Coffee Time Romance & More





Welcome, I would like to take this opportunity to thank author Cyndi Redding for taking the time to answer these questions for Coffee Time Romance about her book Surviving Mortality.

--Thank you for having me, Sheryl!  I’m grateful for the opportunity to share more of myself with readers.  

How did you come up with the storyline for Surviving Mortality?

--I was thinking of telling you the whole, sad story, but I want to keep the tone of this interview upbeat, so let’s just say it came out of my own bizarre experience.  Well, every author writes “from experience” but this was more so because I used the book for healing. When my folks passed away, I was a wept-out, mess.  I had already lost my brother and sister and suddenly found myself feeling very alone, grieving and dealing with the aftermath.  It was overwhelming.  I quit my job as an RN, let my dear husband support me, and floundered around for a while.   Then I hit upon the idea of writing out some of my emotions.  A direct autobiography would have been too much to handle, so I had my heroine, Cally Malloy, tell it, symbolically, and in fiction.    

How long does it take you to write a book and how long did it take to write Surviving Mortality?

--I wrote Surviving Mortality over a period of two years.  It was my first book and I made so many boo boos that I had to rewrite it dozens of times.  It was the book of my heart, and it just wouldn’t stay in the trash each time I tried to toss it.

What was the inspiration behind writing Surviving Mortality?

--I went to a clairvoyant shortly before and after the double deaths.  She was absolutely incredible.  I called her to set up a third appointment when I was cleaning out the house and discovered that some important items had gone missing!  I wanted to know if she could find out where the one item I valued the most could have gone—a gold locket with an old tintype photo of my mother’s parents.  I never met them and it was a beautiful engagement photo.  She answered me over the phone and the answer wasn’t the one I wanted, but it was the only one that made sense after I turned the house upside-down three times looking for it.  She said it had been stolen.   

Who could have taken it?  I’ll never know, but I was so angry that I had to pin it on someone.   Why not the person who hurt me the most?  Sure!  My ex-fiancé.  Okay, that part’s fiction, but since I wanted to make him into a villain anyway...   Of course, I needed a hero, and in real life it was my wonderful, supportive, understanding, witty, intelligent, and charming husband.  I created Nate Smith, every woman’s fantasy.  

Did you have to research this story and if so, what?

--I researched the roles of the Kennebunkport police and the private detective.  I found they work very differently and they don’t work together well.  I had them each doing their separate investigations, but having to co-operate at the heroine’s insistence.  Our hero is the PI.   Unfortunately I can’t credit him, because he must remain nameless, but he was fascinating.  A real eye opener!  

How did the characters for Surviving Mortality come about, were they already thought out or did you come up with them as you wrote Surviving Mortality?

--The characters evolved.  I had ideas, but they soon took on a life of their own.  My characters tell me who they are, eventually.  I had to rewrite the hero a few times to make him more Alpha.   I tend to like the Beta males in real life, but I don’t try to make the characters bend to my will.   The story turns out better if I let them be who they are and tell me what they want to do.   As a result, Nate became what I call a Balpha male!

He’s really a sensitive guy underneath, but he tries the strong, confident approach with Cally.  It isn’t until he lets her see the whole Nate, including the man he is inside, that she knows she’s helplessly in love with him.  Isn’t loving someone for who they really are the best romantic message I could write into a book?  

Do you plan on writing a sequel to this book?

--I’ve thought about it.  The secondary characters of Tommy and Mary Jo were great, and if I get the inspiration to follow the adventures they started in Surviving Mortality (no hints) I might.  I even have a title.  Surviving and Thriving.

Congratulations on signing the contract for your new book, Sensation of the Seas with Venus Press, can you tell us a bit about this book?

--Gladly!  I’m interested in anything paranormal and will research a subject I’m curious about until I’m satisfied.  Then I enjoy sharing some of what I learned in my writing.  This book resulted from my fascination with gypsies, especially the Eastern European Rom.  I got the idea when on a cruise, and decided that with all the diverse cultures and countries that the crew represented it would be the perfect setting.  Besides, I liked the idea of spending time on a cruise ship, at least in my head, as I wrote!  I pumped an Aussie crewmember in the spa while I was getting my foot massage and my deep hair conditioning.  I met with her later and I grilled her for two hours while I took notes.  She was incredibly candid and told me funny stories, love stories, even the best place to make love on the ship!  We’ve kept in touch by e-mail ever since.

How hard has it been to find publishers for your books?

--I sent out my first one to traditional publishers and had interest, but no takers.  Then I had a flash of inspiration one day as I was finishing my second book and realized that what I like to write is more unusual and edgier than the traditional publishers for my word count will touch.  I researched e-publishers and sent it to three reputable ones with good track records.  All three wanted Queen of Hearts.  I looked into the publishers further, read their books, and talked to some of their authors.  I found that Liquid Silver was generous, fair, and had happy authors.   After that, they took everything I sent to them.  They published three: Queen of Hearts, Out of the Broom Closet, and Surviving Mortality and another one, Guardian of the Angels, is coming in their Zodiac series later this year.  

