Interview with Author Cindy Davis

Today we are fortunate to have author Cindy Davis join us.

Welcome, Cindy. It is so good to have you here today.DSCF5792.JPG

In visiting your author page on Amazon, we see you are a very prolific writer, with work ranging from Westerns, through Women’s Fiction and Mysteries. Just how many books have you published to date?

The westerns were a series for kids. They are out of print—still showing available on Amazon. I mostly write mysteries. I have, I think 16, two series and several stand alone titles. I cut my teeth on the Bobbsey Twins, moved up to Nancy Drew and graduated to Agatha Christie. My favorite TV character is Jessica Fletcher.

How many of your books are fiction? Thirteen: one women’s fiction and the rest mysteries. What is the subject of your non-fiction titles? Two were walking tours of a very historical area in southern NH; one is a self-help guide on editing: You Have the Power, Self-edit Your Way into Print.

The earliest book listed on Amazon seems to be Final Masquerade published in 2003.  Can you tell us a little about it? It was my first. I finished the first draft in three months. I typed THE END and burst into tears. At that very moment, my husband came home from work. Naturally his mind went in a whole other direction—he thought I’d crashed the car. The story was inspired by a homeless woman we saw riding a bicycle with a kerosene can on the back. With it, she heated a car she lived in—on land that she owned. I wondered what made a person live in this manner, and the story was born (which was entirely fiction).

How long did it take you to write, from when you finished that quick first draft to the thrill of publication? As I said, the first draft took only three months. Two more months of edits, then a few months looking for a publisher. It’s since been through three more printings and has been re-titled Take the Money and Run.

What is your timeline for new releases, currently? A long time. I had three life changing events over the past two years and it pretty much brought my writing to a halt. In August, I vowed to get back on track. First, complete the sixth in my Angie Deacon mystery series—which I did this past weekend. It’s currently out with my beta readers. Second, to write book four in the Smith & Westen series. Third, to write the romantic suspense stimulated by my trip to Italy. It’s going to use many of the same characters from A Lethal Dose of Love.

I noticed you have gone through a number of small publishers and are now with Enigma Books. Can you share a bit about your experiences working with the various boutique publishers? They’re all pretty much the same. Some faster. Some with a bit more promotion. I think through the years, I graduated to publishers with whom I felt the most at home. Originally I took the first one that said yes. Right now, I have a few self-published books. The others are with two publishers: The Wild Rose Press and Champagne Books.

Many of my readers are independent authors. What do you think are the advantages of using a small publisher, rather than going indie? You get professional editing for one thing. And professional cover design. As an editor, I have so many self-published authors come to me AFTER they’ve put a sub-par book online. Books need professional service no matter what method you plan to use. What other services do the publishers provide for you? They do the layout and formatting and submission to the right venues. One of my publishers, The Wild Rose Press, does a phenomenal amount of promotion. That’s not to say I don’t have to do a lot myself, but it’s nice to have a backup with an excellent reputation in the business.

You have lived in New England most of your life, but recently visited Italy, one of my own favorite places. What one impression of Italy has stayVolterra,street2ed with you the strongest since returning home? A week before I left for Italy I bought a home in Florida. If I hadn’t done that, I would now be living in Volterra, Tuscany. I LOVED the ambiance, the views, the people. I am planning a return trip to set a book there.

Since expanding your career into freelance editing, what are the most frequent mistakes you find in the manuscripts you’ve edited? First, as mentioned above, authors who think that because they’ve put there book on Kindle or wherever, that it’s a given that it’ll sell. They see NO sales and/or bad reviews, then come to me for mending. Huge mistake because your name has already been out there. If you want to know the biggest mistake I see in manuscripts, it’s probably that authors don’t understand deep point of view. Too many think it’s putting thoughts into italics when it couldn’t be further from the truth.

I understand you have a new book out this month. Would you like to tell us a little about it? Stone Cold Sober is the sixth in my Angie Deacon mystery series set at Stone-Cold_Sober-CoverPrintNew Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee. My heroine Angie, runs a community theater. Her partner has just left for Broadway and all the responsibility is on her shoulders. She’s so proud when she hires her first leading man. The problem? Wives keep popping up like dandelions in a field. When multiple wives find out about each other…nothing good can happen.

This sounds like a fun read, Cindy.  I’m sure many of us will be checking it out.

Thank you so much for being with us today. You have a world of experience to share. If readers would like to find out more about you, your books and your editing services, where should they go?

Please click on any of the links below:

 www.cdavisnh.com.

www.fiction-doctor.com.

www.writerscollege.com/

Advertisements

Interview with fellow author, Maureen K. Howard

Welcome Reader, to November’s Second Saturday Author Interview.

My guests today are the mother-daughter team who write as Maureen K. Howard, Maureen Kovach and Brigette Howard.

Thank you for joining us today, Maureen and Brigette. I know my readers are eager to learn more about you and how you create your charming characters.  Just to give our readers who may not have read your books an idea of your style, here’s an excerpt from my review of Sunny Side Up from this past March:

Sunny Side Up lives up to its title, as the main characters are indefatigably cheerful, even when enmeshed in the most devastating situations.

