Interview with historical romance author Cynthia Owens

Today’s blog guest is novelist Cynthia Owens. This is the first of many stops she’s making as she does a virtual book tour for her historical romance, Playing for Keeps.

Cynthia
will be awarding a sterling silver Claddagh pendant (US/Canada only) to a randomly
drawn commenter during the tour, and a second randomly drawn winner will
receive winner’s choice of an autographed copy of either Cynthia’s first or
second book (In Sunshine or in Shadow, or Coming Home).
To be entered to win, leave an e-mail with a comment below. And to increase your chances of winning, you can visit other tour stops and leave a comment there.


Welcome, Cynthia. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I
believe I was destined to be interested in history. One of my distant
ancestors, Thomas Aubert, reportedly sailed up the St. Lawrence River to
discover Canada some 26 years before Jacques Cartier’s 1534 voyage. Another
relative was a 17th Century “King’s Girl,” one of a group of young unmarried
girls sent to New France (now the province of 
Quebec) as brides for the habitants (settlers) there.
My
passion for reading made me long to write books like the ones I enjoyed, and I
tried penning sequels to my favorite Nancy Drew mysteries. Later, fancying
myself a female version of Andrew Lloyd Weber, I drafted a musical set in Paris
during WWII.
A
former journalist and lifelong Celtophile, I enjoyed a previous career as a
reporter/editor for a small chain of community newspapers before returning to
my first love, romantic fiction. My stories usually include an Irish setting,
hero or heroine, and sometimes all three. My novels, In Sunshine or in Shadow
and Coming Home, set in post-Famine Ireland, are available from Highland Press.
Playing For Keeps, the third book in the Claddagh series, will also be
published by Highland Press.
I
am a member of the Romance Writers of America, Hearts Through History Romance
Writers, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. A lifelong resident of Montreal,
Canada, I still live there with my own Celtic hero and our two school-aged
children.


Please
tell us about your current release.
Playing For Keeps is the
third book in the Claddagh Series, historical romances set in Ireland and
beyond. My heroine, Katie O’Brien, is the daughter of an Irish landlord who has
spent most of her life in the tiny, west-of-Ireland village of Ballycashel. Now
eighteen, she’s convinced her father to allow her to return to Baltimore to
become reacquainted with her late mother’s family. The reunion doesn’t go
smoothly, though, and Katie finds herself longing for the loving family and
friends she left behind.

Until
she meets Lucas Howard. Lucas is an actor with the Shannon Troupe, a handsome,
golden-haired man with wit and charm – and a passion for Katie O’Brien. But
their love is threatened by buried secrets, old rivalries, and Lucas must make
a decision that could tear the apart forever.

Is
their love just a brief interlude, or are Lucas and Katie Playing For Keeps?
What
inspired you to write this book?
Katie
appeared in my first book, In Sunshine or
in Shadow
, and a throwaway remark she made in one scene told me she had to
have her own story. Her father, Rory O’Brien, told her that one day, if she
wanted to, she might return to America to visit her cousins, and it was then I
knew I write Katie’s story. I’ve always loved Shakespeare and the theatre (as Katie
does also), so what better hero for her than an actor? And I was thrilled to be
able to set at least part of the book around the theatre.
Excerpt:
“The Theatre Royale is obviously the
place to be tonight.”
Lights dimmed; thunder cracked and
rumbled through the theatre. Katie blinked as bright flashes of lightning
illuminated the house. Then her breath suspended in her throat as the red
velvet curtain slowly rose and, accompanied by eerie music, three bearded
witches slunk onstage.
When shall we three meet again?
In thunder, lightning or in rain?…
The magic had begun.
Lost in Shakespeare’s mystical
otherworld, Katie drank in the lyricism of the Weird Sisters’ chants. A trumpet
sounded off stage, and suddenly the words registered not only in her ears, but
in her
heart.
This is the sergeant, Who like a
good and hardy soldier fought ’gainst my captivity.
That voice! As smooth as her
father’s best Irish whiskey, it shot through Katie’s veins like a liquid flame.
It was he. The height, the golden hair, his very presence screamed to her that
it was he, Apollo. Oh, how very fitting that he should play the role of
Malcolm, the bright young prince destined to be king…
He was magnificent in medieval
plaid, his strong legs encased in woolen hose, his sword glittering at his
side. His broad shoulders wore the plaid with pride, and when he turned to face
the audience, she felt his smile like a blow to her heart.
The instant the house lights came up
and she could see properly, she glanced quickly through the program.
Malcolm.………………………Lucas Howard
Lucas Howard. A fine, strong name,
and somehow appropriate. Those golden eyes could pierce right through to a
woman’s soul and strip it bare. Oh, if only she could see him again, hear his
whiskey-smooth voice, see his dazzling smile aimed only at her.
But of course, that was silly. Lucas
Howard was probably as unaware of her as she was conscious of him. She was
nothing to him but a potential member of a prospective audience, a ticket sale to
add to the theatre’s coffers.
With that depressing thought, she
pasted on a smile as the first guests arrived at their box.
…Let us seek out some desolate
shade, and there Weep our sad bosoms empty.
The voice, filled with such powerful
grief and longing, sent shivers dancing along Katie’s spine. She stared hard
through her mother-of-pearl opera glasses, cool against her heated fingertips.
His presence on the stage was compelling, his attraction undeniable. As she let
her gaze wander for a fleeting second, she saw many pairs of opera glasses
pointed in the same direction.
She’d be willing to bet all her
winnings at last year’s Galway Races that most of them were pointed at Mr. Howard.
She soon became absorbed in the play
once again. And it wasn’t only because of Lucas Howard. The entire cast was
superb, particularly the lovely blonde actress who portrayed Lady Macbeth, and
the older actor—it was he who had swept into the White Rose with Lucas—in the
role of Macbeth.
But in truth, Katie only saw Lucas.

