Monday, September 10, 2018

The Novel Lady Interviews Author Cynthia D'Alba

The Coastal Magic Convention, which will be held February 27 thru March 3rd, 2019, is once again being held in beautiful Daytona Beach, Florida.  As a Coastal Magic Featured Blogger, one of the best things for me is that I get the opportunity to interview some of my favorite authors.  I met Cynthia D'Alba last year at Coastal Magic and I must tell you that her sense of humor had me laughing until my cheeks hurt.  

Cynthia D'Alba is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author.  When she's not reading or writing or plotting, she's doorman for her border collie, cook, housekeeper and chief bottle washer for her husband and slave to a noisy, messy parrot. She loves to chat online with friends and fans. 

In my imaginative interview, I'm sitting here on the deck at Cynthia's vine covered cottage in Arkansas (I wish), looking out at a 10,000 acre lake.  Oh my!  Isn't  this one of the most beautiful views ever!  Another sip of coffee... and let's get on with this!

Scherry:  Hi Cynthia!  I was so excited to hear that you will once again be at the Coastal Magic Convention in Daytona Beach in February as one of Coastal Magic’s Featured Authors.

Cynthia:  ME TOO!!

Scherry:  Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background? Your family?  Oh!  And tell us about your parrot!

Cynthia:  Oh man! That parrot! Panama. He thinks this entire interview should be about him. Panama is 40 years old, so he will probably live another 10-20 years (if I don’t make parrot pie before then!) He owns 4 different cages! He has two LARGE cages in our house, a travel cage when he goes on the road with us, and a large cage at our winter house in Florida. He’s spoiled rotten. Loves my husband and considers me the interloper since I’ve only been with my husband for 36 years. He doesn’t let me forget that he was here first.  

I was born and raised in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where we live now. I have an older sister who is married with three grown children, all of whom are married. I have 2 great-nieces and 1 great-nephew. My parents are still living here too. I’ll tell their ages as long as no one tells Mom! Mom is 88. Dad is 89. They are doing pretty good. They still live in their house.

Scherry:  Shhh!  We'll keep your secret!

Cynthia:  My husband and I don’t have children, other than our four-legged furry kids! We have had a number of dogs over our married life. Currently we only have Maggie, the Border Collie (picture attached.) Maggie is seven years old and maybe the smartest dog we have ever owned.

Scherry:  Maggie is so sweet!  I've heard that Border Collies are really smart dogs.

I understand that you are leaving for a fantastic vacation in Alaska and won't be back until around the time this interview is posted on my blog.  I'm wondering if Alaska might inspire you to maybe write about a hunky lumberjack or some muscular guy living in the Alaskan wilderness.  That could be prettty cool, ya' know.  

Cynthia:  Even though I haven't been on the trip yet, YES, there will be book written about our trip. Lumberjack? Don’t know but I love the idea. I should probably do some of the writing while I’m there!

Scherry:  Cynthia, I have to admit that I love your characters.  The first book of yours that I read was CADILLAC COWBOY.  Such a fun read!  

But I think my favorite so far is TEXAS TWO STEP.  I fell in love with the characters Mitch Landry and Olivia Montgomery.  Do you have a favorite book or a favorite character you’ve created?

Cynthia:  I LOVE the Montgomery family. I was sad when I wrote TEXAS LULLABY (book 6.) At that time, all the KNOWN Montgomerys were in love, married, settled and having children. That made me sad.

BUT what do you know!! There was a falling out in the family years ago and a sister left home and never returned. AND she had three children. She told her children the truth about her background and family in Texas. AND what do you know? One of her sons MOVED to Whispering Springs, Texas to spy on the Montgomerys! So there will be three more Montgomery books.

Scherry:  That is great news for me!  I would love to read more about the Montgomerys!

Cynthia:  BUT I have three Navy SEAL books that I have to finish first. Hot SEAL, Cold Beer releases on Oct. 9. Hot SEAL, Black Coffee releases Oct. 23. IF I can get Million Dollar SEAL finished in time, I hope it will come out in October also.

Scherry:  We will definitely have to be on the look out for those books in October!  Have you ever based your book or characters on actual events or people from your own life?

Cynthia:  NEVER real people. Really, I can’t think of any actual events I’ve used. I’ve used places I’ve been (like Montana for Hot SEAL, Black Coffee) but other than settings, no. Everything else is totally out of my head (which is kind of scary knowing all those people live there!)

Scherry:  Do you have any inspirational items on your desk or wherever you write?  Pictures, figurines, cowboy hats?

Cynthia:  My office is quite decorated with hats, books and western keepsakes. However, I write in my living room, so not really. However, I do like to have a scented candle burning when I’m writing.

Scherry:  Ever go on writing retreats with a few writing buddies?  If so, where would you go and who would you be with?

