Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cindy McDonald Author Interview


Book Nerd Interview

For twenty-six years my life whirled around a song and a dance: I was a professional dancer/choreographer for most of my adult life and never gave much thought to a writing career until 2005. Don’t ask me what happened, but suddenly I felt drawn to my computer to write about things I have experienced (greatly exaggerated upon of course) with my husband’s Thoroughbreds and happenings at the racetrack.

Surprised? Why didn’t I write about my experiences with dance? Eh, believe it or not life at the racetrack is much more…racy. The drama is outrageous--not that dancers don’t know how to create drama, believe me, they do, but race trackers just seem to get more down and dirty with it which makes great story telling—great fiction.

I didn’t start out writing books, The Unbridled Series started out as a TV drama, and the Hollywood readers loved the show. The problem was we just couldn’t sell it. So one of the readers said to me, “Cindy, don’t be stupid, turn your scripts into a book series.” and so I did!

In May of 2011 I took the big leap and exchanged my dancin’ shoes for a lap top—I retired from dance. It was a scary proposition, I was terrified, but I had the full support of my husband, Saint Bill. This past year has been a huge change for me. I went from dancing hard five hours a night to sitting in front of a computer. I still work-out and I take my dog, Harvey, for a daily run. I have to or I’d be as big as a house. Do I miss dance? Sometimes I do. I miss my students. I miss choreographing musicals, but Ilove my books, and I love sharing them with you.


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What was the greatest thing you learned at school?

Compassion. While I was in high school there were kids that were bullied mercilessly and those who had addictions. No, bullying is not a new problem and of course addictions of all sorts have been around for forever. Although I did not have problems with bullies—I always stood up to them, and in turn they always backed down. And at one point I physically attacked a bully that picking on a girl that didn’t have the strength to fight back—I was lucky, I was popular enough that when the bully turned to lash out at me, I was surrounded by friends that wouldn’t have let anything happen to me. The bully walked away from me and the girl. I’ve tried to teach my daughters compassion for others and not to judge too harshly—helping those less fortunate than ourselves is an important part of character.

Is there such a thing as a formula for storytelling?

I love to read book series’. I love to get acquainted and spend time with a character or a group of characters and follow them through the series. That said I find that most series follow a formula, except after the third and definitely by the fourth book, it tends to stick out in obvious proportions. As I said, I love to read these series, but when I began writing my Unbridled series I didn’t want it to follow a formula. I wanted each book to be an individual, and I was warned that I was committing the unforgivable sin: genre hopping. Did I hear a gasp? Have I said a dirty word? It’s possible—very possible. The first book Deadly.Com was a nail-biting murder/suspense. The second book, Hot Coco, was a fun romantic comedy—Coco has sold very well.

Yes, my series will be an experiment to find out if readers are willing to break away from the coveted formula. That is yet to be seen, as the third book of the Unbridled series, DANGEROUS DECEPTION, has just released and I am back to making the reader wince, bite their lip in anticipation, and hope that the characters are able to pull through. However, I believe that I am doing a good job at blending the storylines—at least, I’m hoping so.

Okay, so when you pick up an Unbridled book you’re not always going to get the same thing—you’re not going to know what to expect from this author because I don’t abide by a formula—but I will guarantee you this: You will get a VERY good story—and perhaps that will earn me some forgiveness.

What are some of the common challenges that new and experienced authors face and what advice do you have for over-coming them?

Marketing. Yep, it doesn’t matter whether you are traditionally published or an indie—we all share this obstacle. Social networks, websites, book trailers, book/blog tours—it can make an author’s head spin—regardless if you are a seasoned writer or a newbie.

My advice? LOL! I haven’t got a silver bullet that’s for sure. The only advice I can muster for anyone is: stick with it. Keep tweeting, keep facebooking, keep that website updated at all times, and yes these book/blog tours do help—you’ve got to keep your name and your titles in the public eye.