What
exciting story are you working on next?
I
have several stories-in-progress on my laptop right now. One of them that I’m
really excited about is tentatively entitled “Everlasting.” It’s the fourth
book of the Claddagh Series, and the heroine is Shannon Flynn, who appeared
briefly in Coming Home, Book II of
the Series. Shannon is Tom Flynn’s eldest
daughter, and since her shy, tentative romance with Mike Donavan, she’s had a
lot of heartache. Can a mysterious stranger with burnt-cinnamon hair and
sea-mist eyes bring her the joy and fulfillment she deserves?

When
did you first consider yourself a writer?
I
began writing stories in the second grade, so I’ve always considered myself a
writer in one way or another. Published or unpublished, I’ve always called
myself a writer, maybe because I can’t not
write. Even when I take a short break from writing, I’m still thinking about my
stories, taking notes, writing down ideas. My characters are never far from my
mind.
But
I think the moment I believed, really believed
I was a writer, was the day I held my first book in my hand, when I ran my hand
over my name on the cover and raised
it to my face to smell that wonderful “new book smell.” That convinced me that
all my dreams had really, finally come true.
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?
Well,
I have two kids, so “full-time” is a relative term.
 I’m a stay-at-home mom, so I’ve always had to work
around my husband, my kids, and the mundane stuff like housework and cleaning,
etc. Both my kids are in their teens now, so it’s been easier, but when they
were younger, I had to write when I could find the time, whether it was early
in the morning, late at night, or during nap times.

I
still like to write in the morning, since I feel at my most creative then. As
soon as the house is empty, and everyone has left for work or school, I put on
my favorite music (usually Irish, since my books are either set in Ireland or
feature Irish characters) and just write.
I try to write at least 1,000 words a day, sometimes 1,500, depending on how
the story’s unfolding. I try to keep regular work hours during the day, and
keep weekends free for family.
What
would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Music
inspires my storylines. While writing my first book, In Sunshine or in Shadow, I listened to a lot of Irish music
(seemed sensible, since the book was set in Ireland). One of my favorite Irish
songs is The Fields of Athenry, a
song about Ireland’s Great Hunger, as sung by the incomparable Paddy Reilly https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cc1zViuQ7Q. As I listened to
the song one afternoon, I envisioned the entire back story for my heroine,
Siobhán Desmond. I changed it up a bit (Siobhán’s husband was hanged, rather
than transported to Australia), but the germ of the idea came directly from
listening to that one song.
As
a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My
ambitions seemed to change on a weekly basis as I grew up. One of my favorite
books as a child was Heidi, and I was
determined I would one day be Heidi.
I was also a HUGE fan of the Nancy Drew
Mystery Stories
, and for a while I was convinced I’d one day become a “girl
detective.” But from the time I was about 11, I decided I’d one day write books
like those I loved to read.

Anything
additional you want to share with the readers?
I’d
like to thank everyone who came by to visit with me today. I love to hear from
my readers, and I love to get to know them. Readers who want to can contact me
at authorcynthiaowens@gmail.com  I do my best to answer e-mails as quickly as
possible.


Buy
links: 

Thanks, Cynthia! Readers, don’t forget to leave an e-mail address with your comment below if you want to be entered for a chance to win the pendant. 



14 thoughts on “Interview with historical romance author Cynthia Owens

  1. Cynthia Owens says:

    Lisa, thank you so much for having me today! I hope your readers enjoy my post, and I look forward to "meeting" them all in the comments section! 🙂

  2. morgan says:

    Good Morning Cynthia,
    I was so taken with the idea of a King's Girl that I'd love to hear her story. You are the perfect person to pen it.

    Good luck with your current tour.

    morgankwyatt (at) juno dot com

  3. Cynthia Owens says:

    Hi Morgan, thanks for the lovely compliment! I have a story fluttering around in my mind about a King's Girl, and one day, when the time is right, I just might write it! Thanks again for your good wishes, and thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  4. Sandy L. Rowland says:

    A good interview ladies! This series of the King's girls and the history involved sounds like something that can keep me entertained for hours.
    And I'll love every minute of it!

    Best to you on the book tour and the Release.

  5. Cynthia Owens says:

    Hi Sandy, one day I just may write a story or two about the King's Girls! For now, I confess I'm deeply in love with my Irish stories! Thanks for the good wishes, and thanks for visiting me on my book tour!

  6. Pat McDermott says:

    Wonderful interview, ladies. I've read Cynthia's first two books and know what a flair she has for capturing not only a time period, but the emotions of the people who lived in them. I look forward to cozying up with Playing For Keeps.

  7. Cynthia Owens says:

    Hi Pat, thanks so much for your wonderful words. I'm so glad you enjoy my stories, and hope you enjoy Playing For Keeps just as much. Thanks for stopping by!

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