Cynthia:  YES!! I’m been on one this year (with Becca Jameson and Parker Kincade) back in April. I have one in July every year with Parker Kincade, Mandy Harbin, Elle James and Delilah Devlin. I love writing retreats. I can get so much done with the right people.

Scherry:  What’s the funniest typo you’ve ever written?

Cynthia:  Oh yeah.
What I meant to write was… He put her hands on the concrete balcony.
What I wrote was… He put her hands on the concrete baloney!
HAHA Totally two different things!

Scherry:  Glad you caught that one before it went to print!  Concrete baloney?  Ha!
How long did it take you to write your first book?  Did the second and third go more quickly or did they take longer?

Cynthia:  YEARS for book one, TEXAS TWO STEP. About 18 months for TEXAS TANGO. Now, it depends on when I need the book done. I write best to deadlines.

Scherry:  What do you do when you’re not writing?  Do you have any hobbies or guilty pleasures?

Cynthia:  Besides reading? I love to read, so I try to set aside time to read every day.
But I love embroidery. I have two machines. One is a single-needle embroidery/sewing machine. The other is a 10-needle embroidery machine.
One of the things I love to do is make personalize prizes for readers.

Scherry:  I've seen some of those personalized prizes and they are WONDERFUL!  Such unique gifts!

Scherry:  Cynthia, which writers inspire you?

Cynthia:  I write because of Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Before I starting writing, I remember finishing one of her books, a huge grin on my face. I had enjoyed that book so much. I remember thinking…I’d love to be able to make other people feel like I do right now.
So that’s why I started writing.

Scherry:  Well, you certainly accomplished that with ME!  Every book I've read of yours has left me with a huge grin on my face!
Are there any nuggets of wisdom you can impart to aspiring writers?

1.       Write, write, write.
2.       Erase, erase, erase
3.       Rewrite, rewrite
4.       FIND AN EDITOR!!! So many newbie writers will give their work to friends to read. Friends will “love” it but that’s not what you need. You need a PROFESSIONAL eye to look at it. It is obvious who used a friend (or no one!) and who paid for a professional editor.

Scherry:  Great advice!
So, say you got arrested.  What’s the most likely reason the cops are carting you off to jail?  And who would be with you?

Cynthia:  I was!  HAHA 
When I was a senior in high school, we had a bonfire in the middle of nowhere. And OF COURSE you know there was beer. “EVERYONE” was there. By that, I mean cheerleaders, dance/drill team, football team starting line-up and so forth. All the cars had to park at the end of a deadend dirt road and WALK to the middle of the field for the party. When I was leaving (riding out in someone’s car who’d driven through the field), I remember seeing bouncing lights coming toward us. It was the Sheriff’s Department! Some woman called them because there were too many cars driving down her road!
SO the girls were tossed into the backseat of the deputy’s car and the boys were put in another.
One of the deputies was a newbie. The other was a long-timer. The long-timer was letting kids WHO HAD NOT BEEN DRINKING go. I hadn’t been, so he took me from his car. I jumped into my friend Vicki’s car and we left.
Later, we were at Burger Chef when the patrol cars went by stuffed with the other kids!
Nobody got “arrested.” They took the drunk kids to the main Sheriff’s Department and called the parents to come get them. THAT was their punishment! LOL
Besides, if you understand football in the south, we had the leading high school football team in Arkansas and nobody was going to mess with that!
I’m still hearing stories from those who were there about where they hid or how they got away.

Scherry:  Ah!  The memories of high school days!  It's a good thing social media wasn't around back then to record all of our little mishaps!  

What type of books do you enjoy in your downtime? 

Cynthia:  Romance, if I’m reading.  Almost ANY genre of romance!
Suspense, Thriller if I’m doing audiobooks. This to keep me from reading the ending first! LOL Yes. I’m THAT person!

Scherry:  Cynthia, thank you so much for joining us here at The Novel Lady!  What is next for you?  Do you have any scheduled upcoming book signings, releases or works in progress?

For 2018
Naughty in Nashville, Oct 6

New Releases for 2018
Hot SEAL, Cold Beer (Oct 9)
Hot SEAL, Black Coffee (Oct. 23)
Million Dollar SEAL ( Date TBD)

Re-Releases for 2018 – all dates are TBD
Cadillac Cowboy
Texas Ranger Rescue
Texas Marine Mayhem

Four signings in 2019
Coastal Magic in Daytona Beach, FL (March 2)
Book Obsessed Babes in St. Augustine, FL (March 9)
Signing with the Spirits in Eureka Springs, AR (March 30)
Readers and Rebels in West. Virginia (Nov. 2)

How can fans contact you/learn more about you?

I will definitely be looking forward to seeing Cynthia D'Alba at #CMCon19 in February 2019 in Daytona Beach.  Join us there and you can meet Cynthia in person!


Cynthia D'Alba said...

Thank you, Scherry! Looking forward to seeing you in Florida!

Scherry said...

Can't wait! Looking forward to reading your upcoming new books in October too!

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