Welcome to Coffee Time Romance! Ready for some romance? Of course you are. And what better place to find it than the magical city of Nashville, Tennessee? Music City. Magic city. And the magical setting of Winter’s Magic, the first novel in Cynthia Gail’s Music City Hearts series. Welcome, Cynthia!
So, would you like to introduce us to the hero and heroine of Winter’s Magic?
Beth Sergeant is probably my favorite heroine in the series. Her parents were middle-class, but found a way to send her to the most prestigious, private high school in Nashville, Tennessee. While the invaluable experience prepared her for college, she never felt as if she fit in.
After losing his parents to a car accident at a young age, Nick Chester was raised by his grandfather, the wealthiest man in Nashville. At the age of thirty, he’s built his own business and experienced enough of life to realize everyone has an agenda.
Well, I know somebody who also likes your heroine a lot. I saw a review over at Life In Review which states (and I quote) “Winter’s Magic is a wonderful story about a woman who has built a successful business and career but has never had any success in her personal life.” Reviews like that are every writer’s dream. How do you deal with reviews? Have they shaped your future plots/characters?
For this series, the plot and characters are already outlined and the first three books are written. But they do make me even more critical of my own writing. A good review sets the bar and I can’t let my readers down by slacking off. And I try to listen to the reviewer’s comments, just as I would a critique partner. There’s always room for improvement and I’m grateful for every bit of feedback I can get.
Winter’s Magic is the first novel in this series. And without giving too much away, I found it a delightful Christmas story as well as a great romance. I especially loved it when you wove Christmas Eve Midnight Mass into the storyline. Do you know how many novels there’ll be in the series, or are you still waiting for the characters to tell you?
Unless the last book, still in the outline stage, takes me in a new direction, there will be four books in the Music City Hearts series. Spring's Surprise is Sara's book, Summer's Family Affair is Jenny's, and Fall's Redeeming Grace is Lauren's (the antagonist from Winter's Magic) It was going to be a trilogy until I decided Lauren needed to be redeemed.
A love story for every season! And ah yes, Lauren! I agree, that girl needs some redeeming! (And no, readers, I’m not giving away the storyline but dang, did that girl try to wreck some havoc!) What’s the link between the books? Are you going to take secondary characters from the preceding book(s), like Lauren, or is Nashville itself the link?
There are really two links. Beth, Sara and Jenny were roommates in college. Sara married early and still lives in Lexington, Kentucky, but Beth and Jenny moved back to Nashville, Tennessee, where all four stories take place.
Where can we find Winter’s Magic and the Music City Hearts Series?
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Soul Mate Publishing
I heard some buzz that Winter’s Magic might be up for some intense scrutiny somewhere in the near future. Like on Ibookbuzz.com as a contender for December Book of the Month! Want to tell us about that?
Ibookbuzz.com is an on-line book club. Each month they pick three or four titles from all of their author submissions, to compete through public voting for a themed book of the month spot. I made it through their selection process for December, and crossing my fingers that my fans, friends, and family pull me through.
You’re a Nashville girl, obviously, but are you a Nashville native? Have you always lived in Nashville?
I grew up in Blue Springs, Missouri. My family moved to western Kentucky when I was in high school. Then I moved to the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee seven years ago. We love it here. Whether you like professional hockey, football, country music, the science center, the zoo, theater events, or the symphony, there’s always something going on.
When did you first start writing? Have you always woven stories in your head, or is it something you discovered you loved a bit later on?
I read a little bit of teen romance in middle school, but as an adult most of my reading was mystery until about 5-6 years ago. A book publisher gave me an autographed copy of Lisa Kleypas' Sugar Daddy and promised I would love it. I sat it on my office bookshelf for a year until I saw a marketing sheet on Blue Eyed Devil. Once I'd read both, I was hooked and quickly found her Wallflower series, then went through all of her other historicals. I haven't read much mystery since : )
A few years ago, my husband worked the early morning shift and went to bed at eight. I’m a night owl and would stay up late reading. One day I woke up with a storyline in my head. After a few days of the story growing, one night instead of reading I decided to write. I didn't tell anyone I was writing for a year and by then I had 2 1/2 manuscripts finished. I told my best friend, who happens to know Trish Milburn, an award-winning author, and hooked me up. Trish edited my first book (what is now the second in the series) and connected me with RWA and the Nashville chapter.
I’ve found that a lot of writers took a long time to actually let the world know they were writers. Did you have any writing or publishing background before you found yourself writing instead of reading?
I've worked in the magazine and book industry since 1990. The best title to describe what I do is a retail analyst. I work for myself and a magazine/book wholesaler. I help retailers coordinate their checkout space with magazine publishers. I also help retailers manage their promotional programs. In my spare time, I also do some editing work for Soul Mate Publishing. I acquire contemporary & historical romance, chick lit and women’s fiction under my real name Cynthia Brannam.
We’ve talked about Cynthia Gail the writer. Who’s Cynthia Gail when she’s not being the writer? What would we find her doing?
I’m the mother of an eighteen-year-old, who’s played baseball and football since he was in grade school. My many years as team-mom came to an end this past May, but we still love to watch the local games. I like to cook, so I bake a lot in the winter and grill all summer. I have great neighbors we hang out with year-around. I love girly stuff – facials, pedicures and manicures. Chick flicks. I read a lot. I like watching football and going to community theater events. I listen to pop, jazz and classical music.
Readers, thanks so much for stopping in to visit! I hope you all have a chance to visit the Nashville of Winter’s Magic and meet Beth and Nick, because I know you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. And drop back in at Coffee Times whenever you have a chance! The coffee’s always brewing over here at Coffee Times. And you never know who you’ll meet next!