I went with Venus Press for Sensation of the Seas because it has some very hot erotic scenes that Liquid Silver doesn’t usually publish.  Venus Press is fine with pushing the sexual limits and yet keeping it in good taste.  I don’t know why Sensation of the Seas became so hot, but it did.  I had to tell my Aussie research subject that even though the heroine is an Aussie spa girl on a cruise ship, it really isn’t about her!  (Cyndi chuckles.)  I’m writing a novella for Venus Press right now, and if they like it, it will be part of their Sons of Zeus series.  It’s leaning more towards erotica.  

Did you always want to be a writer growing up, if not, how did you become a writer?

--I should have known I was a writer much earlier than I did.  I absolutely loved creative writing in high school.  Duh!  First I attended Massachusetts College of Art and was sure I was the next undiscovered fine artist.  When that didn’t happen, I married a cop, had a baby, got divorced and suddenly had to make a decent living.  Eek!  With the help of my parents, I returned to school and became a registered nurse.  It put food on the table, and yet I still craved an artistic, creative outlet.  

I took a course at U. Mass in screen writing just for my own pleasure.  I wrote several romantic comedies and even had an agent for one of them!  Sadly, Hollywood passed on it, but all I learned was not lost.  I had the basics of story telling behind me and had the “bones” of several future novels.  Queen of Hearts is the first of those.  RWA taught me the rest and continues to support and inspire me.  

How much time do you get to spend with your family when you do not have a deadline?

--My daughter recently moved into her own condo about an hour away, but we get together every week or two for lunch out or dinner at home.   She calls a lot too, and I always stop whatever I’m doing to talk with her.  (She knows when I’m trying to type, and I’m not really listening!)  Thank goodness we get along well and just tease each other when things like that happen.

My husband is my best friend and we spend almost all of our spare time together.  We never tire of each other’s company, but we have our separate interests that we make time for too.  For instance, we spent today watching the morning the news, shoveling snow, traipsing through our woods, and then, after lunch, he went to play his silly video games and I wrote a couple more pages of a love scene.  When I finish this interview, I’ll probably go back and finish the love scene, and then he’s in trouble!  

Where do you find the time to write or do you have set hours of the day?

--I’m one of the lucky few who writes full-time.  Even so, I have a schedule.  When my husband goes to work, so do I.  I answer e-mail and then I write.  I usually take a long lunch break and do errands or whatever.  Late in the afternoon I try to take some time for marketing my books and growing my career.  If my muse bothers me while I’m out and about, I’ll usually return to writing instead.   

Have you ever had Writers’ Block?

--I had it badly when I was writing Sensation of the Seas.  I had originally thought I would submit it to Liquid Silver.  Knowing what they like, I tried to push the characters in that direction.  They wouldn’t go.  In fact, they refused to budge until I had dreams that woke me up, telling me the direction the characters intended to take.  I resented the heck out of them for holding me hostage like that, but I learned from the experience too.  I now have a few tricks up my sleeve for coping with writer’s block.

Do you have any other upcoming projects besides Sensation of the Seas?

--Three in the works!  That’s one way I deal with writer’s block.  If one is giving me a hard time, or needs to sit while ideas percolate, I move to another one.  These are all comedies and I’m having a blast writing them!  I sent the first 7 pages of “Heaving Bosoms” to one of my writing buddies, and she thought it was hilarious!  Now she’s asking me when “our book” is going to be finished!  I had to put it on hold in the fourth chapter when I went to New Orleans.  I returned with fresh inspiration for a novella with a deadline—the one for Venus Press.  The third project is called Destiny Makeovers, a screenplay adaptation that’s percolating.  Each time I convert a screenplay, it improves and changes.   

What encouraging words would you give to aspiring authors, if you could?

--Keep on writing!  Don’t give up!  When the going gets tough, know that it’s tough for everyone in the beginning and never doubt that the tough get published!  Hang in there until you finish a book, then cheer!  Throw a party!  Go on a wild vacation, but as soon as you get back, write the next one.  Get a critique partner to look at the first one and edit that one while you write the second.  Then, repeat the process.  When you get to the end of editing and polishing one that you think is good and commercially viable, start submitting it.  Take any and all constructive criticism as an opportunity to improve your manuscript and do it.  Then send it out again. Repeat the process until you get an offer.

I would like to thank Cyndi Redding on behalf of Coffee Time Romance for chatting with us about her book Surviving Mortality and we wish you good luck on all your upcoming projects.

--Bless your heart, Sheryl.  It’s been a pleasure for me too.






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