of my author friends along to join me and my girls and see if I can find out a little more about them and the book they’ve just released.
‘My girls’ are Poppy and Ruby
A little explanation is needed here. I set up this interview with Cynthia back around September 2015 and we were going to post it on the release of her latest book, Love and Death in Blue Lake. However, I became crazily busy with my day job and took my eye off the ball and Cynthia forgot to tell me when the book was about to be released in December so we missed it. However, it is never too late for a good natter so here we go. 🙂
Joining me in her walking boots today and all the way from Michigan in the USA is writer and reviewer Cynthia Harrison who writes romance with The Wild Rose Press. Now, I only really know Cynthia from her Blue Lake Series but I have found out from this interview that she has published so much more!! I have reviewed Blue Heaven here, and Luke’s #1 Rule here and on the strength of these I have just bought Love and Death in Blue Lake.
Cynthia Harrison is a novelist, blogger and avid reader. She is a lifelong Michigan resident who would rather live in Hawaii. Thus she spends much time on the Great Lakes, looking out to big blue water, imagining it is the Pacific Ocean.
Her contemporary novels are published by The Wild Rose Press in print and e-book and she has been blogging on http://www.cynthiaharrison.com since 2002.
Cindy (Cynthia being her pen name!) is married to the man of her dreams (sometimes, except when he says they can’t move to Hawaii) and they have two grown sons. Both boys live in different west coast states with their families, both right next to the Pacific Ocean. Cindy has not done the math, but her internal calculator believes the distance from Hawaii to their houses is closer than Detroit.
Cindy released two indie paranormals in 2014, Gypsy and Sweet Melissa. Luke’s #1 Rule is contemporary mainstream fiction, the second in her Blue Lake series from The Wild Rose Press. The first in the series, Blue Heaven, went to #1 on the Kindle charts in several categories. Book three Love and Death in Blue Lake was released in December 2015. Cindy has also published a writer’s guide, Your Words, Your Story, and two single title novels, the indie Sister Issues and her Wild Rose Press debut, The Paris Notebook. Sarah’s Survival Guide, a new adult short story and companion piece to The Paris Notebook, is also available.
Cindy is working on something very different for her next book. It is the first novel she has set in Detroit, her own city. Like most metro-Detroiters, Cindy does not live within the actual city limits, having been relegated north of 8 Mile. But her parents were born in the city and spent their coming of age years in the city. Her grandmother owned a diner there across the street from her father’s high school. Hamburgers were 5 cents.
Cindy feels like a badass when she says she’s from Detroit. What, you didn’t know a Granny could be a badass? Maybe that’s only in Detroit, where badass Grannies abound.
Hi Cindy (as you’ve put that in your bio I’m sticking with it!), I hope you’ve had a good trip over from the USA and are ready for an easy hike across the fields of sunny Cambridgeshire? Tell me something about where you live I’m imagining it’s something like the glorious lake and town in Blue Heaven?
Haha, no I live in Detroit, or a stone’s throw from the city anyway. I did have a cottage on the lake when my boys were young, however, and that’s where I get the Blue Heaven location.
Now that you’ve got my undivided attention Cindy this is your chance to tell me all about Luke’s #1 Rule, encourage everyone to buy it and then to move it up their to-be-read lists?
Luke’s #1 Rule is the book of my heart. I wanted to write a book that was more than romance. I wanted to bleed on the page. I wanted to explore the hardest thing that ever happened to me. I wanted to write a love letter to my children in which I imagined a better life for them than the one we actually lived through, but not too much better, because I knew all our hearts had been broken when their dad and I divorced. So, Chloe, single mom, is not Cindy, single mom. And Spence, ex-husband, is not my ex. I’ve known my share of addicts, but my ex is not one of them. Addiction, like divorce, is a topic I’m keenly interested in, and I know a few things about. Luke shares one thing in common with my own husband Al. Neither one of them was ever going to date a single mom. 🙂
You must be pretty busy now that you are a reviewer for A Woman’s Wisdom, how are you enjoying that? And what plans do you have for your writing in the future? (So this question is now out of date but I’m keeping it in here as a lovely reminder of Ali and because I like the answer!)
