Thursday, November 14, 2013

Author Interview: Cindy Christiansen

Cindy Christiansen
author, A Merchant Street Mystery

What is your favorite genre to write?

Unless it’s nonfiction, I can’t seem to wrap my mind around any story without there being romance.  And yet, romance books without some type of suspense/mystery/action aren’t really interesting to me either. That leaves me with the genre of romantic suspense. However, I can’t seem to write a suspense novel without including some humorous aspects which true romantic suspense really doesn’t have.  On top of that, I love dogs and have to include them in my books. Thus I created my tagline: Sweet romance, humor, suspense…and dogs! From novelettes, novellas, to full-length fiction—all of my books have these elements.

What is one silly fact about you?

I was proposed to by two Kings. The first was The King of Rock and Roll – an Elvis Presley impersonator. I still have his red scarf in my cedar chest. (Big sigh and swoon!) The second was the King of Tonga. No, seriously. Back in the early 1980s, I was still living on our family farm, and my dad sold hogs to a number of Tongans. One day I was refinishing an antique oak dresser under the carport and a couple of carloads of Tongans came driving in, one of them the King. He was here visiting and they were going to have a huge celebration and wanted to buy two hogs. He was very impressed with me and my talents and asked my dad for my hand in marriage to be one of his wives. Let’s just say it was an awkward moment for all of us.

Fill in the blank favorites - Type of hero. Type of heroine.

I think it is important for readers to know what they will be getting when they read your books. I try to post my guidelines everywhere. Here's what my books give you:

* A clean read with no bedroom scenes or offensive language.
* A tantalizing, fast-paced plot.
* A story without a lot of boring description.
* Down-to-earth heroes and heroines with everyday jobs.
* A rollercoaster ride of emotions you face right along with the characters.
* A special dog to steal your heart.
* A few added facts, a good message, and that important happily-ever-after ending.

As you can see, I try to write down-to-earth heroes and heroines with human faults and frailties. You won’t find perfect characters in my stories.

What got you started on your writing journey?

Can you image what it’s like to go from a full-time job, remodeling your whole new house, a new marriage, and being an artist and then winding up bedridden with an unknown illness for months and months? Life gets extremely unbearable! That’s when I made two changes in my life: I started writing and I adopted a dog. These two things saved my life and continue to enrich it every day.

Why do you choose to write clean/sweet romance? Do you write steamy romance as well?

I think sweet romance is my nature but several incidents lead to confirm this decision:

• My first publisher asked me to increase the swearing in my book. I did, but then it came back with language that was extremely offensive to me. I said I would pull the book before I let them publish it.
• When I found out other religious authors were publishing erotic under pen names and couldn’t tell their families about their writing.
• When my bishopric asked to read my books, I knew then that I only wanted to write books that I would be proud to have everyone read.

These things helped to shape my writing.

I find writing inspirational romance just as difficult. I believe a person’s relationship with God is as personal as bedroom scenes. That’s just me.

Where do your ideas come from?

A lot of my ideas come from things I’ve read or heard in the news. I hear something that intrigues me or that I can’t understand and then I set about coming to a rational explanation for what might have

What are the elements of a great romance for you?

As I’ve said, I love sweet romance with a subplot involving some mystery or suspense. The characters need to go through a host of emotions as they overcome personal and relationship flaws. Throw in a dog and I’m in heaven.

Please share about your book.

Although I’ve written a prequel to A Merchant Street Mystery series, Time Will Tell is the first book of the series. This is my first series and has been a bit of a challenge. All of my other books were written to completion before submitting and this is the first time I’ve ever had to write on deadline. It’s been a challenge since I have so many health problems and two autistic kids with co-morbid conditions.

Here’s the storyline: Being paranoid, Holly Waterbury just can’t handle all the suspicious behavior centered on Merchant Street in Salt Lake City. Being volunteered to help her hoarding Uncle Kipp recover after a fall and finding out he has a dog is not helping to calm her excitable nature either. But it’s really the good-looking, take-charge homeless man her uncle hired to help clean up his clock shop that has Holly baffled. Just why are his teeth so white? Throw in a not-so-valuable clock everyone is willing to kill for and Holly’s imagination runs wild. Only time will tell just how long it takes before Holly will figure out the mysteries of Merchant Street, including the sexy homeless man.

Here is my first review: “Recently a librarian told me she likes to read fiction books with a "little something extra.” This accurately describes the kind of novels I enjoy as well, and is what you'll get when you read Time Will Tell. The characters are endearing, the plot is sound, and there's that something extra--sights and sounds of Salt Lake City past and present, plus information from an author who knows about clocks, antiques, disorders, and dogs--all of which makes for very enjoyable reading.”
5 out of 5 Stars – Debbie

If you could sum your main character into five words, what would they be?

Interestingly enough, I create a list of describing words for all of my main characters before I start writing. Here are Holly’s and Zach’s descriptors:

Holly: perfectionist, efficient, rigid, fearful, OCD, kind

Zach: insecure, goal-oriented, decisive, responsible, doubtful

Do you have a favorite character you have written so far? 

I loved Holly’s Uncle Kipp from Hungary so much that I decided to go back and write the prequel, Worth the Wait, to tell his love story. He is probably the most interesting character I have ever written. Kipp is a hoarder and has injured his leg from falling in his cluttered clock shop. Holly and Zach have been working on cleaning it up.

Here is a little excerpt from Time Will Tell:

Zach pulled Holly to her feet. “Let’s go talk to your uncle.”
With trembling legs, she worked her way upstairs. “Uncle Kipp? What is this all about?” 
She held out the bag of cash.
“Sub-channels they have added to channels on television. See, like thirteen dash two and four dash two. Amazing, is it not?” he said. “A whole station devoted to classic television shows, I have found.”
Zach worked his way over to the idiot box and stood in front of it. “This is important, Mr. Waterbury.”
“What is it now, Zacharya? My Holly Hobby?”
Holly glanced at Zach. He mouthed her uncle’s nickname for her with a smirk on his face. 
She wanted to belt both of them.
She straightened her back. “Look at this. We just found over five hundred dollars in a paper bag in the middle of all that clutter. What’s going on? Why would you leave money lying around the shop? Have you stashed other bags of money throughout all that…that…” She eyed Zach, hoping he’d supply a kinder word than she was thinking.
“Crap,” he added.
“Zach’s already hauled off several loads to the landfill,” she said, cringing at the thought.
“Remembering, I cannot,” her uncle said, with a slight rise to his chubby chin.

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1 comment:

  1. Very nice interview...my characters have flaws also...l don't like heroes/heroines who are too perfect. l've enjoyed reading your stories.
    And l like to leave my love scenes at the bedroom door.
    Nancy Goldberg Levine.

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