Friday, July 29, 2011

Interview & Giveaway with Cynthia Selwyn

Today I have Cynthia Selwyn on the blog. She was very kind to take the time to let me interview her and offer an awesome giveaway. The winner will get a choice of one of her e-books. Dog-Gone But Not Forgotten that I reviewed yesterday or In The Cards. I hope you enjoy reading the interview as much as I did. She give some great advice.

Welcome to Beck’s Book Picks. I am very excited to have you here today.
Hi! I'm excited to be here. Thanks for having me. :)

First off, tell us a little bit about yourself?
Well...I'm a writer, an editor, mother of three, wife of one. I love dogs and horses and I drink too much coffee. I love to meet people and especially love to make them smile.

Doggone But Not ForgottenWhy did you decide to write romance and erotica?
I don't think it was a decision as much as it is just what I write. We all have stories boiling inside us; some of us like mysteries, some of us crave adventure. I've tried to write other types of stories--fantasy,for example--but in the end, the stories I create are romantic.
As for erotica--well, my first one really was a personal challenge. I never could write a sex scene without blushing. I mean, it was hard for me to even look at what I was writing as I wrote it. Realizing that--especially as a married woman with three kids (well, two, at the time)--I decided it was time to wo-man up and just write the stuff. So I did. And it got easier. Now I edit eroticas, including m/m--without even blinking. I can even come up with alternative words know. That thing. (Is this a G-rated site?)
(hee hee, NO!)

Tell us a little about your latest release.
My latest release, Dog-gone But Not Forgotten,was actually written in response to a call for submission from a now-defunct publisher, where either the hero or the heroine worked with
animals. (Breathless Press is the current publisher.) anyhow, that's why Jack--the hero--is the town dog officer. And it's why Carrie--the heroine--has an incorrigible dog. Well...kind of, anyway. The dog, Ellie, has her own agenda.
The story takes place in Narragansett, Rhode Island, not far from where one of my sisters live. I needed a place close to the beach, small in size but not too small town-ish. Narragansett is a tourist location and there are a lot of summer homes there, rented in winter by students from the University of Rhode Island. I'm not sure where the themes in the story came from, though--there were times it just wrote itself and I was surprised at what I read as I typed. (Yes, that happens! Notice my answer to your first question...) This is my favorite story to date, though. I love it.

I love reading about dogs in books, it always adds a little bit of humor.Tell us a little about the dog you wrote about in your story.
Huh.I can't help but tell you a LOT. Ellie is an Irish Wolfhound. Have you ever seen them?They're awe-inspiring. The American Kennel Club standard says the ideal size for one at the shoulder is from thirty to thirty-four inches tall, and there are photos of them standing on their hind legs and towering over a man. The minimum weight for an adult male is 120 pounds. We're talking a pony sized dog, here! But here's the really cool thing about them: they're nicknamed "Gentle Giants" and I've seen that for myself.
You see, one day, I took my black-brindle Cairn Terrier, Duffy, for a walk on a nearby wooded path. If you're wondering what a Cairn's like, all you need to do is watch Toto in the Wizard of Oz. Anyhow, we encountered a man walking his Irish Wolfhound, who was black-brindle/gray and also named Duffy. My Duffy, being a small dog of great courage, thought he should show Big Duffy how tough he was, and stood on his hind legs barking and growling very bravely. Big Duffy wagged his long tail in a gentle swish, sort of bent his neck waaaaay down and licked my Duffy's
nose...and I fell in love with this breed of dog. (My Duffy will tell you another story--but he tends to be a bit delusional anyway.)
In Dog-Gone But Not Forgotten,Ellie is a dog on a mission--she wants to get Jack and Carrie together. Finally. And she does it. :) When I started the story, all I knew is I needed to make her do things that cause problems for Carrie--what she ended up doing were things I never expected. I think my favorite thing was the way she destroyed a children's birthday party; at the time, my youngest was still into a preschool show starring a famous purple dinosaur (you know the one, I'm sure...). As a parent frequently trapped in a car with a CD of nauseatingly cheerful songs sung by that dinosaur and saccharine-sweet kids, I found it quite satisfying to let Ellie have at him and rip him to shreds. Not that I'd ever rip him to shreds in front of my child--or any child. But boy, was that a cathartic moment. :) I think I even cheered as I wrote the scene. Thank you, Ellie.