I love working with Ali. She is so good to me and our arrangement suits both of us perfectly, well, at least from my view. I used to review professionally so this is a fun way to get to read what’s happening with indie fiction these days. I gotta say, things have improved greatly from the early years (before Kindle ruled the world) when most indie novels were not very good. Now more than half the books I read are a three star or better. Ali doesn’t publish three star reviews and I’m very glad as I don’t like writing them. As a professional, it was my job to justify the three star or below and I didn’t like telling people home truths about their beloved book when it was just one person’s opinion, after all.
Aside from the weekly review and #Monday Blogs, I’m working on a new novel in a new setting (my hometown, Detroit) within a new genre (mystery/thriller). Huge learning curve. I love it, though.
I know you’re published by The Wild Rose Press Cynthia, and we all need help at various stages of writing so I’d like to know more about the team you have behind you. Who helps you pull your books together until they’re ready to be published?
The Wild Rose Press is owned and run by two women writers who are dynamic and have endless energy. They do everything for me: edit my books, proofread them, get the cover art done from an art fact sheet I provide, upload to all online distributors, offer POD, marketing help and advice from Lisa, who is amazing. Pretty much, I send them my “finished” book and they do the rest! (Now that sounds wonderful!! Ed)
If you could choose to be any character out of any book, who would you choose? And why?
Oh wow, I think I’d like to be Natalia from Sweet Melissa, because she has special powers, she’s still a teenager, and she’s a badass. I actually have an outline and three chapters for Natalia’s own story, and plan to write it some day. That series, that begins with Gypsy, is indie though, so way more work for me.
I prefer the writing part, not the production of the book part. Not even hiring people, which costs money. My publisher does all that, and still pays me royalties. With the indies, I’ve had great people (Ali from A Woman’s Wisdom gave me the cover for Sweet Melissa and my friend Marla uploaded it to KDP for free, but I have also paid people modest sums—nothing over $100–for these type of services. Those reasonable sums add up and so does the time put in getting everything right.)
A few quick fire ones.
Sunsets or Sunrises?
We watch the sunset almost every night from our deck together. That’s sweet. If I’m up early enough, I love cueing up “Here Comes the Sun” and doing a few rounds of sun salutations, too. Nice warm up to a writing day.
India or Iceland?
I love the idea of India. I love the food and the philosophy, the architecture and the color. But I’ve got to go with Iceland. I don’t care for the cold but I hear it’s beautiful, too. Photos are gorgeous. And ultimately, I don’t like the lack of proper hygiene in India. People go to the bathroom in the street and beggars abound. These are cultural differences that may make me sound like a typical entitled American, but just saying. We have homeless people in Detroit, too, and my heart bleeds for them. So if I was in India, my heart would always be bleeding and my stomach would turn every time someone squatted on the curb and laid a fresh one, you know? On the other hand, where else can you walk to work and see an elephant hanging out on the side of the road? I should stop being so snobbish. Some people can’t afford toilets. Not their fault! But still. Iceland. Then maybe India to warm up.
Which superpower would you like to have? And Why?
The one Natalia has, as mentioned above, which is the ability to travel to the astral plane, although I don’t call it that in the books. I call it Paradise Fields. She gets to talk to old souls and move back and forth through time, which is of course impossible. Even people who believe all the rest of the above say nobody can go back in time. But Natalia can. So can her mom.
What piece of advice would you like to give your 16 year old self – if you were given the opportunity to use a time machine!?
Ha! I’d say, just be yourself and quit pretending to be a badass when you know you are not. You are afraid and lonely and that’s okay because so is everyone else your age. You will be a badass one day, but not quite yet. Enjoy being a delicate flower for a while. (That’s lovely! Ed)
I believe that perfect days are unplanned, BUT if you were to plan your perfect day what would it look like?
Start with sun salutations to George Harrison. Facing East of course. Then tea and writing. Coffee and more writing. A quick breakfast with a peek at email and social media. Reading the afternoon away. Dinner (preferably prepared by someone else) with my hubby. A glass of wine watching the sunset. Maybe a movie or a little television and then reading again before bed. It’s pretty much my life, when I can arrange it that way 🙂
Thanks for joining me Cindy and I wish you every success for your sales and future writing! 🙂
Thank you so much Georgia!
You can find Cindy here…