In your newest book, Dangerous Deception (Unbridled Series #3); can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about the novel?

Vic Deveaux’s glory days as a winning jockey have ended, but he refuses to accept that pile of horse hockey!

When the West family asks Vic to take an easier position at their Thoroughbred farm, Westwood, he becomes enraged and teams up with two greedy stable hands in a scheme to kidnap the youngest son, Shane.

Things turn ugly when Vic discovers that his new-found friends have murder on their minds. Suddenly Vic finds himself between a rock and a hard place. He has betrayed his good friend, Eric West, but will he participate in his son’s murder as well?

Not content to sit at home and wait for her men to bring her brother home, Kate West convinces homicide detective, Carl Lugowski, to check out a hunch at an old abandoned mansion. Soon they’re trapped in a hornet’s nest of a notorious biker gang.

Oh yeah, Vic’s deception has placed the West family in more danger than they know what to do with!

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Vic?

I’m not sure I had any surprises while writing the character, Vic. He was just as I wanted him to be—cantankerous, gritty, self-assured, until he made the decision to betray his friend, Eric West. Ahhh, and then my character became ashamed, panicked, and looking for an ally. Of course he didn’t find a drop of alliance with his co-conspirators—he didn’t expect to. But in our lives friends can come and go from out path and when Vic bumped into another old jockey that was a friend years ago, I think it is Vic who is surprised by his own vulnerability and the need for help from friends.

Do you have a favorite quote that you keep visible in your work environment to help inspire you?

I don’t keep a quote in my line of vision, however, I do keep a piece of advice close to my heart at all times and it has inspired me both as a professional dancer and as an author. When I was getting ready to open my dance school years ago, I had an instructor tell me: Remember Cindy, everyone has something to offer.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?

I think I’d introduce Kate West to Luke of Cindy Gerard’s Black Ops series—he’s hot—I think she’d like him very much. I also think I’d introduce Ava to Christian Grey—she’d make him her submissive before he knew what was happening. ;}

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?

I just finished the 4th book of the Unbridled Series, Against the Ropes. The manuscript is now “marinating” for the month of December. I will open the file in January for some editing and tweaking on this book, and than it will go to the editor and publisher in February—it will release in June.

The moment the Against the Ropes is out of my hands, I will begin work on the 5th book, Shady Deals. I will also be starting a new series called First Force—both books will release sometime in 2013—I’m afraid that no dust ever settles on my computer. But make no mistake—I never hurry the process. It takes me approximately ten months to write and edit and tweak an Unbridled manuscript. It will possibly take longer for the new series.

I’m planning a June release for Against the Ropes, and a November release for my new series First Force. The first book of the new series will be titled, Into the Crossfire. This will be my first attempt at writing two series’ at the same time—we shall see how that goes.
hat question are you never asked in interviews but wish you were
I’ve done a lot of these interviews, I think all the questions have pretty much been covered.

Most horrifying dream you have ever had?

I don’t dream often. That said I did have a recurring dream years ago that I knew was sending me a message, and the message was not lost on me:

I was alone in my stables (I own a Thoroughbred farm) and suddenly at the end of the aisle was a loin. For several moments he stood there eyeing me, licking his lips, and then he let out a loud roar, lunging forward at me. He came down the aisle fast and furious. I was terrified. I jumped into a nearby stall and slammed the door closed. The lion clawed and growled at the caging and the door trying to get at me. Screaming for help, I backed in a far corner of the stall hoping that the caging would hold up against his fierce pounding. Thankfully, I awoke.

What was the message? I needed to face my fears. I did, and the dream stopped.

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?

Who was your first kiss? ;}

If I came to your house and looked in your closet/attic/basement, what’s the one thing that would surprise me the most?

Oh dear, I’m afraid you’d be most disappointed. I really don’t think I have anything in my house that most people do not. Hmmm, unless you count the fake tails that hang in the show closet in the basement. My daughter and I have shown Quarter Horses for years, and there is a number of sorrel and black fake tails hanging in the closet where we keep the show halters, bridles, and other horse show paraphernalia.

