It is with great pleasure to have as our guest today Cindy McDonald, author of the romantic suspense 'Shady Deals'!
For twenty-six years Cindy Mcdonald’s life whirled around a song and a dance: She was a professional dancer/choreographer for most of her adult life and never gave much thought to a writing career until 2005.Suddenly, she felt drawn to her computer to write about things she have experienced (greatly exaggerated upon of course) with her husband’s Thoroughbreds and the happenings at the racetrack.
Why didn’t Cindy write about my experiences with dance? You might ask. “Eh, believe it or not life at the racetrack is more…racy.” Cindy says. “The drama is outrageous—not that dancers don’t know how to create drama, believe me, they do but race trackers just seem to get more down and dirty with it which makes great story telling—great fiction.”
Cindy didn’t start out writing books, The Unbridled Series started out as a TV drama, and the Hollywood readers loved the show. When the series didn’t sell, Cindy recalls, “One of the readers said to me, ‘Cindy, don’t be stupid. Turn your scripts into a book series.’” And so she did!
In May of 2011, Cindy took the big leap and exchanged her dancin’ shoes for a lap top—she retired from dance. “It was a scary proposition,” Cindy confesses. “I was terrified, but I had the full support of my husband, Saint Bill. It has been a huge change for me. I went from dancing hard five hours a night to sitting in front of a computer. I still work-out and I take my dog, Harvey, for a daily run. I have to or I’d be as big as a house.”
Does Cindy McDonald miss dancing? “Sometimes I do,” she says. “I miss my students. I miss choreographing musicals, but I love my books and I love sharing them with readers.”
Can you tell us what your book is about?
Shady Deals is the fifth installment from my Unbridled Series. The landscape for the series is a fictional Thoroughbred racetrack known as, Keystone Downs. Although the horses are not the main focal point in the stories, they do play an important part, and sometimes are horses from my own stable—even though I may give them different names to hide their identity. Example: The featured horse in this book, Shady Deal, has something terrible happen to him during the storyline. This was an actual event that took place with one of our horses some years ago—again, it was a horse with a different name.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
People ask me this question often, and one person was very concerned that I had them in mind when I wrote the character, Ava West. She is gorgeous, she is manipulative, and she is a real witch. I felt bad that this individual thought that I felt that way about them, and I assured them that Ava was a figment of my imagination—nothing more. All of my characters are fictitious. They are part of my Unbridled stories, and that’s all.
Your book is set in Lanzville, Pennsylvania. Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?
Lanzville is a completely fictitious location. Why did I choose to write from a place that doesn’t exist? Mainly because I didn’t want anyone at the racetracks where we run our horses to think that I had singled them out as a good guy or more importantly a bad guy. I also didn’t want to be bogged down with exits on highways that are not there, or business’ that go out of business several years after the book has been written. I wanted to write the books free of any scrutiny about location—books receive enough scrutiny over other things as it is.
Open the book to page 69. What is happening?
Ava and Doc Spears are witnessing Dr. Holden Reese providing a drug lord who runs a horse-drugging ring with prescriptions. Doc has had his suspicions, and now his fear for Kate West’s best interest are only escalating.
Is it hard to promote a romantic suspense book and where do you start?
The romantic suspense genre is very popular and very populated with authors—good ones! That means there is a lot of competition to get your book noticed. I am always busy promoting my books. I work the social networks every day: twitter, facebook, linkedin—it’s enough to make an authors head spin, but if you want sales, you’ve got to be active in the marketing of your book, and it doesn’t matter if you are self-published or traditionally published—you’ve got to get out there and promote!
Have you suffered from writer’s block and what do you do to get back on track?
So far I’ve not had a real problem with writer’s block. However, sometimes I will walk away from a manuscript for a week or so. If I find that I am becoming frustrated with my story, I know that it is time to take off my glasses, turn off the computer, and go for a walk or take my dog, Harvey, for a nice long run. The sunshine clears my head and it feels good to stretch my legs for a while—I was a professional dancer for twenty-six years, I need to move around a bit! But, if I return to the problem pages and nothing has been resolved, then its time for a break from Unbridled. Honestly, it doesn’t take long until I’m missing my characters and I’m back in the saddle, tapping at the keyboard once again.
What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors?
My advice? LOL! I haven’t got a silver bullet that’s for sure. The only advice I can muster for anyone is: stick with it. Keep tweeting, keep facebooking, keep that website updated at all times, and yes these book/blog tours do help—you’ve got to keep your name and your titles in the public eye.