Sunday, August 2, 2009

Book-A-Week Challenge Interview with author Cindy Davis

We are interviewing Cindy Davis, author of this week's Book-A-Week Challenge novel "A Little Murder".

Post your comment and/or questions to Cindy and she will pop in to say "Hi" and respond.

To find out more about Cindy and her other books be sure to visit her webstite at

Buy the book:

L&L Dreamspell

On with the interview:

What motivated you to write this book?

I wanted to do a mystery series. I wanted it different. I wanted it local. I love using small towns as settings because everybody knows everyone. They know who’s seeing who, who’s cheating on who. The conflicts are built-in. I didn’t want to use my hometown, not after what happened to Grace Metalious with her Peyton Place. Everyone in Gilmanton swore the book was about them.

Are the experiences in the novel based on someone you know, or events in your life?

Not at all. It’s a mystery, totally from my imagination.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I suppose so, though it wasn’t cultivated purposely. I’ve been told my style is edgy. Not sure what that means, but I guess that’s a good thing. After all, they could’ve called it crappy.

What are your current projects?

I am working on book three of the Angie Deacon series—Hair of the Dog. It presented some problems plot-wise. I don’t know why, I guess I didn’t plan well enough. My fantastic writers group came through with ideas that germinated into a great plot. It centers around an excessively barking Irish Setter. Boring you say? Not when the dog’s owner is found dead following a confrontation with Angie.

What makes your stories unique?

To be a success, every author has a uniqueness, something out of the ordinary. Whether it’s a voice or a plot or a character, that’s what gets people hot, gets them buying the books.

How do you come up with your story ideas and your characters?

I usually begin with either a character or a setting, something that’s been nagging in the back of my head. Sometimes these are generated from a news story or someone I’ve met.

When do you find you are the most creative or write the most?

Early morning. I’m up seven days a week and at work by 5 a.m. I write till I run out of steam, usually around ten. Then I do chores or errands, have lunch and switch to editing (my day job) until around 8 p.m., taking a break for dinner.

Who came up with the book cover for A Little Murder? Why?

The publisher did the cover. Except what we ended up using wasn’t the original. The first had the same background but a small white boat. First off, it wasn’t like the boat in the book, but more importantly looked exactly like the Minnow on Gilligan’s Island. Linda worked hard coming up with something appropriate to the story. Can’t wait to see what she does with book two—Play with Fire—which has nothing at all to do with fire. It’s about the theft of the world’s first true red iris.

Tell us your latest news?

I signed with an agent. I had one a few years ago but got burned so badly I’ve been gunshy. I’m very proud to announce that two agents were interested in Cold as Ice.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I received my first paycheck. Till then, I felt like I was dabbling, a writer wannabe. I have since realized I was wrong; a writer is a writer regardless of a paycheck.

What genre are you most comfortable writing?

Mysteries. I cut my teeth on Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie. I think in a way, this answers the mentor question also asked. Even though she has been deceased a long time, her writing style and dedication has inspired me.

How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?

For A Little Murder, I wanted something quirky, eye catching. The word murder is compelling so that was a given. I juggled names for the character until I came up with ‘Little’. Nolan Little. Sometimes titles are easy. Sometimes you’ve got to fight for them. With my Final Masquerade I didn’t have a title till the very last words went on the page: With the move to Brandon my love has faced her final masquerade. The sentence has changed since then—the book is in reprint and had some rewrites, but the mood is the same.

How much of the novel is realistic?

One of the characters is a real person. The setting is real. The story is entirely from my mind, though it’s a murder story, so it could be real. One of the subplots—the black bags—could be real.

What books have most influenced your life?

One in particular Gone with the Wind. I’ve always wanted to write something similar—a unique, character driven story that would affect people the way Scarlett O’Hara affected me. It took nine years but I feel I’ve finally accomplished it. Though my writing will probably never equal Margaret Mitchell’s, I hope I’ve captured my wish in Cold as Ice. The story originally began as a mystery but after two rewrites was still—crap. After six years in a drawer I read it and realized I was trying to tell the wrong character’s story. It wasn’t Devon’s life I needed to show, it was his mother’s. So I backed up fifty years. What resulted was Claudia VanBuren’s story; hopefully as full of twists and conflicts as Scarlett and Rhett’s.

What are you reading now?

Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth. Though it’s somewhat overwritten, I love the story, the characters, the time period, and the way something new happens on every page. Someday I will write like Mr. Follett.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything?

I would dedicate myself more strongly to developing my writing skills. I would also promote harder. Though I get out all the time in person—book events, talks, craft fairs, I hate telephones so I’m awful at keeping that flow of communication going with stores, etc.

How do you get inspired to write your romantic scenes?

Hard because my husband isn’t a romantic sort. No candles or gushy talk, smile. But he’s loyal and supportive and follows me everywhere. I guess he’s sort of like a big guard dog. I hear you asking what breed. I’ll have to think about that.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Who me? I guess it’s cashews. You know how they talk about people not being able to eat one potato chip? I’m that way with cashews.

If your book was made into a movie who do you picture playing the part of the hero and heroine?

Great question. I don’t watch a lot of movies though so I can’t really say.

If you met your heroine in person what would be the first question you ask her?

Why didn’t you follow your urges with Montez?

What is your favorite way to take a break from writing?

I garden. A few years ago I told my husband I wanted to dig up the strip of lawn (about fifteen feet wide) between our house and driveway, to turn into an herb garden. He was shocked, vehemently said no way and went to work. While he was gone… Anyway, long story short, we now have a great thinking swing amidst heavenly scented herbs and perennials, surrounded by a picket fence. Even he loves it.

Thank you, Cindy, for writing a terrific story and sharing more insight to you the author. Looking forward to reading books more by you.


Anonymous August 2, 2009 at 7:49 AM  

Hi Cindy,
Nice to read about you and see you again!! Hope to meet again in person soon.

Mark Rosendorf August 2, 2009 at 12:12 PM  

Great interview, Cindy. Between writing multiple books and editing so many author's works, how do you keep track of all the characters, places, events, etc?

The Belle in Blue August 2, 2009 at 12:24 PM  

Great interview, Cindy, and great questions, Denise. If I got up at five and began writing, no telling what crazy things my characters would do!

Laura Elvebak August 2, 2009 at 1:13 PM  

Love the interview, Cindy. I almost feel as if I know you. Looking forward to reading your book. Up at five? I may be awake but not functional at that hour. I'm a nightowl.

Loretta August 2, 2009 at 1:43 PM  

This was a wonderful interview:)...I found every part of it interesting. I loved the search for just the right title, and the side-bar about writing something similar to Gone with the Wind, and then finding out you were writing about the wrong character:) Letting the piece lie for several years and then coming back to it, resonated with me:)
I smiled when I read about your thinking swing, I have one too on my deck. I usually edit while sitting in it.
Congratulations on your agent! And having two look at your work and be interested is really over-the-top:)
All the best to you as you go forward!

Betty Gordon August 2, 2009 at 4:22 PM  

Great interview, Denise and Cindy.

I love your garden, Cindy--a delightful place to relax and meditate.
Betty Gordon

Denise August 2, 2009 at 5:54 PM  


Does being an editor yourself make it easier to edit your own work or more difficult?

Also, what is your favorite scene in "A Little Murder"?

April August 3, 2009 at 11:29 AM  

What a fantastic looking and sounding book. I am definitely going to check it out. Love the interview!! Great job, Ladies!

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