Interview with author Cindy McDonald

Author Cindy McDonald is here today. There’s a lot of fun stuff to read below. Cindy talks about the second book in her Unbridled series, Hot Coco, about her life (dance, horses, writing), blondes, and more, and then she has several opportunities to win something.

Welcome, Cindy. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
For the past twenty-six years, my life has whirled around a song
and a dance: I have been a professional dancer/choreographer for most of my
adult life and never gave much thought to a writing career until 2005. Don’t
ask me what happened, but suddenly I felt drawn to my computer to write about
things I have experienced (greatly exaggerated upon of course) with my
husband’s Thoroughbreds and happenings at the racetrack.

Surprised? Why didn’t I write about my experiences with
dance? Eh, believe it or not life at the racetrack is much more…racy. 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.

I didn’t start out writing books, The Unbridled Series
started out as a TV drama, and the Hollywood readers loved the show. The
problem was we just couldn’t sell it. So one of the readers said to me, “Cindy,
don’t be stupid, turn your scripts into a book series.” and so I did!
Please
tell us about your current release, Hot Coco.
Coco
Beardmore is sizzling hot and she’s landed in Mike West’s Lap. The problem is
Coco’s middle name is chaos! Her driving skills are a real bang–into Mike’s
horse trailer, and her sultry seduction will set the room on fire–the kitchen
that is.
What’s
worse is her Thoroughbreds’ ability to mimic their owner’s habit of screwing
things up. It’s enough to drive a normally calm and collected Mike West to the
very edge.
But
Mike’s not the only one having problems with women. His father, Eric, has taken
on more than he can chew, and he’s about to get spit out by two women: one that
he’s in love with and one that thinks he’s in love with her.
Oh
yeah, things are hot around Westwood Thoroughbred Farm… and someone’s about to
get burned!
What
inspired you to write this book?
Blondes—everyone
loves to think of gorgeous blondes as klutzy, air-headed, and basically stupid.
I wanted to take a character and introduce her as one thing, and then morph her
into another. I think I did a very good job with Coco. I started her out as a
stereotypical blonde bimbo and turned her into something else—no, I’m not going
to tell you what, but just know that everyone is touched and changed in this
story—read between the lines, watch the subtext, it is there for you—if you pay
attention.

I
also left behind bread crumbs of my former life as a dancer/choreographer in
this book—you will see them—I couldn’t resist!
Excerpt. From Chapter 7 — Margie O’Conner
desperately needs to talk with Mike, but after a disastrous race with one of Coco’s horses, she decides to put it off. She bumps into Coco in the racetrack parking lot, literally…
Hidden among the hundreds of cars in the dark
parking lot, Margie listened to the race that she knew Mike had a horse in on the radio in her
father’s truck. She wanted to catch him after the race to talk to him. She didn’t want him to be caught
off-guard. Doug was seething mad about something that never took place between them. After what
happened during the race, she thought it best to try and warn him later.
She turned the key on the ignition and the
old, rickety truck rumbled to a start. Then she heard a soft bing. Looking down on the dash, she noticed the door ajar light glowing in the darkness. Taking a firm hold of the handle, she shouldered the door hard and jerked it all the way open. Suddenly there was a yelp, and a hard thump. Perplexed by the sound, she peered out the window to find Coco in a puddle on the pavement. Stunned, she pushed the door open and jumped from the truck.
“Oh my God, Coco, I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you there.” She grabbed her by the arm and hoisted her to her feet.
Slightly dazed, Coco was soaked from her
shoulder blades to her buttocks. “I was trying to make it to see the race.” Trying to focus, she rubbed her head. “Did she do good?”
Margie wasn’t so sure that she wanted to be the bearer of the big flop. “Well, she could’ve done better.” she said with a wince. “Are you okay?”
Coco ran her fingers through her hair while taking in her drenched clothing, “I think so…”
Margie couldn’t believe how beautiful this woman looked even when sopping wet and disheveled.
Even though she hadn’t been
knocked to the ground and wasn’t sopping wet, she always looked disheveled and undone.
Envy scraped down Margie’s spine, burned
through her gut, and into her soul. Coco had never been anything but kind and sweet to her, and she had no right to feel badly toward her; but she was struggling to slash through the pit of jealousy she couldn’t help but fall into.

“You should get out of those wet clothes. They’re pretty filthy too,” she said while watching Coco twist and turn to gauge the damage.
“I really wanted to see Mike,” she moaned.
Margie thought about the stubborn mare sitting in the starting gate. She was certain that Mike had enough to deal with at the moment, “Ahhh, I dunno. Mike’s probably gonna be pretty busy for a while. C’mon, I’ve got some extra clothes at the barn.” With that, she took Coco by the arm and led her to the passenger side of the truck.
***
The O’Conner stable was dark when Margie rolled the pickup to a stop in front of the barn door. Coco was apprehensive. “I don’t think your father’s going to be happy to see me, Margie.” She eyed-up the stable while searching the shadows for any sign of the nasty man.
“I don’t think he would be either.” Margie shoved the truck in PARK. “Good thing he went home about an hour ago,” she added with a wink.
Coco slid from the truck to follow Margie
into the dark, shabby stable. The horses nickered quietly to Margie when she flicked on the lights. Gently, she stroked each horse’s muzzle when she passed their stall while approaching the barn office. She hadn’t lived a charmed life in a big house with closets full of designer clothes, social mixers, or traveling to Europe on a whimsy vacation. No, Margie’s life was hard, full of work, toil, and then more work. With all that in mind, Coco found herself admiring the woman.
She’s unassuming. She knows who
she is. Although she has so little, she loves what she has. And those are
qualities well-worth possessing. Qualities that have escaped so many people,
including me.
Margie opened a large storage bin in the corner of the office and pulled out a pair of clean, Lee jeans, and an aged, but clean T-shirt. Looking at Coco’s jeans and her soiled silk blouse, she was embarrassed by the offering. “They’re not fancy, but they’ll get you home.”
Coco smiled, “They’ll do just fine. Thank you so much for your kindness. You have the most beautiful eyes. You really do, Margie.”
Margie was unsure if the gorgeous goddess was offering a pity compliment or if she was sincere. It didn’t matter. Her generous words filled her with a moment of rare replete.