How is it being an e-book author?
I love being an e-book author. I know some people feel that you're not really published until you can hold an actual book in your hands, but I love the flexibility of e-books and e-publishing. (It doesn't hurt that I edit for several e-publishers, either.) Plus, I watch my kids and their friends using their computers and phones and gadgets, and I know that this is the future. Now is the time to get into this media; someday the opportunities that currently exist will be harder to find.
Oh...and I do have a book which is in print and in ebook format--it's called Kissing Trick,
and I wrote it as C.D. Yates for The Wild Rose Press. I gave copies of the book to my family members the Christmas of the year it was released,2009. Two months later, I was at one of my sister's houses, and she was using it as a coaster. It had coffee rings on it...
THAT doesn't happen with an ebook. ;)

Can we find your writing anywhere else on the web?
I have a blog at that I sometimes post at; I'm hoping to be more coordinated with that in the future. August. I'll also be blogging at, for a company a writer friend of mine (Silke Juppenlatz) and I are putting together. It's primarily for independent authors (please refer to my previous comment about opportunities which
exist in e-publishing). Of course, with my background and experience in editing, I'm going to edit. Silke is a great artist and a techie, too--she's going to be offering covers and e-book formatting. (You can see a sample of her work if you look up my independently published book,
The Madonna of the Horses, at Amazon. It's gorgeous!) Silke and I see how some writers are practically taken advantage of in order to achieve their dreams of publication--and we want to offer an alternative. Or at least, a reasonable price. :) We've been there, too--now it's time to pay it forward as they say.

What gets your creativity flowing and puts you in the mood to write?
Ooh.I hate to say I have to be in the mood to write. To paraphrase a quote by (cough--Geek Alert!) Yoda, "There is no mood. There is only do." You have to sit your behind in the chair, apply fingers to keyboard, and write. Even if it's crap, it's something that you can rework another time.
But--when I'm in a creative funk--I find doing something right-brained will usually silence the inner editor who lives in the left side of the brain. So drawing is good--especially when it's something that gets those alpha waves flowing. Driving is helpful. Gardening is great.
Housecleaning is very repetitive/boring and good for stimulating thought. (Could be the cleaning chemicals stimulating thought, but you didn't hear that from me.) And if that fails, I always find a little horse time--though for me, that usually means volunteering to clean a stall while my daughter rides--is a wonderful thing. Especially if I'm alone and away from the constant barrage of MomMomMomMomMom...since stall cleaning usually involves poop and other stinky stuff, I usually am.

Any writing quirks?
Not really. Except...I love office supplies. Pretty notebooks--college ruled only-- with coordinating-colored pens...medium point only, black ink only...highlighters to match the notebooks (sometimes with pink for heroine, blue for hero) No. No quirks. I don't think.

A fun fact that everyone might not know about you?
I got my degree in English and secondary education--I'm a teacher. Two of my sisters are teachers. Three of my nephews and two of my nieces are teachers...we're wondering if there's a teaching gene

Any tips for new writers you might like to share?
Yes.Learn. Take workshops. Meet other writers. Join a critique group! You're going to need the support of other people who understand your need to lock yourself away in order to spend time with imaginary people only you can hear.

Lastly, is there anything you would like to share?
Just my thanks for having me here, today. Great questions--I had fun!

Now be sure to enter this great giveaway. Fill out the form below.



Kiru Taye said...

It's nice to meet you, Cynthia. Your book sounds fab. Great interview, Becks.


Nina Croft said...

Hi Cyn - I agree on the horse-time - I often mull over plot problems while I'm riding and talk them over with my horse. Not sure about the housework though. Maybe I'll give it a try - one day!