I am so pleased to have author Cynthia D'Alba here on the blog today. I am so excited about her books and I hope you all will be too.... Now let's get a little personal with the fabulous lady, shall we?
1. Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born and raised in Arkansas. Went to college at the University of Arkansas (Go Razorbacks!). Moved to Memphis after I finished nursing school. (I earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences College of Nursing.) I lived in Memphis for 17 years working in a variety of medical positions (teaching and administrative.) While in Memphis, I earned a Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction and a Master of Business Administration. I moved back to Little Rock, AR in 1997 as Assistant Dean in the College of Business. I earned my Doctorate in Higher Education Administration in 2001. I left UALR in 2002 and my husband (Fisherman) and I moved to back to my hometown (Hot Springs, AR) in 2004. We live on a large lake. He fishes (on average) five days a week! We love being here.
We have no “human” children. Instead we have two dogs (who don’t know they are dogs) and a parrot (who thinks he’s in charge.)
I constantly on a diet, which never works. That could be because I love hot chocolate chip cookies!
I hate to shop for clothes. I don’t have a shoe fascination like some writers I know. I’m all about comfort when it comes to clothes and shoes.
2. When and how did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I always laugh when I get asked this question. Being a writer wasn’t my idea!
I started as a reader...a voracious reader! I started reading steadily when I was about 3 years old. I’ve hardly been without a book in my hand since! When I was in grade school, I used to write fake notes “from my mother” to tell the teachers I needed to stay in from recess because “I was sick.” I wasn’t sick! I wanted to read instead of play.
After I left full time work, I was reading a book a day. After about a year (and I swear, 1000 books!) my husband said to me, “I bet you could write one of those books.” Until that moment, I’d never ever thought about writing. Hard to believe (given how much I loved reading) but true.
In 2005, I attended my first writer’s conference. In 2006, Fisherman and I traveled all over the US so I could attend writers’ conferences and learn. I started entering contests in 2007, with quite a few finals and wins. (Side note: I won the first contest I ever entered. Then I was stunned when I didn’t win all the rest! LOL) I stopped entering contests in 2008 and concentrated on improving my writing. In 2010, I sent Texas Two Step to a couple of contests. I also sent out a paranormal novella, which was rejected all around. But one editor wrote me back that the story didn’t work for her but she loved my voice. Did I have anything else I could send? At the same time, Texas Two Step won two contests and got requests for full manuscript submissions, which I sent out in February 2011. The editor who’d rejected me, but loved my voice (Heidi Moore with Samhain Publishing), offered me a contract for Texas Two Step. I signed with Samhain Publishing, got Heidi as my editor and have loved being with them.
3. Tell us about your upcoming work?
Texas Tango is the second book in the Texas Montgomery Mavericks Series. It’s the story of Travis Montgomery (oldest brother of Olivia Montgomery from Texas Two Step) and Dr. Caroline Graham (a contract physician only in town for six more months. Here’s the official “blurb”...
Their wedding might be fake, but there’s no faking the mutual attraction.
Texas Montgomery Mavericks, Book 2
Dr. Caroline Graham is happy with her nomadic lifestyle fulfilling short-term medical contracts. No emotional commitments, no disappointments. She’s always the one to walk away, never the one left behind.
But now her great-uncle is gone and her grandmother is on her deathbed, more concerned about Caroline’s lack of a husband than her own demise. What’s the harm in a little white lie? If a wedding will give her grandmother peace, then a wedding she shall have.
Travis Montgomery has one dream left—to build the ranch he and his wife planned before he lost her to cancer. There’s just one thing standing between him and the last bit of acreage he needs—a last living heir who has one traveling foot out the door…and an unusual request that challenges his determination to never again place his heart at risk.
The land he wants in exchange for a faux marriage. Everyone wins. Until things start to snowball…and the hearts they stand to lose are their own.
Warning: This book contains a tortured widower who doesn’t want a wife and an independent doctor who doesn’t want a husband. Hot stuff between the sheets and failed efforts to avoid emotional involvements.
4. Can you tell us your favorite character from your books so far and why?
I think Adam Gentry, from Texas Two Step. Adam is the five-year-old son of Olivia Montgomery Gentry and Travis Montgomery. He was simply fun to write. The feedback I’ve gotten from readers is that they have fallen in love with Adam too!
5. Was it difficult for you to get published?
My publishing story is given above. It wasn’t as hard for me as it has been for some writers. There could multiple explanations for that. While I wasn’t published in fiction prior to Texas Two Step, I have a number of medical/nursing articles in professional magazines. In addition, I have a published doctoral dissertation. So writing per say isn’t a new activity. However, writing fiction is totally different from writing non-fiction. So I think my previous writing experience was great for training me on how to construct sentences and how to follow through.
Another advantage I had was the changing landscape of the publishing world. I went digital first, followed by print. That option wasn’t open to authors that long ago. It was sell your book to a traditional publisher (Avon, Harlequin, St. Martin’s Press, etc) or you’re cut out of the market. Digital options have opened up publishing avenues for authors that simply didn’t exist.
6. Who are your favorite authors/reads?
I hate to name names because I KNOW I’ll forget someone! But autobuys for me include Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Kristan Higgins, Robert Crais, Harlen Cobin, JD Robb (and some Nora Roberts books). I’m discovering new authors all the time, such as Adrienne Giordano, Cat Johnson (not new, but new to me), Pamela Heron, Ruthie Knox, Kelsey Browning. Then there are my author friends that I always buy...Vicki Lewis Thompson, Karin Tabke, Sylvia Day, Delilah Devlin, Elle James. This list could go on for pages! :)
Number one, without doubt, is reading. I love needlepoint, but I don’t get to do that as much as I used to. I’m taking a class in machine embroidery, so that could be my next thing. I love baking. Cookies, brownies, pies...you name.
8. What is your dream job?
I think I’ve got it. I enjoy the freedom that writing gives me. I enjoy the online friendships, the socialization with other authors, the thrill of seeing my name in print. At this time in my life, I have it all.
9. Do you have any favorite TV shows?
The Voice, Grey’s Anatomy, Survivor, Castle (although this season isn’t doing much for me so far!), The Big Bang Theory, Longmire, Rizzoli & Isles, The Mentalist. (I’d better stop here or you’ll figure out I’m a huge TV nerd.)
10. What’s next for you?
A blog tour in November to celebrate the release of Texas Tango. Check my Appearances page for a listing of stops or the Texas Montgomery Mavericks Site. While you’re at the Montgomery Mavericks site, check out the prizes for blog tour here.
A new novella (Texas Fandango) that releases from Samhain Publishing on February 5, 2014. This novella is also in the Texas Montgomery Mavericks series. For those who read Texas Two Step, this novella is Drake Gentry’s story.
I’m working on Texas Twist, the third book in the Texas Montgomery Mavericks series.
I’ll be headed to RT2014 in New Orleans in May 2014 and would LOVE to meet you.
11. Where can we find you?
Check out these online links:
RT Convention in New Orleans, in May 2014
For other personal appearances, check the “Appearances” section of my website
For other personal appearances, check the “Appearances” section of my website
12. What would you like readers to know about you?
I have a LOUD voice but can get shy at times. :) Especially when I’m talking to someone who is telling me how much they loved my book! I get all flustered.
I love reviews of my books. The best way any reader can help me (or any author) is to post reviews of books. So please, if you read my books, leave me a review!
I have a thick southern accent so be warned when you talk to me. :)
If you find me at a conference and tell me you’re a fan, I’ll probably offer to buy you a drink.
Thanks so much for participating!!!