Jen: This week we welcome Cindy Lynn Speer to Book Talk. Cindy, will you please share a short bio with us?
Cindy: Let’s see…when I’m not writing, I’m reading…everything and as much as possible, or I’m gardening, or practicing historical fencing with the Society of Creative Anachronism. I’ve always been far too much of a day dreamer, I love the woods…greenery, peace, quiet and nature are all things that greatly appeal to me.
Jen: Tell us about The Chocolatier’s Wife and where it’s available.
Cindy: The Chocolatier’s Wife is a fable-esq murder mystery set in a world where your future spouse is picked by a spell. Our couple — Tasmin Bey, a herb mistress from the north, and William Almsley, a merchant from the South never meet before the beginning of the book, save through letters, but they’ve known that they would someday be married, much to their families chagrin. This plan is called into question when William is accused of murder, but instead of using this as an excuse to call of the wedding and live her own life, Tasmin, who’s gotten to like him over the years, decides to travel to his village and sort things out.
Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Cindy: I think I first tried to write, then got bored with it, when I was ten. I tried again when I was thirteen, after reading Barbara Hambly’s lovely Dragonsbane and realized that there was really a magic is actually writing the stories in my head down…see, I’ve always written things, for as long as I can remember I was telling stories to myself, but I never realized that writing them down and giving them to people to read could be so cool. I was first published as a poet, in the small press antho Rouge et Noir, and then later Drollerie Press published my first short story, Every Word I Speak as a downloadable stand alone.
Jen: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Cindy: Once, my mother told me that my father used to write stories, but one day he took everything outside and burned it. He’s never mentioned it to me, and so I never asked him about it, but it seems rather sad.
Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Cindy: My routine has fallen into tatters…it’s very much catch as catch can, whenever I have free time, I write. I think that I need to improve upon that…but life is busy, and rich…you can’t write in a bubble, you have to go out and have experiences.
Jen: How do you shut out disruptions?
Cindy: With my writing routine…I often write during my lunch break at work…you can’t, because, well, people see you at your desk, they expect you to work. But I am very good at picking up my thought where I left off.
Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?
Cindy: The most challenging is making sure what you write is truly innovative. Sometimes you have concepts, things to say, that would work in more than one book, so you have to choose a path and stick to it, even though you worry that you made the wrong choice. The easiest part is when you are on the right path, and everything is clicking together.
Jen: What’s the most rewarding aspect?
Cindy: What I mentioned before…about everything clicking together? When the writing is pouring out and it feels right and true, it’s almost a high.
Jen: What did you do to celebrate the sale of your first book?
Cindy: I don’t know! I think I bought another book.
Jen: Who has inspired you as an author?
Cindy: Neil Gaiman, Barbara Hambly, Chuck Palahniuk, Terry Pratchett and only several thousand others…in all seriousness, I think you learn from everyone you read.
Jen: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Cindy: They certainly do come to life…and even when the book is done, they never die. They become sort of…beloved cousins you don’t see very often, who write cards every once in awhile to check in.
Jen: Most people only dream of becoming a published writer. Now that you’ve accomplished that goal, is there anything else you dream of doing?
Cindy: I’d like to become a truly good fencer…I love fencing, and have been working hard at training to become a better one. Someday it’d be brilliant to be the one people point to and say, “Oh? You want to learn about this or that technique? Go over to her…she’s really good!”
Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Cindy: Right now I’m obsessing over sewing…I love to sew historical costuming, and am trying to figure out easy ways to make nice fencing shirts.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Cindy: Currently I’m waiting for my Cinderella story, “But Can You Let Him Go?” and my short story anthology to come out, and I’m working on the next book.
Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Cindy: Well, I’m at www.apenandfire.com, and I can also be found on Facebook, where I waste way too much time playing games.
Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Cindy: If you could step into any book, any story, and be a main character, which one would it be?
Jen: Thank you Cindy for stopping by this week. Readers, Cindy is giving away an eBook copy of The Chocolatier’s Wife and one of Blue Moon. So we have two winners to pick this week. To enter, just leave a comment, answering Cindy’s question or asking one of her. The contest will end on Thursday, May 14 around 5:00 pm PST.