What
exciting story are you working on next?

My
latest manuscript, Dangerous Deception 
has
just finished “marinating” and after a little more tweaking, will be sent to
the editor. We have a November release planned for Dangerous Deception. When an aging jockey is asked to take an
easier position at the farm he becomes enraged and teams up with two greedy
stable hands in a scheme to kidnap Shane, but he finds himself between the rock
and the hard place when he soon discovers that his partners have murder on
their minds.
When
did you first consider yourself a writer?
I
retired from my professional dance career in May 2011. In June I attended the
wedding of a friend’s daughter; a woman at the wedding approached me and said,
“I heard that you are an author…”

What?
Who me? Yes, I wrote a book, Deadly.Com and it was due to release in September,
but…but…well yeah, I guess that makes me and author. Wow!

After
the woman walked away—most disappointed no doubt, my husband said to me, “Well,
you blew that.” He was right. I did blow it, but it was the first time I’d ever
been called an “author”. People had been calling me a “dancer” for twenty-six
years, this was new unfamiliar territory. From that moment on I considered
myself an author and I’ve gladly embraced the role.
Do
you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like?  If not, what do you do other than write and
how do you find time to write?
Yes,
since my retirement from dance I have become a full-time writer. I live on a
Thoroughbred farm near Pittsburgh, so my day is very busy taking care of the
horses and my very large yard and flower gardens. However, I love to write in
the evening, it is the quiet time of day, and my thoughts turn to my latest
Unbridled adventure, and what dodgy
debacle I will ask Mike, Shane, Punch, or Lugowski to walk into without
hesitation. I finish cleaning up the dinner dishes, check to see what my
husband is watching on TV, and then I pour myself a glass of wine, and then
retire downstairs to my office, where my characters live inside my computer.
They are waiting for me—sometimes in a panic, depending on what state of
affairs I’ve left them in the last time we met. I click on the file, take a
deep breath, a sip of the wine, re-read what I wrote the night before, and then
I ask myself one question:
what if?
What
would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
When
I’ve finished a manuscript I do the same thing most authors do—I start over
from the beginning and read, tweak, read, tweak, and then read and tweak some
more. And after I’ve gone through this procedure several times, I close the
file and let it
marinate. I let the
file sit for up to six weeks without opening it, without re-reading or tweaking
it. But I never stop thinking about it. I keep a notepad close by and jot down
thoughts during those six weeks that the manuscript is becoming juicy and
succulent. It is definitely an exercise in fortitude, but hey, ya know what? It
always pays off in a very big way because when I open the file to re-visit the
story, I’m reading it with fresh eyes and fresh thoughts and the results are
always well, fresh.
Hurrying
my manuscript is never an option for me. I wanted to make sure that Hot Coco and all the Unbridled books are stories that
my readers are not be able to put down.
As
a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A
movie star, but I settled for a professional dancer—no complaints.
Anything
additional you want to share with the readers?
The
Unbridled Series is not a formulated series. Although the same characters (the
West family) are featured, each book is different. The first book, Deadly.Com
is a murder/suspense, while Hot Coco is a more light-hearted and yet thought
provoking story. As for the horses, you do not have to have any knowledge at
all about horses or the Thoroughbred industry to enjoy the Unbridled series as
the racetrack and the horses are the
backdrop
of the story, rather than the focus.

You
can find out more about my books, upcoming books, and view trailers for my
books at my website
Deadly.Combook trailerHot Coco book trailer.
Thanks, Cindy! Folks, there are several giveaways with Cindy’s tour, mentioned in a moment. If you’d like to stop by other stops Cindy has and will make for her tour, check out her tour schedule.  

Giveaways:
#1 – A drawing at the end of the tour
to include anyone who 
commented or participated in the conversation at the blogs Cindy visits for a free signed copy OR ebook of Hot Coco.


#2 – A drawing at the end of the tour for a $25.00 Amazon gift card for anyone who purchased a book/ebook of Hot Coco during the tour.

#3 – A surprise at the end of the tour. Cindy hates coming in second, so the 2nd person’s name drawn from giveaway #1 will receive a copy OR ebook of Deadly.Com – the first book of the
Unbridled Series.


One thought on “Interview with author Cindy McDonald

  1. Cindy McDonald says:

    I'd like to say hello to Lisa and her readers! I'm giving away some great prizes during my tour, so I hope you'll leave a comment to win!

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