When was the last time you cried?

I’m not a crier. That said I’m afraid that I will be shedding tears on Christmas—the first Christmas that I can’t bring my mom home because her disease is too advanced. She will have to remain in the nursing home. This will be a very difficult holiday without her.

Who was your first boyfriend?

I think I may have had a boyfriend when I was in first grade—but I don’t remember his name.

Tell me about your first kiss?

I shared my first kiss with Tom Selleck. Do you believe me? Yeah, I don’t blame you.

Who was the last person you hugged?

My husband, Bill.

Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?

My dear friend, Linda Taylor. She knows me through and through, as I know her. She listens when a reviewer hasn’t been kind, or when things are going terribly wrong in my private affairs. But most of all she is there for me when I need to talk about my mom who suffers with Alzheimer’s disease.

Where can readers stalk you?

My website: www.cindymcwriter.com
My FB page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/THE-UNBRIDLED-SERIES/234151313271418
I’m a goodreads author: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5264796.Cindy_McDonald
Yep, I’m on twitter. Here’s my handle: @cindymcdonald7
All the books of the Unbridled Series can be purchased on amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and on my website, too!



Old age ain't for sissies!
Vic Deveaux’s glory days as a winning jockey have ended, but he refuses to accept that pile of horse hockey!
When the West family asks Vic to take an easier position at their Thoroughbred farm, Westwood, he becomes enraged and teams up with two greedy stable hands in a scheme to kidnap the youngest son, Shane.
Things turn ugly when Vic discovers that his new-found friends have murder on their minds. Suddenly Vic finds himself between a rock and a hard place. He has betrayed his good friend, Eric West, but will he participate in his son’s murder as well?
Not content to sit at home and wait for her men to bring her brother home, Kate West convinces homicide detective, Carl Lugowski, to check out a hunch at an old abandoned mansion. Soon they’re trapped in a hornet’s nest of a notorious biker gang.
Oh yeah, Vic’s deception has placed the West family in more danger than they know what to do with!


The third book of the Unbridled series by Cindy McDonald, Dangerous Deception, sees the West family in another quandary. When Vic gets involved in a kidnap scheme of the youngest West son, it ends up with talks of murder. Kate West wastes no time in trying to bring her brother home and following a gut feeling, sways homicide detective Carl Lugowski to investigate an old uninhibited mansion. The deception that Vic has created has the West family facing danger up close and personal.

Cindy McDonald continues her dazzling writing style that puts readers in suspense from beginning to end. The lies and deceptions are perfectly placed and put together that produces a powerful plot. Characters have been groomed to greatness since book one and they continually to improve with the progress of the series. Readers will be surprised as to how much each character plays a major role in the story. The interactions between characters are meaningful. The introduction of new characters such as Luzetta is a delightful addition. Her presence added more value and volume to the storyline and readers will wonder how her part will affect the future of the series. Although there were many stories happening at the same time, the transitions between them flowed nicely and leave no confusion. Dangerous Deception is a highly engaging and fast-paced read. It embodies pages of danger, action, mystery, and even romance. This is a unique story with unforgettable characters and a wonderful plot. It will satisfy any reader and feed their desire to read the next book.
You can purchase Dangerous Deception at the following Retailers:
    


And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Cindy for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive an E- copy of Deadly.com by Cindy McDonald.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

4 comments:

  1. A fantastic post!!! Found it to be quite interesting. Thank you for sharing!

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  2. Love that 'Cindy McDonald continues her dazzling writing style that puts readers in suspense from beginning to end.'! She does dazzle, doesn't she?

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  3. Left a Thank you on Cindy's FB page..Great Giveaway..Thanks!!

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  4. Hello! Thanks soooo much Jean for the wonderful review of Dangerous Deception--I'm very pleased that you enjoyed the book! And thank you for hosting me today.

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