Fans of zany, madcap female amateur detectives will love boating on Lake Erie with BFF’s Francie and June, an unlikely match-up whose friendship holds fast as they leap into one ill-advised adventure after another.

Now, let’s learn more about this dynamic duo:

Maureen and Brigette, when did you publish your first book, Sunny Side Up?

Sunny Side Up was published on November 21, 2014, just in time for the holidays.

How long did it take from the first glimmer of an idea until publication?

Brigette and I toyed around with the idea of writing a book for about three years before we finally decided to quit talking about it and do it. Once we got it going, the actual writing took about six months, and then we had to figure out how to get it published. That was probably more work than the writing because it was all brand new territory. I Skyped with my sister’s friend in England who gave me a road map for the journey. From there, we joined lots of online author support groups and asked lots of questions. All told, I’d say close to four years. Seeing that first novel in print and holding it in my hands was unlike any feeling I’ve had since Christmas Day when I was four years old.

I know exactly how you felt, Maureen.  You and your daughter write as a team. I’m curious about how this duet of words works. Can you explain the process?

It’s unusual, or so they tell me, but to us it’s the most natural thing. I can’t imagine doing this on my own. Brigette is the idea girl. We plot out a rough outline together. She comes up with so many creative scenes and puts her thoughts down in a shared Google Doc. I then stretch, expand, and polish the material. We both go over and over the whole thing, adding and refining all the time. I love writing the scenic descriptions and creating realistic dialogue. We’ve been told we have a unique voice, and I suppose that’s due to two voices melding into one.

As a retired English teacher, what are your thoughts on the current crop of independent authors, as far as grammar, punctuation and the mechanics of the written word are concerned?

I am proud to be in the company of so many independent authors who are meticulous about what they publish, but as in all fields, there are those who are in a rush and will sacrifice quality for quantity. I love to promote other independent authors who exemplify superior skill and craftsmanship. If an author writes a good story, her readers won’t care who published the book.

Do you think your teaching background helps in the editing process?

Without a doubt! I am obsessive when it comes to sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation. (Notice the Oxford comma-LOL). I see errors even when I’m not looking for them. They’re everywhere. They haunt my dreams. After I have edited our manuscripts to death, I do it again, and then send it to a professional editor.

I noticed your publisher is listed as Silver Phoenix Publishing. Is this the same Silver Phoenix Publishing best known for comic books and trading cards? If so, how did you make the connection to have them publish your cozy mystery book?

There is no connection, darn it. I checked out the name when we were forming our partnership and since there wasn’t one in Ohio, we used it. It was the code name for my youngest daughter’s unborn child-but that’s a story for another day. (She since gave birth to my wonderful granddaughter, Evelyn Lilith.)

You bring the Lake Erie neighborhoods to life in your stories. Have you lived in Ohio all your life?

No. I lived in Michigan for my first forty years. I now reside in Ohio, and my family has been enjoying the beautiful shores and islands of Lake Erie for over twenty years.

Do you have an agent?

No. We are doing the Indie thing.

Is Francie’s personality a combination of yours and your daughter’s?

I have pondered this question myself. She definitely has personality traits that we share, such as fierce loyalty, a sense of humor in the face of adversity, and the love of all cheese and fine wine.

Do you have a work in progress or new release you would like to tell us about?

Yes! We are so excited for the release of Deviled. Book 2 in the Lake Erie Mysteries series will be available for purchase any day now.

Where can readers learn more about you and your books?

Please visit (the sites below). We love interacting with our readers!

lakeeriemysteries.com

Facebook.com/maureenhowardauthor

Twitter: @mhowardbooks

mhowardbooks@gmail.com

img_2285At left is a photo of Brigette with her dog, Isabelle, and me with Joe, the golden doodle.

It was a pleasure answering your questions, Jonna. I can’t wait to read all your other author interviews and gaining insight into their lives and writing process.

Hugs,  Maureen

Thank you so much for sharing with us, Maureen. I’m sure we all look forward to more entertaining, egg-titled adventures with Francie and her friends.

A Body in the Belfry Now Available in Print from Amazon

The long wait is over. Print copies of A Body in the Belfry are now available. The digital version is in pre-order from all the major dealers for release December 1.

View on Amazon

Now I’m in the crucial (and dreaded) promotion/marketing phase.

Thanks to my launch team and all my supportive fans for sharing news about my books and posting positive reviews. What would I do without you?

I am being interviewed for 30 minutes on the Rave Reviews Book Club radio show, Rave Waves, this coming Thursday, November 12 beginning at 9:00 a.m. (Pacific Time). Listen in by going to Bring on the Spotlight. You can submit questions during the live broadcast by tweeting with the tag: #RRBCBringOnTheSpotlight.  The program archives are available at http://hosts.blogtalkradio.com/ravereviewsbookclub.

I’m learning to create trailers (video snippets) for my books. The one for A Body in the Belfry is below:

Be sure to watch for next week’s blog when I interview the team writing as Maureen Kovach, authors of Sunny Side Up and other cozies featuring life on Lake Erie.