CDA: Wow. You make me sound so good in the intro. *Fluffs hair* Thank you.
D.B.: My pleasure, Hi, Cyndi, by the way, I do believe that’s one of the longest bios I’ve ever written. But, damn, I’m impressed. Congratulations on your debut of Texas Two Step by Samhain Publishing. I read that you wrote a doctorate, but that you think writing fiction is harder than writing your thesis. Why is that?
CDA: Writing fiction is harder than writing my dissertation. With my dissertation, it was fact-fact-fact, then test, then analysis. Nothing from my imagination. I was working within the constraints of the facts and research findings. With fiction, the only limits are the ones I put on myself. The other problem is there are some rules with writing fiction, like keeping your point of view consistent, and I had to learn those rules to make my work acceptable to publishers. I had a huge learning curve.
Two Step is a fun,
sexy read. It’s the story of Olivia
Montgomery-Gentry and Mitch Landry. They
share a strong attraction and a tumultuous past, and part of this past is that
they have a son that Mitch knows nothing about.
First question, this is a reunion story, and then of course the secret
baby. Why do you think romance readers
are so drawn to this type of novel? And
tell us what inspired you to write this book? Texas
CDA: I think what makes reunion stories so much fun is all the emotional trauma that has to be dealt with.
Reunion stories and second chance stories look at the
fork in the road we’ve all faced at some point. Choosing the left turn instead
of the right turn and our lives would be totally different. I suspect many of
us also have a story about the guy (or girl) from our past that we wonder, what
Why this story? Mitch started out as an Italian Prince for a Harlequin Presents contest. After a couple of chapters, he fired his rifle in the air to get my attention and announced that: 1) I had his last name wrong, and 2) put him back into his jeans and cowboy boots or else. Gunfire always makes me sit and pay attention.
D.B: Olivia is a dynamite character. Strong, sexy, she’s come into her own. Mitch is sexy as all get out, and you have a gift for describing these characters. How long have you been working on Texas Two Step, and you just seem to know these characters like they are part of you. When Olivia spoke, I even could hear her
twang, and I could
easily see these characters. Tell us
what inspired them and how much fun (or not) was it while working with them? Texas
CDA: What everyone is missing is that this book is from the Texas Montgomery Mavericks. When most people think of “mavericks,” they think male or hero. But Olivia is the Montgomery Maverick in this book. She’s strong. Self-assured. Determined to not let life’s hurdles defeat her.
Mitch is a very alpha male. He makes decisions that he thinks is best…including decisions that affect lots of people without consulting them because he’s sure he’s made the best decision. There aren’t many women who can handle that kind of challenge.
The two most important women in his life are Olivia and his mother.
D.B. I enjoyed the wedding portion of this book very much. Mitch’s jealousy over this guy named Adam. The wedding planner was wonderful and you force these two estranged partners together at every turn. Note: For any aspiring authors out there, when you’re writing romance, you must get your hero and heroine together. If you need an example of an author who does it extremely well, please check out TEXAS TWO STEP. Has this scene changed very much from draft to draft, or did you just envision getting your protagonists together from the start?
CDA: That scene didn’t change much from draft to final version. I just kept asking myself…How can I make this worse for Olivia.
D.B: This book is book one in a series. You have just completed a very successful book tour. Are you glad/relieved that the tour is over with? And are you getting back to writing? Tell us about a typical day of writing, and how are you doing with the word DEADLINE?
CDA: Thanks for the nice compliment on my book blog tour. It was quite an undertaking. I’ve written one blog on the tour and am in the process of putting together a workshop on setting up book blog tour. If I’d know then what I know now, I would have done some things differently. I am just getting back to writing. I found the blog tour to be very draining to my creativity. I was using up my creative juices to write entertaining blogs instead of putting that effort into my next book. I don’t have a deadline as the next two books in the series are not contracted. Personally I do much better with a deadline. I love deadlines. If I have one, I WILL have it done by then. Without a deadline, I have a tendency to fiddle around. J
D.B: You have quite a list of characters in Texas Two Step, and I suspect we’ll see them again. I wonder if Drake and Magda might show up in book two? You did an excellent job of showing their attraction –and resolving a conflict as a result. Do you use charts, spreadsheets, do you know these characters and there you don’t need them. Personally I love a book with lots of characters. It gives it a richer cinematic feel in my opinion. Was this intentional on your part? Did the cast of characters just start to grow? And was it your intention from the start to create a series?
CDA: Quite a list of questions, DB! I’ve had a number of inquiries about Drake, including a phone call from sister! If I won’t tell her what happens I sure can’t put it here. (hee hee) Book two is Travis Montgomery’s story. He and Drake are life-long friends. Since Drake moved back to
Do I use charts and spreadsheets…One of my degrees is a master of business. I LOVE my spreadsheets. So yes, I have spreadsheets, particularly timeline spreadsheets. I have a spreadsheet of all the male and female names and their relationship. Did I plan to have so many characters? No. Sometimes the character walks on stage and announces himself.
D.B: It's my job to ask questions, CDA. :) Talk to us about writing for Samhain? What did you learn as a debut author about publishing, and will it help you simplify your writing life in book two?
CDA: My experience working with Samhain Publishing has been incredible, awesome, wonderful! It’s the kind of experience I would wish on every new author. An editor who didn’t try to change my voice or interject her own into my story. She didn’t try to change my story, only improve or clarify my story. I had a line editor who found the tiniest mistakes. And then the cover artist…WOW. What a wonderful job Scott Carpenter did with my cover.
As far as making the second book “easier,”…I have to say no. Every book is different…new characters and new challenges while trying to integrate the previous characters as I know readers want those glances into the lives of earlier characters.
I think my overarching problem is my own insecurity about my writing. Fear of failure is the hurdle I have to climb over every day when I sit down to write. One book doesn’t ease that much, at least not for me.
D.B: Speaking of book two, when should we expect it? And could you give us a blurb?
CDA: Book two isn’t contracted so I don’t have a date for that. The working title is Texas Tango Tangle. Here’s a brief blurb:
Travis Montgomery thinks Caroline Graham’s idea to state a fake wedding to ease the passing of her dying grandmother is nuts. But Caroline hold the deed to a piece of land Travis has coveted for years. The only way to get his hands on the property is to go along with this crazy plan. After all, Caroline will only be in town another six months and she’s promised to quick claim the land to him when she leaves.
Neither of them expects to be attracted to the other. Caroline doesn’t want to put down roots and Travis doesn’t want another wife. Unfortunately, an obscure state law throws their perfect plan out the window. Can they confess their love before it’s too late?
D.B. What advice would you give today’s aspiring author?
CDA: 1) Write. Write. Write. The only way to get good is to write. 2) Don’t just keep writing the same story over and over. Start something new. 3) Don’t get in too big of a hurry to publish. Yes, we can all self-publish but be sure your work is ready for the public.
D.B: Cyndi, I enjoyed Texas Two Step, and I know I will love book two as well. Thank you for being with us today. You’ve earned a long rest.
Texas Two Step - A Samhain Best Seller
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Thanks again, Donnell! ~ My pleasure, Cynthia D'Alba. Come back again.